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Nanny's slavery
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-12-03 12:22:15
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They have said that the Athenian democracy was the perfect democracy, where there was perfect freedom and perfect equality, as everybody had the right in the decisions. What they forgot to mention was that the only ones who had all these rights were the free Athenians.

Most of these ancient civilizations blossomed partly due to slavery and that’s something you don’t see often in the school books. One of the seven wonders of ancient history, the Great Pyramid of Giza would never have existed if it wasn’t for the thousands of slaves who died for decades till they finished; the same probably applied to each one of seven ancient wonders.

Later in all these glorious battles where the few managed to overcome the multitudes of barbarians tat out-numbered them, the school books again forget something: the slaves. The slaves carried everything, took care of everything and, if that was not enough, during the battle they used their bows to protect and help their masters.

Romans improved their legal system so they didn’t only enslave occupied countries and conquered countries, they went much further. When somebody couldn’t pay his or her debts, then they were enslaved and, in some occasions, emperors or strong congressmen led their political enemies into slavery.

Slavery didn’t stop in European history, from the Maya’s in South America to the Chinese and Japanese nation, slavery is part of their history - often the situation went both ways, since the hunter became the hunted. However, the continent that suffered most was Africa and suffered throughout history till the 20th century; I’m very aware of what I’m writing. Perhaps an end to slavery came after the civil war in the USA, but the black people started finding equality and their long lost rights after the middle of the twentieth century, yet there are examples of that behavior even today.

The guilt is so heavy that occasionally even literature was employed to save the feelings. The cabin of Uncle Thomas shows a black man who loves his masters because they are good and treat him nicely. The story forgets to tell us that the life and survival of Uncle Thomas was depending on the mood of his master who had the right of life and death upon him and never considered him as an equal human being.

Slavery still exists, perhaps with different names or excuses but it is still here. There are workers who work like slaves 24/7, blackmailed with their illegal immigrant identity and the old Silk Road has transformed into Sin Road with hundreds of girls sold as slaves all around the world.

Two years ago somebody asked me if I needed a nanny for my newborn child suggesting that he could find me one from his origin country for a very small fee, which was embarrassingly ridiculous for Finnish standards. He said that she will cook, clean the house and look after the baby, and my only obligation would be to give her a…free afternoon once every two weeks. If that is not modern slavery, then what is?

There is a lot of work to be done and slavery still exists, but we can only hope that the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery may remind them to think about it and do something to end this abuse.

Photo by Linda Lane (www.wonderlane.com). Linda paints fine art, writes, makes films, does interior design, and travels to Asia (India, Nepal, Thailand), Mexico, and Alaska.

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