Thursday, March 6, 2003

I've been doing some work researching Slavery in Sudan. Sean-Paul pointed out that slavery is present in Mali and Mauritania, two very war-torn, impoverished, and famine-ridden Sub-Saharan African nations.

My research first took me here.

Human Rights Watch is one of the few NGOs out there that actually is trying to document this practice in Africa, which is centuries-old. It didn't end when the US finally ended Slavery. I am curious as to why there really is no outrage on this. The silence is disturbing.

Apparently, the government of Sudan states that what HRW and others call slavery is merely the capture of people by rival tribes. Because they claim this doesn't involve them, they have no reason to try to stop it. They changed their policy in 2000, by stating that anyone trafficking in human beings would be prosecuted. No one was bought to justice.

The United States currently has minimal relations with Sudan. Bush did sign a tough resoulution back in October to prod the Sudanese into action. Other than that, silence. It remains on our list of "states of concern." A recent report (one that left out Saudi Arabia) still has Sudan repressing its people in a horrific and bloody 30 year civil war that has left millions dead.


As I sat, googling and surfing the web for information, I became agitated and horrified by what I found. Sudan is not the only nation-state with a problem of slavery. Amnesty International reports that Mauritania has slavery. It's existed for 800 years. Here's a quote:

A Victim's Story

Bilal wakes before dawn each day. He eats the leftover food scraps from the plate of his master, barely enough nourishment for his 20 year-old frame. By the time the sun is up, he is driving a donkey cart to the local well. He fills two 60-liter containers and begins watering rounds that will not end until sundown. Bilal is allowed no break. Working through the desert's afternoon heat, he makes up to ten trips each day, traveling many miles to deliver water to those who can afford it. He is paid at each stop. The money, however, is passed on to his master. At night, Bilal continues work, cleaning and serving his master. He is finally permitted to rest at midnight. Each day is like this; all days are the same. Bilal was born a slave. Will he die a slave?

Christ Jesus.

I-Abolish reports that Afghan children were sold as slaves in Pakistan,post-Afghan war.

Women in DEVELOPED NATIONS such as the UNITED STATES live as sex slaves and worse. The CIA estimates that 100,000 in the United States alone are living in some form of enslavement, usually sexual, demeaning, and evil.

I am outraged.

In the 21st Century, you would think we would have evolved, having seen the horror of African slavery in the Americas, the genocide of the Holocaust (yes, even they were used as slaves till the Nazis murdered them). I cannot believe that the international community, US included (oh, no, we don't get a reprieve), would allow this to continue to occur. This is wrong and it is evil. I dare the leaders of the world to put a stop to this horror, because their silence makes them complicit.

27,000,000 people worldwide live in slavery...more than there ever was in history, yet no state is pro-slavery. Why is this?

There are ways to help. Call your congressperson. They all may be spineless tools and lackies no matter what party they are, but I think we can get through to them. Chrisitan Solidarity International is helping in Sudan. I-Abolish,a website I used in this research, has a wealth of information on how you (and I'm getting my chapter of the College Democrats and our friends the College Republicans involved) can get started. We need to end this. No one deserves to live a life as a slave, and as a descendant of slaves British and American, I cannot tell you how horrified I am to learn that this exists in forms more insidious and evil then history has ever seen.

Seems to me this "committment to human rights" is shallow and false. God, I'm angry.

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