Why we should welcome a real trial about slave reparations
For the past fifteen or so years, there has been a movement among some liberals to require that the descendents of former slaves be paid for the suffering of their ancestors. Conservatives have railed against this transfer of wealth, saying (rightly, one should add) that a person or entity cannot be held responsible for the actions of another person who has been dead for over 150 years. Lloyd’s of London was sued in 2004 by a group of descendents of African slaves, and the British court system ruled against their claim. There have been other claims made by the descendents of African slaves. All of these have been laughed out of court.
Conservatives also claim (again, correctly) that offering reparations helps to keep poorer African-Americans in a perpetual state of victimhood. But conservatives should not only welcome the concept of a reparations trial, we should also be championing it. And in doing so, we would be providing what Barack Obama would call a “teachable moment” about the real history of slavery in not only the Western world, but also the history of all mankind.
One should note that the Jesse Jacksons of the world have only been trying to get reparations against White European nations. But for this to work as a really teachable moment, it would have to be tried in a multinational court and consider the global scope of slavery. And “progressives” do not want this for the following reasons.
Liberals of all stripes have been trying to rewrite the history of many countries. Our liberal friends have tried to change the Holy Bible to say the descendents of Joseph were not slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but were actually paid laborers. These intellectual giants of the left have conveniently neglected to teach that the current term “slave” is descended from the 9th century, where the white people of East Europe (Slavs) were kidnapped and sold into “slavery” by Spanish Muslims.
The legal discovery that would accompany any slave reparations trial would have and make public that the Ottoman Empire kept “slave armies.” Note that we are now talking about Muslims or the ancestors of Muslims being responsible for not only the beginnings of slavery, but also for the word “slave” itself. Think of how much American students might have to be forced to learn. In the 1970s, there was a wildly popular TV miniseries called Roots, in which the story of Alex Haley’s supposed ancestors came to this country. Forgetting the fact that Mr. Haley was forced to admit he plagiarized the entire story, and that the story Mr. Haley told never could have occurred as it was told in the miniseries, many people today actually believe that Roots and the story told was an accurate historical account – especially the part about how Kunta Kinte was captured by whites, aka Christians. In actuality, the overwhelming majority of slave trading was done through Muslim slave traders. And African nations profited off selling their “black brothers and sisters.” The Nyamwezi tribe of modern day Tanzania helped to establish a slave pipeline that started in Angola.
The Dahomey (now Benin) nation rulers profited off the slave trade. In the 1840s, King Gezo said he would “do anything the British would want apart from giving up the slave trade.” We haven’t even touched on the number of African-Americans who not only owned but also traded slaves. One of the more famous of the black plantation owners was Nicolas Metoyer, who along with his family owned over 200 slaves.
And how about the African-Americans who owned white slaves? Think this didn’t occur? In the late 1600s through early 1700s, black males were buying indentured servants (usually white) for their farms.
If you want to have a real debate about race relations in the USA, as all liberals say they want to have, great, let’s bring it on. Talk about slavery throughout history, and how Muslims profited off the slave trade as much if not more than did Christians. How blacks have sold their own “brothers and sisters” into slavery. We as Americans should and need to stop being afraid of offending someone, and teach real and true history. Who knows, maybe it would get some of our youngsters to start appreciating their country again? And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the Israelis would get a nice reparations check from Egypt and other Arab nations.
Now wouldn’t that be special?
John Massoud is a businessman in Northern Virginia, is 6th district chair of the Shenandoah County Republican Committee, does media relations for the Shenandoah Valley Constitutional Conservatives, is an occasional contributor to the American Thinker, and is Shenandoah County’s favorite half-Afghan and half-Scots Irishman.