I'd like to thank President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. I'd like to thank him for standing up and doing the difficult thing; the hard thing.
President Wade stood up, recently, and made a declaration at the U.N. international conference on racism in Durban, pointing out the hypocrisy of his fellow African leaders' demands for compensation from the United States and a variety of European countries, particularly Britain. Compensation that is due, they say, for the suffering imposed on their people by the slave trade.
He is, he pointed out, himself the descendant of slave owning royalty.
He said : "If one can claim reparations for slavery, the slaves of my ancestors, or their descendants, can also claim money from me. Slavery has been practiced by all people in the world."
Brave, Mr. Wade, bravo.
Still, it seems that few others share his opinion, or his willingness to grasp the harsh realities of unpleasant historical fact. Were the European nations and the United States guilty of dealing in the most horrific human misery for economic gain? Absolutely. Just like countless nations before and, sadly, after them.
Anti-slavery groups estimate that more people have been sold into slavery in the 20th Century than were ever shipped from Africa to the cotton fields of the United States, and the source for this new trade in humans? Many of those same countries now demanding financial compensation. West Africa continues to have a thriving sub - economy in the sale of child labor to plantations and sweat-shop factories throughout the third world. The British Royal Navy recently came under criticism from US based human rights activists for withdrawing its patrols from the area of the Bight of Benin, a location infamous through history as a transportation hub for human cargo.
And now we see Jesse Jackson with a squad of vocal American politicians siding with these very same African countries (oh, and for the politically correct, if you're from Africa you are now officially "African-African,") bellowing for financial reparations from the US and it's partners in crime. They seem to have conveniently forgotten they it was African (or perhaps, African-African,) slave-traders who provided the majority of the victims of this trade to the New World, just as they had been providing slaves within Africa for countless years before.
Well Mr. Jackson, at least those people who used the repulsive trade in helpless humans for financial gain did so openly and without guile. You, on the other hand, seek to use the memory of this crime in the most cynical and duplicitous way for person political capital while happily ignoring the reality of current human suffering.
I really only have one question; how do people like that look at themselves in the mirror each morning?
Columns by Lictor