Monday, 26 August 2019

It wasn't slavery.

At various places in the United States the 400th anniversary of the importation of a new commodity to the shores of Virginia is being noted.

"The 400th anniversary of slavery" they say.  I hate and despise that generic word "slavery".

Rather it should be called "the importation of human beings as a commodity"  -  women, men, girls, boys:  ripped from their villages, homes, religions, history and culture; shackled and chained; beaten and whipped; shoved into the cargo holds; taken westward across the ocean to be sold in the market place (if they survived the passage).

To call it "slavery", or "the slave trade"  makes the whole enterprise seem bland.  It was the enslavement  of mothers and fathers, of their beloved girl and boy children.

It was the destruction of a peoples' history, language, culture, tradition and religion.


The commodity on sale  (not in the American South, but in Chicago, Illinois).

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Some well meaning but naive and unimaginative Christians in Western Massachusetts,  (and other places), decided to mark the anniversary of the trade in humans by ringing the Church Bell for four minutes on Sunday 25th August 2019. One minute for each 100 years of the human commodity trade,  Here they are in all their pious glory.


Dammit all, why are some of them seated, and others are standing comfortably,   when all of them should be shackled and chained together in the smallest and darkest room in the Church Cellar - for at least fours hours -  one hour for each 100 years of the vile trade.
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I speak as a (sometimes) nice, (sometimes) pious, always white skinned middle class and progressive Christian.

Shouldn't we move away from comfortable piety into the direction of costly reparations to the descendants of the enslaved human persons?  What might those reparations look like?

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