We should get reparation, too

March 09, 2018
Reparation activist and historian Professor Verene Shepherd shows a list of plantation owners who were compensated by the British after the abolition of slavery.

The debate over reparations for slavery has been ongoing for decades. Disappointingly, many Jamaicans have never really caught on to the idea that colonisers like Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Portugal should pay for the damage they have caused through slavery and native genocide.

Ignorant of history, simply lacking in empathy for our forefathers, or not having an understanding of the long-running, deleterious effects of slavery, most think that the past is in the past, and should stay there.

Maybe that was what former British Prime Minister David Cameron sensed when he visited Jamaica in 2015 and suggested to us that we should move on from slavery, and offered to sell us a prison instead.

Of course, his suggestion and offer were rejected, and rightly so, because if we should move on from slavery, how, then, does one explain the fact that the British government was still paying the descendants of slave owners up to three years ago as compensation for freeing their slaves?

How hypocritical and disingenuous was Cameron, asking the descendants of slaves not to seek compensation when they were still compensating the slave owners?

That piece of information, which was revealed recently, provides all the material reparation advocates need to continue to push for compensation for enslaving our forefathers.

In fact, I would go further to say that the government of the US should compensate the Native Americans for their pain and suffering and for being pushed to the very edge of extinction. These ignorant people, who keep telling people to go back where they come from, should be ashamed of themselves. Their forefathers came and saw more than 100 million Native Americans from many different tribes, tricked and slaughtered them, stole their land, and enriched themselves. Now, they have the gall to claim the US as their land.

It is only theirs because they stole it.

What we see happening now in South Africa, where the government has voted to take back land from white landowners, should be a blueprint for what is to happen in the western world. It is time for people of colour to take back what is rightfully theirs; the legacy that was stolen from them by leeches who would suck the life out of us all for their own material gain.

It is time for people of colour to unite, go to the international courts, and demand justice.

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