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UN Chief Urges People Everywhere To Stand Against Slavery’s Racism Legacy

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Honouring the millions of Africans sold into slavery helps to restore dignity to people who were so mercilessly stripped of it, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message to mark Saturday’s International Day to Remember the Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

He said the history of slavery is one of suffering and barbarity that shows humanity at its worst.

“But it is also a history of awe-inspiring courage that shows human beings at their best – starting with enslaved people who rose up against impossible odds and extending to the abolitionists who spoke out against this atrocious crime,” he added.

An ‘evil enterprise’

For more than 400 years, over 13 million Africans were trafficked across the Atlantic Ocean in what the Secretary-General called the “evil enterprise of enslavement”.

Men, women and children were “ripped from their families and homelands – their communities torn apart, their bodies commodified, their humanity denied.”

A haunting legacy

“The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade haunts us to this day. We can draw a straight line from the centuries of colonial exploitation to the social and economic inequalities of today,” he said.

“And we can recognize the racist tropes popularized to rationalize the inhumanity of the slave trade in the white supremacist hate that is resurgent”, he added.

Mr. Guterres stressed that it was incumbent on everyone to fight slavery’s legacy of racism, using the “powerful weapon” of education – the theme of this year’s commemoration.

Unite against racism

Teaching the history of slavery can “help to guard against humanity’s most vicious impulses,” he said.

“By studying the assumptions and beliefs that allowed the practice to flourish for centuries, we unmask the racism of our own time,” he added. “And by honouring the victims of slavery, we restore some measure of dignity to those who were so mercilessly stripped of it.”

The Secretary-General called for people everywhere to “stand united against racism and together build a world in which everyone, everywhere can live lives of liberty, dignity, and human rights.”

UN commemorative events

The UN has organized a series of events to commemorate the International Day.

On Monday, the UN General Assembly will hold a meeting where Brazilian philosopher and journalist, Professor Djamila Ribeiro, will deliver the keynote address.

Ms. Ribeiro has been using the power of education to fight discrimination against Afro-Brazilians, including through her bestselling book titled ‘Little Anti-Racist Manual’ and her Instagram account, which has attracted more than a million followers.

American university student Taylor Cassidy, recognized as one of TikTok’s 2020 Top 10 Voices of Change, will deliver the youth address. Ms. Cassidy empowers her two million followers with uplifting videos on Black history.

On Thursday, Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative – a non-profit working to end mass incarceration in the United States – will be the featured speaker and a participant in a panel discussion highlighting efforts by museums to include the voices of people of African descent and deal with the colonial past.

Other panelists will include the General Director of the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, Taco Dibbits, and the Head of its History Department, Valika Smeulders.

The 2023 commemoration kicked off in late February with the opening of an interactive exhibition titled Slavery: Ten True Stories of Dutch Colonial Slavery, brought to the UN by the museum, which is located in Amsterdam.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Sir, you want to stop racism?
    First…

    1) Let’s have a deep dive debate about the legacies of slavery between the nations who enslaved and the people who were enslaved…lots need to be addressed.

    2) REPARATIONS..The wealth of the western world was built on the backs of our ancestors…in order words, our ancestors made you rich and they got nothing for over 400yrs of hard labour, exploitation, rape, murder, brutalisation, isolation, ostracization, alienation, hate, white supremacist…etc etc..the list is ad infinitum…

    3) Return all colonial loot in Western museums and museums elsewhere back to the people who owns it…them negotiations can be had to loan them for exhibition purposes…

    4) Teach true history…not the lies that have been taught in universities for centuries about Africa and Africans and people of African descent…teach the true history of ancient Egypt (Kemet) and it’s origins of black Africa….one of the world’s greatest civilizations and how it influenced ancient Greece… Pythagoras did not develop his Pythagoras theorem, the ancient Egyptians knew the squares of the triangles long before the Greeks…proof? The Moscow papyrus, nor was Hippocrates the father of medicine but Imhotep was the father of medicine practicing medicine at least 1500 yrs before the ancient Greeks…proof? The Edwin Smith papyrus

    See how great people of African descent are despite the systematic oppression they have faced for centuries …see how African rhythms have influenced salsa, merengue, bachata, calypso, reggae, zouk, jazz, R&B, rap, soul, blues, tango, flamenco, and the list is long… Africa touched the world and made it beautiful…and there is more to great to mention but the proof is there for all to see …the greatest showman… Michael Jackson
    The greatest basketballer… Michael Jordan
    The fastest human…. Usain Bolt…the most genetically diverse humans on the planet? Continental Africans…..and the list is again too great to mention….

    When you start to correct the wrongs of the past then you can mend the present and fix the future….

  2. Let the Reader read
    And
    The wise understand ❗
    Estimations show that sixty percent of the africaine which arrived in the carribean were acheived by the Royal africaine company, which obtains favor with the aggrement of King Charles in the seventeen century….
    by the Royal company to transport the africains in north america that seems to millions….
    however,to face this natural catastrophe,today, their mentalites have change, the Royal familles has not been legitimate in the region (afaire), which King George were partisane acheived in the buissness system on the plantations….

    Finally with much tears 😭, the sum were reviewed or estimation damages at a sky level,so the monarchie gives not a penny….
    Such were the trade Africans slaves hostiled-by the Royal famally,held in great griefs,and become famous (the Royal famally….

  3. Dear Editor or Concern
    I have not received my email newsletter,the last was twenty seven march,as I am very much concerne,please let me know if there is any changes
    Yours respectively
    The Above name
    Thank you 🙏

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