Tag Archives: colonialism

Lampedusa – Genocide Made in EU

A few days ago, a ship sank before the Italian island of Lampedusa. 309 Africans who had been trying to reach into Europe have since been taken out of the sea dead. A fisherman who rescued 49 people with his boat accuses the Italian coast guard that they let the Africans drown, taking almost one hour to reach the sinking ship, only 500m away from the coast. Tragically, this is just one incident of many. Italian and Spanish coast guards have actually been reported to not only unlawfully refuse to assist boats with African migrants caught in distress at sea, but to actually have attacked some in order to force them to back off from the European coast. And these boats sank. Even if not officially declared so, that is EU policy; the borders have to be protected.
And this is genocide. Yes, this EU policy fulfills the legal requirement of genocide. Africans are brought to death for the fact that they are Africans. I remind readers that Articles 2 of the Genocide Convention’s defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
a) Killing members of the group;
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (…)”.
The policy of Italy and the EU, letting ships of Africans sink and attacking them, causing the death of thousands of Africans in the Mediterranean Sea, clearly fulfills this legal definition since it is directed against Africans because they are Africans. So normally the European leaders, politicans and navy commanders who are behind this should be persons of interest to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Oh, but then I forget that the ICC only deals with the persecution of African leaders, please forgive me .
This ship sank and 309 more Africans died in the Italian sea just a few days after CARICOM leaders launched their initiative for reparations for slavery. Now, what does the ship tragedy have to with with slavery reparations? Everything. European states have been perpetrating a genocide against African people for more then 500 years. They started with transatlantic slavery and on the destruction that they thereby brought upon Africa they built colonialism and violently maintain neo-colonialsm up to this day, on both the continent and the diaspora. And that destruction performed over such a long time on the African continent is responsible for the thousands and millions of African youths who suffer greatly materially every day with their families and are ready to risk their lives to reach Europe. And when they try to do this, the European Union and its member states will kill them or let them die while looking on! The EU has just, a few days after the drowning death of the 309 Africans, declared that it will start using drones along its Mediterranean borders in its fight against Africans.
While I greet the CARICOM reparations initiatve, I regret that it seems to be only concerned with monetary compensation for Caribbean countries, while what we need and what is legally due is COMPREHENSIVE AFRICAN REPARATIONS. And since these might well never be ‘given’, they might have to be ‘taken’.
Or what do you think?

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CARICOM, Reparations & Leigh Day

So why really have CARICOM Heads of States decided to solicit the legal services of a big British law form, Leigh Day, to represent their international legal claim for reparations for slavery against Britain and other European states?

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to see that CARICOM has finally taken up the reparations agenda and seems to be pushing forward with it. Although it is a government approach, and we all know what we can expect from most governments, I really want to make an effort not to be too sceptic and conspirary-theoretic in this case and just be glad to see that people’s power has brought about this situation where things are starting to move also on a inter-governmental level.

Still, the question does not leave me of what’s really up with CARICOM leaders signing up BRITISH law firm Leigh day to represent them in this most fundamental claim against BRITAIN.

So who is this law firm? Many of us will know that it is Leigh Day who recently successfully obtained compensation from Britain for more than 5,228 Mau Mau veterans in Kenya. And in that affair, they have not gone uncritized. One major point of that criticism has been that Leigh Day pocketed one third of the compensation amount they negotionated for their clients for themselves. The Law Society of Kenya asked the list of the Mau Mau veterans that the firm actually represent from Leigh Day. In class actions with many plaintiffs, this is current practice that serves transparency. Leigh Day refused to hand over the list, and there have been reports that people figure among those represented by Leigh Day who do not actually or no longer live. Which would mean even more than one third of the compensation sum actually remaining with Leigh Day.

Last but not least, voices have been raised that the 5,228 Mau Mau veterans represented by Leigh Day are only a fragment of the more than 50,000 living Mau Mau survivors organized in the Mau Mau War Veterans Association (MMWVA), meaning that no comprehensive reparations to the Mau Mau have yet been made by the British government. The bulk of it is still due. But they are now trying to close the case with this “victory” that Leigh Day reached.  The world now believes that justice has been done to the Mau Mau when they have really received only a fraction of what is due.

The question that poses itself now is: Are they trying to do the same with the Caribbean and global African reparations claim? Manouever it into a “reparations” “agreement” that would allow to publicly close the case for a cheap prize? According to Martyn Day, leading laywer at Leigh Day, this is what they are up to, to “seek a negotiated settlement with the governments of France, Britain and the Netherlands along the lines of the British agreement in June to issue a statement of regret and award compensation of about $21.5 million to the surviving Kenyans”.

It also seems strange to me that CARICOM has three lawyers of that law firm flown in from Britain, while Anthony Gifford, a legal pioneer in the field of reparations for slavery, sits in the Caribbean and has not even been invited.

In any case, I think it is significant that Leigh Day is a big law firm domiciled in BRITAIN. What interest would it really have in the attainment of the comprehensive reparations that are due by international law for transatlantic slavery and that would not only cost its nation massive financial ressources but also crush much of the exploitative structures that Britain still violently feeds upon to maintain her economy?

If we just answer that question honestly, we will know the essentials of what we need to know about Leigh Day and their involvment in the CARICOM reparations initiative.

Or what are you thinking about this?

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