September 4, 2013

Astonishing story of a man who survived slavery, imprisonment, amputation and 30 years of exile who returned to Sudan to help his people

After a wonderful vacation - almost internet free, I'm back to posting, starting with this astonishing story. 

"Still, God Helps You"  by Melissa Pritchard

Snatched from a marketplace in Sudan and sold into slavery at the age of six, William Mawwin became one of millions of people in the world enduring some form of involuntary servitude. This is his extraordinary story.

I wore black every day to show I was dead but still walking around. I started dressing like this in Africa, after I got out of captivity. Wearing white meant a peaceful day, a better day for me. If I wore black and white, mixed, that meant anything could happen, good or bad. I dressed almost always in black, until the day I became a father.

Today, more human beings suffer enslavement than during the three and a half centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. The International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency focused on labor rights, recently—and some would say conservatively—raised its worldwide estimate of the number of slaves from 12 million to nearly 21 million human beings, individuals unable to escape conditions of forced labor, bonded labor, slavery, and trafficking. Africa and the Asia-Pacific region together account for the largest number, close to 15 million people, but slavery is epidemic around the world and increasing.

In Sudan, slavery is not a new phenomenon. Intertribal slave raids, Sudanese Arabs enslaving southern tribal peoples for personal use and export, and the lucrative 19th-century European slave trade all played tragic parts in Sudanese history. But in the 20th century, during Sudan’s two scarcely interrupted civil wars, slave raids by northern Arab militia became an especially brutal strategy of the north. Murahaleen, white-robed Arabs armed with Kalashnikovs, swept down from the north on horseback, raiding and burning Dinka and Nuer villages, seizing thousands of women and children, decimating southern Sudanese tribes defenseless against modern weaponry and government-supported rape, slavery, and genocide.
Posted by Jill Fallon at September 4, 2013 11:06 AM | Permalink