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General News of Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Source: Sarkodie, Jake Akwasi

Ashanti Empire blamed for slavery

A professor at Harvard University Henry Louis Gates Jr. has blamed the ashanti empire for actively partaking in the slavetrade and profitting from it. He argues that the ashanti empire directly captured and sold human beings for immense economic gain.

“The savage chiefs of the western coasts of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage and pocketing the ready cash for them, will not more readily accept our moral and economical ideas than the slave traders of Maryland and Virgini.

Professor Gates writing in the New York times said the culpability of American plantation owners neither erases nor supplants that of the African slavers. The African American professor cited ex president Rawlings as being one of the few African leaders who have openly apologized for the role Africans played in the trans Atlantic slave trade.

The professor noted that the sad truth is that the conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time adding the Asante Empire in Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold.

The eminent black scholar asked did these Africans know how harsh slavery was in the New World? Actually, many elite Africans visited Europe in that era, and they did so on slave ships following the prevailing winds through the New World. He argues that it is difficult to claim that Africans were ignorant or innocent.

The professor whose wrongful arrest recently caused a racial debate in the US drawing in president Obama added that the problem with reparations may not be so much whether they are a good idea or deciding who would get them; the larger question just might be from whom they would be extracted.

Jake akwasi sarkodie

freelance journalist. frankfurt,Germany

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