Welcome! Log in or Register

Apologise for the slave trade - yes or no?

  • image
13 Reviews
  • Write a review >
    How do you rate the product overall? Rate it out of five by clicking on one of the hearts.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Use up to 10 bullet points.
    Write your reviews in your own words. 250 to 500 words
    Number of words:
    Write a concise and readable conclusion. The conclusion is also the title of the review.
    Number of words:
    Write your email adress here Write your email adress

    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    13 Reviews
    Sort by:
    • More +
      09.02.2011 22:23
      2 Comments

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Salvery past but very much present

      Slavery is a system in which people are treated as property and forced to work. We should not apologize for slave trade, but we should question the slave trade that is happening around the world and here in the UK. If you've ever found yourself in a cheap pound shop or a clothing outlet, do you ever wonder where these goods were made or where they come from? Well the question is this how can these places sell goods so cheap could it be they are doing it from the goodness of their hearts or that they just don't care about making a profit or they are just plain crazy. Think about this, you buy something that costs a pound, that Item has to be made from raw materials that costs money transported to the shop that costs money produced by a British factory by a British worker on minimum wage just over 5 pounds an hour that costs money. Now put your business hat on where oh where can we make a saving, sorry folks I'm being a tad bit patronizing but you can see where I'm going, if you can get you goods produced at a fraction of the cost in India or china or wherever in the world most will choose that option. So you contact some factory abroad and you are not completely heartless so you inquire over the welfare of the staff in that country, and the well mannered gent informs you that his staff are treated well, But any rational person will know that in all likely hood young children are being forced to work long hours for a pittance in appalling conditions. Supermarkets are the same, to sell cheap fruit and veg they use underpaid workers from EU countries it's the only way to make a profit, the government knows this practice goes on but chooses to turn a blind eye, why because the supermarket chains are very powerful bodies and many of the politicians are in the pockets of the directors of the supermarket giants. Having said all this the dilemma we all have to wrestle with is this, is it better to have a job shelter food at any cost, or nothing at all, Its I guess was part of the equation when it was argued in parliament all those years ago be people like William Wilberforce it comes down to money and humans demand and finally one of the deadly sins greed. So if you feel you need to say sorry to whomever then you'll be saying sorry until your dying day because there are still 12 million in slavery today and most of us contribute to its upkeep.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        03.02.2011 16:39
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        1 Comment

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        We should not apologise

        Whether or not Britain should apologise for the slave trade is naturally a sensitive issue and not one that should be argued without respect for the differing opinions that exist with respect to the issue at hand. The slave trade was a devastating period for Africa and its devastating effects are still being felt in parts of Africa. The exact numbers of African enslaved are debated but it most probably easily surpasses ten million. This makes it clear that there can be no disputing the fact that the slave trade, in which Britain was heavily involved, devastated large parts of Africa. There can be no doubt amongst rational human beings that the slave trade period was a shameful one in the history of Britain. Britain to date has still not apologised for its critical role in the slave trade although in 2006 then Prime Minister Tony Blair expresses a "deep sorrow" for the slave trade but he did not despite pressure accept a full apology. There are many rational arguments for saying that Britain should apologise for the slave trade. In addition to this, considering the devastating impact of the slave trade and how it only happened a few generations ago it would seem reasonable for many people to feel that Britain should apologise for its role in the slave trade, especially amongst people from the ravaged African communities. However, the reasons for not apologising for the slave trade may be even stronger. The most important issue to consider is that nobody alive today was responsible for the slave trade. Therefore are we morally obliged to apologise for our ancestors mistakes? I do not believe we are. If we apologised for the slave trade it would surely follow that we must apologise to all the countries who suffered under the British Empire with regard to economic, political or social progress. Apologising now would have potentially huge repercussions and would be, to use a clichéd metaphor, like opening a can of worms. Ireland most notably would also expect an apology because of the Irish famine of the nineteenth century and because of British interference in Ireland which led to its internal division and current day strife. And by apologising are we not opening ourselves up to having to pay compensation? Considering that this generation is not responsible for the slave trade it is not right that we should pay compensation for the mistakes of our ancestors. Although of course by modern standards the slave trade was wrong. Is it not conceivable to think that our ancestors were doing what was to them not so morally wrong? The slave trade occurred in an age when in Britain much of the population was living in almost slave like conditions. The morals which we hold today were at that time of rampant nationalism and commercialisation perhaps, or more likely probably, blurred. The distinction between right and wrong was more less clear than it is now. Also, Britain was not the only country involved in the slave trade by any means. This alone should not stop us from apologising of course but when combined with the other factors mentioned above it again emphasises slightly more why we should not apologise explicitly for the slave trade. What is the benefit of apologising? There is no benefit to apologising for anyone. It won't give Africans closure. An apology will only serve to reopen the deep wound caused by the slave trade at a time when the scab may be healing. It would be sensible to suggest that actions would in this instance most certainly speak louder than words. Protecting foreign aid spending is surely a much better way of showing Africa that this generation is not like that of previous generations and importantly giving Africa aid does not bring the slave trade issue to the fore, thereby allowing both Africans and Britons to try to move on and improve our relationships for the future. This is a great contrast with the devastating impact apologising for the slave trade would have.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          27.07.2009 20:04
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          5 Comments

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          Should be confined to the past!

          Reading this title it actually got be quite emotive. Why on earth would I want to apologise for the slave trade. I wasn't around at the time these poor souls were transported half way across the world in dire conditions and then sold to rich profiteers, in order to give them a good life and make them a huge profit. If I was around at the time of the slave trade, even if I had lots of money, it is unlikely I would have ever bought a slave. It would have been unhuman, just as it would be today. It isn't in my nature. A comparrison I would like to make would be if Iraq came to our country in 50 years time, and asked for an apology for the thousands of innocent Iraqi's who's deaths we in the West are responsible for. I say We. Personally I was against the invasion of Iraq. So why would I want to apologise. Of course I'd be extremely sympathetic and agree with them that it was wrong, but apologise. Why? I never even voted this government in, so why should I? The slave trade was a real black mark in history (although in some parts of the world it still exists). It should be confined to history.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            28.01.2008 15:06
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            5 Comments

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            More than 'sorry' is needed, but there is no way of saying it now.

            I feel that firstly an apology wouldn't really cut the mustard here, with what was inflicted on these men, women and children just saying sorry would be insulting. But... even if there were something that could be said or done to make up for what happened... who would say or do it? And who would they say it to? What I'm saying is, how can we apologise for something we didn't do to someone we didn't do it to. English and American people today are not responsible for what our ancestors did. And African people today can't really expect anyone to accept responsibility. I get really annoyed when you see someone on TV of African descent banging on about how 'we've suffered'. I'm sorry to sound harsh but you can't really be a martyr for a cause that you have no idea about. Yeah my great great grandpa might have owned a slave and that slave was your great great grandpa, that is history and yes it is appauling and disgusting. But, I am not to blame for it, and you have not suffered because of it. I think anyone not a weathy white male could say how history was unfair to them. But you can't expect an apology nowadays, and you can't really say it is 'your' suffering. It isn't, it's your anscetry. I feel that remembering history and remembering what went on is great and we should never forget. But we shouldn't take responsibility for the actions of our forefathers. Would we ask German people to apologise for the Holocaust? No, I don't think so. On a more personal note, would you ask a murderers son to apologise for his dad's actions? So in all, I say that a) more than an apology would be needed, but b) the men who owe it are dead, as are the ones they owe it to.

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              12.05.2007 18:44
              1 Comment

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              say sorry

              Slavery existed in Britain. British citizens were subjected to serfdom. Working for local landowner in exchange for leased piece of land and protection. This was not harsh as as what happened in the 18th century. African slaves were brought to mainland UK and taken to various parts of the British Empire. Worse was workers in cotton and sugar fields in places like the Caribbean and Americas. In UK a consensus was reached amongst slave traders legalising slavery. Slaves in England had some sort of life. It was much different for Africans sold as slaves to the British colonies in and around the American continent. Slaves were shipped in inhumane conditions and over 1/3 perished before reaching land, rest were consigned to a miserable life of work in harsh environment. Life of a slave in the American continent was on average less than five years. White Christians saw blacks as not human. Christians were gods chosen people while the Africans were not Hundreds of thousands died due to sugar plantation and cotton growers greed. I want to apologise to the dead of this era. I wish god is kind to these people because the British Empire wasn't. I don't have any time for those who say this happened Hundreds of years ago. We are a rich nation due to this unpleasant trade. Many cities and towns were constructed from profits gained from human slavery. Saying sorry is the least that anyone can do. Thinking of this topic makes me very uncomfortable. Britain should make unreserved apology to the descendants of the fallen slaves. There should be some sort of memorial in UK and America for these unfortunate people and every year political leaders should visit it and say sorry for what our forefathers did.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                10.05.2007 10:09
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                10 Comments

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                This is about race not freedom.

                If I told you slavery was on the increase then you wouldn’t believe me. I’m not talking about men being chained together and transported across the Atlantic Ocean; but I am talking about modern day slavery, something the West still benefits heavily from. On the news the other day I saw an undercover UN childcare agency operation, infiltrating a Vietnamese brothel that was full of young girls from the ages of 8-18, a stream of foreign men paying for their services. The police didn’t want to know and a tip- off meant the brothel was empty when it was raided. I then read a story about African UN peacekeepers enslaving Sudanese children and adults for sex as the genocide raged outside the compound. These stories and tragic tales go on and on around the world, Britain now a sanctuary from them. But even in the UK we are told Eastern European men are trafficking their women here to serve as sex slaves to the thriving UK market. Has anything really changed with mans inhumanity to man? The debate and commemoration of the 200th anniversary of slavery will also raise shackles, hence the expression, passions on both sides about reparation payments (compensation for past exploitation and unpaid royalties) and apologies, lots of aggrieved Afro-Caribbean’s feeling that their ancestors unpaid arduous toils helped build the empire and so its payback time. That impressive demonstration by that black guy in front of the Queen summed up a lot of disenfranchised peoples feelings, the guy clearly wanted to be lead away in handcuffs to prove his ironic point. What I do find cringing is those white guys with beards who were clunking around town centers in chains and white togas to show support for their African brothers. I suspect black people just though that was all rather silly. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6490625.stm The reality is we are all, what ever our color, benefiting in some way from third world bonded labor and exploitation. There are young girls in regions of India that are sold between factories to make cheap goods, their wage deducted from their value, the difference paid to their parents. They can’t leave that employer until they have paid off their asking price, parents often renewing the bond to bring in more money. Wal-Mart, the world biggest retail employer, gets most of its goods from China, girls in similar factories making the products. There the factory employees are often female, have to live in crammed dorms, there bed, board and utility costs automatically deducted from their pathetic pay packets, whether they want to live in or not. In principal I can understand why some black groups want some cash, or at least recognition through an official sorry or some sort of deal to recognize what went on 200 years ago. The fact some will just spend the cash on goods made in the third world in those factories is not lost. I would prefer if the money was given in scholarships and small business loans, suggested by many black groups. Get some of those proud black thrones of learning like Princeton developed in the UK. What I do take issue with is black pressure groups claiming the slave legacy is somehow responsible for most if not all of Afro-Caribbean’s current problems in the UK. With more black guys in jail than university-those damaging and disproportionately high crime rates, poor school performance and single parent issues always in the news-it does seems all too easy an option to just point the finger at slavery. The Jewish immigrants don’t point to the Holocaust and say this is why we have failed to excel. The Jewish people took that atrocity and made it their very reason to succeed. If slavery is partly responsible for modern black Britain’s plight then its no surprise black people are more disadvantaged in the UK than most ethnic minorities today. The Joseph Roundtree Federation, a poverty monitoring group, reported that ‘approximately’ 20% of Bangladeshis are in full time work in the UK, 30% of Pakistanis and Only 40% of Afro Caribbean’s, compared to 50% of working age white Brits. With such low employment rates, clearly these guys and girls are not been given the chance of work as much as white Brits are, resulting in those higher crime rates. Can this disparity be about what happened 200 years ago in the British Empire? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6605725.stm When Blair made that brave speech calling on the black community to take more action against knife and gun crime by being stronger parents-70% of all gun homicide committed in just seven boroughs of the UK- I think everyone let out a deep sigh of relief that that particularly sensitive bridge had been crossed in search of a solution to this implosion in the youth, again a metal scar of times gone by. You may ask what that has to do with slavery some 200 years ago, but for me all this gun crime is definitely a legacy of that simmering anger, young black kids turning on each other through that low self esteem, the need to be in a gang about belonging, those memories of those cramped boats that crossed the Atlantic the need for a gun for this new found freedom.. When you read the stories of the British captains tossing the guys overboard to claim on the insurance you just shake your head. I would certainly apologies for that as a nation. http://www.globalblacknews.com/UKPrison.html I do agree that racism plays a big part in those above, negative statistics, but I also agree that if you don’t happen to succeed in the UK it’s not always down to your skin color for that underachievement. As a lower working class person myself I’m certainly guilty of blaming the class system for my failures, the particular excuse on offer to me as a white lower middle class guy. Again, this has everything to do with the debate as slavery is deemed the driver for racism to the present day in the UK. Wilberforce battled to get these kids out of those chains and confined spaces yet here we are in 2007 with one in every hundred black people still behind bars. In my experience (which is limited) employers and people alike discriminate against color like they do with anything else in life that they are not comfortable with for intrinsic reasons, be it fat people, disabled people, short people or foreign people etc. I’m 100% sure just as many Asian employers would not employ black people as whites wouldn’t employ Asians on race reasons. As long as enough black people believe they will never be fully integrated in the UK because they feel, and are made to feel different, then the slave legacy will always be there as an out. But judging by the attitudes of both groups you talk to they are still very polarized on race in the UK. The big question is just what would Africa be like today if the colonization never happened and the people never taken away some two centuries ago...There lies your answer on if we should apologize.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
                • More +
                  01.05.2007 14:49
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)
                  10 Comments

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  what else should we say sorry for?

                  Saying sorry for the slave trade… This is a tough one and I know I will not come to a conclusion about this. Therefore this is more of an argument and my personal reviews for and against. My background is mixed; I recently found out that my Jamaican Grandfather was born to a Spanish mother and Afro Caribbean father. So the changes are that there were both slave owners and slaves in my family. It’s funny when you find information like this in your family especially when you have made assumptions about your ancestors for such a long time. I am also led to believe that my Grandfather’s surname Garrison is a slave name. Unfortunately that is all the information I have about this part of my ancestry. Not that this makes a difference to my opinion but it may help to explain why I cannot draw an easy conclusion The exact question is Apologise for the slave trade Yes or No? In the sub context it suggests the question ‘Should Britain Apologise slave trade, Yes or No?’ I imagine that most people would agree that slavery was barbaric and cruel. To treat another as a slave and take away their freedom and rights is completely wrong. Laws were changed and as a result the slave trade has ceased to be. On a personal level, I believe that the slave trade created communities that would not have otherwise existed. Certainly members of my family would not have existed otherwise. However this is not a reason to excuse the inhumanity that occurred. I believe that there should be an apology; not because I apportion blame to my own family members or this generation. Britain should apologise because an apology should have been made a long time ago. Saying sorry on behalf of other people can help to heal wounds, and at the very least help to bring about closure for those who suffered generations ago. What we have to distinguish here is between blaming ourselves personally for something that happened before we were born and accepting that for some of us our ancestors were involved in a terrible trade. The whole issue of apologising for the slave trade should not mean that as a nation we have to beat ourselves up and blame each other. I think this is where the issue has become blurred. I think that this issue has helped to make politicians a little more accountable for their actions, this is a great thing. If leaders can be honest and take account for what has happened this would be great. Now to throw the cat amongst the pigeons… This issue also raises the question what else should there be an apology for? Without delving too deep I have come up with a few ideas: • The conservative party for a former leader closing coal pits and wrecking whole communities? • US govt saying sorry for the Vietnam War and admitting that its own people were right to protest. • Tony Blair and George Bush for invading Iraq and the multiple car bombs that happen each day… I hope my thoughts make some sense and you have found them interesting. I would just like to say that I hope no-one feels offended by my comments and that my thoughts can be taken in the spirit they are meat in.

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                  • More +
                    22.04.2007 01:04
                    4 Comments

                    Advantages

                    Disadvantages

                    no no

                    No we should not! This happened a long time ago and British was no worse than any other nation and we were one of the first to ask for ending of slavery. What good will an apology do now. None of the people alive today had anything to do with this evil trade. Those that did were small in numbers and died out long before I was born. Saying sorry for something I or my generation did not do is hollow and worthless. At the time of slavery it was common for other nations to do the same. It was common for many country to do slave trading. British Empire was probably most humane in the history of invasions and empires. We as a nation and people have done more to end slave trade than anyone else. Saying sorry now is wrong and has no meaning.

                    Comments

                    Login or register to add comments
                    • More +
                      22.04.2007 00:13
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      4 Comments

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      Give practical and physical aid to these countries

                      This question is one that I have been thinking about for a while so was pleasantly surprised to see it here on the speakers corner. Should we as British people apologise for the slave trade? Now I have been thinking about this for a while. I must first state for the record that slavery is a terrible crime. It is indeed a blot on our history as a country that we were involved with the slave trade. However I also think that the fact that the UK were one of the first to abolish slavery is very important. We can thank the work of William Wilberforce for his constant acts within parliament for bringing an end to slavery within the British Empire. I have been reading for a while about the constant calls that we should apologise as a nation / individuals for the effects of slavery and for the fact that the UK was involved within slavery. Personally I think that it is not important or right that we should have to apologise for slavery. After all, none of us were or have been involved with slavery! We have not committed the crime that was done and therefore we should not be asked to apologise for those crimes. HOWEVER, having said that, I think it is clear that as a country we did benefit from slavery. It helped make the British Empire as great as it was and brought a lot of wealth into this country. Therefore I think that it is much more important that as a country and individuals, instead of apologising for something that our ancestors have done, we should take positive action and do something that is actually helpful. By this I mean that we should do something to help the current situation within these countries. Now I know that our government no doubt helps a number of countries with aid and I have heard that we should cancel the third world debt to help them as often the amount of aid given just pays for the repayments of the interest on the debts. Personally I think that we should freeze all interest on the debts and allow the countries to repay the actual debt. This teaches the countries responsibility for there actions in having to repay the debt, but also helps them in actual measures. This would be a much greater physical benefit to these countries rather than a non important apology. I think that is should be made clear that we regret our part within slavery and then go ahead with practical means to help and support the countries involved. We should all as individuals also do something to help. We could all sponser a child somewhere, buy a cow to provide food, give money to help rebuild a village or even go out there and help practically. Personally I think that this would be a much larger benefit and would be something practical towards the whole argument as to whether we should apologise as one of the key points that I hear raised is the amount that it benefitted this country.

                      Comments

                      Login or register to add comments
                      • More +
                        21.04.2007 16:39
                        Very helpful
                        (Rating)
                        2 Comments

                        Advantages

                        Disadvantages

                        A hollow apology is worse than nothing!

                        I personally think we have no right to apologise for the slave trade. There are two entirelly different reasons I feel this way. First of all, none of us were around at that point. Yes, many rich families today made their wealth due to slavery, but that cannot be blamed on the individuals alive now. I'm sure many of them feel ashamed for their families part in the trade, but things were unfortunatly different back then. Slavery was not just a black vs white thing. There were plenty of bare-footed white kids down mines, or working in factories under similar awful conditions. Many mining towns were essentially cut off from the rest of society, with tokens to buy food rather than money, no access to transport or decent clothes, and no option but to work in the mines until death. Never called slaves perhaps, and not taken from their home country, but certainly enslaved in the broader sense of the term. The second issue I have with the idea of apologising for the slave trade is that it still exists today. There are sex slaves, children working in sweat shops, and no doubt millions more effectively enslaved by pitiful wages and working conditions. How can we apologise for things that happened in the past when things have not all changed? Can anyone buying cheap clothes or cheap ornaments really kid themselves that the people making them were paid properly and choosing to do that kind of work? And if you see a young foreign prostitute on the streets, can you really pretend that she's there by choice?

                        Comments

                        Login or register to add comments
                        • More +
                          20.04.2007 09:59
                          Very helpful
                          (Rating)
                          2 Comments

                          Advantages

                          Disadvantages

                          "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

                          I don't believe the issue is to whom we need apologize to at this juncture (for slave trade). I find that our concern to make an apology stems from guilt over actions of our ancestors; whom, being a product of their times and human beings, always creatures of mischief and mayhem. We once were, are now still and will continue to be brutes who take advantage of each other for anything from basic Maslovian needs to seeking higher position. It is who we are. There is no Utopia outside our imaginations, only the stark reality of our limitations. Certainly there are enough of us to pursue a higher ground and attempt in numerous ways to better the planet starting locally while thinking globally. An apology is rooted in the need to move on, cleanse our souls if you will of the vermin inherent in our genome. Now that more and more are becoming self aware, issues as these are cropping up more frequently; sorry for what my father did to your father. Biblically if you buy into that, do you believe that God would offer forgiveness to the son’s generations down the line for the punishments bestowed as a result of the father’s actions? Preposterous. I can not apologize to descendants of slaves any more than I can offer forgiveness to the Nazis for the crimes brought to bear on the Jews and other so miserably treated. Only the survivors can do that. Soon, there will be no more just as there are no remaining slaves of the century plus past. I understand the wish to apologize but it offers mere icing over mounds of corpses. Eventually the icing will begin to stink too. We need to fix it so that economic conditions can not exist to allow for such behavior motivated out of greed and the need for cheap labor. Look, we are progressing. Look at fair trade practices in the areas of coffee. Here is a reasonable example of human enlightenment. I continue to hope for and offer myself up as example a means to a better world.

                          Comments

                          Login or register to add comments
                          • More +
                            18.04.2007 13:12
                            Very helpful
                            (Rating)
                            16 Comments

                            Advantages

                            Disadvantages

                            Is an apology for slavery needed or useful?

                            Will an apology from Britain be a way of denigrating Britain’s achievements in the past? Will it fail to recognise the role of others in the trade? Will it serve as another means of ‘Britain bashing’ by some people opposed to its colonial past. Is it simply too late for any apology to be meaningful? I don’t think there is a clear-cut easy answer to these questions and I think in order to make any kind of objective decision you have to examine the fact of what the slave trade really meant. Yes it is true to say that slaves have been part of human society for a very long time, the ancient empires Romans and Egyptians relied on slavery for their economic power but to bring these ancient historical events in to the argument is disingenuous. The passage of time does make those events less relevant to us than the more recent forms of slavery practises by the colonial powers in the 18th and 19th century. The fact is that the long-term effects of that slavery are still disadvantaging people today and a lot of the racial tension and inequalities and prejudice that still exist today and has such a dramatic impact on our present society can be attributed to the slave trade. Let’s look at some figures. Historical estimates of the numbers of people transported from Africa range from 10 to 30 million. More than 5% of those are thought to have died in prison awaiting transportation, 10% died during the journey in conditions that our present laws would not allow animals to be stored in. In addition some 2 million people were thought to have been simply murdered. This does not take into account the numbers who were abused raped and tortured. Indeed it has been shown though genetic test that the rape of women were so widespread that the majority of afro Caribbean people living today have some ‘white’ genetic ancestry mostly due to children born after the rape of female slaves. The level of abuse and violence perpetrated against the slaves horrific. Castration mutilation and various other kinds of torture were commonplace and intended to terrorise the slaves into subjugation. Those argue that these crimes were on a parallel to those committed by the Romans and Vikings, need to remember that while the ancient world was essentially a brutal barbaric place the modern slavery of the colonial powers was taking place at the same time as the European ‘enlightenment’ and great strides in culture and science this is my opinion makes these crime far worse. I think (I hope) that we can all agree that colonial slavery represented one of the worst crimes in human history and that as such should be condemned totally by all civilised peoples. When we come to the case for an apology we must inevitably look at where the ‘blame’ lies. Slavery was not a simple white exploiting black issue. It is true however that racism and slavery at this time became linked far more than at any other time in history. As more progressive liberal ideas were beginning to evolve in Europe and the idea of the intrinsic rights of man was being formulated it became increasingly difficult to justify slavery simply on economic grounds so racism was an effectively invented to suit this purpose. Black people had to be thought of as inferior or sub-human. Colonial slave traders began to argue that blacks were a different species only suitable for manual work that they carried out "in a very bungling and slovenly manner, perhaps not better than an orangutan". Those racist ideas are still with us today and are a direct result of the needed justification for slave trade… the Romans had at least two black emperors. Whatever the complexity of the issue the slave trade was indeed primarily a white black issue, although there were indeed Arab slave traders and black African tribes also supplied slaves for the European traders their involvement and organisation pales into insignificance when compared to the ‘industrialisation’ that primarily the British brought to the slave trade. The British empire hungry for development and greedy for resources thought nothing of economically enslaving it’s own citizens in the ‘dark satanic mills’ of the industrial north of England so it thought even less about creating an totally enslaved work force for its plantations in the far flung colonies. Britain did what Britain did best it organised, exploited and made huge amounts of money through slavery. The success of the British empire it can be argued was primarily due to slave labour and cities like Bristol, Liverpool and London became flourishing economic centres on the back of slavery. Others were also involved but the British must take a huge amount of the blame for the economic ‘success’ of slavery. Even though we can apportion blame can an apology after more than 200 years still be justified or needed? Did the fact that Britain was first to abolish slavery in some way absolve it from its involvement previously? We also have to be careful when we think of the abolition and the commendable role of William Wilberforce not to forget that tide against the slave trade had already begun to turn. There had always been resistance by the slaves themselves even under incredibly brutal oppression. Slave riots and uprisings where increasingly common and at the time when the abolitionist were campaigning the economic benefits of slavery were beginning to falter. It is without doubt a credit to Wilberforce and to Britain that slavery was abolished and this fact should be given the credit it deserves but the British should also acknowledge it role in the mass murder, mass brutality that took place and that has shaped many of the race problems that we still face today. The descendants of the slave owning colonial power still do have a direct responsibility since our way of life our culture and our wealth is still directly linked to the economic and social effects of the slave trade. So is an apology needed? Well why not? We could clarify it by stating that the British are sorry for their role in the slave trade and hope that other involved do the same. It would be a way of moving on form these past crimes and would serve as a statement of intent not to allow such crimes to still be committed. As far as reparations or payments it is difficult to see how these would be distributed fairly amongst slave descendants and I don’t think this would succeed but it is worth remembering that when slavery was abolished all the slave traders were compensated well for their economic loss while the slaves were given nothing expect their ‘freedom’ and the chance to work in the same jobs as they did before without much hope of breaking free economically or any chance to advance themselves in ‘white’ society. If any reparations are to be made I would rather see this done in the form of charitable foundation set up to help the fight against modern day slavery and human trafficking that still goes on today. The anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade could then be used as a focus to tackle today’s problems. We could also up trust finds and organisations that would be able to help black development in education and culture. Maybe the problem is that while some of the descendants of the colonial powers do not feel any connection or repsonsibility for the crimes of slavery the descendents of the enslaved do still feel a close connection to their ancestors and might feel that their heritage and history even their identity was stolen because of the slave trade. Also while we might not feel we have no responsability for what was done 200 years ago we are still feeling the benefits economically and culturally that the slave trade provided to the colonial powers and we are also prepared to take repsponsbility for and celebrate the figure of Wilberforce who was instrumental in ending slavery, is this not double standards? © Mauri2007

                            Comments

                            Login or register to add comments
                              More Comments
                            • More +
                              02.04.2007 22:02
                              4 Comments

                              Advantages

                              Disadvantages

                              m

                              Slavery has been around for a very long time. It dates back to Sumer, perhaps before that. Arab world traded in slaves since the 8th century. They used to raid Africa, parts of America and believe it or not on many occasssions took whole villages near coasts around England and Wales. Not to mention Europe, places like Spain and several more European nations. Arabs probably treated their slaves kinder than East Africans slaves used by British and French in the Caribbean and America's, slaves lived in harsh conditions and some didn't last longer than 3 months. The treatments of these people is worse than any that I have read about in peace time. Do we apologise for mistakes made by our ancestors. On the face of it YES but look at overall picture and I will say no. Slavery still exists in some countries. People still get crap treatment. These slave nations exist all over the world even in Africa. Slave sold to British traders or Europeans were sold by native Africans. Also it should be noted that slaves were sold to other nations as well, not just Europeans. Arabs also bought slaves. I want to say sorry but the picture is too complex. When a country says sorry it has to give money to wronged people. Slaves and their masters have been dead for a long time. I don't think we should say sorry and pay up. Say sorry and that is it no payments because money won't go to poor. It will be kept by rulers for themselves.

                              Comments

                              Login or register to add comments