O Wilberforce! thou man of black renown,
Whose merit none enough can sing or say,
Thou hast struck one immense Colossus down,
Thou moral Washington of Africa!
But there 's another little thing, I own,
Which you should perpetrate some summer's day,
And set the other halt of earth to rights;You have freed the blacks--
now pray shut up the whites.
Lord Byron, _Don Juan_, canto xiv
The other people who should shut up are those calling on Western states to compensate the descendants of slaves for the inhuman treatment they suffered.
But I must own to the shame of my own countrymen, that I was first kidnapped and betrayed by my own complexion, who were the first cause of my exile and slavery; but if there were no buyers there would be no sellers. - Ottobah Cugoano
,, Thoughts, Sentiments an the Evil, Wicked Traffic of the Slavery, Commerce of the Human Species, London, 1787.
This is what the campaigners ignore. It was a TRADE. Contrary to what was portrayed in Roots, blacks were very rarely captured by whites. They were bought having been already enslaved by other blacks.
Domestic slavery was common in Africa and well before European slave buyers arrived, there was trading in humans. Black slaves were captured or bought by Arabs and exported across the Saharan desert to the Mediterranean and Near East.In 1492, the Spaniard Christopher Columbus discovered for Europe a 'New World'. The find proved disastrous not only for the 'discovered' people but also for Africans. It marked the beginning of a triangular trade between Africa, Europe and the New World. European slave ships, mainly British and French, took people from Africa to the New World. They were initially taken to the West Indies to supplement local Indians decimated by the Spanish Conquistadors. The slave trade grew from a trickle to a flood, particularly from the seventeenth century onwards.Portugal's monopoly in the obnoxious trade was broken in the sixteenth century when England followed by France and other European nations entered the trade. The English led in the business of transporting young Africans from their homeland to work in mines and till lands in the Americas.Most slaves were sold by Africans. Estimates
of the total human loss to Africa over the four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade range from 30 million to 200 million. At the initial stage of the trade parties of Europeans captured Africans in raids on communities in the coastal areas. But this soon gave way to buying slaves from African rulers and traders. The vast majority of slaves taken out of Africa were sold by African rulers, traders and a military aristocracy who all grew wealthy from the business. Most slaves were acquired through wars or by kidnapping. - Tunde Obadina
, Slave trade: a root of contemporary African Crisis
If slavery is not distinctly Western, what is? The movement to end slavery! Abolition is an exclusively Western institution. The historian J.M. Roberts writes, "No civilization once dependent on slavery has ever been able to eradicate it, except the Western." [...]Never in the history of the world, outside of the West, has a group of people eligible to be slave owners mobilized against the institution of slavery. This distinctive Western attitude is reflected by Abraham Lincoln: "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master." --Dinesh D'Souza, _What's So Great About America_, 2002
This is what is to be celebrated, the people who stopped the odious trade, Clarkson, Wilberforce et al.
Let us not listen to the bleating voices of political correctness, the victim culture.
If they want compensation, let it start at home. Try asking the Swiss for the money they have, stashed away by corrupt African politicians. There is no constructive mileage in condemning the British who stopped the trade. Condemnation should be of present day slavery, largely in Islamic Africa and the slavery that is bonded
labour in India.
Labels: history, political correctness, slavery