Dr. Sylvester Ogbechie, a previous contributor to this volume, seeks reparations:
It is nice to hear that major USA corporations are finally owning up to their nefarious involvement with slavery. However, I don't want an apology, I want reparations and I totally condemn any African leader that accepts an apology for slavery in place of reparations. The West has steadfastly refuse to do right by black people and we blacks have been foolish
enough (as a result of our political and economic emasculation) to accept a pat on the head as enough recompense for centuries of ongoing devaluation of our
humanity. South Africa is the most recent example of that, where De Beers and other South African companies who regularly used slave labor were able to escape
with their entire financial resources after Apartheid. The fact that South African blacks settled for the sham of the so called Truth and Reconciliation commission (whose archive is now an academic goldmine for Western researchers--several colleagues of mine are already tenured for writing books about this subject) is one of the reasons that I confidently predict that South Africa will be enmeshed in a civil war in less than five years from now. This is because the commission did nothing to redress the inequalities created by Apartheid and it allowed those who profited most from black exploitation to continue to live well from the proceeds of their plunder, right next to the ever growing shantytowns of the black peoples. This is not right and Nelson Mandela had no right to negotiate such a disastrous solution to five decades of the most
brutal repression of black peoples which ranks up there with American Jim Crowism and Nazi Germany's decimation of the Jews. While several Western countries continue to pay the Jews reparations (more than 500 billion to date), Africans are encouraged to
forgive their oppressors in return for a simple apology. This just will not do and anyone who accepts such a deal is a traitor to black peoples everywhere.
May their memory be cursed for ever.
J.P. Morgan should come clear with its accounts and put aside at least ten billion dollars towards education and community development for African Americans. The worth of a slave is not just what his or her body fetches, it is the wealth that he produced for his owners multiplied by whatever that wealth has created since then. This rightly results in several hundreds of billions of dollars if we take the complete dependence of Western capitalism on the foundation of slavery into consideration. Of course, J. P. Morgan is now one of the richest corporations in the world today. Can it rightly estimate how much of its wealth comes from the foundation provided by its 13,000 slaves?
It is time we stopped demeaning the memory of those Africans who were enslaved by accepting apologies on their behalf. We have no right to do any such thing. What we do need to do is to demand justice for their suffering, knowing that if the West does not see fit
to make amends for not recognizing the rights of
Africans to their own bodies and resources, it will
not see fit to deal with Africans today as equal human beings. This is the reason for instance why the international media bypassed any comments on the
impact of the Tsunami on Africa, and refuses to cover the increasing devastation of the continent by AIDS, poverty, wars and other easily solvable problems. The
West sees Africans as mere cattle and therefore
believes that any affront to what is otherwise an
animal can be redeemed by gentlemanly contrition
(awfully sorry about that whole slavery thing, old
chap.Now be a good boy and fetch my shoes...). Consider what happens when the situation is reversed, when for instance Zimbabwean blacks forced white
settlers off their lands. The West has been clamoring for Zimbabwe to pay reparations to white farmers, and has placed a chokehold of an embargo on the nation designed to force it to comply. In the same manner, the West has not seen fit to accept an apology in lieu
of Africa's debt; instead it consigns whole countries
to penury while demanding that they pay their debts
and accrued interests. When then should Africans ever
accept an apology from the West for centuries of
We black people should learn not to celebrate defeat. J. P. Morgan may be fooling itself that making amends means just issuing an apology. We shouldn't contribute to that self-delusion by applauding their belated recognition of their nefarious past of slave trading. Apologies are not enough. It is time for accountability.