The lottery where we all win

I didn't see a second of the coronation of King Charles III of England.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
22 May 2023 Monday 14:34
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The lottery where we all win

I didn't see a second of the coronation of King Charles III of England. I had more important things to do, like go through cat videos on YouTube. What did not escape me was the news that the new monarch has proposed to investigate the suspicion that his ancestors got rich from the slave trade, which would open the door to the disbursement of juicy reparations real

I thought three things. One, that Carles is joining a very fashionable trend today. The state of California, for example, is looking into offering reparations to the black population. For colonial issues, the Government of Venezuela requests reparations from Spain, that of Jamaica from the United Kingdom, that of Namibia from Germany and that of Haiti from France. Communities of Mapuche descent are asking for reparations from the governments of Argentina and Chile. And so, a lot of other cases.

The second thing I thought was: why would King Charles limit himself to compensating only for the damage the monarchy caused on the other side of the ocean? Why not put a price on the subjugation of England's poor during the feudal era; to the executions of political enemies; to the persecution of Catholics in the 16th century?

My third reflection is more self-centered, but the premise on which it is based could be extended in an economically attractive way to most readers of this column. We are all mixed races. We all have ancestors born in different geographies. I am no exception. I review the family history and my genetic map, and – this is where I wanted to get to – I see opportunities to demand reparations halfway around the world, hopefully enough to solve the pains I'm suffering to make ends meet.

He would begin by writing a letter to Charles III, the richest king in the world. I would demand the reparations due to me for having a Scottish father and an Irish great-grandmother. I would base it on the atrocities of the English in Scotland in the 12th century (remember the movie Braveheart ) and the famine they imposed on Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries. If we add to this that my father's family is Catholic, well, I will tell Charles III that the historical memory I store of the treatment we suffered at the hands of Henry VIII and his daughter (sinfully conceived) Elizabeth I is the only possible explanation for the psychological disorders I suffer from that anyone who knows me can see.

But demanding financial compensation from the English monarchy would be only the beginning of my fundraising adventure. Thanks to the wonders of science, I possess the tree of my genetic DNA, the roots of which extend to the Near East, 33,000 years before the birth of Christ. A world of possibilities literally opens up for me.

Well, the Spanish side, which in turn includes an Italian component, may not bear much fruit. There is a lot of empire here, that of Philip II and the Roman. Better to focus on what is in vogue today, on ancestors who suffered slavery.

I'll scratch my Russian genes first. In Russia, slavery - or what it was, a massive system of serfdom - was not abolished until 1861. There is a good chance that my ancient relatives were serfs and that their masters were the tsars.

If I find out, I will write to the current Czar of Russia to see if he can let me have a few rubles. I know he's a little short on money, with so many damaged missiles and so many mercenaries to pay, but I'll bet he needs some cleansing of his conscience and the act of contrition that would mean putting money in my bank account would help him to settle their accounts with God. Difficult, yes. But what do I lose by trying?

Luckily I also have African ancestors. Pygmies in my family tree may not yield much (who to appeal to?), but I have high hopes for my Yoruba ancestors, natives of what is now Nigeria. There are two possible sources of income here. Or three The British and the Americans on the one hand; the descendants of Nigerian slave hunters on the other.

The Yorubas were among the unfortunate Africans that the English transported to North America, and that the Americans condemned to forced labor. That is why I pay special attention to the current Californian initiative to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to black people. It's not law yet, but if it becomes, and if it then spreads to the rest of the country of Abraham Lincoln, I'll be at the foot of the cannon. I will not hesitate to send to Washington the documents that prove my African status.

The third option would be today's Nigerian billionaires, some of them in the Government. Their relatives in some cases must have started amassing their fortunes thanks to the business of capturing and selling future slaves to English traders. When it comes to reparations, I think it is important to apply an equal principle and attribute historical responsibility regardless of skin color.

Now yes. I know. Some readers will think that I am delusional, that everything I have proposed so far is nonsense. okay But no more nonsense, I would say, than thinking that historical reparations are feasible in the real world. Consider the case of Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro clearly has Spanish blood. Would he be the recipient of the repairs or a taxpayer? Or let's look at California: If it turns out that a person running for the state handout is only three-quarters or two-fifths black, does he get three-quarters or two-fifths of what a 100 percent black person would get? Will a bunch of white-looking people suddenly discover they had black great-grandmothers? Will the money be handed out to rich blacks, the Will Smiths, or will there be an income scale that will determine how much each person gets? It is clear that both arithmetic and genetic questions will create problems that are almost impossible to solve.

But, but... in this "almost" I insist on seeing an opportunity. I recommend that, except for exceptions like Charles III and family, we all sign up for the lottery. There's nothing to lose, and while the restorative fever lasts, there's plenty to dream about.