West indian countries

Western countries that benefited from the slave trade should pay reparations to Africa: experts

Western countries involved in the slave trade should pay reparations to African countries for the crimes of slavery and colonialism, experts say.

“Africa will never come to terms with the West on the issue of slavery until we have received an official apology from the Western slave-buying nations and fair compensation paid to Africa. “Mustafa Mheta, senior researcher and head of the Africa bureau at the Johannesburg Media Review Network-based think tank, told Anadolu.

Experts commented on the Turkish News Agency on the anniversary of former US President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery on January 1, 1863.

“The nations that perpetrated slavery still reap the benefits of slavery to this day,” Mheta said, referring to wealthy nations where slaves worked in plantations, factories and construction sites.

Millions of people were taken from the mainland to work from the 17th to the mid-19th century on four main routes: the ports of the Indian Ocean, the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Many died in transit to Europe and the United States, but their nations were never compensated.

– Slavery was so damaging to Africa

“To be honest, slavery alone was the most damaging thing for Africans,” Mheta said. “There is nothing positive that comes with it except the psychological damage it has caused to the African mind.”

“The African has been humiliated to the core. Slavery convinced the African that he deserved nothing and that he was not human enough like other races, ”he said. “To this day, the African still suffers from it. He didn’t get over it. “

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay, a prominent South African lawyer and political commentator, hailed Lincoln’s “sweeping” decision to end slavery.

“He abolished slavery and freed Africans were given the opportunity to return to Africa, especially Liberia, which means that freedom has been established in West Africa,” he told the ‘Anadolu agency.

Jazbhay, agrees that former slave-buying countries should compensate Africa for decades of suffering and dehumanization inflicted on Africans.

“You cannot have reconciliation without economic justice,” he said.

Jazbhay said Africans have lost human resources, wealth and many people have been killed, citing German atrocities in Namibia at the turn of the 20th century and crimes committed by Belgium in Congo, among others.

Last year, Germany officially admitted to committing “genocide” against the Herero and Nama peoples at the turn of the 20th century in what is now Namibia.

“We will now also officially designate these events as what they were from today’s perspective: genocide,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in May.

About 60,000 Hereros and 10,000 Namas were assassinated by German colonial troops in southwest Africa between 1904 and 1908.

Berlin’s decision to recognize the crimes as “genocide” came after more than five years of negotiations to face the difficult history.

As part of the reconciliation, Germany offered 1.1 billion euros ($ 1.35 billion) in development assistance to Namibia, but excluded legally binding reparations for the descendants of the victims.

Maas said the fund should be seen as a “gesture” by Germany and its recognition of its political and moral responsibility.

“The communities affected by the genocide will have a crucial role in the design and implementation of this fund. No legal claim for compensation can arise from this, ”he said.

– Slavery impoverished Africa

“Slavery had a negative impact on African societies and led to the long-term impoverishment of Africa as a whole (even today),” Jazbhay said.

He said slavery remains a very touching subject on the continent because whites treat Africans as sub-humans, making them appear inferior and having the right to conquer them as they see them as inferior people.

Regardless of what the West thought of at the time, Africa was at the forefront of civilization and other forms of cultural progress, he said.

Jazbhay noted that several centers of rich literature and knowledge in Africa such as Timbuktu were destroyed as a result of the slave trade and resulted in a long-term deterioration of effective legal and political institutions on the continent.

– Modern slavery

Mheta said Africa, unfortunately, faces modern slavery, which is different from the form of slavery of the past.

“The difference is that modern slavery is not somehow forced but operates through the already damaged African psyche,” he said. “Today our young people are themselves willfully enslaved.”

The academic said thousands of Africans die each year as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to work in Europe only to find that is not what they thought.

He said Arab countries should be condemned for participating in the slave trade and for continuing to participate in modern slavery.

Mheta said thousands of African men and women travel to the Middle East every year for work, but they are abused and enslaved.

Many women who have gone to work in Arab countries often complain that their employers confiscate their passports.

Many domestic workers are forced to work long hours for low pay, some are physically or sexually abused by their employers, but they are not allowed to leave home.

“They have one of the worst and most humiliating forms of slavery. Africans must condemn this vehemently, ”Mheta said, adding that it must be stopped.


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