WHY HE WILL NOT FIGHT

From the Tribunal October 18th 1916

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

A Negro’s Argument

The following is an extract from the written statement of a negro who was recently arrested as an absentee, and who had been under the impression that his colour exempted him from the provisions of the Military Service Act:-

“I am a negro of the African race, born in Jamaica. My parents were sent in bondage to Jamaica. They were torn from their home. My country is divided up among the European Powers (no fighting against each other), who in turn have oppressed and tyrannised over my fellow-men. The allies of Great Britain, i.e., Portugal and Belgium, have been among the worst oppressors, and now that Belgium is invaded I am about to be compelled to defend her…. As a people the negroes are last among men taken into consideration in this country, although we be regarded as British. Even Germans or any aliens who are white men are preferred to us. I am not given ordinary privileges as a citizen. I have tried to obtain work and I have been refused solely because of my colour…. I have been buffeted from one Labour Exchange to another…. Business men claim that their employees would not work with me; others hold… they may lose their customers because I am a negro.

“In view of these circumstances, and also the fact that have a moral objection to all wars, I would sacrifice my rights rather than fight, for to subdue one with might can never destroy the evil…”

dove..