Black Muslim Forum fully supports and endorses the reparations march that takes place annually in the UK as well as the general philosophy of a reparations movement.
Africans and the African Diaspora deserve at the very least a formal apology for the trauma of enslavement and the brutality of colonial domination which has yet to be offered by the UK government.
An excerpt on http://www.reparationsmarch.org reads:
Contrary to popular belief, however, the Slavery Abolition Act did not free Afrikans who were then unjustly considered to be the legal property of Britain’s enslaving class. In fact, the act contained a provision for £20 million financial compensation to the enslavers, by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their so-called “property”. That sum represented 40% of the total government expenditure for 1834, the modern equivalent of between £16bn and £17bn and represented the largest bailout in British history until the bailout of the banks in 2009. It was the British Houses of Parliament, which in this unjust piece of legislation, upheld the notion that the Afrikan enslaved and their descendants were not human, but property and determined that our people in the Caribbean were assessed as having a market value of £47 million.
Many atrocities committed by governments globally have later been acknowledged with a retrospective pardon as well as financial reparations, the most well known case being the reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany signed in 1952 and enforced in 1953.
In as recently as 2009, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced his agenda to demand a further €450 million to €1 billion in reparations from Germany on behalf of some 30,000 Israeli forced labour survivors.
Can Black people be accorded the basic human right of having our holocaust and continent wide genocide acknowledged domestically and on an international scale? We have yet to even receive an apology for the abomination of Empire and centuries enslavement, colonial domination and flagrant racism.
Affirmative action is not enough. British Black people deserve:
- A formal apology from the UK goverment
- Financial reparations from companies who have benefited from illegal and immoral plantations in the West Indies.
Ultimately, the trauma and the resultant inter-generational aftermath of a continent cannot be monetised. However this is a step forwards to reparative justice.
- If you would like to get involved with this years reparations march, visit http://www.reparationsmarch.org/ sign their petition, and contact them to see how you can get involved.
- Consider writing a letter to your local MP highlighting that: 2015 marked the final year of payouts for slave trade compensation, meanwhile the African diaspora in the UK has not received a penny since the abolition of the slave trade or as little a gesture as an apology.