Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Britain marks the abolition of slave trade

Britain commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade last Sunday.

A solemn Westminster Abbey service marking the event, attended by the Queen and Tony Blair, was almost over when human rights campaigner Toyin Agbetu began shouting: "This is an insult to us." The lone protester who apparently wanted the Queen to apologise was subdued and taken out without further incident.

Around 20 million Africans died during the brutal process of the transatlantic slave trade, a trade that flourished for economic reasons between the 15th century to the 19th century.

What is astounding is that even after all the horror of the past transatlantic slave trade, this criminal inhuman practice is still rampant in today's modern world.

According to Anti-Slavery International, at least 12 million people worldwide, including in the UK, are in slavery 200 years after Britain abolished the trade by act of parliament. This is a staggering figure showing that the legacy of the slave thriving well.

We no longer see galley slaves chained to the rowing oars of their boat and fed barely enough for them to do the job. As we saw in the epic film Ben Hur, when the boats were sinking, nobody unchained the galley slaves and they sank with their boat, as if they were equipments of the boat.

Today's slaves do not come in this gruesome manner on a boat. Neither are they branded or shackled and not all of them come from Africa. In fact most of them come into Britain legally and on their own, usually lured by promises of a good job.

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