Justification for Reparations? 1


“By our unpaid labor and suffering, we have earned the right to the soil, many times over, and now we are determined to have it” Anonymous 1861

The talk or debate about reparations almost always raises some highly emotive responses or in some cases reactions. Be it amongst people of Afrikan descent, Caucasians or Arabs, where Afrikan reparations are concerned there seems to be this need for people of Afrikan descent to have to justify their claim to reparations.

Also read: Justification for reparations part 2

In taking this matter forward it is critical that we have an idea of what the writer means by the different terminologies that are used in this article:

Justification: an act or declaration of something as being correct, right, reasonable or defendable within certain circumstances.

Reparations: an act of making compensation for a wrong/illegal act that has been committed against another, where immoral laws cannot and do not cure the wrongfulness of the act in question.

For many years, if not decades, people of Afrikan descent, globally, have been heard to be calling for reparations for the wrongs perpetrated against them over the centuries. The most surprising and indeed amazing thing about the call for reparations is that the people are not speaking with the same voice. Admittedly the experiences of slavery, colonialism and general exploitation are not the same and at the hands of different nationalities. Be that as it may, the fact that remains is that they are similar in many ways and both the Caucasian and the Arab races have benefitted immensely from the exploitation of people of Afrikan descent. Such exploitation has left Afrika and people of Afrikan descent, globally, in the mess that is evident today. It therefore stands to reason that Caucasians and Arabs have an undeniable obligation to compensate Afrikans for the wrongs perpetrated.

More disturbing than the fact that the advocates of reparations are not speaking with one voice is the fact that there are some, within the Afrikan communities who, together with the Caucasians and the Arabs, are vehemently speaking out against reparations. Like the Caucasians and the Arabs they are calling upon the Reparationists to justify their claim to reparations and want to suggest that flag independence is enough.

It is most absurd that Reparationists should be called upon to justify their cause for reparations. According to the above definition of the word justification it is clear that the act of reparations must be founded upon a wrong or wrongs that has or have been committed. The most important thing about the wrongful deed or deeds that give rise to a reparations claim is that it is not confined to acts perpetrated against an individual but a whole race, generation after generation.

One does not have to be a student of history to realise that claims for reparations are not just correct, right, reasonable or defendable but it is the moral and legal thing to do. How on earth, or heaven or wherever else can it be wrong to make a just claim and correct the ills of a history that has seen some races benefit and advance themselves at the expense of other races. Not only just benefit and advance but also ensure that, collectively other races do not advance and better themselves.

Neither is it necessary for one to be a lawyer or student of law to appreciate the fact that the acts complained of were and some are still wrong and/or downright illegal. The mere fact that some of the acts were justified by means of racist laws does not make them innocent, they should be understood to be the evil deeds that they were and/or are.

In as much as it makes no sense whatsoever, for Reparationists to have to justify their claim for reparations, it will, hopefully, assist the skeptics, especially those of Afrikan descent, to consider the following:

• When the enslavers came to Afrika, they did not come by way of invitation, they forced their way in and they devastated our communities by enslaving the able-bodied, working-age Afrikan youths, men and women. The very act of enslaving the working age Afrikans meant that communities were compromised in their ability to continue to develop and grow. How could where some were totally annihilated or left with geriatrics and babies to fend for themselves.

• The enslaved Afrikans were commodified and thus used, abused and misused for the commercial benefit and sometimes entertainment of other races.

• They were stripped of their cultural heritage and manifestation of any such, thus leading to loss of identity and loss of reference points for future advancement and development.

• The land was forcibly taken away, without compensation.

• Those Afrikans who remained on the continent were enslaved at home and made to labour for nothing to advance the interests of the “mother countries”.

• Mass murders of Afrikans were committed at home and abroad.

• Manufacturing laboratory diseases aimed at annihilating Afrikans, as in aids and ebola.

• Conducting medical experiments on Afrikans, as in the Tuskegee syphilis genocide.

• Sponsoring of coups and creating wars in Afrika.

• Deliberate destabilisation of Afrikan countries and economies.

• Unfair exploitation of Afrikan resources including human labour.

• To this day, Afrikans do not have ownership and control of their land and mineral resources.

In a nutshell, reparations for Afrikans are more than justified and long overdue. The scary part of the reparations movement is that it is more organised in the West than it is in Afrika yet the issue of reparations is as much relevant at home as it is abroad. Sadly, in Afrika the movement is really and truly non-existent. To reiterate the observations of the great Omowale Malcolm X, respect of the Global Afrikan Family is directly related to the strength of the Afrikan continent. It is high time we organised ourselves at home so that we can complement the work and efforts of our Brathas and Sistas in the Diaspora and in the process create a strong invincible global reparations movement.

The question therefore is not whether there is a justification for reparations or not, the questions are how soon, in what manner and how the reparations will be paid.

Don't miss:
Justification for reparations part 2

Marcus Garvey Philosophy (God and Nature first made us what we are - Part 1)

Marcus Garvey Philosophy (God and Nature first made us what we are - Part 2)

Marcus Garvey Philosophy (Up, up, you mighty race! You can accomplish what you will)

Pan Afrikanism : Brief Introduction


  • I most definitely agree, talking about reparations without addressing the Arabs is being dishonest. to this day they are still colonising us and the AU is no use, we should organise internationally and target the Arabs, Afrika is not free as long Arabs control the North
  • This is a very strong piece of content and clearly awakens the sleeping African to his God given rights. There is no justification for silence when your neighbour walks into your home and takes away everything you own and throws you outside, then your children suffer and keep quiet. Africa must arise to this occasion and restore what has been forcefully taken from us.
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