There are few things in this world more heinous than the concept of one human being claiming ownership over another. The supposition is, at its very root, totally contrary to the nature of our planet, and all we know of the universe. Yet slavery has been, and still is, one of the great banes of mankind. In the world today, we face two forms of calamity spawned by this element: the human tragedy (that which still imprisons people, destroys cultures, and decimates progress in young nations), and the elements of resentment and bitterness, which become its legacy, and which are, in the strangest of fashions, being forged again, in nations who have largely put this travesty to bed decades if not centuries ago.
To understand slavery (and to understand how bizarre it is that America should still be dealing with its repercussions) you have to understand slavery’s origins and its modern manifestations. Initially, one of the greatest ironies is that unbiased historical records show the most significant slave trade has always come from Africa – black Africans capturing black Africans and selling them into slavery (to each other, and to Arab traders, who eventually sold their cargo to European and American consortiums). In addition, Africa is the only major country in the world today where slavery still flourishes. Quite a paradox.
For those of you of leftist definition I’m sure this is disappointing news – slavery has been around a long time – about four thousand years before the Civil War. In fact, the first “slaves’ in the Americas were not black Africans at all, but rather white Europeans – indentured servants and criminals – Irish, English, Scottish, and people from a number of other European countries. While there can be no question of the horror that was dealt out to African slaves in America, they do not exclusively own the trauma in this long-time club. If anything, Africans are now almost exclusively the perpetrators of this diabolical profession.
The fact-compiling Wikipedia tells us that, “the continent of Africa is one of the most problematic regions in terms of contemporary slavery. Slavery in Africa has a long history, within Africa since before historical records, but intensifying with the Arab slave trade and again with the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the demand for slaves created an entire series of kingdoms (such as the Ashanti Empire) which existed in a state of perpetual warfare in order to generate the prisoners of war necessary for the lucrative export of slaves. These patterns have persisted into the colonial period during the late 19th and early 20th century. Although the colonial authorities attempted to suppress slavery from about 1900, this had very limited success, and after decolonization, slavery continues in many parts of Africa even though being technically illegal. Slavery in the Sahel region (and to a lesser extent the Horn of Africa), exist along the racial and cultural boundary of Arabized Berbers in the north and darker Africans in the south. Slavery in the Sahel states of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan in particular, continues a centuries-old pattern of hereditary servitude. Other forms of traditional slavery exist in parts of Ghana, Benin, Togo and Nigeria. There are other, non-traditional forms of slavery in Africa today, mostly involving human trafficking and the enslavement of child soldiers and child labourers, (e.g. human trafficking) in Angola, and trafficking of children in Togo, Benin and Nigeria to Gabon and Cameron.”
In case anyone is confused – this is primarily black people enslaving black people – as I write this. But somehow, all we seem to be interested in, here in America, is the economic-based slavery of people that ended almost 200 years ago. I would think that there would be more interest from African Americans in helping their African brothers and sisters away from this dreaded practice, instead of continually harping on an issue that died in this country nearly two centuries ago.
In addition, there is no group of people (who have suffered slavery) in the history of the world (not just the U.S., but the world) that has received such continuous and exotic benefits from their host country, than here in America – without anything being required of them. Provided all in the name of (and I hate to use the word) “restitution” for former indiscretions. But the truth is, you can only beat a dog for so long until it dies, and the people doing the beating are forced to become responsible for their own transgressions.
We are at an apex here in this country – a nation on the edge of lunacy. We either put away the past and unite as Americans all, or we allow the chains of prejudice to bind us and destroy our future. The choice is still ours, today…
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com