Slavery and Sentiments Embodied By Statues

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: July 11, 2020

Throughout history,
we’ve seen slaves of every race and color. Whether you look into the
civilizations of Italy, America, Africa, or India – the trading and ownership
of slaves have always been highly prevalent. The truth of the matter is that
economies and societies have been largely dependent on the institution of
slavery. However, it must be noted that slavery has taken different forms over
the year and constitute numerous reasoning.

In the last couple
of months, the discussion around slavery has taken a consequential tone.
Although the literal act of slavery isn’t existent anymore, many would argue
that the meaning has transformed and that it’s only invisible to the ones
who’ve turned a blind eye. The truth is that slavery hasn’t ended, it has been
modernized. The post-colonial mindset is still dictated by discrimination and

The brutal murder
of George Floyd changed us. His death became a symbol of uproar and protest. It
shattered the ignorant bubble that we’ve all lived comfortably in. The Black Community
has been through a lot. Even today, they continue to be victims of police
brutality and targets of the general racist bigotries. The Black Lives Matter
movement existed even before the death of George Floyd but after his murder,
this movement has acquired a new meaning, a new motive. It has turned fear into
outrage and fury.

Source: Twitter 

It has compelled us
to understand the history and how we’re all at fault. Our ancestors have
contributed immensely to this inhumane treatment of the Black Community. The
leaders and heroes, we’ve all worshipped, have come out as antagonists.

This realization
dawned on us a little too late. We’ve been praising and idolizing these people
for centuries and decades. Some of us were even aware of their wrongdoings and
participation in heinous crimes – but we continued to neglect that aspect of
their personality, and for that, we’re to be blamed.

For example, if you
study the root of slavery in
, you’ll observe that it was mainly tied with debt, war booty, and
ransom. If you continue your research, you’d find out many Buddhist writings that have actually laid down principles regarding the dos and don’ts of

Before the rise of
Islam, the Arab world was leading the slavery business. In fact, it wouldn’t be
wrong to suggest that the Arabs were actually pioneers when it came to trading
slaves with Europe and Africa. The local population as well as the major Muslim
Empires in British India kept Turkic slaves. When you shift geographically,
you’ll find slavery very much evident in Africa as well. The reason included the need for plantation labor, war, and debt. The locals would sell people to the
Arabs as well as the European traders.

Moving forward,
when you study the geniuses born in the philosophical world, you’d find out
and Plato were owners of slaves
. In fact, Aristotle has tried to defend and
promote slavery in many of his writings and his justification was later used by
the West. The names that supported racism and slavery will shock you; Mahatma
Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Charles Linn, etc.

Source: Daily Mail 

Yes, Winston
Churchill is remembered as the great Prime Minister of Britain, but is it fair
to ignore his racist identity? Today Gandhi is a symbol of peace and kindness,
but do you know that he was not only a
but also a big supporter of racism? The legacy of Columbus is murky and stained
as he was a significant part of the “new world”. How does it feel to know that
the founder of the great United States was an ignorant white supremacist? These
are just a few, top of the ladder, names that contributed majorly to the
disgusting act of enslavement.

Of course, the
death of George Floyd evoked strong feelings of hatred and disappointment in
people. Worshipping these heroes of the past no longer resonates with them as
the bad always outweighs their positive influence. Everything is black or white
when it comes to slavery and the long bloody history of the black community.

This murder has
fueled the anger that was burning inside us for centuries. Hence, during the
riots (read: peaceful protests), a number of monuments and memorials were
destroyed and vandalized.  Some of these
were removed with legal support while others were destroyed and butchered
despite the official support. 

Initially, the activists targeted
the monuments of the confederates of America but as the scope of the protest
widened, the targets broadened too. For example, statues of Christopher
Columbus were removed from all over the United States as he is famous for taking an active part in the abuses against Native Americans. Some even claim that it was
his entrance in the United States that began the crime of genocide of Native

But do you think
that the removal of these statues will have any significant impact on the
current political and social climate? Is it a statement? Definitely, a strong
one! However, does it contribute, productively? That’s questionable. Most of
these memorials and statues are commemorated as a memory of a historic event.

Leopold Von Ranke –
founder of the modern history, once said that
“history is about what actually happened and not what we wished had
This statement is actually pretty apt considering that the
removal and butchering of these monuments and statues mean nothing. It doesn’t
change history.

Source: Twitter

Considering these
facts, do you still believe that the removal of these statues is effective? Instead,
the focus should be directed towards the policies and the legislation. The
force should be coerced on the governments and the lawmakers. Strict
consequences should be mandated against systemic racism, modern formats of
racism should be abolished, racist individuals should be named and shamed, and
the consequences should remain tactile and tangible.

response to racism is anger. I have lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding
upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my
life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught
me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also.”

– Audre Lorde, The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.

The movement has become stronger in the recent past, and it’s essential that we don’t lose perspective. We must continue to engage in these debates and confront racism head-on. The fight has only just begun!


Updated July 11, 2020
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