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Slavery, guilt and grievance

The debate over reparations for slavery is a lot more complicated than I once thought

By Richard Dowden   April 2007

When the reparations for slavery movement was launched a few years ago, I wrote a light-hearted article dismissing it as yet another Nigerian scam. Since one of the movers behind it was Nigeria’s richest crook, Chief Moshood Abiola, that seemed a reasonable argument. And legally speaking, since almost all African slaves were captured by fellow Africans before being sold to European traders, it would be the successors of the old west African kingdoms—modern west African states—which would be responsible for reparations. That would mean the people of Sierra Leone—average per capita income $900—would be paying reparations to the people of…

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