Community groups met last Friday to discuss strategies to counter government plans for the 2007 Bicentenary, which are said to 'dishonour' the memory of African people who fought for their freedom and resisted enslavement.
Black Britain reports today that groups have branded the government's plans as "propaganda" and see them as an insult to the memory of our ancestors. Click here for more info.
They also pointed out that the Maafa, or enslavement, exploitation and mass murder of African people, has had long-term psychological effects on us and our community, and that what is needed now is healing and emanipation from mental enslavement. This is the same thing I have said in my work for many years.
However, I certainly do not agree with the assertion that "the [black] child from the age of six learns to understand that I was a slave and therefore being black means being inferior". I learned at a young age that my ancestors had been enslaved by white people, and I certainly did not and do not consider myself to be inferior. On the contrary, I have always been proud of my ancestors because they were survivors, and I have inherited their genes. My ancestors did not enslave and exploit African people, so what do I have to be ashamed of? It is the enslavers and their descendants who may wish to hang their heads in shame, not us.
The knowledge of the history of our enslavement helps us to understand why Africa is in the position it is in today - why the richest continent on earth is beset with poverty and disease.
As African people, we must take the initiative in deciding how the memory of enslavement and emancipation is commemorated. The British government and governments of other western countries which participated in the trade in African people fail to even begin to understand how to mark the anniversary of the end of the Transatlantic trade, and why this is important to us as African people in the Diaspora.
See also: poem - "The Blood"
Slavery Memorial Day