The Greeks are demanding fair reparations from Germany over Nazi theft and atrocities committed during World War II. India says the British robbed their country of trillions over 200 years and never gave anything back. Descendants of Africans trafficked to and enslaved as a result of the Atlantic slave trade have never been compensated in the least. Meanwhile, the winners of wars made off like bandits with war booty. I say the liberal world order should ante up, not only for distant war debts but for screwing the peace the world deserves.
Pay India Now!
The other day Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said that the British took away $45 trillion during their rule of two centuries in India. He also made comment on the humiliation western powers heaped on India, the ultimate cost of which can never be estimated. An economic study recently revealed the enormous wealth squandered by the British from the Indian legacy. Author and former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor offered this on the devastating taxation and abuse of India’s textile workers:
“The weavers in India became beggars and India went from being a world-famous exporter of finished cloth into an importer when from having 27 percent of the world trade to less than 2 percent. In fact, Britain’s industrial revolution was actually premised upon the de-industrialization of India.”
I won’t even attempt to calculate the human costs Britain exacted on Indians and other peoples. Who can forget the Amritsar Massacre, where British General Reginald Dyer ordered his men to open fire on unarmed men, women, and children? They never had a chance to cry out in peaceful demonstrations against colonial English slavery, and Dye’s soldiers only stopped firing because they ran out of ammunition. 1,000 or more were killed, including babies. Dye was slapped on the wrist and ended up with his own crowdsourced (today’s term) pension fund exceeding £1.15m in today’s money.
The carnage the Brits leveled on India cannot even be highlighted in a magazine story. The partitioning of India was probably worse than the Nazi holocaust if all comes to light. Some seventy-five thousand women were raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered in the Punjab and Bengal regions alone. As for the stolen natural resources, we may find the $45 trillion figure may be short a few trillions. I think the Brits should divvy up now, while the estimated reparations are still low.
Pay Greece Now!
Next, we come to Germany now in power in Europe, and World War II reparations sought by the suppressed people of Greece. Luckily for the United Kingdom, Athens has not implicated the real instigators of Greece’s World War II horrors as debtors. For the British surely roped the Greeks into fighting the Italians and then the Germans. This is common knowledge on the streets here in Heraklion, on Crete, where everyone has a dead or tortured relative who fought a Nazi. The spoils Germany took were never returned.
Greek industry was almost totally destroyed. 12 percent of Greece’s population died directly or indirectly at the Nazi’s hands. Billions in today’s money was ferreted back to Berlin. And the chief Allied Powers forced Greece to take 115 million Marks from West Germany as compensation for Nazi crimes. The Greek government has demanded €279 billion euros. Italy and I agree Berlin should pay now, before interest payments set in. I have this as a precedent. In September 2019, The Supreme Court of Italy, in a landmark ruling of this kind, ordered for the confiscation of the income generated by Germany’s possessions in Italy, and this to be given as war reparation to the nazi war crime victims of Distomo, a village in Greece. If the world is to truly be a liberal order, we must settle old debts first.
Pay for Slavery Now!
If I try and tally up what Anglo-European imperialists have exacted from the continent of Africa, this report will never end. Really. A recent Wall Street Journal essay begins:
“From the colonial era to today, the bitter legacy of bondage and racial oppression has sparked demands for compensation, with some successes and many broken promises.”
From the American Civil War era and 1865 Special Field Orders No. 15 (“Forty acres and a mule”) to the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, the issue of America’s debt to slavery has been a minefield of broken promises. First, the 40 acres promised to slaves after the Civil War never happened. President Lincoln was assassinated, and President Johnson descended Lincoln’s plans for the reconstruction of the South.
The scope of the bitter catastrophe of human slavery for America alone is unfathomable. Harper’s Magazine once estimated that the total of reparations due to the descendants of slaves was about $97 trillion, which was based on 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865. So far, nothing has been paid and only seven U.S. states have seen fit to even apologize for their roles in enslaving human beings. They are; Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. And most of these waited until the mid-2000s to even acknowledge their misdeeds. 12.5 million enslaved Africans were transported from Africa to the Americas between 1500 and 1866. 15 percent of those died before ever setting foot on land. By some estimates, the total of number of deaths of African slaves over the whole 400 year period approached 200 million souls.
It has been said that so many blacks from Africa died during their transport that shark feeding patters changed because of the extra food in their ecosystem. If I delve into the so-called “seasoning camps” where new slaves were trained like animals, the conscientious reader will vomit. I say America and Britain should pay the $95 trillion and consider it a bargain.
What About Russia?
While Russia does not have a totally unstained past with regard to slavery, the biggest part of the barbaric practices in their territory occurred under the rule of the Golden Horde. Even though the Mongol barbarism made Russia’s form of servitude horrid, Russian slavery did not have racial restrictions. Interestingly, by the sixteenth century, the slave population of the Grand Duchy of Moscow consisted mostly of those who had sold themselves into slavery owing to poverty.
And then in 1723, Peter the Great converted the household slaves into house serfs. Russian agricultural slaves had already been made serfs in 1679, under Tsar Feodor III. Furthermore, the Russian conquest of the Caucasus led to the abolition of slavery by the 1860s there. After the American Civil War, most Russians became more or less sharecroppers akin to farmers in America from my mother’s generation. Of course, Stalinism had its evils, wars and strife tore at Russia many times over history.
Russia’s enemies and those who practice Russophobia will point out the negative aspects of the Soviet Union. They may even make mention of the Eastern Bloc nations and claim that the Kremlin played Great Britain in taking advantage of those people. Well, the “riches” of the broken eastern European countries stayed in those countries to rebuild what the Nazis did, and to support the peoples of those nations. In short, Russians did not profit like Englanders and Americans for quesi-imperialism, if the U.S.S.R. can even be classified as a hegemony.
This leaves me with the burning question, “Who are the real bad guys?” I think the answer gets more and more obvious.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”