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Slaves: A true story
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-12-02 08:17:21
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Mende Nazer & Damien Lewis
2005, Perseus Books Group
Three years ago I bought a book mainly attracted from the title than actually having any idea what the story was about or I had heard about it before. I read the book in two days, actually I couldn’t sleep before I finished it and when I reached the last page I was in awe and shock, and that’s the least I can say to describe the thoughts, or better the anger, that book had brought to me.

The name of the book was Slave and the author’s name is Mende Nazer, a true autobiographical story about a girl that was sold as slave when she was twelve years-old. She was sold in Sudan and gradually sold to a diplomat based in London. Now I’m sure that you are thinking that the book is chronologically referring to sometime around the 17th, perhaps early 18th, century; you are wrong! The whole story was unveiled in 1993. Think of it, what you were doing in 2000, most of you were working, having a career and probably a family thinking that slavery is part of history, hidden in the darkest and most embarrassing closets.

Mende Nazer’s story was not supposedly to come to light if she hadn’t found her self in the United Kingdom with access to information and meeting other Sudanese she had the chance and the opportunity and of course the help to break free. Please I’m sorry for doing so but I need to repeat it, she earned her freedom or better escaped of slavery in the year 2000 and that in London UK, inside the EU, in the democratic western world.

The story is unbelievable and it brings tears to hear the girl’s spirit and courage but this is not enough to help you understand or believe that slavery is something that there is now, this very minute and there are so many ways of slavery and there are so many slaves all around us.

I will never forget a few years ago when somebody suggested to me to bring from Iran a girl as a nanny for my daughter – Iranian himself – saying that his works seven days a week with a ridiculously low salary emphasizing that he was so good to let her go out on Monday evenings for a few hours! I’m sorry but that’s a form of slavery and I’m bringing this example to show that we have met all of us all kind of forms of slavery a lot of times and all around us. You might want to ignore it but think of all these Asian or Philippine girls you see in the European parks every morning with two or three kids that are definitely not theirs. Think of all these girls, most of them are not women yet; that have come from the former Soviet democracies the last three decades and we might call all that trafficking but the reality is that it is slavery.

Today is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery and it is the date in remembrance the United Nations adopted the resolution 317 at the 2nd of December 1949. Sudan is one of the countries members of the UN who have accepted to abolish slavery and work for it but … as Mende Nazer can say not much happened.

In Ovi magazine slavery was one of the main things we talked about from the very beginning and we might called it trafficking many times but it never stopped disgusting us and remind often that it is a monster with too many heads that all of them need to be cut off otherwise nothing support our civilization and as to too many things it is good to have an awareness day but slavery and trafficking happens every day all around us as I mentioned before.

I don’t suggest often from people to read a book but Mende Nazer’s book Slave is a must to read not only because it talks about slavery but more importantly because it reminds us that it happens today just next to us.

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