Loch Ness

Plan for biggest Nessie search in more than 50 years

Loch Ness Monster: Hundreds join huge search for Nessie

They are at it again…a copy of the best photograph they had may be found here Loch Ness, 1934

But the hunt is fruitless. Coco may have already remarked upon this but many years ago Nessie emigrated and took a trip up the St Lawrence where she was spotted at the foot of Niagara Falls, on the northern side of course, not having a required green card. It was an exciting moment when she was spotted, even more so when perhaps her tail also appeared at the surface of the water. There is a striking similarity between the one captured in 1934 and this new one, though Coco is sure the quality of the 1934 original is better than its modern counterpart.

St Lawrence River

St Lawrence River, North side, 2013 (Actually, Niagara River, West side, but the meaning may be lost on you if you are not fully familiar with the geography)

Loch Ness, 1934

On the [a]moral high ground?

Speculative misguidance?

Once again the BBC is to be thanked for bringing to our attention a prominent issue in our contemporary world by drawing attention to the Brattle report. The reference to the ‘19 million [who] include those Africans kidnapped and transported to the Americas and Caribbean and those born into slavery‘ which is indeed a blight upon those nations who participated in the slave trade originating in West Africa and conducted over many centuries, brings to our attention the extent of the harm caused by slavery, and also whilst pointing to the evidence that exists today of the transatlantic aspects of that slave trade by mentioning those ‘born into slavery‘ also leads us to ask where today is, and if there is none, why is there none, of the overland transportation of slaves from West Africa to the east? There is sufficient information available to provide an answer to that question, but I shall not rehearse it here lest the descriptions used infringe the sensibilities of the censors and my readers. Let me say nothing more than that some of the men at the least may perhaps have preferred the Western than the Eastern transport.

Secondly, whilst the report produces a fine analysis of the harm done and endeavours to place an economic or perhaps financial value of it, it focuses merely upon the small number of nations who participated in the transatlantic trade ignoring those nations who were involved and benefitting from the far more harmful overland trade and the African nations themselves who were the initial enslavers of those who were transported. The report itself acknowledges its limitation in this way: ’our analysis and results are structured and presented around the state or territory in the Americas that experienced the harm and the colonizing European or American state legally responsible for the enslavement. This paper does not take on the important issues of harms to African countries or how reparations should be implemented. Rather we focus on estimating the magnitude of the harm in the Americas from transatlantic chattel slavery.‘ You will note that it specifically ignores that the enslavement had taken place before the European and American states became involved in the African nations themselves. If reparations are due, then they should also be apportioned to those who initiated the enslavement. Quite rightly it does not take into account the harms to the African countries themselves, as those harms were, looking at it from the perspective of the modern nation states, self-inflicted though if you look on a more granular level the same kind of behaviours within those nations will be seen to have taken place, and perhaps still do, as are attributed to the Western nations.

Let me say, as I have before, I have no wish to belittle the horrors of the slave trade. There are other matters with which I would take exception in the report, for example in the manner of their calculations. They acknowledge the difficulty of the calculations for much is made of the shortcomings of their calculations when a case might be made that the figure is too low, but no attempt is made to measure what the outcome would have been ‘in [the] hypothetical world that never experienced transatlantic chattel slavery‘. A comparison between that result and the present situation might prove rather interesting and not lend support to the primary contention of this report. A quite different answer may have been obtained if, instead of measuring the financial consequences in relation to the economies of the thirty one nations they chose, they had measured the cost in the way an insurance company would measure the amount of a claim to be paid by asking the question: where would the claimant have been today had the event (ie the transatlantic trade) giving rise to the claim not taken place? If you have ever suffered the total loss of a motor vehicle you will understand that the outcome is not as rewarding as the claimant may have hoped. Where would the nineteen million and their descendant be today had the event giving rise to the claim not have taken place? The report mentions this aspect: ‘Restitution, [which] should restore the victim to their original situation before the violation occurred, e.g. restoration of liberty, reinstatement of employment, return of property, return to one’s place of residence‘ So, are they suggesting that as well as financial compensation the victims and their descendants should be returned to their former place of residence? You may read for yourself. Are they consistent with their own principles?

The report may seek to stand on the moral high ground, but utterly fails to do so, instead relying upon the prejudices of a small liberal group in the Western nations who appear only to delight in the destruction of the very nations which permit them to speak in the way that they do. (And yes, I reply, in acknowledgment of your thought as you perceive my own prejudices as I say this). This is very evident in the manner in which they choose the calculations that they perform and present. Rather than presenting a comprehensive report, they pick and choose the bits that support their case. In a sense that is exactly what you would want your lawyer to do. You do not expect him to present a contrary case. Perhaps however they should remember that if Stalin had been born into a Stalinist state, such a state would never have existed.

Finally, whilst this is a ‘hot topic’ today, there are other potential claims: when shall we see reparations paid by Assyria and Persia for the destruction caused in Lebanon, Israel and Egypt in the fifth century, that of the Italians in France, Germany and Britain in the first century (British slaves were available for sale in Rome as late as the sixth century), that of the French in Britain in the eleventh century, that of Turkey in the Balkans in the sixteenth century, or, do I need to add to the list, and I have only referenced the West, what was happening in the Steppes of Russia, China, India, and the other Eastern nations? Perhaps one case comes to mind, when will the outcastes be compensated by the upper castes? Of course many of the governments that I have referenced no longer exist in the form that they had at the time of the incursion of the damage. Is it only that the Western nations have somehow managed to survive since the abolition of the slave trade to which the report refers which provides the reporters the opportunity to press their quite misguided claim?

Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of this report is in its own admission: ‘The need for reparation…is much more than a call for monetary compensation and cannot be narrowly defined as such; rather, it is a call for a long-term commitment to stabilise and bring restitution to those who were oppressed and subordinated by the dominant colonial powers‘. We only need to look briefly at the chaos into which some of those nations which were formerly oppressed and subordinated by the dominant colonial powers to understand that the oppression and subordination of which the authors of the report are so fond, may not have been the solely harmful thing that they want you to think it was.

There is a suggestion in the report that the blame is on going, even though many, if not all, of the nations implicated by it have long since repented of and suppressed the behaviours which were previously expressed. How well they re-express the words echoed by the prophet:

The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.¹

But when we hear the reply we begin to understand that there is a day coming² when the Lord shall change that. All souls are mine, that of the father and that of the son. The teeth of the one who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge, not the teeth of another. The soul that sins shall die³. Our judgements in these matters are imperfect, but the day is coming when God will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ of which has given assurance by raising him from the dead⁴. There shall be no imperfection in his judgement, after which he shall lead his people, of all nations, tribes, tongues, peoples, rich, poor, slaves and free, into his kingdom of everlasting joy⁵, peace and love.

Will you join him in that kingdom? Will you wait till Jesus comes, down by the riverside⁶?

  1. Jeremiah 31:29 and Ezekiel 18:2
  2. Jeremiah 31
  3. Ezekiel 18
  4. Acts 17:31
  5. Isaiah 35:10
  6. Slave song