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28 August 2012

Clarke: Aftermath of Slave Trade

The aftermath of the slave trade might be worse than the trade itself mainly because the major participants in the trade have made a mission out of lying about their participation in this the greatest of all human tragedies. In the last twenty years the academic interpreters of the Atlantic slave trade have been pointing their fingers at the African participants, as though the trade could not have existed without them. Any honest researcher, familiar with the documents, knows that the role of the African was minor in comparison to that of the European and the Arab. The Atlantic slave trade was a three-continent industry that affected a revolution in shipping, in economics and in world trade. Africans did not have this kind of connection at this juncture in history; and, besides, the slave trade was mainly a European and an Arab business. I do not, in any way, intend to free Africans of any guilt for their participation in this trade – their involvement was tragic, misguided and not without significance, but the slave trade would have occurred whether the African participated or not.

Nana John Henrik Clarke

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