Whenever we hear those clamoring for reparations, they will always tell you that they are demanding “justice for our ancestors.” It is being claimed that the Europeans must make amends for the “injustice” that was done and reparations, which they are now frequently calling “reparatory justice” is being demanded. However, the real reasons for the actions of these “reparationsists” are clearly not about justice.
If those who are demanding reparations really wanted justice, they wouldn’t be demanding reparations from the Europeans alone. History is very clear about the role of Africans in the trade of slaves. Even modern African leaders have acknowledged the role that their ancestors played in the export of slaves to the west.
In 1999, the president of Benin made a formal apology for the role his country played – especially that famous treaty that was signed between his country and Portugal in the 15th century for the capture and export of slaves. In 2006, the government of Ghana apologized to the Americans for they role it played in supplying slaves to the west. Yet, we don’t see these reparationsists demanding compensation from these Africans.
Here in the west, we have the Maroons of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, who are also being excused. There is no doubt that the assistance that the maroons of Jamaica gave to the British in sustaining slavery on the island was important. Important slave rebellions were effectively put down by the British with the vital support of these Maroons. Yet, they are not being asked for reparations – or even an apology.
While the colour of both the Africans and the Maroons have something to do with them being excused, the main reason why their roles are being overlooked boils down to one simple thing – money.
At a recent reparations conference, the lead speaker made it perfectly clear why the Europeans are being pursued for compensation and not the Africans. Those leading this reparations charge are of the view that as the Europeans made more out of it, while, as far as they can see, the Africans got very little if anything, the Africans should not be asked, but the Europeans should.
It would make no sense to sue the Africans for reparations if, after the legal victory, no money would be forthcoming. It is very clear that if the Europeans were not rich, there would be no need to demand reparations from them, as nothing would be gained. Clearly, reparations “justice” only comes on those little green notes with dollar signs on them.
Those demanding reparations in the name of “our ancestors” don’t seem to care about the fact that their pretence is in fact an insult to these same ancestors. These reparationsists should be ashamed of themselves – trying to profit from the backs of the hard work of our ancestors!
Michael A. Dingwall