Following the Prince of Wales’ 4-day royal visit to Ghana, blogger Mary-Tamar was Jean Gasho writes him the following letter:
Dear Prince Charles
I was very very disheartened as I listened to your speech in Ghana during your tour with with Camilla, The Duchess Of Cornwall. As much as I appreciate that for the first time in British History, you mentioned with regret that Britain played a major part in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. But, I beg your pardon your Royal Highness, merely regretting slavery is just not enough because British Merchants where among the largest participants of the inhuman barbaric cruel transatlantic slave trade.
The money that was made on the Transatlantic slave trade triangle was what made Great Britain what it is today, Great Britain. Slavery changed the landscapes of Britain and other European countries forever. Wasn’t the Bank of England which still thrives today built on the back-borne of slavery?
When I think of what happened in that Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, my stomach turns and I cry. Women and Men where thrown in dungeons, where they were shackled, sleeping on their own human waste. They faced the most evil conditions humans ever witnessed in the history of mankind. The women were mercilessly raped daily by their European masters. The men were reduced to being animals as they waited for their fate to enter the door of no return to the new world on the slave ships. How can this, your Royal Highness be merely a regrettable part of history? I can not possibly comprehend this.
Slave Castle in Ghana where slaves were kept in dungeons awaiting shipping
After being tortured and raped by their European masters, the slaves entered the door of no return
Prince Charles, you said that Ghana and the United Kingdom enjoy shared opportunity, and you went on to say we can ever forget that the past of Britain had sometimes borne witness to tragedy and loss and at times profound injustice. No Prince Charles, it wasn’t sometimes, the injustice of the slave trade continue to haunt Ghanaians and West Africans today not just back in Africa, but those who live in the United Kingdom. Are they treated as equal men in this country? Do they not continue to be reminded daily that they do not belong here?
For those who are still back in West Africa, are they not still enduring slavery in the hands of Libyans, where they are treated with such inhuman cruelty as they try to escape what slavery and British colonisation did to their land. They still risk their lives, trying to make it to Great Britain and Europe, where they are still treated as modern day slaves, but for them it is still better than being back home. Is slavery of Black West Africans still not rife today? Who is putting a stop to slavery in Libya?
You went onto say, “the appalling atrocity of the slave trade, and the unimaginable suffering it caused, left an indelible stain on the history of the world.” As a mother of two Ghanaian children, both who are still babies, I am deeply offended by the statement you made Your Royal Highness. Slavery did not leave a stain on the history of the world, it left a chosen people broken, wounded, humiliated and crushed so much that none of them or their descendants have ever recovered from the ‘stain’. The chains and shekels are still there! My two little Ashanti children who were born in the United Kingdom, and are British by birth still suffer STAIN of slavery.
My Ghanaian British baby was born a few days after your grandson Prince Louis, yet my son, British as he is, has already been through the STAIN of the slavery of his forefathers, even during his birth, he never received a 10th of the normality your grandson received, which should be the rights of every British born child.
So how is it, that you can stand in Ghana, and tell the people there and the President of Ghana that today the 250 000 men and women of Ghanaian descent who live in the United Kingdom make an indispensable contribution to British Society and Economy. How can this be, when the people of Ghana and other West Africans come to the United Kingdom and are treated as the lowest of the lowest.
Most of them are caged in detention centres where they are given worse treatment than British dogs. The injustice of slavery never stopped. The inhumanity of it continues on this land as I write this letter.
I have never been in detention centres, but I have researched enough to know of the atrocities that happen there today. How ‘illegal immigrants’ stop being regarded as British residents. I have heard it with my own ears. Those who are freed from detention camps are told that if they want British Citizenship they have to make an application and pay a lot of money, even though they are NOT allowed to work, they still have to pay the thousands of pounds to the British economy. Where do they get the money from? Where is the logic and justice in that? Are these Ghanaians and West Africans still not slaves?
How is it Prince Charles, that every Ghanaian who enters the borders of United Kingdom is automatically treated as a SERVANT, but every White British Person who goes to Ghana, royalty or not, is given the treatment of royalty? Aren’t the descendants of Slave Masters still benefiting from slavery today? Whilst Ghanaians and West Africans are still suffering from the effects of slavery.
Just a few weeks ago, a Ghanaian British Kweku Adoboli who was has lived in the United Kingdom since he was 12 years old was facing deportation yet he had already served his time in jail. But he was being punished twice simply because he was from Ghana.
For the sake of the Transatlantic slave trade, and the evil that happened to the people of Ghana and their neighbours, why can’t the people of this great Nation be treated as royalty when they enter United Kingdom? Why cant they not be compensated for what happened to their forefathers? Why do they have to still bear the mark of a slave on their foreheads?
Even Zimbabweans are given better treatment in the United Kingdom than Ghanaians and West Africans. A few years ago, Zimbabweans were given Asylum statuses in United Kingdom based on falsehood that their lives were in danger because of Robert Mugabe. I was born in Zimbabwe, though I denounced the country because of the inhumane abuses I suffered there, I can testify that any Zimbabwean who was given asylum status in the United Kingdom because of Robert Mugabe’s regime lied under oath. No Zimbabwean was ever in danger of being ‘killed’ by Robert Mugabe. In fact as soon as they got their asylum status, they went back to Zimbabwe on holiday.
But Ghanaians and West Africans in the United Kingdom have to work ten times harder to get their British Citizenship, when they should be the ones given better preferences and compensation for what their ancestors endured. Ghanaians do not even have a quarter of the privileges that were granted to Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers who lied under oath.
So instead of being encouraged by your speech in Ghana, I was left deeply saddened, because I know that even though Britain played a major role in abolishing slavery on paper, the effects of it are still raw, especially among Ghanaians and West Africans who live in Britain today.
I do ask on behalf of my children and my people, that compensation should be granted to the people of Ghana, because of the atrocities and the inhumane treatment their forefathers suffered. West Africans do not have to risk their lives to come to the United Kingdom. Once they reach Britain, they do not have to be treated as animals. They do not have to suffer to obtain stay in the United Kingdom. I do not think this is too much to ask, considering the damage slavery has had on humanity.
In the UK, those who suffer an accident which is not their faults are rewarded compensation, how much more those who are the descendants of the greatest cruelty to ever happen to mankind. Where is their compensation?
I stand here pleading that Ghanaians are compensated and treated with respect and dignity when they enter the United Kingdom. Being granted stay in the United Kingdom should not be something they have to bleed for, it is after all their birth right.
Mary-Tamar was Jean Gasho