Portugal: According to its president, Portugal should apologize for its role in the slave trade
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, MAMOS Nigeria
Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has said his nation ought to apologize and get a sense of ownership with its job in the transoceanic slave exchange, the initial time a head of the southern European country has proposed such a public statement of regret.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Portuguese ships kidnapped and forcibly transported 6 million Africans across the Atlantic to Brazil, where they were sold into slavery.
However, Portugal has so far made few remarks about its past and has taught schools very little about its role in slavery.
Instead, the majority of Portuguese view the country’s colonial era, during which it subjugated parts of India and countries like Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Cape Verde, and East Timor, as a source of pride.
Rebelo de Sousa said on Tuesday at Portugal’s annual commemoration of the “Carnation” revolution of 1974, which overthrew the country’s dictatorship, that the country should do more than just apologize, but he did not provide any specifics.
“Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to apologize: He added that the nation should “assume responsibility” for its past in order to construct a better future. “You apologise, turn your back, and the job is done.”
Rebelo de Sousa made the remarks after the Portuguese parliament was addressed by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was in Portugal on his first trip to Europe since taking office. Brazil acquired freedom from Portugal in 1822.
He stated that the spread of the Portuguese language and culture was one of the colonization of Brazil’s positive aspects.