So that we don't forget the trade of slaves
Slave trade and the genocide of the indigenous people were crimes against Humanity and Africa demands its repair because “crimes against Humanity do not expire.” That was the conclusion after the “Gore initiative” in Senegal, where representatives of all Africa and the rest of the world got together to demand repairing for the slave trade crimes.
The genocide of 140 million African slaves during the course of three centuries is a monstrous act comparable to the extermination of the indigenous populations of North America by the European colonizers.
False racial superiority led to slavery and to a colonialism that considered African populations to be inferior beings, animals. It is precise to rescue memory from oblivion and to repair the committed crimes. There is an enormous debt to Africa that has a direct relation with the actual external debt that drowns its economies.
The movement in favor of reparations due to slave trade demands the public recognition that the external debt has been paid with interests since genocide was key for the impoverishment of African communities.
Most of the socioeconomic situation in Africa is due to that bloodbath and to the materials extracted by the colonizers during centuries. France and Belgium have already recognized the slave trade as a crime against Humanity that will produce jurisprudence with international effects. Colin Powell shamelessly sustained that “the descendants of victims cannot provide a valid testimony of the committed atrocities, unlike the Jewish that survived the nazi Holocaust.”
The Western rhetoric about Man’s rights has no credibility if Westerners don’t recognize the grave violations of those rights in Africa and in America against Africans and Indian Americans respectively.
“The Holocaust of Black people in North America lasted twenty times more and caused ten times more victims than the Holocaust of Jews by the nazis,” wrote Randall Robinson in his book The Debt: What the United States owes to the Black People.
Robinson describes the “American Holocaust” not only the period of slavery, which lasted until 1865, but also the following 135 years in which the black population suffered from institutionalized racial discrimination. US authorities pressed many German firms to pay damages to the descendants of Jewish workers that they employed in their factories as slaves in the nazi period. The German government have done that and asked Jewish victims for forgiveness in repeated occasions. The silence of the American society cries out in front of a past that is perpetuated in the discrimination conditions in which the descendants of those who helped build Capitol Hill live; those who hauled up the Statue of Liberty, who deforested the terrain over which the White House was built as a symbol of North American democracy.
To be black in the United States is a scandal when we see the racial differences of the police and the jail system. A black person has seven times more possibilities to be incarcerated than a white person in the United States besides the fact that the black community only represents 13 percent of the population but constitutes 50 percent of the incarcerated inmates in its prisons. Studies demonstrate that a black person has 33 percent of possibilities to spend part of his or her life in jail compared to the 4 percent that it supposes to a white person.
The legal murders of black people in prisons triplicate the murders of whites. In the death corridors 3,700 people await their execution, of which more than 70 percent are black or Hispanic.
Nor the UN or UNESCO or any power group have invested enough energy to denounce, condemn and repair a situation that cannot wait. We cannot remain indifferent to this conspiracy of silence and, along with Robinson and with millions of beings, we share the necessity that the United States pays its debt, gives the necessary repair to the descendants of slavery and discrimination victims and attacks the criminal responsibility that started with the genocide of the indigenous and autochthonous population, concluded with slavery and continued with a social system that outcasts its descendants.
If crimes against Humanity don’t expire, the horrible effects of slave trade accuse us for maintaining an attitude towards Africans and the descendants of slaves that is incompatible with reason and with the Law. It’s enough of hypocrisy. Let us start by repairing what we owe to those communities without which a future with the minimal conditions of social justice cannot be prepared.
Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez