Friday, September 03, 2004

Slavery is not dead, just less recognizable

I am currently reading Alex Hailey's (famous for his book Roots) "Queen" which focuses mainly on slavery, and the post Civil War era. Most of us think of slavery as blacks being tied in chains, whipped & working on plantations. We also believe that slavery is over. Interestingly, the Christian Science Monitor published an article titled, Slavery is not dead, just less recognizable. It talks about how slavery means bondage & it exists even in today's world; "today, 27 million people are enslaved, more than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade...the majority are bonded laborers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal." They give up their bodies as collateral, which is bonded for generations at times. For instance, human trafficking especially girls and women for sexual trade is very common. Very interesting read!

Reading this book, I was surprised by how many "good Christian folks" believed that blacks did not have souls. That they had been cursed by God & turned black after Noah's son Ham, disobeyed his father. However, many slaves at the time were devoted Christians & read the same bible but interpreted it differently. I attended an interesting discussion group yesterday where the topic was the separation of church and state. Many right winged Republicans feel their religious rights are being infringed upon by secularists. But, it made me realize that it is how one interprets it. The Ten Commandments being posted on a government building may be offensive to non-Christians. I think America is the great nation it is because of the First Amendment of the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Interesting article in the NY Times about hospital gowns being made to accommodate Muslim women when meeting male doctors at the Maine Medical Center. It will be available to all patients - I hope this practice will be followed by clinics & hospitals around the country!

Grave news coming from Russia - about 200 hostages have been killed. I don't quite know what the circumstances were or how the government handles the situation. The Kremlin tends to be very secretive in its operations & was highly criticized in the theatre hostage incident in 2002.

In other news, Sudan has refused a Darfur peacekeeping force to assuage the situation. What can be done to help the victims, I am not sure, The world seems so occupied with Iraq & other events, Sudan is slowly slipping from the radar screen.

The Republican National Convention has come to a close with Bush rallying his right winged ideas. Here's an article on Bush's speech from the NY Times & Michael Moore's commentary on Day 4 from USA Today.

Bill Clinton has been admitted for a bypass surgery which has caught many by surprise - hope that will go ok !

The Labor Day holiday is on Monday, so it's going to be a long weekend - hope you all enjoy the last of Summer!