• Slavery: Who should say sorry to whom?


    The above image is of the famous painting, “The Slave Market” painted circa 1884 by the artist, Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904). It is of a young European woman from typically a small fishing village such as Mousehole in Cornwall who will have been kidnapped by Barbary Pirates and sold into (sex) slavery. The picture shows her stripped naked for potential bidders to inspect the merchandise before purchase. The young lady may in fact be biting the fellow’s finger!

    When the word “slavery” is mentioned a picture will generally be conjured up of Africans being chained and forced into small sailing ships at the start of a long and cruel journey from Africa’s west coast to the Caribbean. At around this time there was another form of slavery being perpetrated. This was the “Barbary Pirates” in their “corsairs.” These were fast ships from the “Barbary Coast” – now Algeria. The Barbary Pirates were Arab Muslims and their prey were Europeans living in isolated coastal communities. These pirates would land as armed gangs and capture young women and some young men and return to whence they came. From there these kidnapped souls were sold into slavery. Fair skinned European women were highly valued and this barbarous trade – this is the origin of the word “barbarous” – was extraordinarily profitable. These women were sold to rich Ottoman officials as concubines for their harems.

    Should therefore the British and Irish governments demand an apology from the Algerian government? No.

    Sunday 25th March, 2007 marked 200 years – to the day – that a Parliamentary Bill was passed to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. That evening there was a church service at Roscoe Methodist Church on Francis Street, Leeds to commemorate this. Roscoe’s congregation comes almost exclusively from the Caribbean community in Leeds and the service was typically vibrant, joyful and extremely enthusiastic. The service was a commemoration by the Leeds District and as such many others from other churches in the Leeds circuit attended. Those hoping for a series of politically correct diatribes would have been disappointed. There was however the most curious spectacle of good people making an apology to others and those others accepting the said apology – all of which threatened to make a joyful occasion vacuous.

    The regrettable fact is that human beings have at times behaved in the most abhorrent ways towards each other and for such apologies to be issued in fact detracts from the commemoration. For “sorry” to mean something and to be of value the person making the apology must be responsible for the act for which they are apologising and for them to mean it. Generally this would have to include humility and repentance. Where a genuine wrong has been committed this is a hard thing to do. To apologise for an act in which you have had no part and therefore can have no moral culpability for is an exercise in pontification.

    • The Yankees might one day say sorry to the South in the US for starting a war that was unnecessary. Patience would have been a virtue for all concerned and avoided the racial problems caused by positive discrimination and genocide against the Anglo Saxon people of the South at the end of the War of Northern Aggression.

      Proud of our people across the world and offering no apology for making the modern world.


    • So interesting points of views ! I add one dimension : all slavers here were apparently acting for Money if I understood correctly. So… Do the Ones who invented Money have the initial guilt ??? Or was Money invented as a Mean to have people three themselves from it by becoming nice and rich people ? If yes, I want to win to the Life lottery. But have I not yet by being consciously alive? Maybe, maybe not, that is a Norman’s answer, isn’t it? Better questions could then be, are the Numbers limited? And where may I meet free people?

    • Well, good for you to have finally discovered that white and fair-haired people were enslaved from the early Middle Ages up to the beginning of modern times, but are you implying that those who so proudly won and maintained the status of world masters over millions of “non-white” people in the XIXth century, are now supposed to consider themselves outraged victims, now that they have become has-beens?

    • Slavery. Who should say sorry?

      The accursed Normans to the English for the catastrophe that followed 1066.

    • Newcastle-Under-Lyme’s local authority, have apparently re-introduced slavery, (enforced labour with the threat of punishment) to increase profits for their rec-cycling business.

      According to reports, householders are being forced, under the threat of fines if they do not engage in sorting out the very refuse they have paid the local authority to remove.

      Re-cycling may or may not be ‘green’ and I personally opt for the latter.

      If Government, national or local wish to recycle domestic waste they are free to employ people, as they do in Erewash, Derbyshire,
      to sort the domestic waste.

      However, enforced re-cycling contravenes, not only The Human Rights Act, but Article 4 of The Declaration of Human Rights. ‘No one may be held in slavery or servitude.’

      Newcastle-Under-Lyme is, I am sorry to say a Conservative Council, may they hang their heads in shame.

      They are Britain’s New Slavers, but do not expect action from the police or the civil rights brigade. To them the English have no rights and as a nation does not even exist.

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