In Mid September of this year, throngs gathered at the United Nations to rally for slavery reparations from the United States government. International guests harking from such law-abiding and justice-seeking nations as Zimbabwe, Libya, Angola, Cuba, Namibia, and Nigeria were in attendance at the event. Speakers included Ron Walters, Louis Farrakhan, and NYC Councilman Charles Barron. Dozens of fringe groups like the Friends of Zimbabwe and The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) sponsored the rally. Thousands also attended last year’s Millions For Reparations Mass Rally, held on August 17, 2002, in Washington, D. C.
It is, perhaps, high time to stop marginalizing this increasingly influential grassroots movement, which is gaining considerable strength and support, and rather meet it head on, resolving the issue once and for all, with zest, and not letting it linger on in our national consciousness unresolved.
President Bush has made an effort to indirectly tackle the difficult aftermath of slavery. The President’s speech on Goree Island in Senegal, a stirring example of democracy working in Africa, was one of the great and noble moments of reckoning in his career thus far. Despite being caught in the crossfire of Africa’s most popular statesman, Nelson Mandela, President Bush made his way to the continent with a relatively small retinue. As reported by the Arizona Republic’s Don Melvin, a cartoon appeared on the front page of The Star, the largest newspaper in Johannesburg, on the day that the President delivered his historic speech. The cartoon showed President Bush in tourist dress being greeted by South African President, Thabo Mbeki:
"Wow!" Bush says in the cartoon. "What a beautiful country."
"No, you can't have it!" Mbeki replies.
Those skeptical sentiments notwithstanding, the President’s speech exhibited characteristic courage in accepting America’s role in the immoral institution of slavery:
“At this place (Goree Island, Senegal), liberty and life were stolen and sold. Human beings were delivered and sorted and weighed and branded with the marks of commercial enterprises and loaded as cargo on a voyage without return … One of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history.”
Little ado was made of this principled and monumental speech delivered by the leader of the free world. There was nothing “peculiar” about his assessment: slavery was evil. The press was more concerned, alas, with calibrating the amount of time the President spent on the continent in relation to the amount of time he spent on air travel.