On reparations


I agree with Dr. Shashi.

And it is not just Britain. All colonial powers are in debt to the metropoles.

Time to pay up.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “On reparations

  1. jim- says:

    Excellent speech. Typical of colonialism, decimate the economy and resources then accuse them of being lazy and not bootstrapping their way back up. Why, you can do whatever you want now, no one is stopping you. I wonder how someone like Michelle would respond to this speech?

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  2. I agree with reparations and my question is how do you figure out how much?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating video. Good food for thought, my friend.

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  4. renudepride says:

    The colonial powers aren’t the only ones indebted to nations! The USA owes enormous funds to every country in the world for deliberately neglecting accountability and responsibility for untold years! Naked hugs!

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  5. Ron says:

    Excellent idea! I think Mr. Tharoor should write a letter to Queen Elizabeth I and the East India Company demanding reparations.

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    • makagutu says:

      Governments are successive. I will join him in writing a letter to the current government. Your statement Ron is born out of ignorance of reality. Were governments not successive, you’d expect a new regime to refuse to honour commitments made by the previous regime

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      • Ron says:

        If the current monarch wishes to atone for the mistakes of her predecessors, so be it. But the reality of the matter is that the commoners and peasants of prior eras had no vote on (or inkling of) what was transpiring on the other side of the world. And even if that were not the case, it would not change the fact that we — the living — are not morally accountable for the misdeeds of the dead.

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        • Barry says:

          However, where those descendants of the colonial powers have inherited privileges that have not been bestowed on the descendants of those who were colonised, do not the privileged have at least a moral obligation, if not a legal one, to return what was stolen in the first place? It matters little whether it takes the form of a colonising power such as the UK or France transferring wealth from Africa to Europe, or whether it’s settlers taking, by force or legislation, that which rightfully belonged to the original inhabitants, such as happened in the US, Canada, Australia and NZ.

          Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we began a process in the 1970s to go some way to restoring the wrongs that our Pākehā forefathers inflicted on the indigenous Māori population. It’s still an ongoing process, as the last thing that’s desired on both sides is to cause further injustices. All that would do is create a greater divide, especially if a significant number of Pākehā felt they were being unfairly treated. If all grievances are resolved in my lifetime, I’d be very surprised, but at least there is a process and progress.

          If you discovered some item you inherited from your parents was stolen property, do you not have a moral and legal obligation to return it or pay compensation to the rightful owner, even if that is now a descendant of the original owner? You may not be morally accountable for the misdeeds of the dead (a parent in this case), but you are both morally and legally obliged to return the item to its rightful owner. Makagutu might be referring to nations rather than individuals, but the principles are the same.

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          • makagutu says:

            There is nothing to add to this. Excellent points Barry

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          • Ron says:

            Morality pertains to the actions of individuals. Each of us is accountable for our own actions — not those of others — and only to the extent that we had a free choice in taking those actions. The notion that everyone of European descent is vicariously guilty for the injustices committed by past monarchs and nobles is as absurd as holding all the current Scandinavian inhabitants accountable for the Viking invasions of England, or insisting that Mr. Tharoor and all present day residents of India are accountable for the atrocities committed during the Maratha invasions of Bengal.

            Nonetheless, those who feel themselves obligated to make such reparations are more than welcome to give their own land back to the descendants from whom they believe it was taken.

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          • Barry says:

            If I purchase an item in good faith believing the seller was the rightful owner, and then on sold to a third party who then discovers the item was stolen, that third party has no more right to the item than I did or the person who sold it to me. He must return the item to the rightful owner, and if he wants to recover his loss then he can seek compensation from me. Am I not morally obliged to compensate the person I sold the stolen item to? That third party might not be guilty for the theft of the item in the first place, but if he keeps possession of the item after discovering it had been stolen, then he is guilty of depriving the rightful owner of its possession. I see no difference between that and the dispossession of assets suffered by the colonised in the hands of the coloniser.

            When I was a child, a very elderly neighbour told me in graphic detail the atrocities committed by settlers who forcefully took land that had been owned by her extended family for centuries. She wasn’t retelling a story she had been told. She was describing what she witnessed first hand. Her grandfather was a signatory to a treaty signed between the British crown and the chiefs of this country less than thirty years before she was born. The confiscation of her ancestral land was in direct contravention of that treaty. She lost her father, uncles and cousins in the confrontation and she and her remaining family were forced to live in squalor for the next forty or so years. And you have the audacity to tell me she didn’t deserve to have any of the wrongs she suffered put right? She lived in the hope that at least some of the land she grew up on would be returned. She didn’t live to see that happen, but her great grandchildren will.

            The treaty signed by the neighbour’s grandfather is acknowledged as the founding document of this nation. If it is to have any meaning then it needs to be honoured both in spirit and in deed. The treaty guarantees specific rights to the indigenous people including the possession of their land. The land was taken in contravention of the treaty and needs to be returned, otherwise the treaty is not worth the paper it’s written on.

            It’s not about guilt but all about us as a nation righting a wrong that has been inflected on a section of our society and to show that this country is does not renege on its obligations.

            I also disagree with your ascertain that morality pertains to the actions of individuals. This is might hold true in “Western” societies but it’s by no means a universal concept. But even if it was true, then I put it to you, if you materially benefit from the immoral or illegal acts of another while someone else is materially harmed by those actions you are morally required to remove or at least reduce that harm to the extent you have benefited.

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          • makagutu says:

            we have laws about handling stolen property. as an individual, you may have purchased something in good faith but it was stolen.

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          • Barry says:

            Here, if you purchase property that’s been stolen, you have no more right to it than if you stole it yourself. However if you purchased it in good faith you won’t be prosecuted if you return it when you learn of its history. If you knowingly take possession or keep possession of stolen property then you are committing a crime. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

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          • makagutu says:

            It is reasonable.
            The claim by Ron flies against regular practice. Maybe the west is different

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          • Barry says:

            Kiwis generally consider themselves part of the “West”, but it’s clear that we have diverged quite a bit if Ron holds a typically western viewpoint

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          • makagutu says:

            Maybe Kiwis are doing this western thing wrong

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ron says:

            I can’t speak for the laws of NZ, but here in North America there’s no legal or moral obligation for a store’s customers to reimburse the store’s creditors/suppliers when it defaults on its payments. Otherwise, clear title could never be certain and you’d forever remain liable to third parties whenever a retailer reneges on its financial commitments.

            And what you’ve described sounds like a breach of contract between the Crown of England and the tribal chieftains of New Zealand. As such, the claim is against the English monarchy, not the citizens of NZ or the UK.

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          • Barry says:

            Defaulting on payment is very different from stealing propery. In most cases, ownership of property transfers to the purchaser when he takes possession of them, either when he uplifts them from the place of sale or when they are delivered to him. Therefore the purchaser has the right to on sell them whether or not he has paid for them.

            However, many sellers include a clause in their sales contract which stipulates the purchaser does not take possession of the property until the seller has received payment in full. As the purchaser has no legal right to the property, he cannot legally sell it, therefore the end buyer has no right to it. These types of contracts usually include provisions that require the purchaser to indemnify the seller for any costs/damages that might arise out of recovering the property from a third party.

            You are confusing the monarch and the crown. They are not the same thing. A monarchs come and go, but the crown is a continuing entity. The authority of the Realm of New Zealand ultimately lies in the crown, not the monarch.. The treaty was between the Māori and the British crown. When NZ became a self governing colony and eventually an independent state, the NZ crown became a separate entity from the British crown. It can rightly be presumed that the treaty obligations of the British crown were assumed by the NZ crown at that time. On that basis, it was the NZ crown that failed to honour the treaty. The crown now acknowledges that it’s actions in the nineteenth century were wrong and in the 1970s established a quasi-judicial authority to hear claims and advise the crown on ways to address Māori grievances. The government, acting on behalf of the crown then negotiates a settlement with each iwi (Māori tribe). It’s now recognised that treaty negotiations are likely to continue for decades, if not centuries, and perhaps there can never be a “full and final” settlement, espeacialy in the light that the English version signed by the crown of the treaty and the Māori version signed by the chiefs are not identical.

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  6. Barry says:

    As we’re about as far east as you can get – any further east and you cross the international date line – it’s hardly surprising that we do it wrong ☺️

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