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Should Africa draw a line under colonial crimes and move on?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 12:43 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

Four Kenyans are suing the UK government for alleged human rights abuses during the colonial era.

The Mau Mau rebellion in 1950's was a violent campaign against white settlers and historians believe it helped Kenya achieve independence. But the uprising was crushed by the British colonial government. In the process, thousands of guerrilla suspects were detained in camps, tortured, starved, and even castrated.

The British government says too much time has elapsed since the alleged abuses and that it cannot be held liable.

But another former colonial power in Africa, Italy, has apologised and compensated Libya for abuses committed during colonial times.

Does Britain have a point or do you back Italy's decision? Is it time to draw a line under colonial crimes and move on, or would that be a denial of justice?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 7 April at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    The colonian powers most appeal for their wrong in the past if they want it to be forgotten.

  • Comment number 3.

    I believe the british Government should be held liable for its crimes commited in Africa as should every other country that has commited crimes. Italy was honorable enough to know it had done wrong to HUMAN BEINGS and apologized. Also there is no such thing as moving on when your race or people have been subjected to such cruelty. This is why the Jews will never "move on" nor the blacks in amreica the native americans and so on. It is possible to forgive but impossible to forget no matter how many times the history books are "amended" or modified to leave out the black spots in a nations history. If anything Brittain should "get over:" it and apologize. These people are apparently still hurting from the effects of what Brittain did. Europe raped Africa and put brother against brother (not to say they were not fighting before qwhites came in, just for diffrent reasons ) for her own personal gains of land , wealth and ego. Theres a saying " Africa had ALL the gold diamonds and jewels and the whites had bibles after the whites Africa had Bibles and the whites had all the gold, diamonds and jewels.

  • Comment number 4.

    We can only draw a line beneath it when all colonial powers accept that there are still skeletons in their cupboards and accept that they have a duty to redress them so long as they exist. Jews have not stopped chasing Nazi war criminals so why should Africans be asked to behave differently?
    Drawing a line beneath such developments should be in the gift of the sufferers and not the perpetrators. The younger ones amongst us should note that the distance of history should not deaden our hearts and feelings to what these people suffered. The comfort of a studio or of life in a western European country should not be an excuse for establishing a moral equivalence between what they suffered and what he white settlers who seized these lands forcibly through the use of colonial law and brute force.
    People say Africans should stop blaming others for our problems but this does not mean atrocities should not be condemned and reparations sought.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course Britain should step up and apologize, be punished and give retribution. Are you kidding?? Ever occur to anyone that it may have taken 50 years for former colonies to build a case? Have the resources to present a case? The education system, the cultural capital, the monetary capital? Not to mention the continued oppression of post-colonialism.

    "oops my bad." doesnt cut it. Man up England.

  • Comment number 6.

    How long will the youth of africa continue to hold arms in LIBYA and IVORY COAST?
    Remember, the longer they hold the arms the more violence they will be.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't care where and who committed a crime against humanity or the murder of another person, there should be no statue of limitation to prosecute. I cannot help, but wonder why crimes against Africa and African descendants are often dimissed. Slavery of Africans in the Americas and Europe are quickly dismissed. For example, the US congress and white Americans at large, refused to apologize for slavery. Slavery might have been abolished more than 100 years ago, everyone knows that the legacy of slavery in the form of Jim Crow laws and racism continues - even today, with an African-American in the whitehouse. In contrast, Jews and holocaust survivors sued and were compensated by Germany and other European countries. Nobody dare say holocaust was 50-60 years ago and Jews should forget about holocaust. I know there is enough blame to go around. African chiefs were guilty of selling their fellow Africans into slavery too. But, White people enjoyed and reaped the benefits of African Slaves free labor. Therefore, they bear the brunt of slavery and the mistreatment of Africans and their descendants in the Americas and Europe today.

  • Comment number 8.

    David Cameron should be commended for saying the truth about the british colonial past. However it is better to forget this past and move the world forward, as any reminder of those history will only serve to open old wounds. Nevertheless, we cannot but remember the effect of colonialism in a country like Nigeria, considering the current conflict that constantly bedevils the country.

    Ironocally,throughout Nigeria’s short history, misinterpretation of the political, cultural and social nature of the country by the West, represented by the western media, has served to set Nigerians against each other, rather than solve the problem created by the same former colonial master. This comes all too naturally to them as they lack a national identity to hold the country together.

    The creation of the country called Nigeria by Britain in 1914 has led to over fifty years of conflict and bloodshed.

    Pre-colonialism, the country called Nigeria did not exist. In its place was a hugely diverse scattering of tribes and communities, some of whom had territory which overlaps the borders of present day Nigeria. These varied groups with different languages, cultures and political practices were all brought together under British rule to form an entirely artificial nation. The arbitrary drawing of borders which was so common to Africa in colonial times paid little attention to the natural ethnic lines of the tribes. Whilst the Western world regarded them all as Nigerians, they considered themselves as primarily members of whichever tribe from which they originated.

    In addition to this, Britain also imposed on Nigeria a Westminster style government system which was entirely different to the way the different tribes had previously governed themselves. This included the introduction of political parties. Whilst under British rule, the various parties, which were usually primarily made up of members of specific tribes, shared a common goal: autonomy from Britain. This became their sole national interest and for a while the tribes were united under a common cause. Once independence was gained, however, it became clear that Nigeria was not a natural nation. The system in place was not equipped to deal with so many different sized ethnic groups. The natural order of the region; division along tribal lines, and the Western style system soon came into conflict

    The instability and confusion in the northern region of Nigeria can only be understood by starting at the beginning of the story. This is not, as it would seem, 1960 when Nigeria was granted independence from Britain. In fact, many of the conflicts which rage today have their roots in the events which took place whilst Nigeria was under British colonial rule.

    The British military expansion into Northern Nigeria introduced Christianity to a region which had experienced over five hundred years of Islam; hence, there were religion-based skirmishes between the Muslims and the [invading] British Christians.

    Enugu in Nigeria and its coal mines would also form the backdrop of another resistance to colonial subjugation which, sadly, resulted in the November 1949 shooting of 22 miners at the Iva Valley mine, after the authorities tried to renege on the contractual terms for the labor force.

    It is to be hoped that one day Nigerians will have enough in common with one another to become a real nation.

    Abbey, London

  • Comment number 9.

    No! and they should be made to also pay compensations...... for slavery and ..............

  • Comment number 10.

    No, I don't think they should. The crimes were quite systematic, grisly, and widespread. By definition, they were crimes against not just the victims, but the whole of humanity too. This is why torture (which was one of the crimes cited by the victims) is covered by universal jurisdiction. More importantly, this is why prosecution for such crimes are generally not time-barred. For example, the Jewish people continue to hunt down Nazi war criminals to this day, with no sign of any let up. Seeking mere compensation from the British in their courts for atrocities committed in their name is therefore the least they can expect.

    Nonetheless, we must also start demanding compensation from (if not the prosecution of) our own rulers, for their present-day atrocities against us. Otherwise, the rest of the world would be entitled to consider us shameless hypocrites.

  • Comment number 11.

    The colonial crimes are still responsible for Africa's underdevelopment. The rules for international trade were for the most part drawn up at the Berlin Conference of 1884, where Europe partitioned Africa. This pitches trade unfairly to Africa, in favour of Europe. Also the partition has caused many ethnic groups to be joined together into single countries, leading to instability and rivalry. The biblical concept of repentance requires a change of mind and attitude. Reparations also result from such repentance, as Germany did to Israel after the second world war. All these need to be addressed, with the added request for Europe and the USA to cease to influence what goes on in Africa. The country which has suffered the most is DRC, where the CIA toppled the government of Patrice Lumumba and replaced it with Mobutu, who destroyed the country. DRC is yet to recover from this[Personal details removed by Moderator].

  • Comment number 12.

    Africans must never forget these colonial crimes, which continue to this day. Just ask Mugabe. These people continue to rubbish the African at every opportunity with fine language and excellent salesmanship to organise and mobilise gullible stakeholders to frustrate our efforts to make our people truly independent, whilst erecting fences to keep us away from what they stole from us[Personal details removed by Moderator]. Viva Mugabe.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why should Africans be expected to forget and move on? It has never been suggested that the Jewish victims of the Shoah ("Holocaust") should "draw a line under the Shoah and move on!"

  • Comment number 15.

    Interesting. Just last week, I was at a party and sitting next to me was an older gentleman who told me he was originally from Poland, his mother was a Holocaust survivor, the only one in her family. No, not the most riveting conversation at a party I know but let me tell you, to even suggest to this guy who is well into his 50s, its time to draw the line, move on, too much time has lapsed etc would be insensitive and offensive! Why should it be any different with us Africans? I don't think people want compensation for most part but an acknowledgment of a wrong doing of some sort. Britain imposed itself on those colonies without invitation, the chickens were always going to come home to roost.

  • Comment number 16.

    We Africans must forget about the colonial era now, and try to forge ahead. We know the white man has done so many bad things in Africa, but if we dont forgive and forget, there will be no peace. Now,we all have independence, so let's try to build our nations and have love [Personal details removed by Moderator]for each other.

  • Comment number 17.

    I understand this article's purpose is to raise a discussion but I am appalled at the fact that we would even question if Britain is to be held liable for crimes committed during colonial times. Atrocities were done to innocent people throughout Africa and we argue if it's too late to seek justice? Justice has not time clock! If it were up to me every single nation that colonized an African country should be held liable in court, hell I would even have countries involved in the slave trade be prosecuted.

  • Comment number 18.

    It may be an opportunity for the grieved to seek redress and the aggressor to make good of the issues raised. However, I see this as a test on international bilateral relations among nations. We live in a world of interdependence and issue that may strain relationships need to be addressed as they arise.
    Yes, the time lapse may make the case legally not attainable but the pain out of the experience live with those seeking redress. An interesting challenge on this case is its historical connection and background to the continuous post election violence Kenya has experienced over time.

  • Comment number 19.

    Maybe Britian should look to the example set by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
    How can the British government say too much time has elapsed since the alleged abuses when they are still recalled by certain living Kenyans?

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm not a lawyer by profession but this time round i can serve as a lawyer for the British Government. I'll argue that it was the then Government that committed the atrocities. Thus, when Kenya got her independence, Jomo Kenyatta inherited the government from the British and this government was inherited by Daniel Moi and Moi finally handed over to the current President, Mwai Kibaki. Thus, Kibaki's government should compensate the Mau Mau fighters. Surely, if the current Kenyan owes the World Bank money in form of a loan and the country goes for election next year, the incoming government must pay the loan. Period. Am I not a brilliant lawyer?

  • Comment number 21.

    The British government must answer for its crimes. The Holocaust does not have a statute of limitation.

  • Comment number 22.

    If these Kenyans personally suffered in the 1950' they have the right to be compensated, through conviction of the perpetrators (if these are still alive). I'm against monetary compensation for crimes in general because it is impossible to put a figure on hurt and in this case would only lead to higher taxes or budget cuts in the UK, hurting people who are not responsible for what happened in the 1950's. On the other hand Britain has the right to send a bill to Kenya for all the free roads, schools, train tracks, buildings and development aid Britain has given to Kenya (again hurting ordinary Kenyans who didn't ask for these things). In conclusion it would be better for both the British and Kenyan peoples to bury the past.

  • Comment number 23.

    no no no! the crimes committed against Africans should never be forgotten. the perpetrators shall forever know the wrongs they committed and lives they destroyed as a result of their mindless and senseless believes so that such crimes against humanity shall never be committed by the same perpetrators again. asking Africans to forget about colonial crimes is like asking Jews to forget about the genocide in Germany.

  • Comment number 24.

    The world courts have not stopped Israel from prosecuting war crimes so why should any other nation be exempt? How do you put a time limit on prosecution or trials for crimes committed against humanity

  • Comment number 25.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]Africans need to follow these inhumane atrocities committed against them with the same tenacity the Jews followed the Nazis after world war two. we are not even talking about the early 20th century, these atrocities were committed in the 1960s way after the whole world came together and signed a charter on human rights. Eventually justice wins, decades of paying of African dictators to cover these atrocities will soon unravel. When you start hearing of old men telling you how they were castrated in British concentration camps, or old women being repeatedly sexually assaulted by British guards then you start wondering what part the UN plays in Africa. I'm going to be writing papers on these, to let the whole world know what the British empire really stood for in its last days. Justice for all.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why is it that when crimes are committed against black people, its always being suggested that we all should forget and move on. The British wont dictate the outcome and the eventual decision on this issue. Its we African and the diaspora who will hold the British responsible irrespective of how long it takes. Africans and the diaspora should adopt the Chinese attitude/philosophy of seeking proper compensation short of revenge. Forgiving and moving on is for the weak and therefore the British and other relevant groups such Germans should prepare to counter a powerful Black/African diaspora seeking justice when the times comes.

  • Comment number 27.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]“At one point the villagers were ordered to remove every article of clothing and remain stark naked. You cannot start to imagine the shame and embarrassment we felt when ... we were told to arrange ourselves in two rows, one for the men and the other for the women, old and young alike. To everyone’s horror we were ordered at gunpoint to embrace each other, man with a woman, regardless of whether the man happened to be your father, father-in-law or brother. It was all so humiliating that one woman hanged herself later, as she felt that she could not continue to live with the humiliating experience of having been forced to embrace her son-in-law while both of them were naked. In (Kikuyu) custom that is a curse.” Is this what you are requesting Africans to forget? That is an excerpt from a British communication during the Maumau.

  • Comment number 28.

    interesting that the British should want to sweep their war crimes under the carpet and in the same breathe support cases against German perpetrators of Nazi war crimes. Genocide was committed in both counts. The mass graves in Hola are still crying out for justice. Its time to stop having double standards especially where African lives are concerned. Swallow your pride, issue an apology, compensate the victims and wipe the slate clean.

  • Comment number 29.

    People cannot forget colonial crimes. Or any crimes against humanity. They will be remembered. However, we need to move on, really, isn't it time to let this issue rest whilst we tackle real day and present issues? Stop living in the past, it's a waste of time.

  • Comment number 30.

    I am so disappointed with the way the British government is handling this. Remember they told us that they are fighting for injustice? How can they say that the people of Kenya should forget what was done to them during the colonial era? Now let me tell you something, the date it happens does not matter what matters is that it was done and it will never leave the mind of those it was done to and you people should remember that you are using this so called activity to be prying into other countries affairs. It is high time you take up your responsibility and see that justice is[Personal details removed by Moderator] done to them, and stop using the excuse of time to cover up what has already been engraved in their mind.

  • Comment number 31.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]There are things which can be forgotten but not crimes against humanity. Forgetting these crimes is equivalent to impunity and applying double standards. Before talking about forgetting, people should ask themselves why the colonists were there in the first place. Did the natives invite them? And what crime did the natives do on their own land that they deserved such a treatment? It's actually high time former colonial powers started thinking of paying for the occupation of former colonies without having to wait to be taken to court,the world is changing and hiding places are now very limited if any exist at all.

  • Comment number 32.

    As usual, the British government wants to duck out of liability when it's time to answer for their own crimes. Crimes they are still committing today, but using African traitors to enforce it.

  • Comment number 33.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]This is a silly question and I am surprised the BBC cannot come up with something a bit more intelligent than this. The question is not 'should' - rather can Africans forget? And the answer is no, because modern African politics, economics and whole host of other spectrum is being controlled by the colonial dominance of the past. Not that we can blame everything on the past, because we Africans are not innocent in the crimes of the past, however, colonialism has a lot to pay for...

    I am glad the Kenyans are bringing their case against Britain: hopefully there will be more to follow. Terrible and brutal crimes were committed in the name of colonalism and the Civilising Mission. The tragedy of these crimes is still speaking in the lives of countless people on the continent.

  • Comment number 34.

    How come comments on this topic are forever awaiting moderation yet the topic was floated for discussion 5 days ago? Is the UK (through the BBC) fearing negative comments due to atrocities committed during colonial days in Kenya? I hope the BBC is not graduating into a partisan or sectarian media house such that when the truth is told about her government, the comments are never documented. We are watching keenly when and for how long the comments will remain online. This is comment no. 34 joining in the queue awaiting moderation. The first one from JeffME was posted on 7th March 2011 at 15.57pm Uk time and still awaits moderation.

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't get it, there were no human rights in those days. How many years have gone by before they come up with this? If this happen and may Darwin forgive us if they win because all dealings with others will fall under this umbrella. The UK will be taken to court by India, Pakistan, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, China, Burma, Thailand, Antarctic, Arctic... and let's not talk about the USA! Quite easy, in those days, good and bad was done by all, some did it better than others, should the British 'settlers' then not charge the mau mau for the same? Or is it another chance of African[Personal details removed by Moderator]s seeing a potential big buck pay-off or should I say, some lawyer?

  • Comment number 36.

    Please don't patronise us, you make things worse. How do you think Jews would respond to the same question posed in the following manner:

    Should Jews draw a line under the holocaust and move on?

  • Comment number 37.

    ''is it time to move on?'' Would you dare ask the Jews this same questions? I think not.

  • Comment number 38.

    The British government says too much time has elapsed since the alleged abuses and that it cannot be held liable.

    They will say the same to Cameroonians of the English Language expression. Whether they accept or deny any claims, any where in Africa, it is a shame that Africans still think and rely on foreign aid and power. The current wave of problems we suffer from is just due to lack of good will and political power. Individuals have taken whole countries and states hostage and yet we stand and talk of colonial crimes. Have we settled with domestic crimes commited by the African leaders against their own very citizens? For how long have these leaders stayed in power? When shall they freely or democratically leave power?

    If God does exist, then there is forgiving kindness, a divine virture, a virture we must have acquired during baptism (for Christians).

    However, I wish to propose this small experiment to Africans and the other countries of the world. All Africans should be settled in either Europe or the USA for five years. And the displaced persons/Countries to Africa. If Europe or the USA is not destroyed, or if Africans don't protest of coming back home, then I can say with 95% confidence that Colonial Masters should be stronly charged for their crimes irrespective of the time that has elapsed. For even till date, many of them are still in control of Africa.

  • Comment number 39.

    Never, The crimes that has been done to Africa and its people is far greater than what Hilter did to the Jews. 250 million African men women and children compare to 6 million Jews.

  • Comment number 40.

    As much as I believe we Africans should move on and forgive those who oppressed us, I also believe that justice should not be denied either. The West has to acknowledge the pain they put our society through. Our culture is fractured, in part (not absolutely) due to those abuses. If the issues of colonial times were not an issue, people wouldn't be drawn to those who seem to oppose the West only to oppress their own people. An acknowledgement and apology would go a long way in helping people heal. We've heard of sexual abuse in the church...is it too late for their pain to be acknowledged as well??? Or is it just that we Africans mean nothing to the West??? Why does the world expect us to just "get over it and move on"? [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 41.

    It is amazing how the world, especially the African/ASIAN colonization victims are told to forget about the atrocities committed against them, but we remember the Holocaust and its victims to the last Nazi. Compare the numbers:
    6 million Jews killed by Hitler vs10 million Africans killed in the DR Congo alone from 1890-1910. How many were killed in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Angola from 1945-1989 by colonial powers or their successors? Yes they owe the money ATLEAST.
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 42.

    All past colonial masters have cases to answer for the inhuman treatment they meted on the citizens of the countries they occupied. The whole concept of “might is right” being displayed by most African leaders is as a result of the orientation they got from their colonial masters. Imagine someone coming to stake a claim to a piece of property without recourse to the owners of the said property. This I believe is the height of injustice. By the forgone I think not just the United Kingdom but all countries who participated in the “Divide Africa” Conference of 1885 (in Berlin) should apologize to and pay reparation to Africa. This is my humble submission.

  • Comment number 43.

    Africa is a backward society, akin to something from the 19th century. They always look to blame Europe, the UK in particular. They should concentrate on bettering their lives rather than looking for a former colonial power to blame for their own short comings.

    12. At 12:49pm 8th Apr 2011, Ojiyovwi wrote:
    Africans must never forget these colonial crimes, which continue to this day. Just ask Mugabe.

    Just ask Mugabe!! The despot, lunatic dictator has commited attrocities against his own people, but drums up nationalistic support "because it's the fault of the UK!"

    Get over it, move on, or we'll no doubt be having these same conversations in 50 years.

  • Comment number 44.

    Not liable or unwilling to pay-out? The UK has a lot to answer for in Africa. In regards to compensation, the Italian government reimbursed much less than is likely for the UK. Who could ever suggest the idea of simply 'moving on' from racial crimes in a place like Australia for example, where there are half as many instances. That being said there is a difference from moving on to forgetting altogether, but Britain ought to accept the responsibility in the wake of what it has done to many African nations and peoples.

  • Comment number 45.

    This is one of the most hurtful articles that i have ever read from an impartial media house.

  • Comment number 46.

    I believe no body is asking the Mau Mau (and Africa in general) to forget or forgive past genocidal crimes. Afterall the Armenians have huge support in the West in their quest for recognition of Turkish crimes in the early 1900's. The issue is: What to do in the present? When Robert Mugabe uses past crimes to justify repression of his own people, the issue becomes divisive in the present (not good). Alluding to Allasanne Outarra's ancestry, Laurent Gbagbo stirs up anti foreigner sentiment; turning a factual contest into a zenophobic frenzy (not good).

  • Comment number 47.

    the either/or of this question is problematic because on the one side it covers over not only neocolonial regimes of power that are connected to prior forms of colonialism but it also simplifies colonialism's effects and acts through the logic of equation in which somehow the Africans could be repaid or awarded justice for colonial crimes. This logic denies the complex legacy of colonialism in Africa and suggests the only form, which has ended ( a point that is also inaccurate), is violent, whereas we know that colonialism took many insidious forms which include the imposition of racist ideologies that still persist today.

  • Comment number 48.

    Oh yes, not only Britain but every colonising country should not only apologise but also compensate Africa for their plundering of that continent. In fact what is happening right now in Libya is just that, plundering of that counrties natural resource and Africa should stand up to this act, this is not just an attack on Libya but on Africa. Just who will they attack next when let"s say they need more land to grow food for their over-expanding populations, or more gold, oil,diamonds,coffee and so on. Therefore Africa should not only side up with the Colonel but support him militarily as well.

  • Comment number 49.

    Britain was invaded by the Romans, the Danes, the Saxons and the Normans, all of whom behaved appallingly. The French never left and got absorbed into the general population. It would be ludicrous to request compensation and, in fact, the Norman invasion was the event that finally linked Britain to world culture and technology. At the time of the invasion the largest building in Englad was a tithe barn, while the Normans were building cathedrals.

    I accept that nasty stuff was done by the Brits - it's in the nature of colonialism - but Africa would do better to concentrate on its own crop of brutal despots who, unlike the colonial authorities in Kenya in the 1950s cannot be held to account by national parliaments. And by the same token, the Zulus should apologise for their depredations throughout southern Africa in the 19th century, and the Bantu tribes of East Africa should return to West Africa, from where they invaded and colonised half the continent. Let's get real and move on. An apology is in order, but that's it.

  • Comment number 50.

    Our past should be left behind if truely we're ready to move forward,we should'nt blame anybody for our failure though they ve done alot to our foundation but the harm has been done!Good lucks to Africa! FROM NIGERIA.

  • Comment number 51.

    What use is an apology? These days politicians and celebrities just like many other dishonest people i know apologizes at random, they feel they are obligated to do this so as to retain a good PR. In my opinion colonial powers especially Britain and France should reflect these apologies in their various policies toward these nations. Some of these African countries are under modern colonization. The way some controversial issues are handled takes us back to the colonial era. A lot need to change between the so called 1st world and 3rd world nations.

    The question I have been unable to find answers for is: what would have been the future of the black race without colonization?

  • Comment number 52.

    Sure.. in the same breath, dear BBC, why not ask Jews and Hollocaust survivors to "move on" and forget about the past??? Why do I get the feeling that it is generally being regarded as if making black people suffer and killing them in the process is less atrocious than killing white folks...?? Anyway, my answere is NO!! Never forget and you must apologize. You committed crimes agains human kind. Your closets are overflowing with skeletons. APOLOGIZE!

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    This is just sad. Really. How can you just ask us to forget? Paying reparations may not do anything to improve the lives of the average African in most sub-saharan countries but it would be insulting if the western world and the rest of the world just went on and asks us to forgive and forget. First they should apologise for what they did then and what they continue to do now. Say everything out in the open. Acknowledge the wrong that was done. Yes our leaders have aggravated the problem but the colonialists and slave traders laid the foundation. And it is no use asking what would have happened if there were no colonialists. Many a great philosopher have said this is quite unhelpful.

    A spoken apology would be nothing if they do not begin to have policies which say the African life is one of value and dignity and is just "as equal as yours".

    Having said all of this, I don't think we'll achieve African unity or stability or anything like that soon. So like C.S.Lewis said (I'm paraphrasing): instead of trying to achieve world health or world peace, it will be better for each of us to try and treat TB or malaria and try not to quarrel with the neighbours. I take a similar view. No the UK cannot fix it's mistakes but each of us can do the little we are able to reduce the effects of colonialisation and improve the circumstances of those around us.

  • Comment number 55.

    Colonialism and Africa!! Im sure Africa is still gathering colonial cases even now. I dont believe colonialism was a thing of the past because as exemplified in all our economies, politics etc we are still under colonial influence. Africa shall draw the line after we are fully out of colonial rule then we will plan to compile ALL the colonial cases.
    Kweesa J Kaweesa
    Mukono Uganda


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