Friday, 9 February 2007

Exclusive - Wrong Zong for Tower Pier

As part of the current fatuous political correctness celebrations of the end of slavery, an evangelical Christian ministry under investigation by the Charity Commission for its rather rabid anti-Islamic stance has enrolled the help of the Navy in mounting a crude publicity stunt this March.

The MOD website announces that "Type 23 Frigate HMS Northumberland will escort replica slave ship Kaskelot (sponsored by the Centre for Contemporary Ministry and renamed 'Zong') into London Tower Pier" in Late March 2007. Now the original Zong was a captured Dutch ship turned into a slaver and captained by Sir Luke Collingwood and infamous for throwing 133 slaves overboard in 1781. And trying to claim them on her insurance.

The other Collingwood, the one that the Navy I'm sure would be happier to be associated with, is of course the Admiral who fought so gallantly at Trafalgar and is buried in St Paul's. The Kaskelot was built in 1948 as a transport barque for Greenland and is one of the largest wooden sailing vessels still in commission.

The CCM was reported to the Charity Commission for comments made in a 2006 newsletter. Its current material seems rabidly paranoid over the political influence of the 'moslem vote' - which I'm sure will be news to the UK's Islamic community. A flavour of its position :

There are 34 seats currently held by Labour that are dependent upon the Muslim vote. If these went the other way they could swing the election. It is therefore expected that before the next General Election legislation will be brought in to meet Muslim demands. The result will be a drastic curbing of our freedom to preach the gospel in public or to publish anything that might offend Muslims. Christians will be faced with endless complaints and harassment as even saying that Jesus is the Son of God is offensive to Muslims. Some of us on the front line will no doubt end in prison.
Now why on earth would anyone want to commemorate the Zong incident? What is the point? One can't judge the past by the standards of the present. Life was infinitely cheaper in the eighteenth century, white as well as black. We were hanging 16 year olds for Sodomy in London and had just stopped burning women as witches. In our own age we have seen tribal genocide in Rwanda and Darfur, and the radio today reported a rate of 18,000 murders a year in South Africa. So why don't we devote our national resources to addressing these issues, instead of beating ourselves over the head for 133 murders that happened 226 years ago?

And why on earth would the Navy want to get involved with adding spurious legitimacy to a bunch of, erm, zongers?

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