In an address to the Oxford Union, Ugandan and librarian in the union Ssuuna Golooba-Mutebi makes the case for reparations to its former imperial territories.
Golooba-Mutebi is currently a student at St. John’s College, and he delivered his address almost a year ago in July. However, the speech and the topic is timely.
There have been recent debates coming out of Jamaica, other Caribbean nations, and Africa demanding restitution for the atrocities committed by the British empire.
The Oxford Union librarian starts by addressing these debates and giving a quick history lesson. The British empire was the largest in the world, ruling over one-fifth of the world’s population at one time. The size and scope of the empire created various — yet still awful — conditions for people in the Caribbean, India and Africa.
He says colonialism was a selfish endeavor that allowed the white colonists to take land and amass more wealth. They believed they were civilizing savages, but there were already advanced cultures in the places they conquered.
“All the advantages and disadvantages gained by the colonizer and the colonized continue to trickle down the generations, leaving a huge inequality that is rooted in the past… how much wealth exactly do you think Britain received from the oil, the minerals, ivory, precious metals and stones in which it — let’s be frank — stole from other people? … The British government apologizing is just not enough.”