If the international community chooses to assign moral culpability to the West for colonization and slavery, then that is its prerogative. However, perhaps that choice should be recognized as just that, a choice. The international community may be better served if it casts off any illusions it has about an overarching, permanent moral framework that applies equally to all wrongdoers at all times. The recognition of the international law of human rights as an evolving moral framework may help European and African states alike to set aside the issue of blame and apology for slavery in order to concentrate on the continuing plight of the African continent and the strained relations between nations.
In discussing the potential for African reparations, lasting peace must not be forgotten as the ultimate goal. Although it is feasible to shape the dynamic international law to support or deny reparations for slavery and colonization, this must not be done in a way that inspires lingering resentment. In the end, it is that lingering resentment that has created this confrontation. The underlying moral sentiments must be recognized and openly discussed to reach a final peace that is acceptable to everyone involved. Otherwise, this problem will arise again in the future.
[a1]. The Author's use of the term "African Holocaust" is not in any way intended to discount the importance of the Jewish Holocaust. In this instance, the Author uses the term to simultaneously recognize the extent of African suffering during the slave trade, and to signal to the reader that a comparison of the two genocidal events will comprise a significant part of this Note.
At the time of publication for this Note, the authors of four previous law review articles used the term "African Holocaust." See Eric K. Yamamoto, Racial Reparations: Japanese American Redress and African American Claims, 40 B.C. L. Rev. 477 (1998); El-Obaid Ahmed El-Obaid & Kwando Appiagyei-Atua, Human Rights In Africa--A New Perspective On Linking The Past To The Present, 41 McGill L.J. 819 (1996); Tuneen E. Chisolm, Sweep Around Your Own Front Door: Examining the Argument For Legislative African American Reparations, 147 U. Pa. L. Rev. 677 (1999); David Abraham & Kimberly A. McCoy, Dealing With Histories of Oppression: Black And Jewish Reactions To Passivity And Collaboration In William Styron's Confessions of Nat Turner And Hannah Arendt's Eichmann In Jerusalem, 2 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 87 (2000).
[aa1]. J.D. candidate 2003, Vanderbilt University.