It is one of the darkest periods of human existence so far... mothers lost their sons, husbands lost their wives, and children lost their parents. With chains around their necks and ankles, these innocent people were packed and shipped to the West; made to work in fields and coal mines; for days and nights without food or water; in sweat, tears, and blood they worked. Tilling the hard soil, hoping someday freedom will fall from heaven.
Well, those years are gone, but we can't forget the lives that were lost in a hurry. In my quest to relive the experience of those victims of slave trade, I decided to take a stroll in the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool. My guide on this tour is Mr. Stephen Carl-Lokko (The Collections development officer, International Slavery Museum, Liverpool)
I invite you to take this stroll with us, as we relive the years and relearn the lessons slave trade taught us. Here we go.
Ebenezar: Thank you Mr. Stephen for taking this stroll with me.
Stephen: The pleasure is mine Ebenezar, you're welcome to the International Slavery Museum.
Ebenezar: Thank you very much... The 'uprising' against slave trade and colonialism started in August 1791 and this uprising eventually led to the fall of slave trade in the world, but I had a stroll with the CNN Freedom Project a couple of months ago, and from that interview they told me slavery still exists in this modern times despite civilization. I really found it hard to believe, what do you think? Is slave trade really over?
Stephen: Unfortunately not, the International Labour Organization estimates that there are at least 20.9 million men, women and children who are victims of forced labour, trafficking and enslavement in the world today.
Ebenezar: Wow! Over 20 million? What do you think is the solution to this problem then? Is it really possible to eradicate slavery for good?
Stephen: I think an important tool in combating slavery and promoting its eradication is to speak up. Any form of enslavement of human beings is to deprive a person of their human right to a fair and free life and we should speak up about that where and when we can. Successful campaigns to increase public awareness about modern slavery rely on the support of individuals without which organizations such as Anti-Slavery International will not be able to continue to fight against the various forms of slavery present in the world today. There are many ways to help, from making a donation to becoming a volunteer, from joining a campaigns network, to taking part in a sponsored event. Let's all get involved!
Ebenezar: Yeah, we all need to get involved. I'm sure you heard a recent story in the news of bananas being thrown at an Italian minister. Early this year, the AC Milan football star; Prince Boateng had to walk off the pitch because of racists chants directed at him during a football match, and it's not just in Italy, this racism thing is found in every part of the earth. What do you think about racism?
Stephen: Such instances of racial discrimination and others like them should not be tolerated and although the problem itself is a global one, it is only through challenging such behavior by speaking out against and through education that we can continue to work towards a more tolerant society.
Ebenezar: I'm sure some people around the world will want to know more about the International Slavery Museum, the exhibitions on display as well as the periods of displays. So, can you tell us a little about it?
Stephen: The International Slavery Museum opened on 23 August 2007 and features dynamic, powerful and moving displays about the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies. The museum has three galleries: Life in West Africa, Enslavement, and the Middle Passage and Legacy and covering the 17th century right-up to the present day.
The museum includes displays which address issues such as freedom, identity, human rights, racial discrimination, and cultural change. In 2010 the museum opened a new Campaign Zone and Community Space that aims to raise public awareness of the various modern forms of slavery existing in the world today.
Ebenezar: That's nice... ever since it was set up, the United Nations has been doing a great job to maintain peace and development on earth, but do you think the UN and UNESCO have done enough to fight slavery and racism?
Stephen: I think some organizations work better than others at fighting slavery and racism, but through organizations such as the UN's International Labour Organization and their initiatives to combat slavery and forced labour by working towards establishing legislation that protects the rights of workers across the globe, we have a great example of how the UN is commitment to tackling slavery and racism in the 21st century.
Ebenezar: Thank you so much for your time Mr. Stephen, it was great strolling with you and reliving this experience.
Stephen: You're welcome Ebenezar.