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I can understand the bad feelings black people have about the Atlantic slave trade. I have similar feelings about the White slave trade. From 1530 to 1780, slave markets were operating on the North African Barbary Coast where captured Europeans were bought and sold as slaves. Whites were highly valued and fetched a good price.
But although there was no shortage of horrors in the White slave trade, it would be absurd to now demand reparations for its cruelties. It was a long time ago. And my guess is that, of the few Europeans that are actually aware of the White slave trade, the majority of them would agree with me: The time for reparations is passed.
This appears not to be the case with the black community, where the call for reparations grows ever louder. Why can’t they put it to one side like the White community has done with White slavery?
The White slave trade lasted for about 250 years; the Atlantic slave trade lasted for about 400 years, from the 15th to the 19th Century.
The modus operandi of both was the same: capture, kidnap and sell as a commodity. In respect of the White slave trade, it is estimated that over one million Europeans were sold and bought at the Barbary Coast slave markets. And in respect of the Atlantic slave trade, it is estimated that between 12 and 13 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic, and that between 1.2 and 2.4 million died during the voyage.
These figures are not written in stone, but the general opinion in Western media and education is that the Atlantic slave trade was very much worse than the White slave trade, so much so that the White slave trade barely gets a mention.
The black community’s argument is that the White slave traders and White slave owners made fortunes from the capture, sale, purchase and labour of black slaves. And that these fortunes eventually filtered down through White societies and in doing so, benefited all of society and not just those with a direct interest in the Atlantic slave trade.
You can see the logic in it. But the well-documented misery that was the lot of ordinary Europeans during the years of the Atlantic slave trade casts doubt on the idea that they were beneficiaries of it. Let’s not forget that this was a time of massive European emigration when people were leaving Europe for America in great numbers seeking better lives and freedom from grinding poverty and oppression, which is hardly indicative of them living in luxury off the backs of black slaves.
The Atlantic slave trade began in earnest in 1480 and it was led by the Portuguese for the next 150 years. By the mid-1600s however the Dutch had taken over as prime actor and they played the dominant role until the early 1700s when the British took the lead. But by this time the tide was turning against slavery and in 1776 the House of Commons sounded its death knell by debating the motion ‘that the slave trade is contrary to the laws of God and the rights of men’.
In 1660 the Duke of York (later King James II) and the City of London formed the Royal African Company, twenty years later they were transporting 5,000 slaves a year across the Atlantic. It’s interesting but certainly not surprising to note that whilst Britain’s ruling elites made fortunes from slavery, Britain’s working classes were left to cover the cost of ending it.
In 1833 the British parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act and spent 40% of its national budget on buying the freedom of all the slaves in the Empire. So huge was the debt accrued in the process of administering this bill that it wasn’t paid off until 2015.
Of course, the slave-trading ruling classes made sure they didn’t lose out and they awarded themselves compensation for the loss of their slaves care of the British taxpayer; slaves paying for slaves.
Royalty and aristocracy and big business were the ones who made the money from this heartless trade, just as they made money from its abolition, how very typical then that this same class of despicable people in the mid-19th Century was doing everything it could to turn China into a nation of opium addicts.
Blacks may or may not have a case for reparations, but that’s a subject for another essay. The issue here is not the validity of the black reparations argument, but the logic underpinning the emphasis blacks place on the Atlantic slave trade relative to that which they place on the Arab slave trade. It is as if blacks have suffered only at the hands of Whites and that only the Atlantic slave trade is worthy of consideration.
This would be understandable if the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on blacks had been more devastating than that of the Arab slave trade, but the facts prove this not to be the case. Bad though the Atlantic slave trade was for the lives and development of blacks, the Arab slave trade was even worse. If Whites have a debt to pay, why don’t Arabs?
The Arab slave trade operated for approximately 1400 years, from the 6th to the 20th Century, the Atlantic slave trade for approximately 400 years, from the 15th to the 19th Century.
It is estimated that 12 to 13 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic of who between 1.2 and 2.4 million died during the voyage. It is estimated that 17 million Africans were sold in the Arab slave markets, and according to Al Muqaddimah in History of the Arab Slave Trade, for every slave sold at market 10 died getting him there, that’s 170 million deaths.
It’s telling that whereas today America has a large black population descended from African slaves, there is no corresponding black population in the Middle East and Arabia. Slaves taken to America were able to have families, but of the slaves taken to the Middle East the males were castrated and the females served as concubines, and any children they did have killed shortly after birth. If blacks are bitter about the Atlantic slave trade why aren’t they bitter about the Arab slave trade?
In the West, the slave trade was abolished in 1807 and slavery was made illegal in 1833. In Saudi Arabia, slaves were openly bought and sold in Mecca right up to 1962. And slavery is still practised in some Arab countries. So why are blacks so quiet about the Arab slave trade?
If one’s ancestors had been subject to the horrors of slavery and if one felt the need to highlight those horrors and claim recompense for them, wouldn’t that claim be across the board? As it is, blacks focus all their attention on the lesser of the two evils, which is the Atlantic slave trade, and put the Arab slave trade to one side.
How the UK abolished slavery 1833Parliament outlawed slavery in most British colonies 1834Law took effect 800,000slaves were freed £20mallocated to pay for “damages” suffered by owners 0compensation for freed slaves Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
The Arab slave trade was greater in magnitude than the Atlantic slave trade, it operated for longer and was harsher, yet blacks act as though it never happened. Where’s the sense? It’s as if blacks are more accepting of their enslavement by Arabs than they are by Whites, even though their treatment at the hands of Arabs was far worse than that at the hands of Whites.
Is it just a matter of money? Maybe blacks feel there’s little chance of them having their demand for reparations met by the Arab states so they concentrate on the West where they’re more likely to receive a sympathetic ear. But this implies that black talk of morality and justice and the need to have the reality of the slave trades out in the open is just hot air.
If blacks truly care about black slavery surely they must care about all of it and not just one section of it. But paradoxically their focus is less on the enslavement of blacks than it is on the enslavement of blacks by Whites, the Arabs get a free pass when logic dictates the exact opposite.
BLM’s position on this issue mirrors exactly that of the establishment. Every facet of the British state focuses exclusively on the Atlantic slave trade which the mainstream media, typically, labels ‘the slave trade’ as if there was only ever one such trade. And the same applies to international bodies: UNESCO, for instance, has adopted a similar one-sided approach in ‘its efforts to acknowledge in particular the transatlantic slave trade.’
The establishment cares nothing about slavery if it did it would by now have raised the issue of the Arab slave trade. Nothing could be further from its mind: It wants all the guilt of slavery stacked on the shoulders of Whites, it’s a good way of keeping them down. Source
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