In many former European colonies August the first is Emancipation Day celebrating the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire almost two centuries ago.
And while our postmodern sensibilities drive our cultural institutions to fixate on the offence of the latter fact, the sin of slavery (an offence shared across almost every culture on earth universally) we do not focus enough on the extraordinary reality of the first fact, emancipation, which was extremely rare across history and cultures.
Not only did Britain abolish slavery at home at the turn of the 19th century and across the Empire fewer than four decades later, but it policed the entire international slave trade across the Atlantic at great national expense.
Professor Nigel Biggar is a British Anglican priest, theologian, and ethicist.
From 2007 to his retirement late last year he was the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford. He is the author of a new book called Colonialism. A Moral Reckoning which examines the morality of colonialism.
This Ep 216i first aired on ADH TV on 1 August 2023. The Other Side Interviews is a weekly long-form interview show on important news topics. It streams every Tuesday night at 6pm on Australia's ADH TV at https://watch.adh.tv/the-other-side-interviews-1 It complements the weekly main show The Other Side Australia with Damian Coory which is a news and commentary summary show that streams on Friday nights at 8pm.