Slavery. The catalyst responsible for so many atrocities, human rights violations, and social problems in the world, even today. Whilst slavery has been going on for millennia, the most recent large scale slavery trade, the Atlantic Slave Trade has impacted the world the most. And I get it, people are still butt-hurt over it. They still bring it up even now, perhaps because taking slaves based on the colour of one’s skin is one of the cruelest things ever done. However, I must say, its been going on for a while. I mean, not the colour thing, but slaving people based on prejudices. The Roman empire took slaves because they were considered barbinarium, barbarians (take that Mr. Goodson, I still remember some Latin). The Islamic invasions resulted in thousands of Indians being abducted as slaves. The Tang dynasty of China purchased Western slaves from the Radanite Jews. I could give many more examples, but basically, in a time when war was the rule and people needed cheap labour to build, expand and grow, it must’ve been a viable choice. I mean, it did take us thousands of years to get from irrigation to the engine. Note, I’m not defending slavery, I’m just acknowledging its existence, and getting over it. Most of the major slave trades were abolished centuries ago with the advancement of technology and enlightening ideas. Which is why we (mostly) don’t have slavery in today’s world…or do we?
But wait, is that an indignant voice complaining about the African slave trade that led to the subsequent cotton farms, Civil War and Segregation in the US I hear? Asking people to “check their privilege”, and acknowledge the sins of their ancestors, even if their ancestors may have had nothing to do with the ownership of slaves. Well Snowflake, I hate to break it to you, but the sad truth is that the majority of slaves that were ripped apart from their homes and families, were taken by other Africans. Before the Europeans even landed in Africa, the Africans were slaving their own people, just like so many other civilizations and empires. Just like the Mongols, and the Arab Kingdoms, and the Romans.
However, what makes it even more horrendous, is the fact the Africans were more often than not the middlemen in selling slaves to the Europeans. If you think that the Europeans marched into Africa, looting, pillaging and raping the slaves out of their homes, you would only be partly right. If they did, then our history books would talk about wars between Natives and gun wielders much like the near destruction of Native American tribes, or the Spanish conquest of South America. However, that wasn’t the case in Africa. The Europeans had no need to go into the extremely dangerous wilds of disease ridden Africa where sickness, infection and wildlife could kill them easier than any arrow could, when there was an abundance slaves waiting for them at the shores. Not all, but many African kingdoms grew rich from slavery. In 1750, King Tegbesu made £250,000 a year selling people into slavery. Most kings saw slaves as criminals or POWs, so in exchange for riches, selling a few deplorables was an easy choice. However, demand increased, and so did conflict, and wars were conducted to take more slaves, and thus began a cycle of war, poverty and evil that we all know today, because in some parts of Africa, slavery is still conducted, and not spoken of. And once all the men were gone from Africa, it became easy prey for colonisation.
The blame however, is not to fall solely on Africans. This plague was incited on both sides, with the promise of gold and guns being the vice Europeans and Americans needed to keep the slaves rolling in. And one must never forget the horrendous state that slaves were kept in once they endured the long journey to America. However, never have I heard African-Americans say that Africans should own up to their mistakes, and I have never heard of it taught in schools, perhaps out of shame? Both sides must own up to their crimes if we are to truly forgive and forget the past, because in more ways than one, we are still slaves today, and race is no deciding factor.
We are slaves, but the stakes have risen, and our minds and ideas are what they are enslaving. And it is scary, yes, and it may be easier to cry “black lives matter!”, rather than see the truth, that people, no matter where, have been selling each other into slavery. And that black people,who believe they were completely wronged sold other black people. And we are still slaves because we don’t see the truth in matters like this, and by wearing our victimization on our sleeves, we are allowing the media to use us as an agenda against whomever they don’t like. We aren’t making ourselves stronger, we’re making ourselves weaker. Instead of looking past all the horrors of our past, we continue to scream them out and say “look at me, pity me!” How the hell would I treat you as an equal when you insist that you are insisting you aren’t. It isn’t the case for everyone, but I believe that true strength comes from the ability to forge forward, irrespective of the past. To remember, but not rely on past hurts in order to get your way. Hard work and determination. In a world where everyone will take advantage of whatever weakness you have, or feel you have, to push their own agendas, whether you are gay, black, white, it is imperative to not let them take a hold and do what they have always, and will always do. Divide us. With black lives matter supporters screaming death to cops, and rioters at Berkely harming unarmed civilians, it is clear the media, or the establishment is getting their way. It’s clear from what I’m seeing from the mainstream media that our freedom is speech is being cut, our own views are being hijacked. We’re being told what to think, what to feel, and what to do, even if it goes against conventional logic, history or the well-being of the people they preach to.
And the saddest thing for me to see, is African people being reined in by this. I have seen some people solely acknowledge the US’ problems while completely ignoring their own country’s. So few Africans barely batted an eye at the Garissa attack, or the regular immolation of LGBT people in countries like Uganda, while expressing the utmost support during the Orlando shooting or London terror attack. Express your sympathy, but don’t ignore your home, because it needs you, now more than ever. With corrupt governments, and sub-par standards of living. Especially you, my fellow Malawians, where the wage gap is so high, there can’t possibly be a middle-class. We need to stop this slavery of minds and desecration of resources in our own borders, and we can’t do it when you’re jumping onto so many other boats. And I could go on and on about the things that plague us, but I’m sure you’re all too familiar with them. In our own ways, we can get out of this cage we’ve built for ourselves. We just need to arm ourselves with knowledge, and courage.
As usual, feel free to debate or ask me anything. Share the message if you want, and don’t be afraid to question learn, and explore.