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Reader Disagrees With Reparations Idea


I disagree with several statements made in this article.
"If there is to be the promise of a future for the people of the Virgin Islands, it will rest in our ability to redress our history. Until we are able to repair the damage of almost 250 years of slavery and colonization, there will be no future to speak of for Virgin Islanders. "
Moorhead said that Virgin Islands are still suffering the lingering effects of slavery. He said that problems in the government, the education system and with corruption are all after affects of slavery.
Not only will we begin the process of repair in the Virgin Islands, but extended to Denmark is the opportunity to correct her past and to heal herself from the mentality which permitted for the dehumanization of a race and the elevation of one people above another."
And, while the transfer of lands and territories had been common practice among nations, March 31, 1917, for the now "African Virgin Islander" represented yet another tormenting reminder that the power to define our existence and the right to chart our own destiny as a free people, had yet again managed to elude us."
He said, "They stole everything from us—our freedom, our dignity, our society, our religion, even our God."
He asked, "How do you give some one their humanity back?"

Slavery ended in 1846, we are living in 2005. One hundred and fifty nine years have passed. There is not one single person that actually experienced the life that took place during the slavery, alive today. There is not one single person that actually made the slave trade happen, alive today.
How can anyone have the mentality that they will travel to Denmark to tell people who were not even born during the slave trade that they must make reparations to people who were not born into or existed in the slavery days either? The people that should have made reparation have all died and the people, who are really owed reparation, also have all died.
To attempt to blame the corruption of this present day government as after affects of slavery is ludicrous. The corruption of this government falls on the shoulders of every single individual that has stepped into an office and did not do their jobs to the best of their abilities to serve the entire community of all these islands. They abused their position of power. The people who are responsible for the deterioration of these islands are mostly alive today.
The only solution or "real reparation" that can truly right some of the wrongs of the past would be if all the countries involved in the slave trade were to buy up lands in Africa and disperse these lands back to all the people of African heritage so that they may return to Africa to regain the culture, society, Gods, etc, of their ancestries.
If every country agreed to do that, 99.9% of African Americans would not opt to return to Africa. Many African Americans would not opt to give up all that is available in the western world in comparison to what is going on in Africa today. Even here in the Virgin Islands, hardly anyone would agree to return to Africa even if they were given lands and monies to build homes and communities there that would allow them to be "personally wealthier" than what they have here now. They would all insist no we don't want land and monies in Africa, we want them here in the Virgin Islands, because we are Virgin Islanders even though the Virgin Islands is not where they ancestors came from.
If any person is going to be a true advocate of reparation, then they should be a true advocate of returning to ancestral homelands and cultures too. That is the only way a large part of what was really lost could ever be regained. People here will never agree to give up their (West Indian, Caribbean, Virgin Islands) culture and heritage to take back on true African culture and heritage for themselves or their future generations. Our Caribbean culture or whatever anyone wishes to define is a stew of many different backgrounds that have blended together into a distinct culture of its own.
Native Americans, who reparations were paid to, were paid to within their native ancestral continent. They even today still practice and teach their children the culture of their ancestors in addition to living with the modern world that has invaded their country. Their pride is in their true heritage of their ancestors.
Africans were taken from their country. Native Americans country was taken from them.
Holocaust victims didn't have a chance of recovering a country nor returning to a country, in their case, the Germans attempted to make their race entirely extinct.
In our Virgin Islands today African Americans are oppressing other African Americans by abusing positions of power in government. African Americans are committing crimes from domestic violence, rape, robberies, murder against other African Americans. African American children are abandoned, no child support by absentee African Americans fathers. It is the same in all ethnic backgrounds in today's world not only with African Americans, atrocities take place from one group to another and atrocities take place inside of the same groups of people to each other.
History is extremely important yes. The knowledge of history is very important and should never be forgotten and should be mandatory to be taught to every person so that the mistakes of history are never repeated. Not only the history of slavery of Africans, all histories. Slavery did not only occur with Africans but with many ethnic groups throughout history. Our children should be aware of all the atrocities that have taken place for all humans in history.
If every group of people whose ancestral histories in which atrocities occurred continued to live year after year blaming all things that happens in present day times on what took place in a time they weren't even born in themselves, the world would never move forward. We would have people today laying blame back as far as biblical times if not even further back.
Even with all the groups atrocities have occurred against, none can compare to the history of all women across the world. Atrocities for women have not stopped yet. African women are still suffering though genital mutilation. Arab women are killed just for exposing their faces in public. An Iraq girl was killed for holding the hand of her boyfriend after she thought her country had gain "freedom". Women are abandoned every day and left to struggle to take care of their families on their own. Many can barely make two ends meet. The list can go on and on. When will men across the world make reparations to women across the world? When will equality take place in support of families, education of women, and equal pay for equal work?
The process of repair to our deteriorating islands will truly take place when every individual despite what ethnic group they are take responsibility for their own actions. Every individual makes a conscience decision to do or not do things in life. We are each responsible for what we choose to do or not do every single day of our lives. We cannot lay blame on the past of something we were ever a part of ourselves. None of us can, no matter who we are or what our ancestral heritages are.
We are all here in this present day and time. We are responsible for now. We are responsible to make sure power of offices that are supposed to serve an entire community do not get abused. We are responsible to make sure men and women who bring children into this world are responsible for the lives of those children. We are responsible to make sure those who make the decision to commit crimes are punished for making those decisions on their own. We are responsible to make sure when monies are sent to these islands for a certain purpose they are used correctly and not dispersed incorrectly by our own local people. We are responsible for demanding our government to
produce for our community what we pay taxes for…from the best levels of education, healthcare, safety on the streets, etc.
For every single person that a conscience decision to walk away from taking care of their families, walk into a world of committing crimes, walk into a position of power and abused that positions etc, despite what color they are, despite what their ancestral history is, the blame of today lies in their hands not in the hands of others who has no part in what is happening in our islands today.
The future of these islands lie in what we the people of today accept responsibility for and make of these islands during our time of existing in this world. In the next 250 years from now, will the people of the future look back on history and blame the problems they are experiencing then on 500 years history past of slavery or will we who exist today, be known as the people in their history, who lived in a free world but mentally enslaved ourselves by never accepting responsibility for the things occurring during our times and really doing something about it?
Carol King
St. Thomas

Editors note:We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to [email protected].


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