Has slavcery been abolished

Barakat Charnia, MD

It seems slavery has transformed from physical to economic slavery.
Physical chains have gone but psychological dependence is abundant.

When we look at the history of mankind, there has been the curse of exploitation of human beings. Physical slavery was practiced in different intensity at different times in various geographical regions. The stronger groups or nations have used their strength in an ugly way to use the human beings of weaker nations to work for their own benefit and profit with a pathetic disregard for the natural justice and human rights.

The people from the stronger nations will conquer the weaker ones and take away the able-bodied men and women to be sold to do someone else’s menial jobs. Enslaved persons were considered as property of the buyer. The conqueror would take the slaves to slave bazaars where they would be openly auctioned. The buyer will look at such “slaves for sale” as they would look at any property or animal. They would see if that slave could fulfill their work need. Such situation existed until recently in Europe and USA.

In the modern world, it was in USA that President Abraham Lincoln pronounced the slave trade as illegal. But there was too much politics around that proclamation. The practice became gradually less pronounced and gradually unacceptable. In developing world the practice still continues under different guises like bonded labor, but it seems to be gradually disappearing.

However, since then the boom in Human rights, Civil rights, Natural justice, Liberty, Independence, Minority rights, Women’s liberty etc. all got introduced and started being acceptable. This was in reality an acceptance of laws of logic and commonsense and that of natural justice to all human beings.

1400 years ago, Prophet Mohamed (PBH) had considered practice of slavery against humanity. He had “bought” slaves out of slavery to release them. So, between the time of Prophet PBH and 200 years ago when slavery was “again” declared illegal, the practice continued in different ways. The main target for slave entrapment was the continent of Africa for the human capital to be used by the white farmers in western world.

However, before the pronouncement of slavery being illegal, the physical slavery had already started to be transformed. In contrast to the physical capturing of the slaves and taking them to the place of their work after the sale, the stronger and mightier nations started conquering the nations and groups of people in their own homes and countries. They would just conquer the country and then instead of leaving, they would stay in and create an administrative structure with the help of local people, but having full control within themselves. Thus the colonies came into existence.

The vogue of colonization became so powerful because of its benefits to the stronger nations that many countries joined in this gold rush. The most “successful” countries amongst the colonizing power were UK, Holland, Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy. Almost the whole of Europe was in a race to colonize the rest of the world. The flood was so strong in terms of taking advantage of the vogue that even small little country like Belgium also went into colonizing far away nations in Africa.

This trend changed the physical slavery transforming into the “slaves” living in their own countries, while working for the masters, of whom a very few were around. All the profits of the work of the “slaves” used to be shifted to the mother countries, which got richer at the expense of colonies. While benefitting from the colonies, some of them went on suppressing the colonized nations severely. Facts, figures and statistics prove all this without any doubts. Last of such example was the South Africa, which where the apartheid regime reigned supreme till only a few decades ago

With the First World War the colonizing nations made a mistakes of fighting amongst themselves. This made them weaker and loosened their grip on the colonies. That is when they saw themselves leaving their precious possessions of colonies. Hence they started a transformation of the colonies into a future economic control.

It is interesting to look at this change of designs. The European and American world called themselves the “First world” at one stage, while the rest of the developing nations were dubbed as the “Third world”. Even at the time of giving back these nations their independence, some of them had the Chief Executives, still appointed by the ruling country until such time that they were pronounced as “Republics” This gave them a little longer time to arrange and manage their exit, while at the same time making sure that they could make arrangements for many decades to reap the fruits of the work of colonized subjects, which who were now made independent. This arrangement was to make them dependent economically and psychologically.

The psychological dependence has emanated from the fact that these colonial powers had been ruling the colonies for a long period. They have had their own education and financial systems installed in colonies. Even the currencies were controlled by the colonial powers and so were the defense related matters. In the major wars the Powers expected their colonial indigenous residents to support them in their fight and had local military regiments formed for the purpose. All this “systems indoctrination” and the length of time that the colonial powers ruled created an influence over their indigenous culture, way of living, dresses and even the language.

When they gave these countries independence, the colonies had a large influence of all kinds on them. Whenever these colonies would need any assistance they would think of their past masters. For example, the subjects of British colonies would think of going to UK for higher education. With about two generations gone, gradually this thinking is now changing and people are ready to go to USA or Europe instead of Commonwealth countries. However, the linguistic barriers still keep them from going to China for example.

After the WWII and the United Nations replacing the League of Nations, the colonizing powers have lost their grip on their past colonies. However, some elements within those master countries still remember that taste of power. It seems that those elements still wish to keep their influence on the past colonies. There are several ways devised to make this happen. Some of them are evident in the shape of World Bank and International Monetary Funds, who willy nillly becomes the helping hand to the ex colonies and helps formulate their economic policies. These policies and the terms and conditions of the help or assistance are without any doubt slanted towards the First World countries.

These examples are readily available wherein the politics, sphere of influence, and economic superiority are always the name of the game and aim of the exercise.

So, in essence, it may take several decades for the “slavery” to completely disappear in all the nations of the world, particularly psychologically. That will in turn put all the nations conceptually and in reality at an equal level. For this to happen the rich countries will need to share their good fortunes with the poor countries and be magnanimous to let them sit in the same row and level as they are sitting.

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