The recent rash of opinions regarding the elimination of flags and statues reminiscent of despicable acts of human behavior reminded me of my experiences in Ghana where I was posted with the USAID (State Department agency) in the late 1980s.
My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Cape Coast Castle, where 10 million slaves embarked for Europe, Brazil, the Caribbean and the United States.
The Ghanaians did not want future generations to forget what had happened. They maintained Cape Coast Castle and erected a plaque sharing responsibility with those who bought the human cargo.
The plaque states: In Everlasting Memory; Of the anguish of our ancestors; May those who died rest in peace; May those who return find their roots; May humanity never again perpetrate; Such injustice against humanity; We the living vow to uphold this.
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I wonder whether this might not be fitting in our time as well. The Ghanaians knew that if they wiped the slate clean, i.e., destroy the castle and all other reminders of the slave trade, future generations would forget what happened. When people forget what happened, the chance of repeating the evil deeds could be repeated.
William S. Lefes