Saturday

24th Jul 2021

Europe divided over slavery debate

While some African states and black Americans want an apology for slavery, divisions have emerged among member states of the European Union as to whether such an apology for trans-Atlantic slave trading should be offered at the United Nations racism summit in Durban, South Africa.

Britain is sticking to the line that European countries agreed on before the summit, reports the BBC. The line adopted by Britain seems to be supported by Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. Interestingly enough, these four were all heavily involved in the slave trade.

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The view of the four has caused deep resentment among some Africans and black Americans. The black American activist Jessie Jackson said: “If you don’t feel apologetic for slavery, if you don’t feel apologetic for colonialism, if you feel proud of it, then say that.”

The strong stance of activists such as Jessie Jackson has led other European countries that were not as heavily involved in the slave trade to move closer to the demands of Africans and black Americans. Belgian, current holder of the EU presidency, has led the more accommodating branch of the European delegation.

It is believed that some countries may fear that an apology would add momentum to demands that those that traded in slaves pay reparations. The question of reparations has been among the most divisive issues at the conference, writes the BBC.

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