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Should we be sorry for slavery?

245

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    SLAVERY

    I`d ask for MoK`s (and others`) defintion of slavery in response to some of the posts in this thread (about slavery btw) but he`d probably (based on the past) make a personal attack.

    However, I`ve observed that posters are fond of reference to Wikipedia so here`s what that site has for a definition.
    Where slavery has been a legal or customary practice, slaves were held under the involuntary control of another person, group, organization, or state. The legal presence of slavery has become rare in modern times, as nearly all societies now consider slavery to be illegal, and persons held as in such condition are considered by authorities to be victims of unlawful imprisonment.

    A specific form, known as chattel slavery, is defined by the legal ownership of a person or persons by another person or state, including the legal right to buy and sell them just as one would any common owned object.

    The 1926 Slavery Convention described slavery as "...the status and/or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised..." Therefore, slaves cannot leave an owner, an employer or a territory without explicit permission (they must have a passport to leave), and they will be returned if they escape. Therefore a system of slavery — as opposed to the isolated instances found in any society — requires official, legal recognition of ownership, or widespread tacit arrangements with local authorities, by masters who have some influence because of their social and/or economic status.

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines "forced labour" as "all work or service which is extracted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily", albeit with certain exceptions of: military service, convicted criminals, emergencies and minor community services.[3]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Its funny how people are prepaired to go on

    "oh Yes we wont the war we stood up to Hitler isnt Britain great"

    "It was us that started the industrial revolution"

    "we in Britain were the founders of modern democracy arnt we marvelous"

    "the British standard of justice is the best in the world this is because we were the first to introduce the jury system and law and order its a good thing for Johnny Foreigner that they copied us.


    Slavery on the other hand

    "what no nothing to do with me guv I wasnt even born then"

    Didnt we have a reenactment of a historical sea battle reciently Drake beating the Armada was it ?,

    Im sure your all shocked and horified that something in the past when no one alive today had any part it it was reenacted. It should just be forgotten, and those British salors and soliders who lost their lives in defending our freedom (against the Armada and the Nazies) , well lets just forget them its nothing to do us atall is it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Way to miss the point. Tony Blair apologising for slavery is as nonsensical as Tony Blair taking the credit for abolishing slavery.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kermit wrote:

    The idea of compensation is ludicrous- after all, it was the tribal nature of Africa that created many of the slaves. One tribe attacks another, and the winners sell the losers for a nice packet, job's a good un.

    You make it sound like all Africans were as equally culpable for the slave trade as each other. Yes, many tribes enslaved prisoners of war. And Arab slavers were active as well. But the escalation of slavery in Africa was due to western/European incentives. Europeans bribed powerful Africans to provide them with slaves, that slavery existed before does not excuse this in any way, in fact I barely see how it is relevant. Because a minority of Africans benefited from the slave trade, those who were enslaved by them are equally culpable for the trade? (By the way the African tribal conception of slavery was usually not the same as ours: slaves were not slaves for life, were often paid wages, and indeed often progressed to high social and economic positions, some even becoming kings). Because some Africans benefitted, those poor bastards who were enslaved by them in order to sell to Europeans have no claim for compensation? The issue of compensation is a difficult one, but it doesn't follow that because some Africans profited all those that were enslaved have no claim. European/American involvement industrialized the African slave trade - and made it considerably more brutal and on a larger scale than it had been when contained in Africa.

    An estimated 25 million African slaves died during the middle passage (most conservative estimate 3 million, the plausible highest 50 million). Thats about four times the amount of Jews killed during the Holocaust. The German government should apologise for the Holocaust but the British government shouldn't apologise for its role in this inhumanity?

    Is it nothing to do with us? The African/transatlantic slave trade made a significant contribution to western economic, cultural and political hegemony in the world - which still exists. It was responsible for the growth of many of our largest cities and the development of our infrastructure. It led to, or at least made a significant contribution to, our present prosperity. If you think slavery has nothing to do with you, you're wrong: you benefit from it whether you like it or not.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    You make it sound like all Africans were as equally culpable for the slave trade as each other. Yes, many tribes enslaved prisoners of war. And Arab slavers were active as well. But the escalation of slavery in Africa was due to western/European incentives. Europeans bribed powerful Africans to provide them with slaves, that slavery existed before does not excuse this in any way, in fact I barely see how it is relevant. Because a minority of Africans benefited from the slave trade, those who were enslaved by them are equally culpable for the trade? (By the way the African tribal conception of slavery was usually not the same as ours: slaves were not slaves for life, were often paid wages, and indeed often progressed to high social and economic positions, some even becoming kings). Because some Africans benefitted, those poor bastards who were enslaved by them in order to sell to Europeans have no claim for compensation? The issue of compensation is a difficult one, but it doesn't follow that because some Africans profited all those that were enslaved have no claim. European/American involvement industrialized the African slave trade - and made it considerably more brutal and on a larger scale than it had been when contained in Africa.

    An estimated 25 million African slaves died during the middle passage (most conservative estimate 3 million, the plausible highest 50 million). Thats about four times the amount of Jews killed during the Holocaust. The German government should apologise for the Holocaust but the British government shouldn't apologise for its role in this inhumanity?

    Is it nothing to do with us? The African/transatlantic slave trade made a significant contribution to western economic, cultural and political hegemony in the world - which still exists. It was responsible for the growth of many of our largest cities and the development of our infrastructure. It led to, or at least made a significant contribution to, our present prosperity. If you think slavery has nothing to do with you, you're wrong: you benefit from it whether you like it or not.
    Excellent post carlito :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    The German government should apologise for the Holocaust but the British government shouldn't apologise for its role in this inhumanity?

    Er, what are you on about? Who said the present German government should apologise for the Holocaust?

    I don't think the present British government should 'apologise' for slavery and I don't think the present German government should apologise for the Holocaust and Nazism.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Er, what are you on about? Who said the present German government should apologise for the Holocaust?

    I don't think the present British government should 'apologise' for slavery and I don't think the present German government should apologise for the Holocaust and Nazism.

    Do you think that any government should retrospectively apologise for anything?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Should we as a country (either Britain or the US) apologize for slavery, yes. The institution was a horrible mark on the nations history, ignoring it doesn't make it go away. But at the same time the generations alive today are not responsible for slavery.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Do you think that any government should retrospectively apologise for anything?

    I think in certain circumstances a government should on behalf of the population express regret for something. Slavery is one such circumstance. However, I do not think that any government is qualified to apologise for something that happened hundreds of years ago.

    With regard to things that are much more recent apologies and compensation become more complex. To take the Holocaust as an example I do not think Jews in 150 years time will expect financial compensation nor do I expect that anybody will make such a bizarre request. Compensation of the actual individual is justifiable, compensation of immediate relatives may also be justified but to compensate distant descendents is absurd. I would only support compensating a distant descendent if they can plausibly argue that a crime committed against their ancestor has affected them.

    As for apologies relating to more recent events I do not suppose that there is a single fixed rule. However, even an event as relatively recent as the Holocaust does not, imo justify a full apology from the present German government. Nobody holds Angela Merkel responsible for Nazism and nobody believes that the present German population shares collective blame; an 'apology' would therefore seem baseless. An expression of regret on the other hand for what happened reflecting the views of Germans today and a desire to promote understanding and learning would seem absolutely correct.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    With regard to things that are much more recent apologies and compensation become more complex. To take the Holocaust as an example I do not think Jews in 150 years time will expect financial compensation nor do I expect that anybody will make such a bizarre request. Compensation of the actual individual is justifiable, compensation of immediate relatives may also be justified but to compensate distant descendents is absurd. I would only support compensating a distant descendent if they can plausibly argue that a crime committed against their ancestor has affected them.

    Compensation isn't an issue in this thread: the question is should the British government apologise for slavery.
    I think in certain circumstances a government should on behalf of the population express regret for something. Slavery is one such circumstance. However, I do not think that any government is qualified to apologise for something that happened hundreds of years ago.

    As for apologies relating to more recent events I do not suppose that there is a single fixed rule. However, even an event as relatively recent as the Holocaust does not, imo justify a full apology from the present German government. Nobody holds Angela Merkel responsible for Nazism and nobody believes that the present German population shares collective blame; an 'apology' would therefore seem baseless. An expression of regret on the other hand for what happened reflecting the views of Germans today and a desire to promote understanding and learning would seem absolutely correct

    The German government already issued an apology for the Holocaust - and not the Nazis, who were the government responsible.

    Is your argument then that it is simply a matter of length of time past? In which case, excellent, by avoiding the apology for long enough it seems that the government is no longer responsible for doing so. That sets a convinient precedent. I'd also be interested to hear what your timeframe would be?

    On another tack, whilst we are not personally responsible for the transatlantic slave trade, it is part of our history. We take many other parts of our history as part of our personal identity. We feel proud of ourselves and of our identity, even though we were not responsible for those actions or historical events. These aspects of our identity and personality we hold are abstract: they do not exist in the present other than our historical, cultural and societal memory of them. We pick and chose our historical memories to suit us (they are selective). To some extent you are right to say that an apology doesn't mean much if you are apologising for something you were not personally responsible for. But nor are we personally responsible for the historical events that inform the identities that we have constructed for ourselves, and are proud of. There arises the confusion. If I was somebody who felt their historical identity had been adversely affected by slavery (e.g. their ancestors were slaves) I'd be pretty resentful towards those who seemed to be proud of their historical identity (and thus the actions of their ancestors) whilst not apologising for utterly inhumane acts committed against my own. An apology is the ultimate way of distancing oneself from these actions. In practical terms, it is financially costless, and if it makes other people feel better about the whole abominable affair then why not?

    To use a related example: I'm suprised it hasn't been brought up that it was Britain who first abolished the slave trade, and then spent considerable resources enforcing this position on other powers. This is something that British people should feel rightly proud of, if you hold the view that it is possible to be proud of events enacted by people before you were born. Even if you don't: since we still live in a society which is directly descended from that one, we can thus say that to some extent the same concepts and attitudes inform us today.

    What I am saying is that for us as individuals it depends of the attitude you take to history and your historical identity. If you are seeker, fine, you have nothing to apologise for, since you believe all these are all artificial constructions and anyway abstract from reality. If you in some way rely upon history and particularly the history of your ancestors to inform your identities, you need to make your position clear: i.e. be proud of some of their actions and apologise for others. As a "British" (here we are talking only about those British who are likely to have been the enslavers and those who benefited rather than the enslaved - i.e. whites) you should be apologetic for slavery and proud of being the first to see the evil of it.

    This is all very different from the British government: that is an abstract construction which has been continuous since the time of slavery, which it considered legal and enabled to take place. It is the same institution. It should therefore apologise (through a figurehead such as Blair) for this role.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Compensation isn't an issue in this thread: the question is should the British government apologise for slavery.

    The two are partly related since part of the rationale against issuing an apology has traditionally been that it will lead to compensation claims. I'm not sure how valid such a line is tbh.
    carlito wrote:
    The German government already issued an apology for the Holocaust - and not the Nazis, who were the government responsible.

    I would be interested to read the precise wording of the apology.
    carlito wrote:
    Is your argument then that it is simply a matter of length of time past? In which case, excellent, by avoiding the apology for long enough it seems that the government is no longer responsible for doing so. That sets a convinient precedent. I'd also be interested to hear what your timeframe would be?

    I would say that if he wanted to Tony Blair is in a position where he can apologise for the Iraq War. As Prime Minister I think he can reflect the view of the British people and express regret for past actions like slavery - but I don't think he can apologise for something nobody in Britain bears any responsibility for. Perhaps the distinction between regret and an apology should be if the victims or their immediate family are still alive. I'm not entirely sure tbh.
    carlito wrote:
    On another tack, whilst we are not personally responsible for the transatlantic slave trade, it is part of our history. We take many other parts of our history as part of our personal identity. We feel proud of ourselves and of our identity, even though we were not responsible for those actions or historical events. These aspects of our identity and personality we hold are abstract: they do not exist in the present other than our historical, cultural and societal memory of them. We pick and chose our historical memories to suit us (they are selective). To some extent you are right to say that an apology doesn't mean much if you are apologising for something you were not personally responsible for. But nor are we personally responsible for the historical events that inform the identities that we have constructed for ourselves, and are proud of. There arises the confusion. If I was somebody who felt their historical identity had been adversely affected by slavery (e.g. their ancestors were slaves) I'd be pretty resentful towards those who seemed to be proud of their historical identity (and thus the actions of their ancestors) whilst not apologising for utterly inhumane acts committed against my own. An apology is the ultimate way of distancing oneself from these actions. In practical terms, it is financially costless, and if it makes other people feel better about the whole abominable affair then why not?

    To use a related example: I'm suprised it hasn't been brought up that it was Britain who first abolished the slave trade, and then spent considerable resources enforcing this position on other powers. This is something that British people should feel rightly proud of, if you hold the view that it is possible to be proud of events enacted by people before you were born. Even if you don't: since we still live in a society which is directly descended from that one, we can thus say that to some extent the same concepts and attitudes inform us today.

    What I am saying is that for us as individuals it depends of the attitude you take to history and your historical identity. If you are seeker, fine, you have nothing to apologise for, since you believe all these are all artificial constructions and anyway abstract from reality. If you in some way rely upon history and particularly the history of your ancestors to inform your identities, you need to make your position clear: i.e. be proud of some of their actions and apologise for others. As a "British" (here we are talking only about those British who are likely to have been the enslavers and those who benefited rather than the enslaved - i.e. whites) you should be apologetic for slavery and proud of being the first to see the evil of it.

    This is all very different from the British government: that is an abstract construction which has been continuous since the time of slavery, which it considered legal and enabled to take place. It is the same institution. It should therefore apologise (through a figurehead such as Blair) for this role.

    I take your point and I pretty much entirely agree with you. It's semantics I guess, I think we can only 'regret' it - I don't think it makes sense to apologise. We should distance ourselves from those actions and we do so by expressing our regret but we acknowledge that we cannot undo the wrongs of our ancestors - and we can't apologise for their actions which we had no influence on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I take your point and I pretty much entirely agree with you. It's semantics I guess, I think we can only 'regret' it - I don't think it makes sense to apologise. We should distance ourselves from those actions and we do so by expressing our regret but we acknowledge that we cannot undo the wrongs of our ancestors - and we can't apologise for their actions which we had no influence on.

    I agree with you in a different way here dis. I agree that it is a semantic discussion between saying that we "regret" what happened and "apologising" for it. In fact, I think you're right that an apology, in absolute terms, doesn't actually mean anything - because as you say we personally had nothing to do with the transatlantic slave trade.

    However where I differ is that I think we should apologise, not because we were personally responsible, or that it really means anything, but because it doesn't hurt us at all to apologise and at the same time it will make people who are upset and angry about the issue feel better. Thus we are helping people and allieviating their suffering now, in a real way, at no cost to ourselves. It also means that we can move on and get on with sorting out things now, without resentment.

    However, on a related issue, I certainly think that we should be correcting the still surviving injustices of slavery now - albeit not through "direct" compensation. In Britain theres little we can do as not many slaves were brought here (and in fact those who settled here after being made free tended to be very successful). The best we can do is try and help sort out Africa.

    The country with the worst record in this respect is the US, which clearly needs to do something about the poverty and inequality that is the sordid and very obvious remnants of the slave trade today. :o
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    seeker wrote:
    I`d ask for MoK`s (and others`) defintion of slavery in response to some of the posts in this thread (about slavery btw) but he`d probably (based on the past) make a personal attack.

    When have I ever made a personal attack on you seeker?

    As for the definition I see no problem with what you have there, so what is the point which you are trying so desparately to shoe horn into this thread...?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    However where I differ is that I think we should apologise, not because we were personally responsible, or that it really means anything, but because it doesn't hurt us at all to apologise and at the same time it will make people who are upset and angry about the issue feel better. Thus we are helping people and allieviating their suffering now, in a real way, at no cost to ourselves. It also means that we can move on and get on with sorting out things now, without resentment.

    Fair enough but where does that stop? There are lots of people whose ancestors suffered hardships and wrongs; do the descendents in the West of Russian Jews who fled tsarist persecution and pogroms deserve an apology from Putin's government? What about the descendents of the Huguenots in Britain?
    carlito wrote:
    However, on a related issue, I certainly think that we should be correcting the still surviving injustices of slavery now - albeit not through "direct" compensation. In Britain theres little we can do as not many slaves were brought here (and in fact those who settled here after being made free tended to be very successful). The best we can do is try and help sort out Africa.

    The country with the worst record in this respect is the US, which clearly needs to do something about the poverty and inequality that is the sordid and very obvious remnants of the slave trade today. :o

    How has the US the worst record in this respect? Interesting BBC article on US aid. The point about scholarships for international students is very valid I think. Lets also not forget that whilst US aid as a proportion of GNP is low because its GNP is so enormous that proportion equates to billions. Furthermore, President Bush has massively increased and expanded foreign aid and committed billions of dollars to initiatives seeking to combat HIV/AIDS. And of course there is the argument that Americans give differently preferring private charity to government aid.

    I don't know how we help Africa, removing the bureaucracy and corruption that make aid less effective evidently seems to be easier said than done. However, it's not the sole task of America.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How has the US the worst record in this respect?

    I think that the suggestion is that blacks in the US are more likely to be poor and "downtrodden" by the state - see New Orleans as an example of how their needs are "overlooked"...

    It's kind of part of my point about how we still benefit, or have advantages, from slavery and so we are indeed culpable ourselves although not directly responsible.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tbh I think that poverty and race are too frequently blurred by people with an agenda.

    Interestingly minority and in particular black representation at the very senior levels of government and military is far higher in America than in Britain. In Bush's cabinet - Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Alphonso Jackson - and this is in the Republican Party, there being a lot more African Americans in the Democrat Party.

    There are also affirmative action programmes which are a lot more widespread and blatant than in Britain. And to be fair, they have had some success. (Although, at the same time I can understand the criticisms of some African Americans who find them patronising).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fair enough but where does that stop? There are lots of people whose ancestors suffered hardships and wrongs; do the descendents in the West of Russian Jews who fled tsarist persecution and pogroms deserve an apology from Putin's government? What about the descendents of the Huguenots in Britain?

    I wouldn't like to comment on either of those two specific examples: but I'd argue that the transatlantic slave trade was of such historical magnitude and that there are so many people calling for apologies that in this case it is certainly justified.
    How has the US the worst record in this respect? Interesting BBC article on US aid. The point about scholarships for international students is very valid I think. Lets also not forget that whilst US aid as a proportion of GNP is low because its GNP is so enormous that proportion equates to billions. Furthermore, President Bush has massively increased and expanded foreign aid and committed billions of dollars to initiatives seeking to combat HIV/AIDS. And of course there is the argument that Americans give differently preferring private charity to government aid.

    I don't know how we help Africa, removing the bureaucracy and corruption that make aid less effective evidently seems to be easier said than done. However, it's not the sole task of America

    Here I wasn't referring to US policy/aid to Africa (that is a different story) but the status of the descendents of slaves (i.e. the black population) in present day America.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tbh I think that poverty and race are too frequently blurred by people with an agenda.
    You have some cheek!
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Stalin's Organist Posts: 13,327
    Another day, another fucking stupid thing.

    Typical of modern culture, sue anything!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    (By the way the African tribal conception of slavery was usually not the same as ours: slaves were not slaves for life, were often paid wages, and indeed often progressed to high social and economic positions, some even becoming kings).
    You've saved me the trouble of raising that same point. It would be ironic if our views of how Africans behave were coloured by how our ancestors chose to treat those Africans who fell into their hands.

    That being said, if the British should express regret for the actions of their ancestors (mine were Irish) towards the ancestors of today's African population in Britain, should Brits of 'mixed race' apologise to themselves?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    Leaving aside all the expected comments about it being a stain on our nations history and the obvious truth that it was vile, should we the people alive now be actually sorry for it?
    Hmm...that's an excellent question. I think that as a society we don't take responsibility for anything our ancestors did. I come from Peru (South America) and have always felt a certain responsibility for what my Spaniard ancestors did. I sometimes wish I could claim to be wholly native blood, but you only have to see my surname to know that there is some Spaniard blood in there too.

    I think it's taking a step in the wrong direction to just say we should be sorry, we need to do something about it. Our society is the result of capitalism based on slavery. We can't just ignore that. We need to address it and take a good hard look at all the things that are wrong with our society now that stem from slavery.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    Leaving aside all the expected comments about it being a stain on our nations history and the obvious truth that it was vile, should we the people alive now be actually sorry for it?

    Why is Tony Blair even mentioning Slavery now?

    According to Wikipedia it was abolished in 1834

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery#Timeline_of_the_abolition_of_slavery

    I thought his comments were to mark 200 years since it ended, so don't we have another good few years to go?

    If compensation is to be paid should be to the actual slaves themselves or their children but since they're probably all dead now can't see who there is to pay compensation to .. anything more then 1 generation I think is too distant to say their lives are badly effect by slavery now.

    I'm wondering why this story is even int he news .. is there some other story Labour is trying to hide? I know that quite a few stories were hidden in the back pages of the newspapers during 9/11 so MP's etc could say that they were revealed but of course everyone just paid attention to the front pages.

    I wonder if this is the same thing.. I can't see the point of this slavery story and where it came from all of a sudden... unless it's there to hide some other story
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote:
    Why? What does it actually achieve? He (to my knowledge) had absolutely nothing to do with slavery, so saying sorry for it is hollow and pointless. He can say its a shame it happened, and he can wish it hadn't happened. But surely you can really only say sorry for something you were responsible for.


    yup i agree, people take the easy way out of seeming decent by apoligising for things they either
    a. havent't been involved in
    b. been involved in them, but saying it was still the right thing to do then and now, which makes it worthless


    it's like all those silences for things we have, uterrly pointless i'd rather people didn't let these things happen again


    and yup most west african countries sold us the slaves, so wasn't just us
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yup i agree, people take the easy way out of seeming decent by apoligising for things they either
    a. havent't been involved in
    b. been involved in them, but saying it was still the right thing to do then and now, which makes it worthless


    Yeah it makes me wonder .. he's sorry for slavery which he had nothing to do with ... but not for invading Iraq and totally messing up the lives of ordinary people ... most non politically active people in Iraq were probably a lot better off under Saddam then the US and UK
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Personally, I think a phrase of 'regret' of our past involvement in slavery is enough. If the world REALLY wants to honour the memory those slaves caught up in that terrible time in history, then they should concentrate their efforts on freeing those people that are still in slavery today.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    I agree with you in a different way here dis. I agree that it is a semantic discussion between saying that we "regret" what happened and "apologising" for it. In fact, I think you're right that an apology, in absolute terms, doesn't actually mean anything - because as you say we personally had nothing to do with the transatlantic slave trade.

    However where I differ is that I think we should apologise, not because we were personally responsible, or that it really means anything, but because it doesn't hurt us at all to apologise and at the same time it will make people who are upset and angry about the issue feel better. Thus we are helping people and allieviating their suffering now, in a real way, at no cost to ourselves. It also means that we can move on and get on with sorting out things now, without resentment.

    So we should give meaningless apologies to people so they can 'move forwards' and get over being the ancestor of a slave? If thats the only thing getting in the way of them sorting their life out then I'm deeply sad for them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Do you think that any government should retrospectively apologise for anything?

    They can be sorry that something happened, I am sorry that there was ever slavery, or that the holocaust happened but I am not sorry for it because i didn't do it.

    We can all be sorry that bad things happened but an apology for something you didn't do is meaningless.

    Does anyone honestly have any doubts that Tony Blair is against slavery? If not than what is the point of him publically stating it.

    maybe some previous British PM murdered someone. Would it make sense for Tony Blair to apologise to the ancestors of the murdered person?

    Incidentally would people still want the british PM to apologise if that PM was Black?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bluewisdom wrote:
    You have some cheek!

    :confused:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think that the suggestion is that blacks in the US are more likely to be poor and "downtrodden" by the state - see New Orleans as an example of how their needs are "overlooked"...

    It's kind of part of my point about how we still benefit, or have advantages, from slavery and so we are indeed culpable ourselves although not directly responsible.

    I could equally say that black people lives in the US are generally far better than of there ancestors in Africa.

    I would also say that ethnic minorites everywhere hae generally struggled due to a variety of factors. Black people in the UK experience many of the same social difficulties as in the US (and I realise the generalisation is preposterous) and they do not have a history of slavery in this country......
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How old are Tate and Lyle? I presume if they are old enough they used slaves to get the sugar, should they apologise?
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