May 26, 2022

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The sad story of slavery, even today the negative effects of this dark part of history are still felt

The sad story of slavery, even today the negative effects of this dark part of history are still felt

 

When I read stories about slavery my heart is torn apart, the stories are so painful and unbearable that the books themselves become unreadable, but slavery wasn’t like that before, in the most ancient of nations slavery was a common practice, in fact you find slaves were part of the owner’s family which often cared for them as they did to their own relatives, when a child is born into a family of servants then he/she is regarded as a slave and the family in charge of them becomes the master. Some people who were living under a good master had better lives than those who were not slaves.

I have come across some  ancient texts that  revealed good relationship between the slaves and their masters, who had a strong bond and lived by simple rules, there was a very thin line between the word servant and a slave,  a servant works for a pay, and goes home to feed their families with the little pay they have gained, a slave on the other hand had nowhere to go, and therefore works for the masters family without any pay, but then all his needs and those of his children are taken care of by the owner, slave families lived across  just near the owners home, when you are dirt poor and famine has struck the country hard, better be some rich fellows slave than to perish, an owner of many slaves has less food for himself because he has more mouths to feed, if a slave wanders off into the desert he/she will perish, there is no life in the wilderness, better stay in the masters house and get plenty of food and water to drink than to die out in the desert, all you need to do is help in taking care of their flock and their other property, many good owners would fiercely defend their slaves from abuse and exploitation from others even members of their own family.

Like the slaves and servants of the great kings of Timbuktu and the Sultans of Zanzibar, all treated their servants and slaves with nobility.

But when it comes to the transatlantic slave trade it’s a different story, a platoon of pirates swarmed across the seas, and traveled from ocean to ocean carrying humans like cargo, the large scale exploitation of others made it impossible to treat them with at least any little care, then were sold off to cruel farmers, abusive owners…… and the stories of cruelty goes on.

Many of these slave traders were pagans or came from heathen nations, and have never comprehended how to treat a fellow human being, it is no wonder some of the experiences of these slaves were so vile that many people prefer not to raise those issues once again, they better remain as bad memories of the past. Nobody wants to talk about it. It came to our thoughts people from the tropics had no knowledge of what it’s like to be a slave yourself, none ever pitied them.

If people come across an article about slavery they become curious about it, some will figure out as the sad transatlantic slave trade of the last few centuries, so they quickly toss it aside, no one wants to read something that will cause them pain or heartbreak, slavery should be a none-issue in this twenty first century as for everyone’s knowledge.

Every budding author aspires to be a master of the quill someday. If ye want to write about slavery then better be cautious with your choice of words, if you bring up stories of masters who were cruel to their slaves then also remember that there were those who were very kind to them and treated them like a family, so as not to become too biased and deter your potential readers.

Earliest Forms of Slavery

 

Civilizations have already depended on slavery to advance their development. All the great civilizations of the Past, all them from  Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian , Persian, Greek and Roman all had institutions of slavery to survive. Even ancient Egyptian cities were full of slaves. Most of Egyptian aristocracy owned slaves, even an average family could buy slaves to help on their homes and farms as long as they could afford them. There is a lot of Egyptian hieroglyphs talking about slaves and slavery in general.

In ancient past, whenever cities or countries goes to war, the loser would be forced to hand over his material possessions such as cutlery made of precious metals, if the inhabitants of a city are defeated to the point where there are no male survivors of ability to carry arms, their grain would be looted as well. All their artifacts of gold, silver, bronze, fine linen fabrics and almost every valuable items in their homes would be looted and carried off to the victor’s homes. If there are any survivors after the battle they would be carried off as slaves as well to the enemy’s territory where they will spend their entire lives in servitude.  Slaves were always spoils of war in the past and the slave owner had the power of life and death over his slaves, he did with them as he pleased.

The Greek City States had so many slaves that they would outnumber the Greek citizens  themselves by a ratio of three to one. However numerous they were, they were pressed down so hard they could not bring themselves to rise up against their overlords.  Then Rome was also another empire that greatly depended on its institutions of slavery to survive, almost everything in the Roman way of life needed slaves to function well. The romans were infamous for their cruelty. The roman society to continue to function, they had to continue to conquer more land and enslave its people for to fill in the coffers of the empire, in the last few centuries of the empire the romans realized how unsustainable their way of life was, they ran out of new land and peoples to conquer and enslave. The rebellion of a single barbarian tribe could risk destabilizing the entire empire.

There is mention of slavery in many religious books, some bible texts written thousands of years ago teaches people how to treat slaves and reminds man that there is a higher power that will eventually judge them for the way they live with people that serve them. The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians for many generations before God sent prophet Moses to deliver them from their suffering. As the story goes, the Egyptian pharaoh of the time stubbornly refused to let them go and inviting God’s wrath upon the Egyptians.

 

Slavery at the time was a matter of convenience and opportunity, if you defeat another nations’ troops in battle then their women and children automatically became your slaves. However cruel it may appear to us, it was he culture at the time. Slavery of the ancients had nothing to do with race or religion. It was all about taking advantage of your weakest neighbors. The strongest fellow in the neighborhood makes all the surrounding neighbors his servants.

 

The Economy of Modern World is still Based On some form of Slavery

 

Only a few countries have overcome the trenches brought forth by modern slavery, countries like china have pulled their citizens out of poverty despite the odds being stacked against them. Honesty speaking, the Chinese  worked their ass off to lift themselves out of poverty. Even though I am not a Chinese myself I give the Chinese people a thumbs up for believing in themselves and staying committed to their work, it was a long painfully journey yet they are almost there, hard work and determination is a virtue highly praised in many Asian countries that eventually brings out the good in people in the society, countries like Japan, South Korea and Singapore became know as Asian tigers after they got their people out of poverty. And there are other Asian tigers already on their way to prosperity, we are seeing these countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam coming up really fast and they are almost catching up with the with the big boys. Asian tiger nations became rich in just a few years even when they have very little natural resources, all this happened because of their sheer determination and hard work.

 

This prosperity wasn’t that easy it came at a huge price, especially to countries like China. Well this is a story we all know, After decades of desperation created by Chairman Mao’s polices, the Chinese decided to experiment with capitalism which resulted in their country blossoming in just a few decades.  With the influx of foreign firms, the Chinese authorities had no choice but to send hundreds of millions  of people into factories to generate enough revenue for the local government.  Even though they were paid just peanuts, they refused to give up and dutifully completed their work without complaints. The Chinese are a hardy folk, commitment to one’s work is deeply rooted into Chinese culture and will happily do any work assign to them.  The new form to work brought many benefits as well as drawbacks. First of all let’s talk about the exploitation of the workers, in the factories owned by foreign companies, Chinese workers are forced to work extremely long hours with very little pay in a very dangerous environment. This has led to millions of workers dying from exhaustion from overwork. They became the unfortunate statistics of our modern world. Tens of millions more perished from the environmental pollution created by these foreign factories. When China instantly became the factory of the world, every other major industry tried to put up a factory in that nation, their cheap labor and ease of doing business was unmatchable anywhere in the world. Entire manufacturing plants & factories were uprooted from the rich developed nations of the world and then replanted in china, they still would have received more things to produce had it not been for the pandemic, when covid hit in 2020 and disrupted the supply chains, industries started to have second thoughts about relying on one country for their entire production capacity. They had no choice but had to start diversifying.

 

Other than manufacturing of cool tech gadgets, another industry that has been grabbing headlines lately has been the fashion industry. Outsourcing of garment productions by the big boys in the fashion industry has been exposed by some pretty brutal accidents in developing Asian countries, a few years ago, the world awoke to the shock of seeing entire  buildings collapse onto workers, these turned out to be poorly constructed multi storey buildings hosting thousands of garments workers. The factory owners were gullible businessmen who traded workers safety for profits. Some buildings were so poorly constructed that they collapsed just months after constructions, others had almost zero safety measures like having simple fire extinguishers in the building. You know the garment industry is very vulnerable to fires, and when the flames began to make their move, entire buildings were consumed in just a matter of minutes trapping in hundreds of people. The buildings were overly congested with so many people that there was hardly was any oxygen to breathe.  The Bangladeshi garment factory disasters opened the eyes of the world to the really dark side of Outsourcing, big fashion brands outsourced their garments to another company who would produce them much more cheaply, and that company then outsources it to yet another company to produce the clothes at a much lower cost. The supply chain then becomes so long that you never know who is doing what. A perfect recipe for disaster. And when fires start consuming thousands of workers or building collapsing on them, the big fashion brands want to be no part of it, the reason they outsource their production to these developing  countries with very little regulation is to distance themselves from those factories when disaster strikes. I looks like everybody is cutting corners in the industry, everybody wants quick easy money without thinking about the consequences.

 

We really enjoy shopping for cheap products at our local malls yet we never stop to think for once where those products are made. What kinds of hardships the workers  go through, and the environmental impacts of that production. After the Bangladeshi Garment Factory incidences, I went straight into my closet to check on my clothes, I looked at the tags, I was shocked to discover that  nearly two thirds of almost all the clothes in my wardrobe had the tag, ”Made in Bangladesh”. I was shocked to discover that most of my trousers, shirts, t-shirts, jumpers, and coats were all made in Bangladesh. I then then reflected on the images of the workers being pulled out of rubble of collapse factory buildings, some were as young as twelve years, Oh my God! These are children should be in school, yet they were locked up into factories to make clothes for guys in some rich countries. It saddens my heart to think that some of the clothes I am wearing today could have been made by children who missed a chance to go to school or enjoy their childhood. Its such a cruel world we live in today

 

I was really heartbroken to see those images of charred bodies of poor people whose only crime was to try to support their families. They never tried to rob or hurt anyone, they rose up in the morning one day and went to work just like everybody else, not knowing that it was going to be their last journey. We have seen & heard critics blaming the Bangladeshi government for not putting up stricter regulations to protect its citizens from exploitation, well that is easy to said that done. The garment industry makes a significant proportion of the countries GDP, if the government starts the crackdown right now, it could destabilize the economy, it is a very risky and delicate part of the economy and are therefore obliged to proceed with care. Rich foreign companies are aware of this destitute nature of many Bangladeshi youth, they waste no time in exploiting their citizens and extracting as much labor resource as they could. Should the Bangladeshi government decides to shut down the entire garment industry, the Big boys of the FASHION WORLD WOULD SIMPLY MONKEY Branch to another country, they will easily find another developing country with high unemployment rate to exploit. When factories get shut down in one country they immediately pop up on another part of the word.  It’s a never ending vicious cycle.

 

Over three quarters of the world’s population live from hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, most folks don’t even have a single dime  in their savings bank account, so that even when the work stops even for a week, it puts the workers and their families in Grave economic crisis. If a local factory suddenly  shuts down, it puts all the people in that town in grave danger as they do not have alternative reliable means of generating income other than working at the factory floor itself. Or when a manual laborer gets involved in a non occupational accident, the hospital bills alone consume all the little spare cash they had and they and their children are left distraught, homelessness  is such a high risk such that it takes only a few weeks of dried up salaries for someone and their family to get thrown out of their house. It takes only a few dozen days of unemployment for the risk of starvation to manifest in the family home. This is tantamount to modern day slavery. Even though we live in a highly technologically advanced society today, nothing about work has changed, it’s still demanding and backbreaking as it were thousands of years ago. At the dawn of industrial revolution, people thought that technology will reduce the workload on humanity as machines will take over the most difficult time consuming tasks while people take their daywork time off to rest, it in fact did the exact opposite, people were working harder and longer than ever  despite the new technology that had been brought in by inventors and scientists.

Conclusion

Let us be clear here, most of the content above is just public opinions that I have derived from the conversions that exploded on the internet after the Gorge Floyd incident in May 2020. Well I am not a expert on this topic. This post is just touching on things that have already been touched by others. If you have any valuable information on this subject please put it in the comments section below. It will show up within 48 hours. I approve all relevant non-spammy comments. If you have a subject you believe you would like to educate me on this subject you can always drop me an inbox in the ”contact us section”

 


 

 


 

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DRS Hamilton
1 year ago

Slavery was a sad thing indeed. I think more should be done to settle old scores