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27.03.2007 General News

Only genuine remorse can atone for Slave Trade – President Kufuor


Genuine remorse should be the way forward to atone for the pain and heinous crimes of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, President John Agyekum Kufuor has advocated.

It is estimated that about 10 million Africans were forcibly uprooted and shipped out of the Continent under the most barbaric and inhuman conditions across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americans and Caribbean during the trade.

Speaking at a ceremony to both commemorate 200 years of its abolition and Ghana's 50 years of nationhood held at the Elmina Castle in the Central Region, President Kufuor said since some Africans played a facilitating role during the trade the question of payment of reparation was not the best approach.

He said the victims must be accorded respect and human dignity and that common humanity and shared values of fellow feeling should form the bases of acceptance in the present day's world.

The solemn and emotionally touching commemorative event dubbed "Africa 2007 Reflections" was jointly put together by the British Council, the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat and the Edina Traditional Council and attracted a number of Africans from Diaspora.

President Kufuor said the Continent through its New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was seeking to reconnect with those in the Diaspora and to correct the historic mistake epitomised by the slave trade.

Baroness Valeria Amos, Leader of the British House of Lords; Sir David Green, Director General of the British Council and the Minster of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Mr Jake Obese-Lamptey were among those who attended.

Celebrated artiste and poets from Ghana, Brazil and the United Kingdom were on hand to play back memories of those days of history.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blaire in a video link address pledged his country's determination to continue to lead the drive to overcome modern day challenges facing Africa.

He said: "As we commemorate 200 years of the Slavery Abolition Act, let us rededicate ourselves to show courage and energy to fight injustices in our modern world."

Mr Blaire, who noted that there was now a historic turning point between Africa and the UK, lauded Ghana for the significant progressive role she was playing.

"Ghana is a beacon of hope to Africa as it was 50 years ago", he said.

Baroness Amos described the slave trade as the "darkest and uncomfortable chapter of British History and called for stronger commitment to build a better world that would make our ancestors proud".

Sir David said although nothing could be done to undo the history of the slave trade, it was important to encourage this generation to explore and to better understand it.

Nana Kodwo Condua VI, Paramount Chief of Edina Traditional Area, said it was time to forgive and to put behind the bitter past.

Source: GNA