WORKING UNDER SLAVERY
By Nachi Aguboshim, (Nachi is an intern at youth desk of African Echo media group).
In the eyes of many people slavery was abolished in 1827 in America and in 1833 in what was then known as the British Empire. Back then with the help of abolitionists such as Fredrick Douglas, the founder of 'North Star' the antislavery newspaper in 1847 the concept of slavery and black oppression where slowly beginning to fade away and become a distant memory of the past.
However if I were to say that slavery existed today, would you laugh in disbelief? Or would you sit back and listen? Have I got your attention? Well I hope so, because I don't like to repeat myself. Now as black people we are already slaves to our own selfish desires, living lives where alcohol, material possessions, money, drugs, guns, sex and even power dictate our lives.
There is however a deeper problem then these social implications of mental slavery. This problem being the slavery that exists due to the system that has been set up by powerful and racist governments, and for countries like Jamaica and many other countries in a similar situation the harsh reality of slavery still continues.
Jamaica was given its independence in 1962, however when Jamaica joined the IMF in 1963 the notion of moving closer to truly being independent slowly but surely fell apart.
When the price of oil rose in 1973, Jamaica found itself in financial turmoil this resulted in then Prime Minister, the late Michael Manley excepting a loan from the IMF. A 'short-term' loan that had a long-term effect on Jamaica's financial problems, and with this lack of financial power, due to the restraints that the IMF had placed over the heads of Jamaica's people, the way of life for Jamaican people was an uphill struggle.
What wasn't known to Jamaica and it's people was when it became independent in 1962 the economy was still being controlled by America, not by direct ownership but by the implications of this overwhelming debt.
With trading restrictions on Jamaica's farming trade as well as the introduction of cheaper imported goods and the removal of tariffs on imports, the power of America and Europe plagued Jamaica's Independence and financial growth. Jamaica was exploited by richer countries and with America and Europe leeching off Jamaica's trade, Jamaica's people were clearly working under slavery. Much like a high interest-rate loan that a local bank offers a cash-strapped student, the loan provided by the IMF to Jamaica also could not be repaid. All it merely did was enslave Jamaica and it's people to a life of debt.
A similar problem resides in Ghana, a country that by all rights should be one of the richest countries in Africa and possibly in the world, due to the fact that Ghana sits on a huge amount of gold, however in reality the people and the land have been enslaved by the new global economy, an economy which has restricted its growth, just like that of Jamaica.
Ideally such a natural resource as gold should benefit the Ghanaian people and their land not the big European and American companies. Such a rich commodity should be acting as a way to provide for the future of Ghanaian people and the futures of their children. Their land and commodities, such as gold have been looted and the people and land exploited. Much like the problems that plagued Jamaica, the ever-present influences of the IMF and the World Bank have restricted the growth and way of life in Ghana. The system that is set up by a predominately white world clearly states the struggles that we as black people face.
As we look around we see our people being held back by a system that is designed to solely stop our progression as human beings in a world that we are lead to believe strives with equal opportunities. Now answer me this is it fair that black people don't have the right to trade and live freely in the own countries without the influence of richer countries? Is it fair that our natural commodities are being looted from our countries? Is it fair that the future for black people looks so bleak, due to the supremacy of a white world? We have to ask ourselves if this is how life is now, is their truly any hope for the future, our future? (Think about it) Now remember that saying?
'The rich get richer and the poor get poorer'
Being black that saying is more of a reality now then it has ever been. I strongly believe that this saying should be rephrased; it should sound more like this: 'The whites get richer and the blacks get poorer'
Now such a statement could get me in a fair bit of trouble, but if we live in a world that claims to be as democratic as what we are lead to believe then my views shouldn't be restricted, restricted in the same way that the lives of my brothers and sister have been, by the powers that govern them.
One thing that I have learnt is the knowledge is a gift to be passed on. The knowledge regarding the truth behind our culture and the struggles that we have faced and are currently facing, as black people are all examples of the knowledge that need to be passed on, gradually from generation to generation. The problem that we face, apart from all of the above is that we are not truly aware of these problems, blinded by our own ignorance we either begin to except and eventually conform to this way of life or we merely give up as the future looks to bleak. The sooner we wake up and become aware of these problems the sooner we can break free from the lives that we as black people have been forced to live.
FIGHT FOR OUR FUTURE