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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Are We Owed?

Dear Source:

i do find it funny that kendal Petersen considers that it is ok to omit the details, be specific mr petersen what you are owed, you should also be specific in your charges, who kidnapped Africans ? other Africans, mostly the big tribes of the ivory coast, they sold the kidnapped people to the highest bidder at ports controlled by what is now Libya, if you consider that the African slave trade was specifically of African origin, then you have a place to start, the end users slave owners in places like the VI were neither first or unique
so if you seek justice in the slavery of millions i would think you would first point at those who controlled and created the trade and not just those who used slaves. being selective in your blame means you have to be selective in you claims against them, the context of thought is history is clear, in the years of slavery in the new world, you have to look at the reality of the times, the vast majority of people in those times were owned by kings, the only rights they had were those granted by those that ruled them, kings weather African or European were oppressive and they were absolute in power. It is not a coincidence that slavery was abolished about the same time that most country's limited the power of their monarchies, people were allowed to own property and choose religion. the people of European led the way in emancipation not because of some guilt but because of experience.
was slavery wrong yes, but really what's the difference between slavery and being ruled by a king? life in the 1600-1800 wasn't so black and white the issues blur, read about the plight of the average European during those years, you will find more in common than you think. a rich man would keep his slaves alive when the poor whites were starving, an excellent example was the Irish who were owned by England the Irish were unable to own land or choose who they would marry, so when a potato famine came the English felt no reason to feed the Irish so they just starved to death. That's the context of those years, you have Marie Antoinette telling the commoners to eat cake when they had no bread. So when you post that somehow Africans had a unique situation in slavery look at the whole picture.
Now comes another idea of mr petersens that some how a free people were sold in 1917, the reasons the us bought control of the VI had nothing to do with taking away anyone freedom it had to do with who else was interested in attaining the VI. it was the germans or the spanish, you have identical rights with any citizen of the usa freedom of speech is one you exercise alot if you think its so bad consider that the VI could have been under hitlers control, or perhaps franco, make no mistake in this being part of the US is not the worse thing that can happen to a Caribbean island, there is a reason all the down islanders come here they have independence in there own islands but they also have less opportunity and less help. every single American pays taxes of witch a part of comes to you. it has not been a one way street with America taking from you time after time America embraces you and not just with rhetoric or dogma but with hard cold cash and opportunity, its your choice to say the world isnt fair and your choice to either do something about it or complain.
crabs in a bucket mr petersen it is easy to be the crab at the bottom saying that if we were free the bucket would some how become paradise. the real trick is to push each other up and out leaving no one behind, that's the promise of America to the VI they will help us but they like us get stuck in there own best thinking.

Paul Vrabcak
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:

i do find it funny that kendal Petersen considers that it is ok to omit the details, be specific mr petersen what you are owed, you should also be specific in your charges, who kidnapped Africans ? other Africans, mostly the big tribes of the ivory coast, they sold the kidnapped people to the highest bidder at ports controlled by what is now Libya, if you consider that the African slave trade was specifically of African origin, then you have a place to start, the end users slave owners in places like the VI were neither first or unique
so if you seek justice in the slavery of millions i would think you would first point at those who controlled and created the trade and not just those who used slaves. being selective in your blame means you have to be selective in you claims against them, the context of thought is history is clear, in the years of slavery in the new world, you have to look at the reality of the times, the vast majority of people in those times were owned by kings, the only rights they had were those granted by those that ruled them, kings weather African or European were oppressive and they were absolute in power. It is not a coincidence that slavery was abolished about the same time that most country's limited the power of their monarchies, people were allowed to own property and choose religion. the people of European led the way in emancipation not because of some guilt but because of experience.
was slavery wrong yes, but really what's the difference between slavery and being ruled by a king? life in the 1600-1800 wasn't so black and white the issues blur, read about the plight of the average European during those years, you will find more in common than you think. a rich man would keep his slaves alive when the poor whites were starving, an excellent example was the Irish who were owned by England the Irish were unable to own land or choose who they would marry, so when a potato famine came the English felt no reason to feed the Irish so they just starved to death. That's the context of those years, you have Marie Antoinette telling the commoners to eat cake when they had no bread. So when you post that somehow Africans had a unique situation in slavery look at the whole picture.
Now comes another idea of mr petersens that some how a free people were sold in 1917, the reasons the us bought control of the VI had nothing to do with taking away anyone freedom it had to do with who else was interested in attaining the VI. it was the germans or the spanish, you have identical rights with any citizen of the usa freedom of speech is one you exercise alot if you think its so bad consider that the VI could have been under hitlers control, or perhaps franco, make no mistake in this being part of the US is not the worse thing that can happen to a Caribbean island, there is a reason all the down islanders come here they have independence in there own islands but they also have less opportunity and less help. every single American pays taxes of witch a part of comes to you. it has not been a one way street with America taking from you time after time America embraces you and not just with rhetoric or dogma but with hard cold cash and opportunity, its your choice to say the world isnt fair and your choice to either do something about it or complain.
crabs in a bucket mr petersen it is easy to be the crab at the bottom saying that if we were free the bucket would some how become paradise. the real trick is to push each other up and out leaving no one behind, that's the promise of America to the VI they will help us but they like us get stuck in there own best thinking.

Paul Vrabcak
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.