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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair will express "deep sorrow" for Britain's role in the slave trade nearly 200 years after the legislation that led to its abolition, Sunday's Observer reported.
However Blair's statement will stop short of a full apology despite pressure from some black campaigners and community leaders, the newspaper said. "I believe the bicentenary offers us a chance not just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was -- how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition -- but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever could have happened," it quoted Blair as saying in a statement due to appear in New Nation, a newspaper aimed at the black community.

Blair will also back a United Nations resolution by Caribbean countries to honour those who died at the hands of international slave traders, the Observer said.
The issue has come to a head in the build-up to next March's bicentenary of the Slave Trade Act. An advisory committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has been planning the commemorations, including a solution to how Britain should acknowledge its historic responsibility, the newspaper reported. Government advisers had warned that a full apology could provoke claims for reparations, it said.

What do people think?

Personally, I feel it is high time that a full apology was made. Obviously it won't change history or bring anybody back, but it's a gesture which should have been made centuries ago. It's extraordinary that this has not been done.

Having said that, I don't want an apology to be made which somehow implies that white people should be ashamed. The British government should apologise for its role, but because I am white and I am Britsh, I am no more responsible than anybody else.

Slavery was justifiable in no way whatsoever, but we need some context here. First of all, slaves were interned within their masters' domains, of course, but it was most often in an owner's interest to keep slaves fit and strong. Some of the slaveowners treated their slaves with some degree of humanity. Meanwhile, in Russia serfs were impoverished beyond imagination. They were "free", but it was in nobody's interests to keep them alive. They were left to rot in the mud and die.

In Britain, "free-born" children were working in mines in the early 19th century while the slave trade was still underway. Adults were toiling for 16 hours and earning a pittance. Once again, they were "free" to leave their jobs, but they would soon have been replaced while they starved. It was incumbent upon no rich person to ensure their survival. These people were the masses. None of them benefitted from the enslavement of Africans. Very few white people are related to those who owned slaves, and even those who are can scarcely be responsible for their ancestors.

And lastly, some black campaigners often conveniently forget that most African slaves were sold by African Kings to white slave traders. In other words, they had already been enslaved -- by black Africans. Kidnapping was fraught for obvious reasons and somewhat rare. So, some blacks were also complicit in the slave trade.

The slave trade was a crime against humanity; an unmitigated attrocity which must be recognised and taught to posterity. That includes teaching that the trade was a crime against the sub-Saharan African race, just as the holocaust was against Jews. But it must be kept in context -- and that's what I'm concerned about.

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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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And lastly, some black campaigners often conveniently forget that most African slaves were sold by African Kings to white slave traders. In other words, they had already been enslaved -- by black Africans. Kidnapping was fraught for obvious reasons and somewhat rare. So, blacks were also complicit in the slave trade.
If you knew anything about African - Afro-Caribbean relations, you would know that is not true at all.

Nice step by Mr. Blair. With the amount of British West-Indians in London and the surrounding areas, no doubt he'll gain cool points.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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If you knew anything about African - Afro-Caribbean relations, you would know that is not true at all.

Nice step by Mr. Blair. With the amount of British West-Indians in London and the surrounding areas, no doubt he'll gain cool points.
I know history

Which part in your view isn't true? About some black campaigners or complicity?
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 06:29 AM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

i think it's a decent thing Blair is trying to do.

hopefully, unlike the thread starter, he'll avoid the temptation to rationalize slavery.

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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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Slavery was justifiable in no way whatsoever, but we need some context here. First of all, slaves were interned within their masters' domains, of course, but it was most often in an owner's interest to keep slaves fit and strong. Some of the slaveowners treated their slaves with some degree of humanity. Meanwhile, in Russia serfs were impoverished beyond imagination. They were "free", but it was in nobody's interests to keep them alive. They were left to rot in the mud and die.

In Britain, "free-born" children were working in mines in the early 19th century while the slave trade was still underway. Adults were toiling for 16 hours and earning a pittance. Once again, they were "free" to leave their jobs, but they would soon be replaced while they starved. It was incumbent upon no rich person to ensure their survival. These people were the masses. None of them benefitted from the enslavement of Africans. Very few white people are related to those who owned slaves, and even those who are can scarcely be responsible for their ancestors.

And lastly, some black campaigners often conveniently forget that most African slaves were sold by African Kings to white slave traders. In other words, they had already been enslaved -- by black Africans. Kidnapping was fraught for obvious reasons and somewhat rare. So, some blacks were also complicit in the slave trade.

The slave trade was a crime against humanity; an unmitigated attrocity which must be recognised and taught to posterity. That includes teaching that the trade was a crime against the sub-Saharan African race, just as the holocaust was against Jews. But it must be kept in context -- and that's what I'm concerned about.
Slavery still exists today it's just not talked about. Frankly, I don't think an apology is necessary.

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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

I never really see the point in an apology. In my view it is meaningless. The policies former colonial powers set forth currently is what matters. IMO. I think Honouring those who died is a nice gesture, and more meaningful, i suppose. Until recently I didn't realize just how many Caribbean men participated and died in both World Wars under British Imperialism. These people should also be honoured and remembered. I wonder if the British acknowledge them.
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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I know history

Which part in your view isn't true? About some black campaigners or complicity?
first the trade of persons going from african slavery to new world slavery were extremely few and far between. african slavery was a very different animal. african slavery was more akin to servitude. african slaves retained there personhood, their children did not become slaves and they retained many rights, such as the right to property and even the right to own slaves themselves. finally because african slavery allowed is slaves to retain their personhood they by and large were not sold to new world slavery because in african slavery, slaves were typically view as persons and thus could not be sold like property.

the other thing that is fucked, is the way in which you use your white guilt as a way to simplify the issue of african vs. new world slavery, exaggerate number of people going from african to new world slavery (from something that most historians note as something that was rare, which you claim to have happened most of the time, and deny the extent of the abuse of slaves occured at the hands of those in power.

i dont really know or care why you think blair should try to spare your personal feelings when and if he makes a statement, but i do very much object to you posting lies and exaggerations as if fact, with what is clearly an attempted to blame the african slave trade on the africans themselves.

"racism is dead, it died when MLK walked on a bridge and freed the slaves. Now we have a socialist Kenyan president who is not an American and if anyone mentions race they are a reverse racist (while racism is dead, reverse racism is alive and well.) #whattheyteachyouatfox"
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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i think it's a decent thing Blair is trying to do.

hopefully, unlike the thread starter, he'll avoid the temptation to rationalize slavery.
exactly,

"racism is dead, it died when MLK walked on a bridge and freed the slaves. Now we have a socialist Kenyan president who is not an American and if anyone mentions race they are a reverse racist (while racism is dead, reverse racism is alive and well.) #whattheyteachyouatfox"
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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first the trade of persons going from african slavery to new world slavery were extremely few and far between. african slavery was a very different animal. african slavery was more akin to servitude. african slaves retained there personhood, their children did not become slaves and they retained many rights, such as the right to property and even the right to own slaves themselves. finally because african slavery allowed is slaves to retain their personhood they by and large were not sold to new world slavery because in african slavery, slaves were typically view as persons and thus could not be sold like property.

the other thing that is fucked, is the way in which you use your white guilt as a way to simplify the issue of african vs. new world slavery, exaggerate number of people going from african to new world slavery (from something that most historians note as something that was rare, which you claim to have happened most of the time, and deny the extent of the abuse of slaves occured at the hands of those in power.

i dont really know or care why you think blair should try to spare your personal feelings when and if he makes a statement, but i do very much object to you posting lies and exaggerations as if fact, with what is clearly an attempted to blame the african slave trade on the africans
themselves.
In Mauritannia and Sudan slavery is still practiced and so yes Africans also were and are ionbto slavery. Oh and slaves were not just blacks. Have you not heard about the janniseries? These were Europens people who were captured by Ottoman Empire and turned into slaves. Slavery is universal.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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first the trade of persons going from african slavery to new world slavery were extremely few and far between. african slavery was a very different animal. african slavery was more akin to servitude. african slaves retained there personhood, their children did not become slaves and they retained many rights, such as the right to property and even the right to own slaves themselves. finally because african slavery allowed is slaves to retain their personhood they by and large were not sold to new world slavery because in african slavery, slaves were typically view as persons and thus could not be sold like property.

the other thing that is fucked, is the way in which you use your white guilt as a way to simplify the issue of african vs. new world slavery, exaggerate number of people going from african to new world slavery (from something that most historians note as something that was rare, which you claim to have happened most of the time, and deny the extent of the abuse of slaves occured at the hands of those in power.

what is clearly an attempted to blame the african slave trade on the africans themselves.
First of all I did not need a history lesson in the evils of the slave trade.

Blame the Africans? Certainly not. You obviously didn't read past the first sentence before you got hot under the collar.

Some Africans were complicit. If you know your history, you know this. How else were slaves obtained? You really think that African villages and tribes were that passive that they were commonly "kidnapped" by European slavetraders? Of course the Europeans were the main players in the slave trade, which is why I stated that Britain, for its own part, owes a full apology. In no place did I deny that.

And rationalising slavery? That's preposterous.

Placing slavery in context is called history -- it is in no way rationalising the phenomenon. If you visit the Egyptian pyramids or laud the ancient Romans, as many Americans will do, then are you condoning the slavery upon which those civilisations were founded?

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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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First of all I did not need a history lesson in the evils of the slave trade.

Blame the Africans? Certainly not. You obviously didn't read past the first sentence before you got hot under the cholar.
its clear that you did, clearly others felt that way, i was the only one to bother to offer you what you clearly needed

i did read the first sentence, but like others, i realized it did nothing to hide what you were clearly trying to express.

"racism is dead, it died when MLK walked on a bridge and freed the slaves. Now we have a socialist Kenyan president who is not an American and if anyone mentions race they are a reverse racist (while racism is dead, reverse racism is alive and well.) #whattheyteachyouatfox"
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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its clear that you did, clearly others felt that way, i was the only one to bother to offer you what you clearly needed

i did read the first sentence, but like others, i realized it did nothing to hide what you were clearly trying to express.
Clearly others like yourself.

And far more have privately indicated they agree with me than the reverse. People who would prefer not to get into this argument because they don't want to be accused in the way I have been.
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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Clearly others like yourself.

And far more have privately indicated they agree with me than the reverse. People who would prefer not to get into this argument because they don't want to be accused in the way I have been.
do i even want to ask what you mean by that?

as for you being accused, you haven't been accused by me. i flat out let you know that your lies and exaggerations are uncalled for.

"racism is dead, it died when MLK walked on a bridge and freed the slaves. Now we have a socialist Kenyan president who is not an American and if anyone mentions race they are a reverse racist (while racism is dead, reverse racism is alive and well.) #whattheyteachyouatfox"
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

Demand and supply, made a lot of small insignificant companies into world wide players. One African King, or even two, could never supply the number of slaves exported to the new world. No, an organization had to be created that would find and export slaves more efficiently, and this organization was purely European and supported by Britain. How much would an insignificant apology hurt??
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old Nov 26th, 2006, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Blair to express "sorrow" over slave trade

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do i even want to ask what you mean by that?

as for you being accused, you haven't been accused by me. i flat out let you know that your lies and exaggerations are uncalled for.
Clearly others like yourself, i.e. ignorant, closed-minded people who will dismiss arguments without even thinking them through or reading them simply because they hit a nerve or even expose their own prejudices or precious illusions.
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