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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Jesus College, Cambridge, pays reparations for abolishing slavery

the college staged a fulsome ceremony, in which the statuette was handed to a descendent of the Obas of Benin, the slavers from whom it was confiscated. The British who freed the Oba’s slaves were described by the Master as having committed “a wrong that is so egregious”

The article I’m quoting from also notes Jesus College’s

embarrassing record of lucrative sycophancy towards the Chinese regime

in which

discussion of human rights has been regarded as “unhelpful”

All this “comes from the University and College administrations”, who clearly grasp that the British Empire’s duty to pay reparations for abolishing slavery follows inevitably – unavoidably – from the entire woke project, which cannot make sense without it.

However it seems Cambridge administrators are not yet finding this logic quite as easy as they expected to communicate to their own students. On 11 November (Armistice Day), at the Cambridge Union, the debate motion “This House is ashamed to be British” lost

“by a considerable majority, in a packed chamber.”

You might almost suspect an element of astroturfed collusion in the narrative of woke students forcing university administrators to do these things.

6 comments to Jesus College, Cambridge, pays reparations for abolishing slavery

  • Paul Marks

    There is no limit to the evil (for it is evil) of the “Woke” – now ending mass slavery and human sacrifice in the Kingdom of Benin is something to be apologised for.

    It is the same in the United States – where the murder of black people is considered no problem at all, as long as they are being murdered by other black people. The pulling out of police forces from various areas in many cities after the death of Mr George Floyd led to a vast increase in the number of black people who were murdered in these areas. But the “mainstream media” and the education system did-not-give-a-damn – because the murdered black people were being murdered by other black people.

    Academics and other people, all over the United States, have lost their jobs and been threatened with violence for telling the truth about all this.

    However, I am glad that the students of the Cambridge Union voted down the “ashamed to be British” motion.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Someone called Jeremy Bray made a striking comment to Robert Tombs’ fine article. It reads:

    The cockerel handed over in the ceremony referred to in the articles final paragraph was part of the bronzes looted during the putative [sic] expedition to revenge the massacre of a previous expedition into Benin with the view to replacing the Oba of Benin with a native committee more compliant with the interests of British traders. The bronzes were treated as compensation or reparations for the cost of the expedition. In this respect it was not dissimilar to the reparations following WW1 and the looting by the Soviets of German factories etc at the end of WW2. Looting has often accompanied war.

    Elspeth Huxley wrote the following regarding the expedition:

    ” … to hear an account of the Benin massacre of 1897 and its sequel from one who had taken part. It is a story that still has power to amaze and horrify, as well as to remind us that the British had motives for pushing into Africa other than the intention to exploit the natives and glorify themselves. Here, for instance, are some extracts from the diary of a surgeon who took part in the expedition.:- ‘As we neared Benin City we passed several human sacrifices, live women slaves gagged and pegged on their backs to the ground, the abdominal wall being cut in the form of a cross, and the uninjured gut hanging out. These poor women were allowed to die like this in the sun. Men slaves, with their hands tied at the back and feet lashed together, also gagged, were lying about. As we neared the city, sacrificed human beings were lying in the path and bush—even in the king’s compound the sight and stench of them was awful. Dead and mutilated bodies were everywhere — by God! May I never see such sights again! . . .'”

    That quote is also found in the Wikipedia article for the Benin Expedition of 1897, as coming from “Great Benin: Its Customs, Art and Horrors” by Henry Ling Roth, who was the surgeon’s brother.

    The Wikipedia article also claims that the British were also guilty of atrocities during the punitive expedition. But at that time and place they were, relatively speaking, the good guys by a large margin.

  • Deep Lurker

    The Woke Left doesn’t actually disapprove of slavery. They just object to the ‘wrong’ sort of people being the slave owners.

  • Sam Duncan

    [A]n account of the Benin massacre of 1897 and its sequel from one who had taken part

    It brings to mind Charles James Napier’s comment, often quoted on these pages:

    Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    In fact, the British had another custom- of invading foreign countries and incorporating them into the British Empire. As liberty-loving people, we should oppose this.
    If the debate question had changed British to English (so as not to offend the Scots, Welsh and Irish), would it have passed?

  • Mr Ed

    So, my modest proposal for those Universities and Colleges who take grants, researchers and students from the PRC is that they pay reparations to Tibetans, Uyghurs and Taiwan for the genocides and the cost of defending Taiwan, a simple three-way spilt of all the institutions assets, including land, after compulsory liquidation and winding-up should suffice.

    What’s not to like? A dissolution of the collaborators.

    This is, in principle, entirely consistent with their current positions, it’s just that we have to draw the line somewhere, and we differ on where the graph starts and stops.