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02.09.2004 General News

Reparation must be paid for Trans-Atlantic Trade

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Accra, Sept. 2, GNA - Western Countries must accept that their ancestors dehumanised Africans and must be prepared to pay reparations, Professor Hilary Beckles of the University of West Indies in Barbados told the Ghana News Agency on Thursday.

He said the issue of Reparation would lead to the largest black movement in the 21st century as more Africans and those in Diaspora become aware of the full and true story of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

He said most of the Western countries think that reparation would mean that Africans would be forcefully demanding financial support from them as a result of the Slave Trade but that should not be the case.

"Reparation must be seen as the beginning of a peaceful reconciliation process, it is not just about cash, it is rather about the Western countries accepting that their involvement in the Slave Trade was a crime.

"The Whites must first admit that their engagement in the trade was a crime against humanity, which they are not ready to do. They are even yet to admit that there should be a settlement to lead to the application of the concepts of international law.

"They have to prove that the trade will not happen again. Then the repairing of the damage has to be done," Professor Beckles, who is a Black Activist, said.

"The Western World would want to resort to settlement of the Colonial damage. They do not wish to accept that it was a crime committed and do not wish to apologize.

"It is our duty as Africans to make the Western world understand that it is not about financial support but there should be films, documents and slave museums available in every country that slavery took place to enable the younger generations to have more information about it and there should be funding of such research activities," he said. Professor Beckles revealed that in the United States many African families had already received reparation from some insurance companies, as their ancestors were insured as African property.

Professor Beckles is a participant at the International Conference on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade currently being held in Ghana under the theme: "Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Landmarks, Legacies and Expectation."

The Conference, which has scholars, researchers, representatives from the West African Sub-Region, Africans in the Diaspora and participants from Europe and America is being organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital in collaboration with UNESCO.

Prof Beckles has already presented a paper entitled: "African Resistance to Slave Trade as Family Business."

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