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Should we be sorry for slavery?

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Toadborg wrote:
    This is bollocks.

    In 1950 the average GDP of sub saharan Africa was higher than that Korea, Vietnam and much of East Asia.

    What? How arbitary is that?

    Because in a seemingly arbitary year of your choosing the average GDP (which in itself is misleading) was higher in (specifically) sub saharan Africa than in some unrelated territories in East Asia my argument is bollocks?

    I don't know where to start with that. Here is a number of notable reasons why that is totally irrelevant to the point.

    1) Average GDP includes all imports, exports, consumption, regardless of distribution. Most of the sub Saharan region was still under colonial rule: hence there were massive inequalities of income, consumption, and the majority of exports did not benefit the majority of the people. Average GDP is thus a very misleading figure to quote and a distortion of the true state of living standards.

    2) Why 1950? There are some very good reasons not to chose 1950 as a date of comparison (if it is a valid comparison at all) but I can't think of any real reason why it should be used. Firstly, Korea and Vietnam had both been totally and utterly fucked by Japan only a decade before (Japan in fact enslaving a considerable proportion of Koreans themselves) as had most of East Asia. Vietnam was also in the midst of a bloody war of independence. Sub Saharan Africa was relatively untouched by WW2.

    3) Both regions had been fucked over by imperial powers anyway, which makes the comparison even more pointless. Slavery existed on a lesser scale in East Asia, which was also extensively colonized and exploited. It makes the comparison akin to asking "would you rather eat shit or drink piss?"

    4) Why compare these two territories anyway? It is completely beside the point. The point is whether Africa would have been in less of a mess if it wasn't for the transatlantic slave trade...
    There are numerous reasons why Africa is in a bad way, the slave trade centuries ago is not a major one of these........

    ...Which it almost certainly would have been.

    For instance, it has been shown by several notable economic and social historians that if the transatlantic slave trade had not occurred the population of Africa in the mid-nineteenth century would have been at least 50% higher (a difference of roughly 25 million people to about 50 million people). That translates into an even greater difference today, if extrapolated. The transatlantic slave trade massively influenced where Africans settled, how the economy developed, and retarded social and cultural development. All of these were subordinated to the slave trade, and the African economy developed almost solely along these lines. Many of the "best" people were enslaved as they were the most valuable slaves, thus even damaging African the African gene pool. Tribal wars were exacerbated as each competed to "outslave" each other, in a desperate struggle for survivial. This was worsened by the input of guns and modern armaments which were traded for slaves.

    Is your main contention that things that happened centuries ago do not have a major effect on today? In which case I'd like to think what the UK would be like without the industrial revolution, France without the French revolution, the middle east without revealed religion (millenia ago), etc.

    You're right that slavery is not the only reason that Africa is such a mess today, it might not even have been the "major" reason, however you would define that. I would define "the major reason" as centuries of subordination, rape and exploitation by European/western peoples, which began with the most horrific and probably the most damaging form, slavery. At least its successor, colonialism, for all its evils, allowed Africans to stay on their own continent, made it comparitively stable, and built infrastructure that was not solely for the use of abducting millions of the labour force.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    But they are all long dead. To blame continuing racism and lack of oportunity for blacks in parts of the Western World purely on slavery is overly simplistic.

    Yes, they are long dead, but the impact and the historical memory lives on.

    I am not trying to simplify the situation to say that all of the problems faced by blacks today are due to slavery, I'm saying that slavery had a very significant impact, something that most people here don't seem to realise, and in fact actively deny.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wouldn't one of the main issues have been the war in Congo? I'm not an expert on issues in Africa, but it seems to me that any war during which 3.8m people die would be considered WW3 anywhere else on the planet.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wouldn't one of the main issues have been the war in Congo? I'm not an expert on issues in Africa, but it seems to me that any war during which 3.8m people die would be considered WW3 anywhere else on the planet.

    It is indeed sometimes referred to as "The African World War."

    "The Congo" is a good example of the kind of western exploitation I'm talking about and its impact: although it was not itself a major centre of slavery. Population reduced by a half by European (in this case Belgian) massacres, the rest brutalized - and a great many left without limbs: the practise of chopping off arms and legs was made widespread in East Africa as a punative measure by the Europeans. In recent years a massive influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, who in fact better reflect the impact of slavery and colonialism, and you have the slaughter you refer to.

    Fucked up. :o
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Yes, they are long dead, but the impact and the historical memory lives on.

    I am not trying to simplify the situation to say that all of the problems faced by blacks today are due to slavery, I'm saying that slavery had a very significant impact, something that most people here don't seem to realise, and in fact actively deny.


    apoligising for slave trade we we helped to stop, very well indeed, by declaring the owners of all slave trade ships as pirates and thus getting the death penalty from the navy, helped to curb the trade - lets not forget who sold these slaves

    should the german chancellor now apoligise for the nazis, i dont think so since she wasn't around then, yeh she can feel sadness for their past, but that sint an apology, since an apology normally requires someone to have done something

    should the italians and greeks apoligise for their past use of slavery in BC times?

    also i think that apoligising for our past involvement for the slave trade suggests that it's something to brush under the carpet, which it isn't since there's easily thousands of child and adult farmers/soldiers out there who are effectively slaves, and slaves in this country in the sex trade (not the kinky kind either who choose to be submissive)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Yes, they are long dead, but the impact and the historical memory lives on.

    I am not trying to simplify the situation to say that all of the problems faced by blacks today are due to slavery, I'm saying that slavery had a very significant impact, something that most people here don't seem to realise, and in fact actively deny.


    i don't deny it, i just dont think there's any point to an apology especially if there's no blame to apoligise for

    i ask you, IF i was the grandson of a rapist, would i be expected to apoligise for his crimes to his victim's children?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    apoligising for slave trade we we helped to stop, very well indeed, by declaring the owners of all slave trade ships as pirates and thus getting the death penalty from the navy, helped to curb the trade - lets not forget who sold these slaves

    should the german chancellor now apoligise for the nazis, i dont think so since she wasn't around then, yeh she can feel sadness for their past, but that sint an apology, since an apology normally requires someone to have done something

    should the italians and greeks apoligise for their past use of slavery in BC times?

    Its already been pointed out several times that the British State should apologise for its role in the slave trade because it is the same state with the same constitution.

    The present German government/state is not the same as the Nazi government/state, nor are the Italians/Greeks the same as the ancient civilizations.

    But you are right that we should also remember that Britain later helped end the slave trade and made it illegal much earlier than the other so called "civilized" nations.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i don't deny it, i just dont think there's any point to an apology especially if there's no blame to apoligise for

    i ask you, IF i was the grandson of a rapist, would i be expected to apoligise for his crimes to his victim's children?

    No...you are confusing a personal apology with an apology from the British State.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    No...you are confusing a personal apology with an apology from the British State.

    :lol::lol:

    Guilty abstractions.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    No...you are confusing a personal apology with an apology from the British State.


    for helping stop it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    for helping stop it?

    No, for facilitating, enforcing, and profiting from it for several centuries.

    As I've said several times Britain should be proud of the fact that it pre-empted other nations by outlawing and opposing the slave trade.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    for helping stop it?

    Maybe for starting it in the first place?

    I do find it hard to be proud of the fact that we encouraged other nations to stop their trade when we were just as guilty TBH That's almost like a serial killer being proud that he stopped a murderer whilst still financially supporting another.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe for starting it in the first place?

    I do find it hard to be proud of the fact that we encouraged other nations to stop their trade when we were just as guilty TBH That's almost like a serial killer being proud that he stopped a murderer whilst still financially supporting another.

    so we started slavery now?

    and apoligise to whom exactly? the decendants for what? i dont blame the royal family for my ancestors being put under feudal rule for 600 years.... why? because it is in the past, the idea is to remember it and learn from it, not dwell on it blaming people.... especially the people in the aftermath - i dont blame the german people today for what happened 50 years ago, nor would i expect an apology, i'd just hope that we all learnt our lesson.

    i dont blame the french today for invading us 1000 years ago, or expect the french government to apologise
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe for starting it in the first place?

    Wouldn't that be the Spanish and the Portugese (at least the Transatlantic slave Trade) and they were bigger players for longer.

    I do find it hard to be proud of the fact that we encouraged other nations to stop their trade when we were just as guilty TBH That's almost like a serial killer being proud that he stopped a murderer whilst still financially supporting another

    I'm not sure of the analogy. The slave trade was wrong, but surely the Brits stopping it was a good thing (at some financial and then human cost RN fatalities from disease were about ten times higher off the slave coast than they were on home stations). I think we can be proud of that, same as I'm quite happy for Blair to apologise on behalf of the British state for our sanctioning it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think we can be proud of that, same as I'm quite happy for Blair to apologise on behalf of the British state for our sanctioning it.

    Incidentally Flashman have you read Flash for Freedom? Interesting (though obviously dramatized/localised) account of slaving/slavery in that, and one of the best of the series as I remember.

    Edited to say: Also I remember a genuinely moving passage in which an American ex-slave is describing the role of Britain/the Royal Navy in opposing slavery referring to the Union Jack as "the flag of freedom," although maybe that was another book in the series.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    But you are right that we should also remember that Britain later helped end the slave trade and made it illegal much earlier than the other so called "civilized" nations.
    Ironically, whole cargos of slaves would sometimes be thrown overboard in mid-ocean, when a Royal Navy patrol was sighted. Unintended consequences can be a bitch.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Incidentally Flashman have you read Flash for Freedom? Interesting (though obviously dramatized/localised) account of slaving/slavery in that, and one of the best of the series as I remember.

    Edited to say: Also I remember a genuinely moving passage in which an American ex-slave is describing the role of Britain/the Royal Navy in opposing slavery referring to the Union Jack as "the flag of freedom," although maybe that was another book in the series.

    As you may guess I'm a great Flashman fan :D

    As a human account of slavery (and many other things) the Flashman books take some beating.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As you may guess I'm a great Flashman fan :D

    As a human account of slavery (and many other things) the Flashman books take some beating.

    in vinculis etiam audax, by God! ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    No, for facilitating, enforcing, and profiting from it for several centuries.

    As I've said several times Britain should be proud of the fact that it pre-empted other nations by outlawing and opposing the slave trade.

    But this is far more about understanding history than saying sorry, I agree that it should be one of the modules which kids learn at school, but if its going to just dwell on how nasty it was and how 'Whites' exploited 'Blacks' I dont think it will be very helpful.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is'nt the fact that slavery exists today more important?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    johnnny wrote:
    Is'nt the fact that slavery exists today more important?

    That apparently depends on who you ask.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't you accept the fact?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    johnnny wrote:
    Don't you accept the fact?

    Of course, in fact I find the idea that people are still suffering as a direct result of the slave trade preposterous. But many of the people demanding an apology dont seem to see it that way.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ok
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Censorship rules o.k? quite right. sorry
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    johnnny wrote:
    Censorship rules o.k? quite right. sorry

    ???
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    Of course, in fact I find the idea that people are still suffering as a direct result of the slave trade preposterous. But many of the people demanding an apology dont seem to see it that way.

    But budda, no one (at least on this thread) has suggested that people are still suffering as a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade. Of course not: it does not exist anymore so how could it directly affect anybody?

    What people are arguing (or at least what I am arguing) is that the indirect effects (i.e. after-effects) of slavery are still much in evidence, through the depopulation of Africa, the distortion of its economy, demographic trends, settlement patterns, and impoverishment of its culture. Similarly in the Americas today (particularly the USA) the poverty of the black population (mot of whom's ancestors were slaves) has been continuous since emancipation; although slavery is not the only cause.

    And people suffer through the historical memory of it. You do not understand this because you do not share this historical memory. That does not mean it does not exist and people do not feel it, and it is insulting to dismiss these feelings as preposterous (frankly I would not have expected such a narrowminded view from you). The very fact that many people expend time and energy demanding an apology shows this.

    What is it that you find so unbelievable? The figures of depopulation and demographic distortion I quoted (I can reference these if you like)? The idea that material and/or cultural poverty can be inherited through generations? What?

    What I suspect is that you (and others) cannot believe that something that was abolished 150 years ago can still have negative effects on people today. This does not really suprise me (considering the extent of ignorance of history), but it is a confusing belief nonetheless. Do you, for instance, think that the invention of the computer (60 years ago) does not affect people today? That the discovery and settlement of America does not affect people today (400-500 years ago)? The invention of the printing press (700 years ago)? The writing of the Bible (almost 2000 years ago)? Of course historical events affect what happens today, they built and formed today's world. And the transatlantic slave trade was a historical event of massive (possibly unprecedented) magnitude as I think I have illustrated. It thus had significant negative effects on large portions of the world's population today.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    But budda, no one (at least on this thread) has suggested that people are still suffering as a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade. Of course not: it does not exist anymore so how could it directly affect anybody?

    What people are arguing (or at least what I am arguing) is that the indirect effects (i.e. after-effects) of slavery are still much in evidence, through the depopulation of Africa, the distortion of its economy, demographic trends, settlement patterns, and impoverishment of its culture. Similarly in the Americas today (particularly the USA) the poverty of the black population (mot of whom's ancestors were slaves) has been continuous since emancipation; although slavery is not the only cause.

    And people suffer through the historical memory of it. You do not understand this because you do not share this historical memory. That does not mean it does not exist and people do not feel it, and it is insulting to dismiss these feelings as preposterous (frankly I would not have expected such a narrowminded view from you). The very fact that many people expend time and energy demanding an apology shows this.

    I'm not suggesting that there are not problems with the black community in the US and here and problems with Africa, but to put so much blame on the slave trade I think is myopic. There are a myriad of reasons why those situations are in place, and although slavery is a significant factor it is not the defining one, if it was then its influence would not have lasted this long after the event.

    They suffer from the historical memory? I'm sorry but thats just rubbish, I can make no sense of that what so ever.

    And anyway, I wasnt dismissing their feelings as preposterous I was suggesting (as I put quite clearly in my post) that the idea of anyone directly suffering from the slave trade now is preposterous.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    What? How arbitary is that?

    .

    The point is that Africa in 1950 was no worse than many other places in the world, but since then other places have experienced significqant improvements whereas Africa has not, and this is why Africa is now seen as a relatively poor place.

    What I am saying is that this stagnation in Africa compared to many other areas cannot be explianed by slavery, hence why I am saying that Africas problems are not a result of slavery but of a vast number of other factors.....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    I'm not suggesting that there are not problems with the black community in the US and here and problems with Africa, but to put so much blame on the slave trade I think is myopic. There are a myriad of reasons why those situations are in place, and although slavery is a significant factor it is not the defining one, if it was then its influence would not have lasted this long after the event.

    But why do you think its myopic? The transatlantic slave trade was the first extended contact that Europe/whites had with Africa/blacks, it set a precedent of subordination that continued with colonialism, which continued until 50 years ago. And even now, when we have ostensibly renounced racism we arm rival armies to the teeth, do our best to extract all the material resources we can, and continue to excuse ourselves, deciding (arbitarily, it seems) that we really didn't have much of an effect on Africa, and in fact its down to lots of other mysterious factors, that clearly all emerged in the last 50 years (with no continuity from the previous 400 years).

    What is the "defining" factor in Africa's plight? Does it even matter if slavery was not the "defining" factor? You say that it wouldn't even matter if it was the defining factor because its influence could not have lasted "this long" after the event. In which case what do you say to my previous questions: do you think other historical events still have an influence today's world - the computer, WW2, the discovery of America, the Bible? Why could such an monumental event not have an influence 150 years later? I'd say that the onus would be on the person denying this to show how it had not had an influence, even if Africa had recovered, let alone a situation in which Africa is (unsuprisingly) largely underdeveloped and mired in poverty and warfare. How would Europe have fared if its population had been halved by the 19th century, with 10 million Europeans kidnapped to help build the civilizations that continued to oppress and exploit them?
    They suffer from the historical memory? I'm sorry but thats just rubbish, I can make no sense of that what so ever.

    Because you do not suffer from it. I still find it remarkable that you do not believe other people feel a certain way because you do not feel that way yourself. Nor do I suffer from it, but I can imagine that if up to 150 years ago my ancestors had been abducted from their homes, taken to another continent (with ten times the amount of their countrymen dying on the way) and worked to death - all on the pretext that they were a subhuman race - then I saw members of the race who had perpetrated this atrocity belittling its influence when it is so abundantly clear and denying that I should feel any anguish about it, I'd be pretty fucking pissed off. Not only that, but I'd suspect that they still held similar sentiments. But, as I said before, you don't have to imagine it, and you can't deny it, because people can and do feel like this, the evidence is there with all those asking for an apology. If you have any black friends, ask what they think about it: they might not care, you might be suprised at how much they care.
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