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Bizarre

I wonder why this man finds it necessary to apologise to Gambians for the inhuman actions of his forbears. He could have done that in his neck of the woods. There are millions of descendants of African slaves in the United Kingdom. They are the people who bear the brunt of slavery. But I guess he knew that they will not tolerate his clownish behavior. So what better place to put up a clownish masquerade than the Gambia. Read the rest of the story below.

Descendent of slaver apologizes in Gambia

BANJUL, Gambia, June 23 (UPI) -- A descendent of an Elizabethan buccaneer has made a formal apology for slavery in an African country where many slaves were taken.

Andrew Hawkins, wearing chains, appeared in a stadium in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, The Independent reported. He knelt down to express his regret for the actions of Sir John Hawkins, who is believed to have been the first person to sell African slaves in the Caribbean. Hawkins, a youth worker in Cornwall, went to Gambia with the Lifeline Expedition, a British group. His apology was part of the Roots Festival, which marks the events described in Alex Haley's book about his family.

"It was one of the most memorable things I've ever done," he said. "It was a learning experience. You see just how deep the wounds left by the slave trade are. As someone with family links to the slave traders, it was a very difficult thing to see the consequences of their actions."

Isatou Njie Saidy, Gambia's vice president, accepted Hawkins' apology and removed his chains.

9 Comments:

  1. Cynthia said...
    This man is lucky, I wouldn't have accepted his apology. I think I heard about something like this on the Gambia Post once. If memory serves me correctly, some people thought it was a good idea. I also thought this group had some type of affiliation with the Alex Haley institute here. Anyway, I think this is shameful. If you really want to do something, give equal access and opportunity to Blacks in Europe. Then, people will know that you are sorry.

    I'm going to cross post this on my blog...
    justin said...
    Are you certain that this was a "clownish masquerade"? Many people are ashamed of their ancestors, to such a degree that they feel somehow responsible. This is synonymous with Africans descendants who feel somehow wronged, even though today they are born into freedom.

    So one way to look at it is that he is apologizing to a culture and a land that survives today. He can't find peace from a people that are born in his own country, but instead from a country that remains in the exact location of his ancestors' wrongdoing, a country that maintains much of the culture that existed during that time.

    Misguided though his efforts may be, consider for a moment the possibility of authentic emotions within.
    ousman ceesay said...
    Justin wrote:
    " Are you certain that this was a "clownish masquerade"?

    Yeah I seriously believe he is clowning. Chaining and parading himself will not mitigate the wrongs his forbears did. By the way he is not responsible for those actions. If he is so inclined, why don't he help the millions of slave descendants that are suffering in the UK. The vice president unchaining him and accepting his apology must be a big relief.

    If this is not clowning then I must be living in a bubble myself.
    sokari said...
    The man is a fool - sounds like he is into doing penance so chose this as a publicity stunt - It is a mockery - this kind of white guilt tripping just dosent wash!
    Curt Hopkins said...
    There's a certain kind of self-flagellation that says, "Look at me. I am so GENUINE." It's a kind of self-absorption masquerading as sensitivity that is positively clogging Universities and cafes across Europe. If he had said to a black friend in his own country (if he has such a one), "Hey. Sorry about slavery," it may have been no more effective, but it wouldn't have been so clearly designed to elicity admiration of his own "bravery." Sorry to be so negative. But sincere or not (and I think not) it definitely stinks of clownishness.
    Ben Temchine said...
    I agree there is an aspect of ingenuosness by his actions, but what does it cost to gracefully accept an apology? An acceptance that may transform the original conflicted apology into one with conviction?

    Should the people who benfited from the slave trade NOT apologize because it does not right the wrong? Apologies NEVER right a wrong. They only acknowledge that one has occurred.

    It is only right that after an apology is accepted you insist action be taken to ameliorate the wrong. ? An apology alone is insufficient, but it is a start.

    Imagine this though: What if there was an endless parade of europeans and americans making a pilgrimage to gambia to apologize for slavery? Wouldn't that be something?! One person after another, streaming in from all over the world, to apologize for ripping africa to pieces and hobbling her people? Shouldn't we be eager for such a day? Shouldn't we all do what we can to encourage that to come?
    Curt Hopkins said...
    An endless parade of self-appointed St. Sebastians going on vacation to Africa, then returning to group hugs and praise in the UK? Empty gestures beat substantive actions any day, at least on TV, and none of that pesky conflictive "thinking" necessary.

    I'm not trying to insult you, B.T. But no, this kind of buffoonery may be emotionally appealing but it's the moral equivalent of Twinkies.

    How about a brief, non-televised apology at a community center in London and then a commitment to hire or fund education for a percentage of descendants of former slaves? Something where the wronged are the focus, not the histrionic descendant of the wrong-doer?
    Anonymous said...
    while i'm unimpressed and do believe his energy would be better spent ensuring black folks have access to opportunity, he does have reason for a degree of "guilt," though i can't think of the right word.

    he and other whites continue to reep the benefits of the actions of his forebearers. we all stand on people's shoulders. history never goes away. we are always building on history. it follows us wherever we go. maybe he knows that.
    Allen - Irish were slaves in Barbados when the first slaves from Gambia were dumped beside them said...
    There were Irish people made slaves in Barbados before the first Gambian slaves were dumped there beside them.
    The Irish were captured after losing a battle in Dundalk, on our east coast, against an invading army from Britain led by the infamous Cromwell. He ravaged our land with his armies.
    The captured Irish were sent as slaves to Barbados and were still slaves there when the first ships of slaves from The Gambia reached Barbados (in the 1690s).
    At one of the earliest Roots Festival gatherings, I appealed for further historical information on slavery during a symposium in Banjul. I still remember on man saying, to mixed applause, when he found I was Irish, "Go back to your potatoes Paddy". Such racism doesn't enlighten anyone. A million of my ancestors died of a famine (all we had were blighted inedible potatoes) in the 1800s and people in Ireland continued to die of starvation up to the 1950s.
    No-one has a monopoly on misery and it is not a 'black-and-white' situation - us pink/light brown/white Irish were also enslaved.
    2007 is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery and I wish to write further on Irish people's involvement. While our country did engage in slavery (we did not have a free country at the time), there were Irish people who worked as crew on slave ships that ran from Limerick, Ireland, and from London and Liverpool in England.
    On the African side of things, not one slave-ship would have sailed if the African slaves had not been provided by African traders and kings in Barra and beyond in The Gambia. I don't think any of them realised the cruelty that awaited slaves on the other side of the Atlantic (very different to the type of slavery practised in Africa at the time where slaves were treated quite well by comparison).
    Anyway, as for the guy who apologised, good for him. He is helping to highlight a human-rights abuse that is still going on today, especially in the area of sexual slavery whereby women are bought and sold.
    As an Irishman, I feel no shame, only solidarity with the victims of imperialism, colonialism and slavery. As for racists who hate everyone but their own, I pity them.
    A final point, Ireland's patron saint by the way is Saint Patrick a former slave taken from Wales or France (his origins are unclear).
    'Sin e! Slan!' (as Gaeilge)
    Allen

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