Magazine article The Spectator

Globophobia

Magazine article The Spectator

Globophobia

Article excerpt

Slaves transported from Africa to the New World in the 18th century had a wretched time, but does the same apply to their distant descendants? It does according to Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, who with seven other descendants of slaves this week filed a lawsuit demanding $1 billion in damages from Lloyd's of London, FleetBoston and the tobacco company R.J. Reynolds. These companies, claims Ms Farmer-Paellmann, who has had her DNA traced to the Mende tribe of Sierra Leone, 'have destroyed our national and ethnic identity'. She accuses them of 'aiding and abetting the commission of genocide' by financing and insuring slave ships.

Does Ms Farmer-Paellmann really wish she was plodding around in a grass skirt in West Africa like her distant ancestors, rather than living in the United States? Unlikely. Never mind Lloyd's of London; it is the descendants of slaves who profited the most from the slave trade. If anything, she should be thanking companies implicated in the slave trade for giving her such a good start in life. …

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