Slavery: A Letter to Tony Blair
December 6, 2006
From: Cikiah Thomas. Chair, Global Afrikan Congress.
Cc: GAC IWC Members and Ambassadors GAC International Reparations Commission: Mr. Clarence Ellis - GAC USA; Mr Amani Olubanjo Buntu - GAC Secretary General; Mr. Kimani Nuhusi - GAC UK
To: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rt. Hon Tony Blair
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister Blair:
Re: Taking responsibility for the British role in the European Trade in Afrikans as Slaves, Enslavement and Colonial exploitation
I am writing to you in my capacity as Chair of the Global Afrikan Congress to inform you of our profound disappointment that you have failed to do the right thing and acknowledge the full responsibility of the British government for the state sponsored kidnapping, rape, enslavement, dehumanisation and denial of individual and collective personality of millions of Afrikans that were victimised by slavery and colonialisation.
That acknowledgement should be accompanied by a statement of unreserved apology to the descendants of the British enslaved Afrikans who continue to this day to bear the burdensome legacy of slavery and colonialism.
You should have demonstrated a moral and legal understanding of the continuing catastrophic effects on Afrikan people today as a result of their ancestors being treated as chattel slaves, mere property as listed in inventories of British plantations.
Today you have British troops fighting in Iraq for so-called human rights, democracy and freedom. We ask of you Prime Minister Blair, what about the freedom and human rights of millions of Afrikans who are the descendants of the victims of the crimes of the British government, military, companies and families, including British royalty? How could you, as someone trained in the legal profession, conceive and repeat the nonsensical argument that the British 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century crimes were legal? Why are you still demonstrating disrespect for Afrikan civilisation, customs, integrity, governance principles and rules of law? Why are you still reinforcing the white supremacy ideology to justify these horrendous crimes and adding insult to injury by suggesting that the rules of Afrikan governance were inconsequential?
The Global Afrikan Congress feels very strongly that you should stop insulting Afrikan people and the dignity of our ancestors, who through the pain of servitude, the suffering of oppression and the indignity of subjugation fought to free themselves from the most barbaric crimes committed in human history.
The 2007 bicentenary of the British Empire ending of the trade in Afrikans as slaves must be a time when your government seeks atonement and begins to right the wrongs of history as opposed to crediting some British parliamentarian and other members of British high society for the freedom of Afrikans. Afrikans fought for and won their freedom against great odds and for the damage they suffered they must be paid reparations.
Why are you championing the causes of other victims of crimes against humanity and yet refuse to take responsibility for the crime that is inextricably linked to Britain's wealth, human development and industrialisation? Why are you refusing to play your part in a world where Afrikans in England can not enjoy the same human rights and privileges like white people? Why are you not addressing the alarming rate of imprisonment and mental institutionalisation of Afrikans in Britain? Why are you not part of the process that would see a world with *fair* trade practices and a new international economic and social order? We believe that as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, you should on January 1st, 2007 announce to the world that you are committed to repairing the enormous damage that has been done to Black people by establishing an International Commission to recommend to the British government, families and companies the form in which reparations payment is to be made.
I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the concept of reparations is not new and that at the time of the 1834 emancipation of Afrikans from direct slavery in the Caribbean, reparations was paid to the slave owners. The emancipation legislation in each and every Caribbean country made provision for reparations to be paid. This payment of reparations was made to the slave owners as if to reward the horror and injustice of their actions over centuries. In other words, the benefits of ending slavery in the British slave owning colonies went not to the victims but to the criminals who received a sum total of 20 million pounds sterling.
The economic and social underdevelopment of Afrikans on the continent and in the diaspora is a direct result of the European slave trade and enslavement by which all the wealth created by Afrikan slaves were used for past and present development of European societies.
The racist social and economic development policies created by the British Empire are present for any well thinking person to see. The Empire ensured that white settler colonies such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand enjoyed industrial development with the wealth created by Blacks, while Black majority colonies remain perpetually underdeveloped.
We urge you to reconsider the ill advised and inadequate statements you made on the verge of the bicentenary of the great victory of Afrikans over the British trade in Afrikans as slaves. We also urge you to correct the long running injustice Afrikans and Afrikan descendants have suffered for centuries. We ask that you give Afrikans the respect and equality all human beings deserve and that you take the responsibility for starting this process in 2007.
Afrikans also have the sense of justice and human decency you have been advocating over the last few years on the international political stage, and should be treated accordingly. In that sense reparations and compensation are in order.
Yours truly Cikiah Thomas. Chair, Global Afrikan Congress.
Cc: GAC IWC Members and Ambassadors GAC International Reparations Commission Mr. Clarence Ellis - GAC USA Mr Amani Olubanjo Buntu - GAC Secretary General Mr. Kimani Nuhusi - GAC UK
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