November 28, 2006

Blair Expresses "Deep Sorrow" For Slavery, Reparations Sought

And as usual, this apparently is not enough for the reparations crowd:
Tony Blair reignited the debate on slavery yesterday by making a partial apology for Britain's role in the "profoundly shameful" trade. The Prime Minister said he felt "deep sorrow" for the country's involvement in what was "one of the most inhuman enterprises in history".

But his declaration, which comes ahead of next year's bicentenary of the abolition of the trade, fell short of the formal apology demanded by many campaigners and drew criticism as well as praise.

Black rights activists denounced it as "empty rhetoric" that failed to address the issue of reparations.

Mr Blair said in an article for the black community newspaper New Nation that although Britain was the first major nation to abolish the trade 200 years ago, it was right for the country to acknowledge its active role until then. "It is hard to believe that what would now be a crime against humanity was legal at the time," he said.

"Personally I believe the bicentenary offers us a chance not just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was — how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition — but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever happened, that it ever could have happened and to rejoice at the different and better times we live in today."
The activists don't want apologies, they want cash.

Blair's lament follows the long line of apologies or Clintonian "I feel your pain" moments from those who didn't commit the crime to those who didn't suffer from them. Claims for reparations by the victims of historical injustices (Holocaust) are justified; claims that have passed centuries and multiple generations are nothing more than shakedowns.

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