You mention the word "Slavery" to a typical American, and the plight of the African/American Slaves in the pre-Civil War America comes to mind. If the discussion continues, it might even hinge on whether or not the African/Americans are still being discriminated against, yet all will agree that Slavery in America has been eliminated. And since the American public has been taught that America was the last vestige of mass Slavery, we will always talk about Slavery in the "past tense."
Would it then surprise you to find that Slavery is alive and thriving TODAY in certain parts of the world? Furthermore, would it surprise you to know that one of the predominant perpetrators of this practice is none other than the Arab Muslims against the mostly Christian, Non-Muslim population of South Sudan? Can the American mind wrap itself around the idea that even today there are women and children in parts of our globe who are captured into slavery (the men are murdered in the raids)? Are we just uninformed about this, or do we know and we just DON'T CARE.
No, it has to be that we don't know about it, because as righteous self-flagellating Americans, we would not stand by silently if we knew that there were oppressed people in the world TODAY who exist as Slaves. Certainly the Obama administration must be fully aware of the thriving Slave Trade in the Sudan, so then if the American public was aware of these horrors, they would inundate the White House with phone-calls, emails and letters, insisting that America take concrete remedial action.
On Sunday mornings in New York, I usually tune in to the very popular "Religion on the Line" show on WABC radio. This past Sunday the show featured an interview with Charles Jacobs who is the founder of American Anti-Slavery Group. I must admit, that though I have been hearing about atrocities committed in Sudan, and there have been rumors of slavery being practiced, I was not aware of the magnitude of this problem.
(Wait, did I say "Sudan?" Isn't Sudan the same country where the South has just now voted on the referendum to secede from the North? Yes, that is correct. This is the same country where George Bush intervened to hammer out the agreement that allowed the vote for the secession of Southern Sudan from the North.)
But Sudan is only one of the many African countries where slave trade is common. Check out Benin, Togo, Nigeria, and Gabon.
According to the American Anti Slavery Group (AASG), there are still 27 Million people in bondage today. Can we as Americans, Canadians, British, Australians or any other citizens of the free world just put on our blinders and proceed with our day-to-day lives and pretend that everything is rosy? Or will we take a few precious moments out of our busy day to visit the AASG site, call and write to our representatives and flood the White House with our letters and calls for a demand to action.
To quote Charles Jacobs regarding the goals of his organization: “… in addition to fighting slavery, AASG will work on building a human rights community, one which treats the suffering of all humans equally, and not one that uses “human rights” to clear consciences.”
It was a mere 60 years ago when the American public sat by silently while Hitler's exterminators methodically slaughtered many millions, with the complicit shrug of the American Administration and news media. Have we reverted again to that blasé mindset that allows us to pursue our day-to-day existence unencumbered by pangs of guilt? And while the silence of the mainstream Media is deafening, we have the internet to educate us. Will the American public turn its collective backs and declare "we see no evil, we hear no evil"?
If we sit silently by while the helpless innocent suffer, we are no better than their fiendish oppressors.