by Ras Jahaziel
Given the intense brainwashing that has taken place in our plantation upbringing, it is not a surprise that most plantation Africans today are under a spell.
The spell is designed to keep us functioning in a stupor so that we would be very busy doing things, performing works, going places, running to and fro,
AND GOING NOWHERE,
ATTAINING ONLY TEMPORARY PLEASURE.
The root of this spell lies in the fact that we do not REALLY know our history. We have been programmed to avoid it. Even when we think we know it, what we do know is scant and superficial.
So as a result of this ignorance, everything the plantation African does is
The things that we are busy doing are hardly ever generated and motivated by a thorough knowledge of our historical obligation, so therefore we are prone to run the relay race of life, as was intended, without our baton.
Therefore time and again this truth must be reiterated:
IT IS OUR HISTORICAL OBLIGATION
to keep alive the story of the millions of our enslaved ancestors who were worked to death for centuries, and had their cries for justice stifled and suffocated. If this mission is not at the center of what we are doing we are
There is a french term called
reason or justification for being or existence
A basic, essential purpose; a reason to exist
a reason for being.
The whole purpose for being an African in the twenty-first century is to bring to a halt the train of protracted genocide that has been set in motion during this millennium, and especially over the past four hundred years.
But how does an African accomplish this if he allows the forces of genocide to erase his story that clearly shows how the world we live in today is built on
A CRIME WHOSE INHUMANITY IS WITHOUT PARALLEL IN HUMAN HISTORY?
How does one get justice by forgetting the crimes of injustice? When every facet of your life is shaped by injustice, getting justice is supposed to be the center of your being.
Your story is your atomic bomb and your nuclear weapon. It is the only weapon in your arsenal.
As a conscious African you are supposed to be telling it, singing it, reciting it, dramatizing it
AND NOT FORGETTING IT.
Every time you spend lots of energy doing things that do not draw attention to it, you are marginalizing it, obscuring it, and helping to bury it.
LET THE HISTORIANS SPEAK
(excerpts from "Britain's Black debt")
THE MAKING OF FORTUNES
(The Royal Stables)
The making of fortunes sustained over generations from African enslavement in the Caribbean by British citizens has been well documented. Many families within the present British financial and social elite can trace the origins of their wealth to slavery and the slave trade. The British families and institutions converted what began as slave wealth into financial capital to be exploited by subsequent generations in non-slave-related enterprises.
REPARATIONS FOR SLAVE OWNERS
The state of affairs over reparations money is described by Draper as "a feeding frenzy", which he says took over the behavior of British society. In so doing it revealed fully how deeply slavery was embedded in the national social and economic spine. It was a frenzy that drew thousands of Britons into asserting their ownership of the enslaved after the state attached specific and immediate monetary value to the claims of ownership. Compensation records set out each claim and the related counterclaims over the property value of the enslaved.
Contesting the claims were the rich and the famous, the nobles and the commoners. They went to great lengths to get their share and, in the process, the reach of slavery's tentacles was revealed.
That organized public opinion should support COMPENSATION FOR ENSLAVERS is therefore instructive. It indicates the depth of slave owning to British popular culture and identity.
The extent of infection of the national imagination with racist ANTI-BLACK SENTIMENTS was not always understood and accepted, even by the anti-slavery groups. But the persistent bombardment of the national consciousness with racist ideas and sentiments had its lasting effects. The emerging mass media, intellectual classes, political leaders, corporate elites, and the judiciary were vehicles for race-based values that supported the idea of COMPENSATION FOR ENSLAVERS AND NOT THE ENSLAVED.
The logic of emancipation politics was to ensure that freed Blacks remained as far as possible located on sugar plantations that would not change ownership. There would be no redistribution of income or economic enfranchisement of Blacks. The social structure would remain as closely attached to the slave-based system as possible.
The future imagined in Whitehall was one in which BLACK SUBORDINATION WAS GUARANTEED WITHIN COLONIALISM.
Without Black hands, Caribbean lands were useless. BLACKS WERE TO BE LANDLESS AS THE NORM, even if adjustments were necessary in some places IN ORDER TO SECURE LABOUR.
Slave owners won three decisive battles in securing reparations for their property rights in enslaved Africans.
First they received cash to refinance their business,
second they were able to make new investments, mostly in British stocks,
and third they were able to hold on to their West Indian enterprises and thereby rendering the "freed" persons largely LANDLESS AND SECOND CLASS in the colonies where they had been enslaved.
The frenzied feeding on reparations funds, as described by Draper, therefore included all parties to the crime of slave owning.
The feeding fattened many and reduced the financial stress of most. In this sense slavery was profitable even to the very end.
In the Caribbean, the plantation system remained, Blacks now "freed" entered a period of INTENSIVE POLICING, racial apartheid, and increased hostility to their demands for justice.
The West Indian planters and merchants and their London financiers were pleased with the reparations deal. The Blacks who had been the victims of the crime received nothing. This was the greatest crime of all committed by the British against the African people.
The twenty million pounds that slave owners received as reparations from the British government for losing their property rights in slaves was a huge amount. It would equate to almost 200 billion pounds today.
Afro Caribbean people suffered four hundred years of criminal racial targeting within slavery regimes. The living legacy of these crimes continues to debilitate their progeny while those who have benefited from the criminal enrichment continue to enjoy the wealth derived from the crimes. The native population of the region experienced the crime of genocide in addition to enslavement.
Europe's trafficking across the Atlantic Ocean of over fifteen million enchained Africans for the purpose of chattel enslavement, and the collateral death and displacement of another thirty million on the continent represent modernity's greatest human tragedy. They were crimes against humanity that Europe has refused to accept. They constitute furthermore a global tragedy now universally described as The African Holocaust.
Slave owners denied the criminality of genocide against native Caribbean persons, trading in enchained Africans and the enslavement of both. Private investors, and the British state which funded, legislated, and enforced these practices ARGUED THE LEGALITY OF THEIR ACTIONS(CRIMES). Natives were defined as savages not fit to possess the lands they inhabited, and Africans were defined as chattel property.
"Savages" and "property" therefore had no right to their lands and their labor.
Few officials of the British state today would be willing to make this argument,
BUT IT REMAINS THE UNSTATED BASIS OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AGAINST REPARATIONS CLAIMS.
The slave owners of the nineteenth century and the British state today HAVE AN UMBILICAL LINK, despite the passage of time. Political continuity has forged a common understanding that the case for the reparations of Black people and natives must be fought fiercely.
The intention of British society is to walk away from these crimes without reparatory obligation and responsibility. State and society do not intend to be held accountable.
Recognizing the overwhelming evidence that supports the case of African popular resistance to the slave trade, the British state has adjusted its arguments. It now suggests that there was complicity and cooperation in West Africa among political elites.
The intention is to argue that alleged crimes against humanity were shared and that African states should be similarly targeted. This is the classic divide-and-rule defense in which victims are blamed for their victimization. The complicity of some African leaders makes the British crime more, rather than less, heinous.
The majority of African leaders over time opposed the slave trade. For this they were destabilized and destroyed.
To stand in the way of the slave trade - a business network based in European cities, sustained by massive military might and driven by large financial corporations - was to invite political annihilation.
African leaders were assassinated and states destroyed; political borders were redrawn, and communities that resisted were attacked with cannon. The few states that benefited in the short term as collaborators stood against their own rebellious communities and eventually fell.
The traditional "complicity" argument used against African governments has been bolstered in recent years in the Caribbean context with the deployment of the legal concept of "REMOTENESS".
This is the notion in Common Law that seeks to "TIME OUT" wrongdoing by suggesting that there are no living defendants to answer the charge. It is an argument which says that, with the death of the defendant, the case dies too.
But with crimes against humanity the remoteness rule does not apply. International law has made provision for bringing to justice those who seek to run the time clock as a technical escape valve.
First, slavery was not confined to the remote past. It is still within living memory.
Even when the British state abolished chattel slavery in its own colonies in 1838, its citizens continued to invest in slavery in the Spanish colonies until the 1880s.
Families continue to live with the memory of slavery to experience life as the victims of slavery.
Officials of the British state have also suggested that even if one accepts that a crime against humanity has been committed, the challenge of meeting a reparations case is impossible owing both to the enormity of the slavery system and to the impossibility of crafting a reparatory response that would be meaningful and would bring closure to the case.
This argument is self-serving and distracts from the essential validity of the case. The cases of reparations that have been settled in past decades have shown the extraordinary creativity and innovativeness of legal experts and judges. The political will to find a reparatory settlement stimulates legal ingenuity.
But first there must be an acknowledgement of the crime, an apology for perpetrating the crime, acceptance of responsibility, and a willingness to begin a reparatory process that is just.
The phased deployment of these arguments by the British state is an expression of the "moving goalpost" strategy. Each time an argument is defeated and set aside, a new one is invented and marshaled. The terms and conditions of the dialogue keep changing. The purpose of this approach is to play for time, where
delaying a decision is an end in itself.
The British state believes that the longer the reparations case is denied the more remote it will become. These officials seem to believe that as each generation comes to maturity, the less concerned they will be with matters of history.
PLAYING THE TIME GAME IS THEIR BEST STRATEGY.
Future generations of Black youth , they believe, will have less interest in the experience of their forbears and are unlikely to commit politically to matters such as reparations.
The backup tactic of the British state is political intimidation. Caribbean and African governments have been pressured by British and European states into adopting soft or reluctant positions in respect to reparations. International financial institutions, for example, such as The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund worked with European governments to create SITES OF SILENCE. Together with their development agencies, the governments of slave-owning countries have discovered instruments of intimidation.
Once the word "REPARATIONS" comes up, dialogue within these environments is immediately iced and resources frozen. The fear factor continues to exist with the politics of reparations, and it acts as a barrier to the pursuit of justice.
DO NOT BE SUBVERTED BY GRANTS AND HANDOUTS!
They are bribes to divert you from the cause of reparations.