Today I learned that slavery is alive and thriving in the world. Like most Americans, I guess, I was under the false impression that slavery had ended worldwide. NPR carried an interview with an escaped slave from Sudan. He had been raised as a slave by Arabs after being stolen as a child in southern Sudan.
It is very difficult for me to express the whirlwind of emotions I feel at this new knowledge. We send Americans to die in Iraq for, at best, questionable reasons. Yet there are human beings, in the capture of our supposed allies who are owned as property. Is it really possible that our leaders are so blind as to not have any knowledge of this? My outrage is only kept in check by the overwhelming sadness I feel for the other instances of myself held in bondage. They are beaten, they are restricted in everything they do, they are forced to address anyone who even turns their head in the slave’s direction (I suppose so as not to miss any order), they are not brothers they are draft animals.
All this while most of the free world sits by and debates the meaning of each and every nuance in their sacred texts, how this must mean this or that must mean something else. What about the basic messages that ALL religions teach. In the United States we call it the golden rule. Remember? Do unto others… If your child was being held as a slave how would you hope the rest of the world would act? My guess is you would damn sure hope that someone would be wiling to put a stop to the atrocity that is slavery. Owning another Human being is wrong, Morally wrong. With a capitol M. Is there really anyone out there willing even to play devils advocate on this issue? Doing nothing is insidiously supporting slavery.
There are few things in life as sure as this basic principle: people have no right to own other people. If we continue to sit idly by and not act to stop it we are as guilty as those who perpetrate this heinous crime because we have therefore given tacit permission to them to do so. We must act now to stop it, as free people, as Americans and as Humans.