We are often told that slavery happened get over it, well so did the Jewish Holocaust, are we over that yet?n a visit to Jamaica last year, Prime Minister, David Cameron remarked to the Jamaican Parliament that it was time to:
“move on from the painful legacy of slavery”
Cameron’s remarks caused a public outcry from around the world with Danny Glover describing the comment as
“ignorant” and “outrageous”
But are we really so surprised? The remark only serves to highlight the stark contrast between the way black history and issues facing the black community are treated around the world versus nearly any other non-black group.
There is no doubt that the Transatlantic Slave Trade is one of, if not the greatest atrocity man has committed on fellow man in relation to scale: length of time, number of victims and number of countries involved. There is also no doubt that ‘Great Britain’ and its slave trading European counterparts were built off the back of Africa’s enslaved. It is not possible to accurately teach about the Industrial Revolution without teaching about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, yet in U.K. schools this is done everyday. It is not possible to accurately teach about history, period, without teaching about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, yet in U.K. schools this is done everyday.
For both U.S. and U.K. schools Black History can apparently be condensed into a single month. In reality for most U.K. schools this month takes place in one single afternoon, for the rest of the month a photomontage made ten years ago is once again drafted for duty from its usual honorary pride of place, the broom cupboard. The montage consists of the usual suspects: Martin, Bob, Rosa and of course the good old Windrush.
Because of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Africa’s/Black History is now near enough the world’s history. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust and it should be a crime to refuse to add to the subject of the Transatlantic Slave Trade including Africa’s great history pre-slavery to the national curriculum.
It’s all about respect or lack thereof, or perhaps more accurately, it’s all about racism. Yes, that old chestnut. Racism for many in the U.K. black community has become the word which must not be spoken for fear of being frowned upon or made to feel as though you have the proverbial chip on your shoulder by your ‘liberal’ friend who microinvalidates your truth by claiming, ‘it’s not as bad as it used to be’ or ‘yes, but we have come far.’ ‘Not nearly far enough’ is my reply whilst rolling my eyes in return.
It’s time to move on from the Holocaust
If not racism how else do you explain the treatment of the black community including black history, around the world? Let’s imagine for one minute, Mr Cameron telling the Jewish community: ‘it’s time to move on from the Holocaust.’
Of course you can’t, it’s unimaginable, unthinkable. If Mr Cameron were to utter even a semblance of such a remark he would be removed from office quicker than UKIP and their Conservative friends would like to see the U.K. out of Europe. He would be cast into the wilderness and shunned by society forevermore. And the press coverage…!
But Mr Cameron and his legion of advisors thought it perfectly acceptable to utter this comment to Jamaica and the other Caribbean countries seeking dialogue with the U.K. on the matter of reparations. Mr Cameron’s remark was utterly abhorrent, shows a clear lack of respect and highlights the fact that something is seriously wrong with the way the U.K. treats black history and the role the U.K. has in it.
I for one would like to see Mr Cameron visit Israel and tell Benjamin Netanyahu that ‘it’s time to move on from the Holocaust,’ just to see the response.
The question is why are both days treated so differently?
23rd August is Slavery Remembrance Day and has been in existence since the 90’s yet in the U.K. this day passes by largely unnoticed. In contrast, 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day, there is a huge ceremony attended by many senior political, religious, diplomatic and civic figures including U.K. royalty and the current prime minister as well as the leaders of the other major political parties. The ceremony is filmed by the BBC and streamed live throughout the day. The question is why are both days treated so differently in the U.K.? Answers on a postcard please, or better still pop them below in the comments section.
We believe the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade are equally as important as the victims of the Holocaust and deserve to be remembered too. Don’t you?
That is why we are honoring those victims by holding our inaugural Slavery Remembrance Commemorative Rally to promote International Slavery Remembrance Day on Sunday 21/08/16. We hope to see you there in solidarity.
Once confirmed we shall publish a list of all those who were invited to speak and all those who are actually speaking at the event.
More details at on the rally at the link below.
One final word, to you Mr Cameron, in case you haven’t heard, I say #BlackLivesMatter