[ssf] The British Government must apologise

ruhul ruhul at blink.org.uk
Wed Apr 4 18:00:27 BST 2007

 The 1990 Trust have written to Tony Blair asking for a formal apology
and a memorial day on August 23rd. 

 The text of the letter follows. We are campaigning for as many
signatures as possible: Please sign the letter here
 and pass the message on. 

 Dear Mr. Blair 

 We are writing to you to request that the British government
formally and fully apologise for Britains role in the enslavement,
brutality and murder of millions of Africans as a result of the slave
trade. In addition we are calling for you to announce a national
slavery memorial day on the 23rd August every year. This date marks
the beginning of the end of slavery as a result of the defeat of the
French and then the British armies in Haiti by the great African
freedom fighter Toussaint LOuverture. 

 To paraphrase Professor Stuart Hall, the apology is not about guilt
tripping contemporary Britain, but it is important that people know
about what actually happened, its long lasting legacy, and that they
can take a cue from singular leadership to demonstrate that saying
sorry and meaning it, goes a long way in healing. It must acknowledge
the psychological and physical damage to millions of British Caribbean
people and commemorate a history of resistance. It is important that
this nation acknowledges the fact that the roots of modern day racism
and discrimination is firmly located in the religious, philosophical,
scientific and economic arguments that were developed to justify the
enslavement of, and trade in, Africans 

 There are British precedents for an apology: the Queen apologised to
the Maoris and the Prime Minster apologised to the Irish community in
relation to the potato famine. Even George Bush has acknowledged
slavery as one of the greatest crimes in history. In Ghana African
Ashanti Chiefs have formally apologised for their own role in
capturing and selling their fellow Africans. There are precedents in
memorial days especially for example the national Holocaust memorial

 To quote Lord Herman Ouseley, patron of the 1990 Trust: 

 After the abolition of the slave trade, the Slave Compensation
Commission paid the equivalent of £2billion at today's prices, to
compensate planters, slave traders and slave owners for the
abolition. NOTHING was ever awarded to a former slave. The effects of
hundreds of years of genocide and barbarism are still prevalent today.
For us to move on with understanding, dignity, respect and knowledge
of what happened, the government should follow the lead given by some
others and fully apologise for Britain's role in the slave trade while
positively promoting commemoration, memorial, education and
 Yours sincerely 

 David Weaver on behalf of the 1990 Trust team 



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