Posts Tagged ‘abolition’

Rumour has it that Sir Trevor the Younger (i.e.Phillips , not McDonald) has some funds to use for Legacy of the slave trade abolition.

Sir Trevor

Did this money come from banks? from the corporate sector?

And how much? Was it really for reparations? And what will it be used for?

And does that mean it was in the trillions as calculated by Dr Robert Beckford when researching the issue of back pay for Africans building up the British empire? Or something less?

Is it true? Initial searches on the net reveal little, even though it is said he announced this windfall. (Gee it’s hard to find kind things being said about this man, with his head so far above the parapet – being hated on by black and white in equal measure)

Well seems like some more research needed here?

So what do YOU know? Any comments?

Is this just a rumour??



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It’s a blow to the cultural “offer” of the city that the Commonwealth museum is moving to London.  In it’s short time in Bristol it has hosted a wealth of exhibitions and events that have aimed to raise poignant questions for the whole city; for those born here and for those born elsewhere.

That said, there are also people in the city that have refused to even step inside due to it’s name, that won’t be sad to see it go.  It also came under criticism for it’s use of “smiley ethnic faces” in it’s publicity campaigns and posters for exoticising “others” and glossing over the brutality of much of the colonisation era.  In my view the museum would never be able to please all the people all the time and I feel it did it’s best to reflect the historical context of the British Empire in a balanced way; at times it’s exhibitions didn’t go far enough and in other times it was spot on.  I personally will be sad to see it go as at least it kept certain issues on the radar, and if they were not always agreed with, at least they could be debated. 

As for the name, I think it is more accurate and apt than most other “British” museums in the country, whose big attractions are mummies from Egypt and marbles from Greece. 

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My reflection of the (so called) abolition year so far, is that I wonder how many sympathetic and unsympathetic people would admit to having ‘slave trade fatigue’.

I say that because, even as a (hopefully) conscious proud African who takes very seriously the need for African history to be leant and African stories to be told, I have to admit that I have some fatigue.  There are so many events & programmes & exhibitions & plays & poetry readings & documentaries & lectures & church services &&&&&&&, that even I sometimes have to say to myself, ‘I really don’t have the time or the inclination to go to that!’  I hope I still have the interest, but in all honesty I can’t always be bothered to very to every event.

This may be bad to admit I know, but I have to be honest.

But this is just me!  I’m glad all these events are happening as I know all these stories need to be told and I’m not the prime audience for all these events.  My fatigue is only partly to do with a cynical perception of the oversaturation of a subject matter, it is more about my cynicism of,  ‘will this be it’?  Next year, in any month except October, I would be more than happy to attend one of these many events, but my fear is that we are being tolerated this year, but next year it will be only about October again and we have to know our place.  “We’ve let you do slavery.  Can we forget it now.”

This is the double edged sword.  No we should not  forget slavery!  But also, it is not the total sum of African experience, (and neither is racism) and actually we have other stories to tell.  So no I don’t want to talk about slavery all the time, or even be reminded of it 24/7, but I don’t think it should be forgotten either. 

Is that having it both ways? (yes)

Do I want my cake and eat it? (yes)

I won’t apologise for that.  Why should I?  History’s legacy on present day identity is a complex web of emotions, politics and references, and I won’t be-little my identity by shutting the door on the past just because it makes some others feel more comfortable. 

The truth is I have had some ‘slave trade fatigue’ this year, but it has been so long  overdue that, as with any other bottleneck situation, when the blackage is released the outpouring can be overwhelming.

I’m glad for this year’s outpouring.  I just hope any spillages are not dried so quick as to forget the source.

If i’m tired by fatigue that’s not actually a problem. 

Tired, but still awake. 

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