Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Man's inhumanity to man

Many and sharp the num'rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And Man, whose heav'n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, -
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

Robert Burns

On 25 March, we will be commemorating the bicentenary of the Act of Parliament which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire: an Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Some details of the history can be found in the National Archives website, and more on the government site.

All this week BBC local television is broadcasting programmes showing the local connections with the slave trade - it has touched people all over the country. We are not so far from a large naval base which has a special exhibition "Chasing Freedom" to show the navy's role in combating the slave trade.

Is any of this enough to stop it happening again, albeit in a different form? Modern day slavery remains a huge problem. When will we ever learn?


  1. Sadly in this country, America, which prides itself as an incarnation of the enlightenment has no such celebrations. In fact there seems to be controversy when a museum or institution includes slavery as a part of history. There is one celebration which is called Juneteenth, celebrated among some blacks and only a few all black small towns ceremonies that I've heard about. The only discussions I have heard about slavery is usually about modern slavery. I am not saying that the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, museums or a few Universities don't have enough material about slavery, they do. It just as it as almost a fairytale, and someone will say "Oh how horrible it was" and go on to say their ancestors didn't own slaves or their ancestors treated their slaves good.
    Lately this has become a touchy subject for me.

  2. I'll cryed over this "we are superior" attitude for more than 50 years. And the strongest meeting for me, was in the Andes.

    Thanks for sharing these important "wake up" observations.


  3. Hathor, thank you. You surprise me that America doesn't mark this or similar occasions. It's hard to know what to say on the subject because, in all honesty, nothing seems adequate.

    Toraa, thank you too.

  4. What a thoughtful read, a great reminder and a good question. Its important to keep this wake up reminder alive - thank you for your contribution!


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