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Successful Reparations Launch in JA


The Jamaica Reparations Movement was successfuly launched this
morning on IRIE-FM. The broadcast went perfectly, and we received
excellent presentations from: Ambassador Dudley Thompson, Chief
Pearnel Charles, Lord Anthony Gifford, Professor Verene Shepherd,
Mrs. Sheila Monteith, Ras Iral Jabal and Mutabaruka, with an
introduction from me, which I attach below.

After the main presentations, we received on-air calls from the
public, several of which were congratulatory, while the others
offered suggestions for focus of JaRM activities and public
education. As soon as copies of the tape are available, I will
inform you.

Thanks to all who full-ticipated in this historic launch on behalf
of the people of Jamaica. We have embarked on a long journey, but
it is clear from today's broadcast that we are guided by wise minds
who are committed to the work ahead. Blessings and much Praise to
all members of the IRSGroup who have brought us to this wonderful



When the United States and Israel walked out of the United Nations
sponsored World Conference Against Racism, Racial Intolerance and
Xenophobia (WCAR), their action opened wide the door for
international focus and discussion on African Reparations -- the
issue which had brought many people to Durban, South Africa in
September 2001.

The way became clear for Reparations to take center stage, enabling
the presentation of a wide variety of human rights abuses from
victims who felt justified in making specific demands for
Reparations. The cry for Reparations came not just from Africans
in the Continent, in the Americas and the Caribbean, but from
members of such disparate disenfranchised groups as South American
Indians, European gypsies, and members of India's lowest caste the

Two drafting groups were given the task of preparing a Working Paper
and a Plan of Action addressing all aspects of Racism, Racial
Intolerance and Xenophobia. However, the issues continually
presented by African and Caribbean delegates concerning racism
resulting from 300 years of African enslavement in the Americas by
Europeans, and subsequent colonialism and indentureship in the
Caribbean and South America, caused prolonged discussions which
became an obstacle to discussion of other sections of the document.

Thus, a separate caucus was set up consisting of African and
Caribbean delegates on one side, and delegates representing the
former enslaving and colonial powers on the other, to formulate a
document on African Reparations which would be acceptable to both
sides. The results of the heated 3-day debate in this caucus
produced the most important document to emerge from the WCAR.
Thanks to the kind invitation of Ambassador Stafford Neil, Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who headed the Jamaican
delegation and upgraded my NGO status by adding me to the delegation
as an advisor, I was lucky to have been present in this caucus and
to make an input on the most important issue of Reparations. For
three days the leading diplomats of the African and Caribbean
countries gave detailed reasons and heartfelt explanations of the
issues of Reparations.

The Reparations controversy centers around the primary and
uncompromising demand of the African Diaspora that an Apology from
enslaving nations be offered to victims of slavery. In addition --
and even before any discussion of financial reparations -- the
victims want the enslaving nations to admit that slavery was
a `crime against humanity', then and now. And we asked for
Reparations including, but not limited to, monetary compensation for
the 300-year enslavement of Africans, the resulting colonialism and
present-day neo-colonialism which have had such negative
repercussions in the African Diaspora.

We were mindful of the payment of Reparations to several groups of
people and communities for recent crimes against humanity. The
State of Israel receives reparations estimated at US$7 Billion
annually for the sufferings of the Jewish holocaust, and groups such
as Japanese Americans interned during World War 11, Korean women
used as sex slaves by Japanese in the same war and Native American
Indians are among those who have also received reparations for human
rights abuses in the 20th Century. The crimes against Africans 300
years ago still affect their descendants today, victims declare.

The Durban World Conference Against Racism opened a revolutionary
door for the African Diaspora, and placed the issue of Reparations
on the front burner of global political agendas. On my return from
Durban, I was inspired to keep in touch with the many people from
around the world whom I had been fortunate to meet and discuss
Reparations, so I set up an Internet e-mail group, the International
Reparations Support Group and invited 30 persons to join in talking
about the Conference and its potential outcome. The IRS Group has
50 members in Africa, the Caribbean, America, Europe, Australia and
in Jamaica.I also built a website: The Case For Reparations, on
which I placed all the Documents, Links, Media and other information
necessary to inform and guide our discussion.

Out of more than 300 messages exchanged between us, we realized the
necessity of forming a Jamaican organization to discuss Reparations,
to educate the nation on the topic, and our messages, reports and
documents have been co-ordinated into the First Draft of a national
document which we intend to submit to Government to guide an
official position on Reparations to present to the United Nations.

The objectives of the Jamaica Reparations Movement are:
To raise public awareness, education and participation in the issue
of African Reparations.

To establish Reparations Committees in each Parish, co-ordinated by
a Steering Committee, to carry out the work of public awareness,
education and participation.

To develop a Reparations document which will be a comprehensive
report on the issue, including the historical, numerical and
financial facts and the desired and required forms of such
Reparations -- in particular for Jamaican and Caribbean people.

To gather signatures on a national Reparations Petition.

To link with Reparation committees, groups and individuals across
the African Diaspora.

To continue interaction with the UN Commission for Human Rights and
its follow up to the WCAR (World Conference Against Racism, Racial
Intolerance and Xenophobia.)

To achieve these objectives, the JaRM wishes interested Jamaicans to
volunteer for Parish Committees which will: discuss and improve the
Reparations Document, share information, hold public education
events and gather signatures for a national petition. The IRSGroup
and the JaRM have been working so far with computers on the
Internet, and this has proved to be a very efficient way of
communicating with each other. The JaRM will continue to use the
Internet as the chief means of communication, and we have establishd
an e-mail address to which volunteers can write us. There is also a
mail address.

The JaRM is fortunate to have received the input and involvement of
Sister Andrea Williams-Green and IRIE-FM not only for the broadcast
of this launch, but as an ongoing communication outlet for JaRM news
and information. Our media committee also includes journalist Ras
Basil Walters and the JaRM is linked online to several international
Reparations organizations. We invite all who feel positively about
Reparations, to contact us by mail or e-mail indicating the Parish
in which you would like to serve.

The members of the JaRM Steering Committee who will speak today, are
voices of our wider IRSGroup, whom I welcome as listeners on radio
and the Internet to this launch. I thank you all for your free-will
and inspiring communications, which have guided us excellently this
far. I know the JaRM -- the child that you birthed -- will thrive
and grow under your watchful care. Thank you all.

I must not forget to thank and congratulate the United Nations
Commission for Human Rights which hosted the World Conference
Against Racism and whose Commissioner Mary Robinson masterfully
handled the tricky diplomacy of this controversial event. The
commitment of the UN to the deliberations of the WCAR, will greatly
assist in formulating a global agreement on Reparations. Jamaica is
proud to be participating in that effort. I pray JAH Blessings on
our deliberations.


Messages In This Thread

Successful Reparations Launch in JA
Re: Reparations for Black Nation Building

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