From French daily L’Humanité:
Five years after the French Parliament passed the Taubira law, declaring slavery – from the fifteenth century onwards – to be a crime against humanity, France held its first official commemoration of the slave trade on May 10.
Slavery: Breaking the Silence at Last
At the edge of a forest in Guadeloupe, not far from the sea – patches of wall, a corridor, a series of interconnecting rooms… would all have collapsed but for a gigantic tree that had gripped the remains of a stone building between its aerial roots.
Nothing, however, indicates that this is a former prison where they used to cram in the slaves dragged from the depths of the holds of slave ships.
It’s the old familiar story of servitude, long buried in the memory, hidden deep in official history, but leaving cruel traces in the collective consciousness, like so many slashes of the whip, fleurs-de-lys imprinted on the backs of men who were denied any humanity by the emerging capitalism.
Slaves are “chattels” proclaimed Colbert’s Black Code, a legal text with which generations of scholars have never been acquainted.
They would have to had to wait until a hundred and fifty-three years after the definitive abolition of slavery before the French Republic recognised that it was a crime against humanity.
Such a long silence of complacency for a system that still went on illegally for years after being re-abolished in 1848, and which merely gave way to other forms of colonial domination.
Harriet Tubman: here.
France: debate on colonialism.
Blair and slavery: here.