Dear Mr Blair, please apologise.

Author:Weaver, David
Position:Letters - Tony Blair - Letter to the editor

We at The 1990 Trust are writing to you to request that the British government formally and fully apologise for Britain's role in the enslavement, brutality and murder of millions of Africans as a result of the slave trade.

In addition we are calling for you to announce a national slavery memorial day on 23 August every year. This date marks the beginning of the end of slavery as a result of the defeat of the French and then the British armies in Haiti by the great African freedom fighter Toussaint L'Ouverture.

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To paraphrase Professor Stuart Hall, the apology is not about guilt-tripping contemporary Britain, but it is important that people know about what actually happened, its long lasting legacy, and that they can take a cue from singular leadership to demonstrate that saying sorry and meaning it, goes a long way in healing.

It must acknowledge the psychological and physical damage to millions of British Caribbean people and commemorate a history of resistance. It is important that Britain acknowledges the fact that the roots of modern day racism and discrimination is firmly located in the religious, philosophical, scientific and economic arguments that were developed to justify the enslavement of, and trade in, Africans.

There are British precedents for an apology: the Queen apologised to the Maoris and you Mr Blair, in your official capacity as prime minister, apologised to the Irish community in relation to the...

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