Saturday, April 24, 2010

Taking responsibility for the past

For any of us to take responsibility for our past actions and to ask for forgiveness is difficult. Repentance for the sin of our society, culture, or nation, is even harder. Some would even deny this is necessary. Yet, Old Testament prophets did not seem to make this distinction.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., has a thought-provoking op-ed piece in the New York Times, Ending the slavery blame-game, which discusses the thorny issue of reparations for the descendants of slaves, including the role of African leaders. One paragraph was particularly moving and humbling:
In 1999, ..., President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin astonished an all-black congregation in Baltimore by falling to his knees and begging African-Americans’ forgiveness for the “shameful” and “abominable” role Africans played in the trade. Other African leaders, including Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, followed Mr. Kerekou’s bold example.
I thank my wonderful wife for bringing this article to my attention.

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