Moral Integrity and Reparations to Africa

in Human Rights in Development Online
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Moral Integrity and Reparations to Africa

in Human Rights in Development Online


. This is a slight revision of a paper presented at a seminar entitled "The Right to Compensation and Related Remedies for Racial Discrimination", Danish Centre for Human Rights, Copenhagen, April 28, 2001. I am most grateful to Joanna Quinn, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science, McMaster University, for the many conversations we have had about acknowledgement and apology over the past three years, without which I could not have written this paper. I am also grateful to Anthony Lombardo for research assistance, and to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the funds necessary to conduct research. 1 In using the word "reparation'' as an encompassing term, I am following the usage of M. Cherif Bassiouni, "The right to restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for victims of gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms", United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 56th session, E/CN.4/2000/62, 18 January 2000, pp. 9- 12, as well as the usage of Theo Van Boven, "The Right to Compensation and Related Remedies for Racial Discrimination, Concluding Observations", Conference on the Right to Compensation and Related Remedies for Racial Discrimination, Danish Centre for Human Rights, Copenhagen, 27-28 April, 2001.

2 Trudy Govier, "Trust and Testimony: Nine Arguments on Testimonial Knowledge", International Journal ofMoral and Social Studies 31, vol. 8, no. 1, 1993, p.31 (emphasis in original). 3 Antonius C.G.M. Robben, "The Politics of Truth and Emotion among Victims and Perpetrators of Violence'' in Carolyn Nordstrom and Antonius C.G. M. Robben (eds.), Fieldwork under Fire. Contemporary Studies of Violence and Survival, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995, pp. 81-103. 4 Raul Hilberg, The Politics of Memory The Journey of a Holocaust Historian, Chicago, Ivan R. Dee, 1996, pp. 123-137.

5 Declaration of the African Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, WCR/RCONF/DAKAR/2001/L.l REV 3, 24 January 2001.

6 Andre Gundar Frank, Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America: Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil, New York, Monthly Review Press, 1967. 7 See, for example, an influential book by the late Walter Rodney, Now Europe Underdeveloped Africa, London, Bogle L'Ouverture Publications, 1972. 8 Rhoda Howard, Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Ghana, London, Croom Helm, 1978. 9 Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century, New York, Academic Press, 1974, p. 41.

10 These were items in very high demand when Ghanaians started to trade with Europeans. Howard, 1978, op.cit. 11 Vladimir Lenin's Imperialism: the Highest Form of Capitalism: A Popular Outline, Peking, Foreign Languages Press, 1969, is a seminal document in this school of thought. 12 For "internalist" accounts of the development of Western Europe, see Barrington Moore, Jr,. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World, Boston, Beacon Press, 1966. Weber's famous thesis is articulated in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958. 13 Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System IL� Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600-1750, New York, Academic Press, 1980, pp. 179-185.

14 United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 3201 (S-VI), "Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order", 1 May, 1974. 15 United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development (1986), Preamble, "efforts at the international level to promote and protect human rights should be accompanied by efforts to establish a new international economic order" in Harry J. Steiner and Philip Alston, International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 1420.

16 I recognize that "race" is a social construct; we are all members of the same human species. 17 Victor C. Uchendu, "Slaves and Slavery in Igboland, Nigeria" in Suzanne Miers and Igor Kopytoff (eds), Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1977, pp. 124-127. 18 Igor Kopytoff and Suzanne Miers, "Introduction: African 'Slavery' as an Institution of Marginality" in Miers and Kopytoff, 1977, op. cit., p 14. 19 Ibid. See also Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1982. 20 A. Norman Klein, "The Two Asantes: Competing Interpretations of 'Slavery' in Akan-Asante Culture and Society" in Paul E. Lovejoy, (ed.), The Ideology of Slavery in Africa, Beverly Hills, CA, Sage, 1981, pp. 149-167.

21 Ronald Segal, Islam's Black Slaves: The Other Diaspora, New York, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2001, as reviewed by Adam Hochschild, "Human Cargo: A study of the little-known slave trade in the Islamic world", New York Times Book Review, March 4, 2001, p. 21. 22 V.Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1988, chapter 3, pp. 44-97. z3 Horst Drechsler "The Herero Uprising" in Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies, New Haven, Yale, 1990, pp. 231-248; Jon Bridgman and Leslie .J. Worley, "Genocide of the Hereros" in Samuel Totten, William S. Parsons and Israel W. Charny, (eds.), Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views, New York, Garland Publishing, 1997, pp. 3-40. 24 A point made by Theo Van Boven in his Background Paper on "United Nations strategies to combat racism and racial discrimination: past experiences and present perspectives", E/CN.4/1999/WG.1/BP.7, 26 February 1999, section 3, d: "few or rather no countries can nowadays make a legitimate claim that they do not face within their own borders problems of racial discrimination".

25 Rhoda E. Howard, "Communitarianism and Liberalism in the Debates on Human Rights in Africa", Journal ofContemporaryAfrican Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, 1992, p. 14. 26 African Regional Preparatory Conference, 2001, op. cit., Article 18.

27 Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, "A Comfortable Consensus: Responsibility to Strangers", chapter 10 of Compassionate Canadians: Citizens Discuss Human Rights, in progress.

28 This is not something I can document, but it is the kind of comment often made to me in casual conversation with "ordinary" people who are not scholars. 29 I recognise that racist attitudes have abated considerably over the last several decades, at least as measured in Canada by national surveys. Nevertheless, ancient stereotypes combined with present and a-historical misunderstandings of the way the world economy works, and of conditions in general in Africa, produce racist attitudes (for example, the notion that the brutal dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin, was typical of all African political leaders). 3° For my argument that empathy is possible across the boundaries of "Otherness," see Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, "Identity, Empathy and International Relations", in Donald Puchala and Franke Wilmer (eds.), Through the Eyes of Others: Cultural Encounters and Reistance in World Politics, in preparation, available through McMaster University, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, Working Paper 00/2, April 2000. .

31 Harold G. Marcus, "Ethiopia: History of Ethiopia and the Horn from 1600 to the Present" in John Middleton, (ed.), Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara, Vol. 2, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1997, p. 71. 32 Rhoda E. Howard, Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa, Totowa, NJ, Rowman and Littlefield, 1986.

33 Rhoda Howard, "Evaluating Human Rights in Africa: Some Problems of Implicit Comparisons", Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1984, pp. 160-179. 34 Rhoda E. Howard, "Civil Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa: Internally Generated Causes", International Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, 1995-1996, pp. 27-53. 3s Kwasi Wiredu, Cultural Universals and Particulars: An African Perspective, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1996, pp. 163-164; and Nana Kusi Appea Busia, Jr., "The Status of Human Rights in Pre-Colonial Africa: Implications for Contemporary Practices" in Eileen McCarthy-Amolds, David R. Penna, and Debra Joy Cruz Sobrepena (eds), Africa, Human Rights and the Global System: The Political Economic of Human Rights in a Changing World, Westport, CT., Greenwood Press, 1994, p. 235.

36 For an assessment of the various functions of truth commissions, see Martha Minow, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence, Boston, Beacon Press, 1998, chapter 4, "Truth Commissions", pp. 52-90. � On museums as national myth-making devices, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, London, Verso, 1991. 38 Sander L. Gilman, Jewish Self-Hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986. See also Jean-Paul Sartre's classic Anti-Semite and Jew, New York, Schocken Books, 1976.

39 Frantz Fanon, Black Skins, White Masks, New York, Grove Press, 1967. 40 bell hooks, Black Looks: Race and Representation, Boston, South End Press, 1992, p.3. 41 African Regional Preparatory Conference, 2001, op. cit., Article 27. 42 For example, one of my students of Japanese-Canadian background told me that her grandparents, who had been interned by the Canadian government during World War II, were not relieved of the feeling that they were somehow actually responsible for their internment until the government of Canada apologised. For the text of the apology by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister, in the House of Commons Canada, September 22, 1988, see House of Commons Debates, Official Report, 2nd Session 33rd Parliament, 37 Elizabeth II, volume XV, 1988, pp. 19499-19501. 43 Michelle Parlevliet, "Considering Truth: Dealing with a Legacy of Gross Human Rights Violations" Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, vol. 16, no. 2, 1998, p. 172. 44 Nicholas Tavuchis, Mea Culpa: A Sociology of Apology and Reconciliation, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1991, p. vii.

as Ibid, p. 17. Italics in original. 46 Michael Cunningham, "Saying Sorry: the Politics of Apology", The Political Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 3, 1999, p. 285, p. 288. 47 Tavuchis, 1991, op. cit., p. vii. 48 J.David Lewis and Andrew Weigert, "Trust as a Social Reality", Social Forces, vol. 63, no. 4, 1985, p. 980. 49 Trudy Govier, "An Epistemology of Trust", International Journal of Moral and Social Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 1993, p. 157.

50 James S. Coleman, Foundations of Social Theory, Cambridge, The Belknap Press, 1990, p.100. sl Tavuchis, 1991, op. cit., p. 5. 52 Report of the Secretary-General, "Preparatory process for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade to Combat Racism", United Nations General Assembly, A/55/285, 10 August 2000, Par. 28 (a).

53 On Portugal, see John S. Saul, The State and Revolution in Eastern Africa, London, Heinemann, 1979, p. 28. On Belgium, see Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A 4 Story of Greed, Terrorism and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 54 Sigrum I. Skogly, "Complexities in Human Rights Protection: Actors and Rights Involved in the Ogoni Conflict in Nigeria", Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, Vol. 15, No. 1, March 1997, pp. 47-60; Amos Adeoye Idowu, "Human Rights, Environmental Degradation and Oil Multinational Companies in Nigeria: The Ogoniland Episode", Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, Vol. 17, No. 2, 1999, pp. 161-184.

55 John Harker, "Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian Assessment Mission", independent report prepared for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, January 2000. sb Rhoda Howard, "Differential Class Participation in an African Protest Movement: The Ghana Cocoa Boycott of 1937-38", Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1976, pp. 469-480. 57 Howard, 1978, op. cit., pp. 132-140. 58 Makau Mutua, "Returning to my Roots: African 'Religions' and the State", in Abdullah A. An-Na'im, (ed.), Proselytization and Communal Self-Determination in Africa, Maryknoll, NY, Orbis Books, 1999, pp. 169-190.

s9 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Volume L� Looking Forward, Looking Back, Ottawa, Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1996, pp. 365-382. 60 Douglas Todd, "United Church Apologizes for Abuse", Vancouver Sun, October 27, 1998; and Hollie Shaw, "United Church Apologizes for Residential School Abuse", Canadian Press, October 27, 1998. 61 For more on this dilemma, see Abdullah A. An-Na'im, "Introduction: Competing Claims to Religious Freedom and Communal Self-Determination in Africa" in An- Na'im, 1999, op. cit.

62 Cunningham, 1999, op. cit., p. 287. s3 Jack Hitt, Willie E. Gary, Alexander J. Pires, Jr., Richard F. Scruggs and Dennis C. Sweet III, "Making the Case for Racial Reparations", Harper's Magazine, Vol. 301, No. 1806, November 2000, pp. 37-51. 64 Gerald L. Gall, Mary M. Cheng and Keiko Miki, Advisory Committee to the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women) on Canada's Preparations for the UN World Conference against Racism, "Redress for Past Government Wrongs", January 2001, pp. 2-4. 65 Eric Koch, Deemed Suspect: A Wartime Blunder, Toronto, Methuen, 1980.

66 Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1996. 67 Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, "Culture and the Politics of Resentment in the Era of Globalization", Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University, Working Paper 00/4, December 2000. . 68 Cunningham, 1999, op. cit., p. 289. 69 This is the type of trust that James S. Coleman seems to be discussing. Coleman, 1990, op. cit., chapter 5, "Relations of Trust"

70 See, for example, Chilla Bulbeck, Re-Orienting Western Feminisms: Women's Diversity in a Postcolonial World, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998, and Rebecca J. Cook (ed.), Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994. 71 The latter term is from Robert Hughes, Culture of Complaint: A Passionate Look into the Ailing Heart ofAmerica ,New York, Warner Books, 1993. 72 David Horowitz, "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks - and Racist Too", , January 3, 2001. Italics in original title.

�3 Vered Amit-Talai, "The Minority Circuit: Identity Politics and the Professionalization of Ethnic Activism" in Vered Amit-Talai and Caroline Knowles (eds.), Re-Situating Identities: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, Culture, Peterborough, ON, Broadview Press, 1996, pp. 89-114.

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