“We have a man here! A strong farm hand! Look at him!” The black man was made to turn around so the buyers could see how strong he was. He had marks on his skin. On his shoulders, on his legs, on his arms. He had been beaten.
“For this strong man, we are starting the bidding at 0. You won't find better!” The buyers shouted their prices. The winner announced that he could pay 0. Bidding closed. That man is surely home now, somewhere in the world, in some farm, working for his keep.
Women and children were on sale too. As home helps, as sex slaves, as punching bags, as trophies. You name it, you can become it when you are bought and paid for.
There are not enough tears that can be shed for this, so shed no tears. No anger is strong enough, so save your anger for reckoning day. No silence loud enough than the silence you can hear when you see strong black African men, women and children in cages, in the darkness, waiting for a coward to buy them. We need to remember history in all clarity and justice in order to act effectively.
Some facts that we cannot ignore: In 1526, the first transatlantic slave voyage to Brazil was completed successfully. After that, the trade ports were open. But don't be fooled by the dates. The stealing, blackmailing, buying or hoodwinking of Africans into slavery had been ongoing for many generations, long before 1526. As far back as 1440, the Portuguese were capturing Africans into slavery. Africans, because of either their strength or their beauty were prey, like a cheetah's skin, or an elephant's tusk. Statistics, have shown that slave traders over the Mediterranean, The Gulf of Aden and The Red Sea into the Middle East, preferred female slaves. With a ratio of two women for a man, sex slaves and concubines for the harems were secured, used, abused, misused and disposed of. The numbers are staggering. Most of the men slaves traded over the Mediterranean, The Gulf of Aden and The Red Sea were castrated to make sure they couldn't reproduce, hence the black eunuchs in the middle east. While the male children born to the black women slaves were killed soon after birth, the girls were kept for the harems. So as not to spread the unclean offspring of black Africans and slaves.
So, you see, when slaves suddenly pop up on internet feeds being auctioned in Libya, we collectively wonder: Who is buying slaves? Is it the Libyans? Thanks to technology and the Internet, we will never be able to deny that we knew. It could be my brother leaving Kenya, on his way to me, through the forbidden, well guarded back doors. What luck and privilege that it isn't. We have been humiliated by images of Africans in cages before. In the 21st century, we are haunted by the shattered or silenced voices of our kindred sold long ago. It is enough. We cannot start all over again. I don't know how many ways we can say that Black Bodies Are Not Slaves. Our souls are dying in the basements designed by lazy cowards who can't do their own chores. Our sexuality is being tarnished by perverts who see us as less, except when they can describe us as exotic, present us either as sex objects they can use and misuse or as emotionless anger machines that can be shot without remorse.
It needs to stop now, and forever.
Do you want to help put a stop to this nonsense? Thanks to technology and the internet, we can now
meet on the internet and make ourselves heard, loud and clear, before it is too late. Below are a few dos and don'ts:
1. Do not ignore this. Some things, you cannot turn a blind eye or deaf year to. If they can sell the African today, they will sell any black skinned person they can lay their hands on in fives years tops.
2. Do not stay silent. Wherever you are, speak about this. Tell this to someone. What the heck?! Tell this to everyone in your reach. The echo of our voices may stop this.
3. If you are African, still in Africa or if you know Africans in Africa, remind them of the old forgotten wisdoms of trust, allies, age old friendships, and honour.
(Africans, if you do not have a safe address and a trusted name, don't leave home. It is
better to die poor, on your feet, than die in a marble kitchen, a slave!)
4. Please go to http://www.africanlivesmatter.org/ and add your voice to our whisper. Spread
the planned demonstrations in your handles if you can.
5. Doctors Without Borders are doing great work in helping run aways, cast aways, and new mothers. Donate to Doctors without borders and ear mark your donation for Libyan Slave Trade Victims.
6. African Women In Europe have organized a fundraiser to raise funds for a full plane to West African countries. This with the intention to send home those who have nowhere to go. Go to https://www.gofundme.com/sponsorflightticketoutoflibya
7. Amnesty International is, and has been on the front lines of the STOP IT NOW campaign. Go add your voice and donation to our hoarse whispers. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/11/eu-africa-summit-footage-of-slave- auction-shows-human-cost-of-inexcusable-migration-deals/
About Elena: I am an immigrant to Sweden, originally from Kenya. I came to Stockholm to study and stayed after finding work and love. Having siblings and friends in Kenya and East Africa, keeps my eyes almost always turned towards Africa. Being a black woman, belonging to the minority in Europe, keeps my spirit, survival instincts and prayers focused on the dark skinned population of the world.
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