THE DEMAND FOR REPARATIONS CONTINUES
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (August 17, 2000)
Recently, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) held its Eleventh Annual Convention, June 14-20, 2000 in Washington, D.C.
Under the leadership of National Cochairs Dorothy Lewis Benton and Hannibal Afrik, plus numerous brothers and sisters throughout the United States, the Reparations Movement has worked diligently to bring this issue before the masses of African people in the United States who are now beginning to discuss, more vigorously, the need to intensify our demand for reparations. They are not only demanding reparations from the United States government but all the countries and institutions that participated in the slave trade industry.
Reparations for African people in the United States is commonly meant to be; "the demand for the U.S. slaves and their descendants, from the government of the United States of America and its individual white men, women, and children, and all other of the free structure and their heirs, following in interest, inheritance, use of benefits through succession, for payment and return for restoring and taking back, for damages, hurt, injury, losses, and other wrongs, in the forms of money, goods, services, land treaty, tax exemptions, releasing political prisoners, technological transfers, meaningful education and formal apologies."
This definition of reparations can also be applied to African people throughout the world who have been victims of the Maafa (African holocaust), enslavement and genocide. Therefore, we should move to internationalize the Reparations Movement by linking the demand for reparations to include the millions of displaced African people throughout the world.
It has been thoroughly documented that, "For a period of over 400 years, enslavement robbed Africa of her best and strongest, women, men, and children. They were put in chains like goods and chattel and transported to the Americas to plant cotton and sugar cane to export to Europe for the Industrial Revolution. The result of the work of the enslaved was to enrich the countries of their masters while their countries development was hampered."
The demand for reparations should be expanded to include all slave trading nations such as Portugal, Spain, France, and England. We need to expand our reparations work to analyze "these nations in terms of their true concrete existence." Along with the United States, the countries listed above were truly slave trading nations and African people should not let them off the hook!
Hopefully, as the worldwide momentum around reparations intensifies, NCOBRA will take the lead and collaborate with the other displaced African peoples in the demand for reparations so we can unify our efforts, strategies, resources, and expertise.
For example, The Africa Reparations Movement (UK) was formed in 1993. Its formation was the direct result of the Conference On Reparations held in Abuja, Nigeria in 1993, attended by African people from around the world. That conference issued a declaration called, The Abuja Proclamation, "which called for a national reparations committee to be set up throughout Africa and the Diaspora."
It is important to review some of the key points in the Abuja Proclamation. The Abuja Proclamation stated, in part, the following:
"Recently the Organization of African Unitys establishment of a machinery the Group of Eminent persons for appraising the issue of reparations in relation to the damage done to Africa and its Diaspora by enslavement, colonization, and neocolonialism.
Convinced that the issue of reparations is an important question requiring the united action of Africa and its Diaspora and worthy of the active support of the rest of the international community.
Fully persuaded that the damage sustained by the African people is not a "thing of the past" but painfully manifest in the damaged lives of contemporary Africans from Harlem to Harare, in the damaged economics of the Black World from Guinea to Guyana, from Somalia to Surinam.
Respectfully aware of historic precedents in reparations, ranging from German payment of restitution to the Jews for the economic tragedy of the Nazi Holocaust to the question of compensating JapaneseAmericans for injustice of internment by the Roosevelt Administration in the United States during World War II.
Cognizant of the fact that compensation for injustice need not necessarily be paid only in capital transfer, but could include service to the victims or other forms of restitution and readjustment of the relationship agreeable to both parties.
Convinced that the claim for reparations is well grounded in International Law. Urges the OAU to establish a legal committee on the issue of reparations.
In this regard, as Pan Africanists and Black Nationalists we believe that all Black people are Africans and that they are connected to Africa no matter where in the world they are displaced.
Therefore, let us strive to internationalize the demand for reparations and the Reparations Movement. We owe it to ourselves and most especially to our Ancestors. Hotep!
National Black United Front (NBUF)
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