The Door of Transformation
Chaos equals Opportunity
A House Divided
What is before, Will be Last
Goree Island was the entranceway to the mainland of Africa and the exit for captured slaves. This island contain holding pens for slaves, defense cannons and the luxurious upper rooms quarters for the foreign traders in slaves. Goree Island is also the place of the door of no return. This door followed a 200-foot pier, which lead into the slave ships. Those who were too sick to finish the journey were fed to the nearby sharks. The Wolof called Goree Island, Ber. The island is now a tourist center of cafes, museums and sandy beaches. (Barboza, 1994)
Slavery or human bondage has a long history. However it takes on different forms and qualities. I believe there are four major forms of slavery. Its first manifestation occurs among aboriginal peoples with the kidnaping, rape and or containment of women, men and young people. In small villages and towns, people contended with the likes of wandering hordes that lacked stability and law. Sometimes these hordes were woman-less, childless and without elders or any wise peoples. They would come into settled communities and steal food; individuals or anything else that they felt was valuable. An abducted individual could be returned unharmed, be found dead or cannibalized or never seen again. Sometimes these individuals were simply kept in other clans as wives, slaves or whatever else. Many of these victims were women or young people, but sometimes it could be men. Some of humanity's first forms of crimes were aggressive, unlawful sexual acts on other human beings, children or animals. Most human crimes are actually, at their root aggressive, unlawful sexual acts. The intent may have been hunger, jealousy, sexual (chemical) dysfunction or the snatching of people for ritualized murder
The second form of slavery involves criminals or those who
transgress communal laws. In this form of slavery, women and men who transgress laws and do not heed warnings will pay in involuntary bondage. Depending on the crime committed and the circumstances, the individual can also endure punishments, be asked to confess and do acts of atonement, as well as bondage. This bondage may involve the whole community in the punishment, for instance, the taking away of freedoms, isolation and communal stigma. This, understandably, did not simply affect the individual who committed the crime, but the whole clan from which s/he originates. If the offense was not addressed through these means, one may could be exiled from the group. These societies did not have prisons, necessarily and they were concerned for the whole good, so they did not addressed offenses with too much cruelty or dehumanization. Most aboriginal groups had little transgression among their women and men.
The pressures of social arrangements and expectations of the group maintained an incredible loyalty, order and peace. The European nations historically have treated their criminals in this manner. Some of the first settlers of Australia and the Americas were recruited or exiled criminals from the prisons of Europe. They were called indentured servants and experienced bondage for a temporary set of terms and time. Afterward, they had the possibility to lead normal lives with marriage, buying property, having a business and even owning slaves of their own. Early slavery in the Americas was not absolutely going in one direction. Some blacks owned indentured white slaves, the Cherokee nation had some black slaves (Halliburton, 1977), blacks owned black slaves and some native Indians had white slaves. White women were slave owners and in one incredible instance, a black woman owned a plantation. (Bolden, 1996) Her name was Coincoin and she was very prosperous, passing her wealth and property on to her children and grandchildren. Her good
inheritance was due to her ongoing relationship with her white slave
owner. She was able to inherite, negotiate, and buy not only her own
plantation but also the freedom of all her children. Slaves were not all
treated the same and all slave owners where not necessarily wealthy white males, although the majority were.
In Australia, the enslaved criminals from Europe settled the
continent with dire consequences for the aboriginal Koori and Tasmanian. The Tasmanian experienced complete genocide. The typical elements of colonialism proceeded with the surviving clans and nations. This included slavery, Christianization, economic caste systems, cultural suppression.... etc.
The third form of slavery involves war. Ancient societies used
temporary slavery as an aftermath of war. It was akin to an understanding or agreement, where the conquered nation or her war participants must be kept in bondage to serve the host nation and to develop proper humility, compliance and deference. This may include honorary offerings and taxes of the conquered peoples to their new queen and king. The period of bondage would last for maybe up to seven years, after which the person was able to marry into the society, own property and simply become a full citizen. The persons did not endure any unnecessary humiliations, laws or customs of dehumanization. They simply were a prisoner of war. Once established with hard work and complete assimilation of the host culture, a conquered person became a full equal in their new society, embracing the culture and even rising up the social hierarchy. They were later able to amass wealth, reputation, position and great skill. Some ancient saints and deities were born in slave families or nations, but transcended the circumstances, many going on to teach and spread theological beliefs of non-violence, non-separatism and non-bondage. Keeping prisoners of war as slaves could be practiced between large nations or between villages and clans.
The last, and fourth form of slavery, I will call simply economic. Although the name may not completely describe its existential roots. Some forms of historical slavery fit in this category. The massive Trans-Atlantic African slave trade with its Goree Island and Middle Passage journey fits into this form of slavery. The intent of the enslavers was not forced marriage (rape), prisoners of war or the correction of criminals, but the development, consumption and mastery of natural resources and land. The peculiarities of this form of slavery was that it was such a massive enterprise, took some many centuries of human resources and was based not on anything substantial, other then skin color, gender and cultural, theological differences. The descendants of this form of slavery had no rights or limits on their treatment and slaves were part of a permanent class, lasting lifetimes and generations. The Brahmanical caste system fits into this category. In this system, a Dravidian or Black Untouchable was not
allowed to ascend the social and economic ladder and her/his whole family was believe to be inherent slaves and servants of the divine upper caste members of the society. This system, in India is interesting not only for its bondage belief system masked as culture but for its very conspicuous theological character. Here, the former slave could never redeem their statues or even return home to their native country regardless of character or divine gifts. Most forms of slavery, i.e., cultural, sexual (gender), and economic are based in overt or subliminal theological (divine) beliefs and cosmologies. Economic slavery is not an issue of monies or even race or sex. Economic slavery, like all forms of bondage, is a theological or spiritual issue.
African slavery started as early as 700 A.D. at the time of the Muslim conquest of North Africa. The spread of Arabic culture and Islam was part of the first waves of African slavery and national
disintegration, which was just as brutal as the treatment inflicted by later Europeans. Waves of religious zealots swept over the northern parts of Africa, converting some, enslaving others and murdering many. These slaves were removed from their country and governed under Arabian powers. As late as the 19th century, the Arabic ruler, Muhammed Ali Pasha, was believed to be the largest holder of slaves in the world. These slaves included not only those enslaved for labor, but for sexual (sadist) enjoyment as well. Some very prolific harems and brothels were organized in Arabian countries filled with many African women and girls. A large class of descendants of African slaves never manifested in Muslim countries, however,for part of the social policy was not to allow slaves to reproduce in large numbers and those that were birthed were told to deny the existence of their African mothers. So many who are part African believed it better not to be.
This is all pretty interesting since many of the first participants in the Muslim faith were African. And Africans first inhabited all the Arabian Peninsula itself. It is in Mesopotamia or Iraq were large numbers of slave rebellions are recorded. The largest of these rebellions lasted from 868 to 883. At this time, African rebels repeatedly assaulted Arabian armies, which were sent to suppress the uprising. Some of these many peoples in bondage were called Zanj. The Zanj were a group of laborers descendant from East Africa. This is called the Revolt of the Blacks in Arabian literature. (Rashidi, 1993)
Economic form of slavery completely affected the host country and the enslaved nation. The chains of slavery, for instance powered the whole economy. All customs, laws, religion, industry, entertainment, fashion and style, literature and culture seem to be engulfed in this international activity. The European slave trade, particularly between the 15th and 19th century, was akin to one big, global black hole that sucked up 60 million Africans, 20 million Native Americans, vast amounts of intercontinental natural resources, massive capital, and every virtuous idea in the minds of people. It is surreal how massive this project was and how it continued for centuries, basically unchecked. It must be remembered that slavery, at this time, was a global affair and the African was one of a dozen hapless victims. (Solow, 1991) Economic based slavery, which was experienced by many peoples, globally, was also met simultaneously at by the enslavement and destruction of Native Americans, South American culture; and Brazilian natives. Later Australia, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands would encounter this bloodthirsty gauntlet. Native American peoples, in particular, were the first choice for enslavement in the lands of the Americas. But due to illnesss brought by the European, many slave runaways and the cultural habits of the people, many more Native Indians died than submit to slavery. The enslavement of Africans replaced this need. Africans were less susceptible to disease, alien to the land and could work hard in humid-hot weather. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade involved the Asians, the Arabians, most European nations, Native Americans, Africans, East Indians and South Americans. The destruction, enslavement and death of peoples globally seem to overlap and interconnect, sometimes at vital points. The massive trade in humans was characterized also by the death of many species of animals and plants in the ecology and ancient records of civilizations and cultures. For instance, after the conquering or elimination of native peoples, these acts would be immediately followed by systematic deforestation and the planting of foreign crops, massive hunting and the methodical sucking of the earths natural treasures like metals, minerals and gems. Also, ancient records and libraries were ransacked or burned and unimaginable amounts of aboriginal cultural icons made of gold was sent to Europe, either to be kept or melted down for treasure. Between 1500 and 1650, the gold received from the Americas alone added at least 180 to 200 tons to the European treasures. This gold has a modern value of over $2.8 billion dollars. As a result, there exists, the almost obsessive (post-traumatic stress) assumption by modern aboriginals that European or white individuals curious or interested in their cultures and beliefs must be masking a desire for slaves and or gold (money). This was not simply a trail of gold leading to Spain and eventually all of Europe but it was also a trail of silver. Unfortunately, it was a trail of tears and blood for the native peoples of the New World. Even today, many very valuable old records and cultural icons sit in European museums and archives. One place of massive aboriginal theological wealth is the Vatican of Rome and one of the many countries is Germany. Germany received a lot of gathered aboriginal information and cultural icons from Europe during the period of World War 2. Their invasions and expansions allowed plenty of opportunity for the German armies to gather what they considered priceless items for their national and personal vaults. Some of these items have yet to be recovered or even found. (Weatherford, 1988) The economic side of slavery also include feudalism and internal tyranny, which continues to be practiced in many parts of the world.
An interesting fact about history is that despotism did not really begin in many parts of the world until matrilineal systems were completely destroyed. Ancient clan systems had superb means of checking the ruthlessness of individuals. And their values on maintaining communal peace, cohesion and harmony were more priceless then gold. There was no such thing as two men with their armies struggling for dominance and control of one nation or society. This is the unfortunate norm in many parts of the world today.
Tyranny is when you have a queen or king in any country, tribe or village who, with the local military (bullies), forces his own citizens
into a position of subjection and service. The world is full of these
petty tyrants and their raging, perverse appetites, colored, black and
white. The plantation system, debtors prison and the more recent
employment and profit by employee debt system are also samples of economic slavery. In this latter system, employees work on the land and buy all their necessities from their employer who charges extraordinary prices. The employee never has enough to cover expenses so she or he stays tied to the employer and their land by way of debt. The employee never really transcends the cycle of loan and debt. As a matter of fact, the employee gets into deeper debt and must remain with the employer in order to clear it up. This is one of the many ways that debt and loan are used to economically enslave individuals, peoples and whole countries. The economic type of slavery that characterized the Piscean Age seems to go beyond simple monetary interest, and to reflect some deep existential issues, some of which are soul fragmentation and cosmic alienation. For not only did white nations...i.e., European, Arabian and Asian literally ransacked whole continents but some African (aboriginal) peoples allowed their own people and their Motherland to be destroyed and mutilated by their own interests or the interests of others. Some countries or nations had internal problems simmering for years before they were visited by predatory outsiders who took advantage of their hatreds,
corruptions and weaknesses. These problems were based in theology, class, ethnicity and even gender.
NOTE: Women are subject to all forms of bondage that are sometimes peculiar to their biological circumstance. For example, domestic violence is a form of bondage, prostitution and many other gender-based systems that mask themselves as culture, as tradition, as nature, as entertainment and as God are also forms of slavery (bondage). Women and men who are held and manipulated in some manner in relationships, families and cultures are experiencing a form of bondage or at least are being consciously controlled from the outside.
Jus primae noctis, also referred to as "the lords right" was an old
law of the European feudal system, which equated the ownership of the land with the ownership of women. The droit du seigneur (law of the first night) meant that every newly wedded woman was obligated to have sex with the lord of the land. As the law was created by Ewen III of Scotland in the 9th century, the law stated that women of the laborers could be raped by any nobleman at any time; and the lord of the ground shall have the maidenhead of all virgins dwelling on the same. The European based Christian church upheld the droit du seigneur as a God-given right of nobility. For the actual husband to consumate three days after the marriage was declared blasphemous to the holy benediction and tantamount to carnal lust. Eastern churches provided penalties and punishments for any man whom unlawfully slept with his wife before the lord (enslaver) could rape her. The law, droit du seigneur continued throughout the feudal period and in Russia into the 19th century.
The system continued in the Americas with the newly established industry of black and Ameridian slavery. Although kept secret, every slaveholder had full control and right to every girl and woman who was deemed his property, regardless of age, marital statues or position. Peter Fontaine, in 1757 said that plantation owners begot so many children on their female slaves that the country swarmed with mulatto bastards. Thomas Anburey glorified the system, referring to it as a pleasant method to procure slaves at a cheap rate. The wholesale soul rape of women in slavery is one form of incredible cruelty and barbarism that has yet to be acknowledged and conversed about. Look upon it as one benign evil that lays behind every war, slave system, religious wars and forced conversions, wars for monies, land and the control of economic markets. Rape is very prolific in history and is a very effective means in breaking humanbeings (female and male) and in the moral and spiritual destruction of populations. Rape is, essentially, directed towards the whole population. The myth that it is an issue only of womanhood is yet another means of destroying collective concern and cohesion. This form of systematic rape in slave societies, starting with the very young into the older years, was undoubtedly practiced by many
peoples throughtout the world...Africa, Asia, the Middle East,
Australia...etc. The European feudal forms and the slave plantation
systems of the Americas are only one expression. Forms of bondage
obviously are dictated by the experiences and expectations of those
involved. Any relationship that does not promote transcendence,
understanding (education), soul liberation (freedom), bliss and human
deification (wholeness) can be characterized as bondage, by this author.
Deitification and oneness is understood as something within. Any system that promotes external powers and authorities (idol worship) can also be a sign of mis-alignment or bondage. (Walker, 1983)
NOTE: The word, slavery comes from the word, Slav, a group of people who were infamous targets of slavery and exploitation in Eastern Europe. Many white peoples experienced slavery and persecution in the hands of other Europeans and by Arabian, Asiatic and African forces. This is what is called white bondage or white slavery, which includes the emotional and sexual needs of the exploiter. The term, white slavery, is an oxymoron for the word originates with Caucasians. Just like the word, ghetto originally refered to the dehumanizing concentration camps of enslaved Jewry. It is unfortunate that the term slavery and ghetto simply and conclusively denotes dark-skinned peoples. The centuries of the Inquisition, Crusades and the Dark Ages deeply influenced the way many Europeans view religion, authority and community. This is some of the first models of massive destruction, war and genocide.
NOTE: Human slavery has a long history. For African peoples, this scourge has lasted, sadly, most of the Piscean Age. Many speak of black slavery as though it has lasted 200-400 years, but the reality is that once the high cultures of Kush and early Khemet disintegrated, black people have encountered massive problems all over the world. Thus, black slavery has lasted for, at least 3,000 years if you include all the seed cultures in the world. The first form of massive black slavery probably begins in Indus Kush with the enslavement of the Dravidian peoples. The fall of black governed, Maatian defined Khemet (Egypt) and the early Indus Valley is truly where black bondage begins. And it must be noted that all enslavement was not at the hands of foreign powers (white) but also at the hands of coloreds who affirmed no cosmic sense of community, continuity or humanity. Some of these issues among black nations reflect ancestral problems and ethnic differences, which some observers have yet to fully acknowledge. Black nations and/or individuals are not puppets governed by outside powers; all people must continually make decisions about themselves and how they will affect the world. External blame is a one-dimensional explanation, or it is a veil to cover the unsavory intent and actions of dark-skinned individuals. There are many reasons for the conscious participation of blacks in the destruction of African peoples and African cultures. Some of the major issues that produce black supported black slavery, include a lack of divine vision and practice, warring twins (gender), culturally sustained ignorance (egoism) and theological (ancestral) differences.
NOTE: The Arabian and Asian slave trade preceded the European slave ships. The slave trade of Africans by the Arabians and Asians was just as problematic. Many Africans lost their lives, their land was taken and many more were enslaved. This is how the spread of Islam begins in part by the expansion of slavery and theology. (Arman, 1973) For black (aboriginal) populations who had their own ancestral beliefs and history, this completely destroyed and misplaced them. One of the differences between the European slave trade and the Arabian one is that one was a conversion to Islam and the other to Christianity, which ironically once again is birthed in African hands. (Rashidi, 1985, 1993)
Note: I was told that some African Chiefs did make an official apology to African Americans for their part in the slave trade....but I can't find this information on the Internet. If I find it in the future I will add the link here.