If You Could or What You Can Do?
Often times when we think about slavery, images of broken and bloodied bodies fill our head. We associate this word with the past. We think about how we wouldn’t let that happen now. If we lived then everyone thinks they would be an activist or an abolitionist and they would do whatever it takes to stop such heinous crimes. In reality, this isn’t a hypothetical situation. Slavery is alive and well today. So the question becomes: Will you still do whatever it takes to stop heinous crimes?
Photos of a slave auction recently went viral. Outcries came from all over the world and then there was silence. Public memory moved on and slavery faded back into obscurity. The two rival authorities in Libya are still engaged in conflict, while Libyans pay the price. The Government of National Accord has not been able to enforce the rule of law while the Liberian National Accord continues to fight for claim of legitimacy. To escape the conflict within Libya many are seeking passage into Europe, but smugglers who aren’t able to complete the voyage hold refugees hostage; when the smugglers run out of resources, they will sell the Libyans into slavery.
In addition to the continuation of slavery, there are claims of illegitimacy of the slave trade in Libya. President Trump tweeted that CNN was creating fake news, a day after the photos were released. Following the tweet, the Libyan government took this as an opportunity to refute the accusations and suggested that they believed the slave trade was imaginary. With multiple leaders dispelling the truth of the situations it becomes harder to stop the atrocities. There is still hope however.
The power to stop this crime against humanity lies within the people. With one photo the world was exposed to the severity of the events and alarmed. That same feeling of emotion can be used to fuel the solution. Public pressure can make monumental strides to bring this issue back to the forefront of the public. Contact U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley to urge for more involvement to stop these crimes. Supporting organizations like Free the Slaves and Free the Children can provide aid while long term solutions are in progress. The time to determine who you would be in the past is now. There is no idyllic vision of what you wish to be, only the actions you take now. Decide what mark you want to make in history and make it now.