Tactics of slavers

Malcolm Verrall's assertion that "the crime of the slave trade was carried out by whites and blacks working in collusion" (Letters, 2 April) needs to be unpacked. While some kings and chiefs willingly traded with the Europeans, to suggest that it was an equal partnership is a dangerous fallacy. The British consistently instigated wars between Africans in order to procure slaves, giving one village guns to gain the upper hand against their enemies. Another tactic was to set fire to the villages of kings refusing to trade with Europeans until they acquiesced.

Africans fought passionately against all those who attempted to pillage their communities. I should add that African nations in 1999 issued an apology to the diaspora for their involvement, showing an emotional maturity that has yet to be seen from the UK government.

Angelina Osborne

London SE23

This article first appeared in the 16 April 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Iran