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Slave trade is often played down!

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd April 2007 03:00 AM

SIR — I am not surprised that the media debate in Uganda about slavery has been rather limited.Granted, there is an avalanche of national subjects to discuss these days. However, on slavery the world is supposed to be celebrating the anniversary of Wilberforce's abolition of slavery.

Slave trade is often played down!

SIR — I am not surprised that the media debate in Uganda about slavery has been rather limited.Granted, there is an avalanche of national subjects to discuss these days. However, on slavery the world is supposed to be celebrating the anniversary of Wilberforce's abolition of slavery.

SIR — I am not surprised that the media debate in Uganda about slavery has been rather limited.Granted, there is an avalanche of national subjects to discuss these days. However, on slavery the world is supposed to be celebrating the anniversary of Wilberforce's abolition of slavery.

That seems upstaged by the outcry about ‘modern-day slavery’.

The child labour and other forms of exploitation are wrong and I am totally against them. However, it seems to me that the moment you mention slavery, some people are quick to plunge into the discussion of modern day exploitations. I think this is calculated to discourage educating the world about what exactly happened during slavery. No wonder years ago, my English secondary school teacher told my class that it was the Americans who sold slaves!

Recently when a Conservative MP in the UK was asked whether it was fine for Britain to apologise for what happened to the millions of African slaves, he retorted that it was not possible to do this because that would mean asking the Danes (Vikings), the Romans, etc to apologise for what they did to Britain. There was also a recent TV documentary which had a black man travel to Ghana in search of his ancestral home.

The film ends the Africa trip by this man meeting elders from one of the Ghanaian tribes. The main thing the viewers were made to learn from the film was that Africans sold fellow Africans to the slave traders! The Negro Spirituals as they are internationally known are now called “Inspirational Music”! Yes, the music inspired the slaves.

Under what conditions? Let the music remain Negro Spirituals. It was the music of hope during the atrocities the African suffered at the hands of the traders. Did the Vikings supplant the English making them leave behind families, whole tribes and a rich culture; make the captured lie in their own faeces more than a foot high and for months while shackled to one another?

Did the invaders of Britain build cities from the incredible profits they made through the invasions? There is no comparison here. Western leaders need to start speaking the truth about their ancestors’ deeds; and we the Africans should not ease the pressure in our demands for an apology.

The only food slaves were entitled to was the little that kept them alive until sold. That food was not even fit for beasts. Can these inhuman practices compare working without a wage? The sick who looked like they would not make it to the Carribean were promptly dumped into the sea.

Indeed the Atlantic ocean bed is lined with bones of Africans. Later on, healthy looking males were reasonably treated for a special reason — to mate with slave women to produce strong children who would bring in more profit!

Africans were used to breed like animals! Does the world know that slave trade went on for over 20 years after the abolition? Was it the Africans who did this?

Ugandan schools should teach pupils the whole truth about the atrocities. Everytime I see pictures of the slave shackles and the buildings where slaves were sold, my blood boils.

Jesse Mutenga
jessemu@btinternet.com.

Slave trade is often played down!

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