Letters to the Editor

Crimes cannot be hidden behind shield of history

  • Horrific  legacy: Africans sold into slavery being forced below decks on a European slave ship before being transported to the Caribbean and the Americas

Dear Sir,

I would like to respond to an article written by Thomas L. Knapp that appeared in your newspaper on December 19, 2016, entitled “It’s time to stop apologising for the past”.

I am one of those people who do not waste any time celebrating such holidays as that of Columbus Day or any other holidays that are used to prop up those criminal events that Europeans and other explorers had carried out against people who did absolutely nothing to them, and then go on to inflict the most horrible misery in death and destruction to many innocent people around the world whose lands they had stolen and colonised.

Yet the offspring and grandchildren of those same perpetrators of some of the most horrific, murderous crimes and plunderers of the past, today see fit to prop these horrible people up as if they were some kind of great saviours of humanity and the world, under the banner of civilisation and Christianity.

Must we not forget that it was the Portuguese and the Spanish, followed by the British then the rest of the European nations, who helped to develop the Transatlantic Slave Trade, where millions of Africans were wrongfully kidnapped from their homelands, mentally stripped of their culture and way of life, then held against their will and made slaves for 99 years.

They did not just carry out these evils against Africans; they also performed such criminal acts against many other groups of people wherever they went around the world. When it comes to Bermuda, those same offspring who dominate the power structure of Bermuda today would like for the African-Bermudian community to forget their past because they say it would cause much pain and anger. Yet they themselves would celebrate the landing of the Sea Venture in 1609; also the arrival of the Plow, which brought the first settlers to Bermuda in 1612.

Not too long ago they had celebrated the Gunpowder Plot that took place back in the 1700s; we also still celebrate the Peppercorn Ceremony in St George’s Square every year since 1815.

Yes, Mr Knapp, what you need to know is that simple apologising alone has never been good enough. Some compensating needs to be done to correct the horrors of the past. After all, the ripples from that horrible past still beat against our shores from across that vast ocean of time and bring with then the inequality that still affects us to this very day.

Never forget that those same crimes committed all those centuries ago cannot be hidden behind the shield of history, for they form a significant part of the pillar that holds up the society we live in today.

E. MCNEIL STOVELL

Pembroke