Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slavery Today

A bunch of celebrities got together recently to tell Obama that he's not alone. They wanted to reassure him after he got, "the loneliest job in the world." Poor guy. 

They all pledged to take steps to help Obama in his lonely job. Some of the pledges were pretty good. I especially liked the one where some celebrity, who I didn't recognize, pledged,  "to consider myself an American, not an African-American." What a great goal for a nation that really needs to let itself get past its history of slavery. Come on - do we really need affirmative action when a black man just managed to get the most powerful job in the country? 

It was slavery, more than any other issue, that was emphasized in this video. I quote:

Some lady with an accent and a smoker's voice: "I pledge"
Some woman in a white jacket: "To work to make good the 200 year old promise to end slavery"
Ashton Kutcher: "To the abolition of 21st century slavery"
Demi Moore: "To free one million people from slavery in the next five years" 

Call me ignorant but, well, I'm really not - and still I'm not sure what they're referring to. Because I'm not completely ignorant, I'm going to venture a guess that this "slavery" that they're talking about is taking place in Sudan or Rwanda, (Uganda? Western Sahara? Kenya?) or something, an inference I make from,

1. A video I came across a year or so ago that told the story of children in Africa kidnapped and forced to fight for their captor's army, (which kind of sounds like the stories of Jews in Russia being kidnapped and forced to join the Czar's army,) and,
2. From the fact that modern-day slavery stemmed from Africa when warring African tribes sold their prisoners-of-war to European slave traders. 

If someone knows what the real story is, please do tell, but in the meantime I really have to wonder how these celebrities expect their audience to know what they're talking about when most Americans (and I don't say this in a boastful manner - it's just a fact,) are not nearly as aware of world issues as I am, and even I'm not sure what they're talking about. 

Freeing slaves -- that I know a lot about. In the daily prayers that Jews (are supposed to) say every day we are reminded about the fact that G-d freed us from slavery in Egypt a while back. As I was saying them today I was thinking about the fact that, like the Passover prayer says, if G-d had not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, we - and our children, and our grandchildren - would still be slaves to some guy with the title, "Pharaoh," in Egypt. Pretty spooky. 

From my knowledge of slaves being freed, it's gonna take a heck of a lot more than just a mention in a celebrity video to free these 21st century slaves. Try 12 plagues. 

Oh wait, no - that won't work. Destroying enemy land (Locust) and property (Pestilence, Hail), torturing the enemy (No water! Bugs everywhere! Boils! Turning out the lights!), and killing the enemy (Death of the Firstborn) would all be deemed unusable as tactics for freeing a suffering people. 

Okay, so we don't free them the way G-d did - we free them the way Lincoln did. Nope - that won't work either. It took a war with more American casualties than any other war fought by America to free those slaves. Besides, Lincoln was a Republican and we can't do anything the way that he did it. 

How about in the way that we freed Afghanis from the Taliban's cruel reign and Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's oppression? 


How, exactly, are these celebrities expecting us to end slavery, then?


  1. Unfortunately, it's not solely a problem in Africa. A number of Asian, Latin American and Eastern Europeans are also being trafficked throughout the world. In fact, in the United States, human beings are the third most trafficked commodity behind drugs and weapons. They are used for domestic service, sweatshop labor and prositution.
    And as for the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, gues who sold them weapons and set them up in power? You guessed it--the good old US of A under Ronald Reagan. The Taliban was supposed to be the fighting force that kicked the Soviets out of Afghanistan. As for Saddam Hussein, we were his ally against the Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iran-Iraq War. We only started hating the guy when he destoyed oil fields in Kuwait and tried to drive up the price of oil.

  2. Thanks for the slavery info. It obviously is an issue that needs to be brought to light.

    Yes, it is true that the United States allied itself with the Taliban and Saddam Hussein at one time in order to fight their common enemy. That is not an unusual political move. Politics doesn't work based on who you "like" or "dislike".

    Nor does the fact that the U.S. once aided the Taliban and Saddam Hussein discount the fact that they both needed to be taken down. On the contrary, who else's responsibility should it have been to fix the problem that they helped create?

  3. Typical Democrat fluff. For them, stating their intention is achievement enough. Actually going and doing it? That has to wait for a Republican administration with the cojones to do it. And then these same Democrats criticize the Republicans for doing it.

  4. "From my knowledge of slaves being freed, it's gonna take a heck of a lot more than just a mention in a celebrity video to free these 21st century slaves. Try 12 plagues."

    i was once davening in a shul on pesach and the rabbi wasnt there. so instead of no speech they had prominent members of the congregation speak each day. one day they had a former army general speak...he compared the 10 plagues to the 'shock and awe' campaign in afgahnistan...

  5. Interesting, harry. It kind of makes sense though, doesn't it?

  6. The following links are instructive:

    Today, now, you can fly over there, buy a parcel of land, build yourself a house, and buy-not hire-buy a staff. And, while discretion is important, you can basically do whatever you want with them, sexual, gastronomical, or wherever your interests lie. You do, however, need a connection with the local thugs. You have to "know somebody," or you're just more bush meat.

  7. Barzilai -

    Thanks for the info.

    Gastronomical? Are you talking about cannibalism?

  8. Demi Moore pledged to free 1,000,000 slaves in five years. If she's on track to meet her quota then she needs to have freed about 170,000 people to date.

    Where are these 170,000 emancipated individuals?

    Fighting slavery is an important cause. But for some celebrity airhead to fatuously make such a pledge is insulting. Ain't she so noble.

  9. I'd be interested to hear how her progress is going as well.