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Letter to the editor: Chidiac column ignores historical progress

Britain was the first nation in the history of the world to abolish slavery in 1833.  Not only that, they embarked on a campaign to eliminate it in the whole world.
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Slavery has been a worldwide institution throughout all history and in all cultures - European, Asian, African, pre-contact Americas, everywhere. 

Regarding Gerry Chidiac: Royal thrones rest on crimes against humanity

All powerful societies (and some not so powerful) especially those with authoritarian governments throughout the world have done the same. This does not excuse Britain but they do just happen to be one of the latest and most successful at it, and (despite their crimes) the nicest.

Slavery has been a worldwide institution throughout all history and in all cultures - European, Asian, African, pre-contact Americas, everywhere.  The word comes from the “Slavs” of eastern Europe.  Millions of them (all white) were captured and enslaved by Muslim invaders in the ninth century and later by the Ottoman Turks.

Arabia enslaved more Africans than Europeans/Americans ever did.  Africans enslaved more Africans than Europeans, for their own purposes and also selling them to white slavers who took them to America.

Britain was the first nation in the history of the world to abolish slavery in 1833.  Not only that, they embarked on a campaign to eliminate it in the whole world, sending their navy to intercept slave ships and free their cargo. Two thousand British sailors lost their lives doing this. They also had a program of buying slaves and freeing them.  They borrowed a vast sum to finance this effort and it took them more than a century to pay it off.  They got nothing in return.

As Britain withdrew from their empire, they left many benefits behind in their former colonies: modern commerce (tiny Singapore is now richer than Britain), education, roads, railroads and modern values.  One famous story from the Raj recalls Hindu priests complaining to a British officer that his soldiers wouldn’t let them burn a dead man’s widow on his funeral pyre, per local custom.  “My nation also has a custom,” the Gen. Charles James Napier answered. “When men burn women alive, we hang them, and confiscate all their property.”

It’s trendy these days to condemn anything coming from white societies, especially the more successful ones. It would be much more honest of Gerry to seek out the whole truth.

Art Betke

Prince George

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