World Politics: Should reparations be paid for colonialism?

Some UK-based Africans and Indians believe they rightfully profit from Britain in payment for prior 'rapes' of their countries. Is that right?

Reparations are a thorny issue, and not just for Britain. Apologies for past transgressions appear not to go far enough. Issues such as the Americans' ill-treatment of their native tribes, or the Australians' appalling treatment of Aboriginees, have been argued over for decades. And Africans often hold the view that Britain, France, Portugal and the rest should pay up for past actions which bolstered their wealth at the expense of Africa's. It would not be merely Europeans either, for what of Oman's profiting from East Africa for centuries ?  

But this is a global issue: in Latin America, would the Spanish compensate the Venezuelans and Mexicans, or Portuguese the Brazilians? And in Indo-China, what of France's penetration of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia? Or Holland's actions in Indonesia and Spain's in the Philippines?

It has often been said that the crimes of the fathers should not be visited on the children, and I agree. For if not, where does retribution end? An eye-for-an-eye, or tooth-for-a-tooth: is that laudable? Turn the other cheek, Jesus allegedly taught. But equally practically, history is very long, and how far back exactly does one go to seek compensation?

Should the Italians pay trillions for the plunder of England by the Romans? Would England seek compensation from the Norwegians and Danes for the ravaging of their lands, the rapes of their women and the thefts perpetrated by the Vikings? Would it be apt for Mongolia to pay reparations for the havoc and grief that Mongols wreaked when they invaded Hungary and Poland in 1240? Or Turks compensate for the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans? Would it be right for Iran to pay the Greeks for the damage done by Persian armies under Xerxes? 

Surely, peace should prevail, and modern thinking, better education and present enlightenment would advise that the past should remain just that: the past. And the present is a collective responsibility, with us all benefitting from the fruits of this earth. Otherwise mayhem would result, and could justice anyway ever really be served?

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