Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 18th, 2014

Slavery: Not only in the Middle East

Slavery is rampant in most countries, especially in West Africa (Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Gambia…) and the Far East, Yemen, Sudan, are practiced on its own citizens. Other countries abuse the “imported” work force to subjugate them into a state of slavery.

The Middle East, once at the forefront of slavery, is back in the spotlight again as now there are more cases emerging of contemporary slavery that are gradually catching up with the horrific events of the past.

Slaves were “imported” from Madagascar, Sudan, East Africa and the current States bordering the Sahara Desert.

In the 18th century, the European colonial powers and the USA shipped slaves from West Africa for several centuries.

The many hot spots of the MENA region, Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan and the UAE were pointed out as the countries that have the most number of slaves.

Khalil Dagher , regional intern of the World Youth Alliance Middle East, posted this article.

798px-Marsh_Arab_girl

Those trafficked into the Middle East are often put into forced labor; forced to work for long periods of time, sometimes up to 16 hours without pay.

They are often subjected to beatings, forced sexual relations and forced abortions.

Most of these victims end up dead before ever gaining their freedom. The majority of trafficked victims knew their trafficker. They were a family member, a friend, a relative, or a neighbor.

(Qatar for example, now on the verge of hosting the 2022 World Cup, is being accused of mistreatment of the workers  from Bangladesh, Nepal and the Himalaya States, employed to build the stadiums, or a form of slavery. Over 400 workers died so far from overwork, malnutrition and unsanitary dwelling).

With over 150,000 slaves, Mauritania ranks first globally as the country with the largest slave population. (It is reported that a third of the population are slaves)

In Jordan, child labor is huge with some 30,000 children working, mainly in shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Even Israel is in on the act following in the footsteps of the likes of Lebanon with a huge human trafficking sector.

Low-level skilled workers from China, Romania, Africa, Turkey, Thailand, and Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India face forced labor conditions.

Many have had their passports confiscated by their “sponsors,” never receive wages due to debt bondages, and face threats and physical intimidation.

Women from Russia and former Soviet states are commonly trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

In Sudan women and children are taken captive, then enslaved, branded, and bred. Women chosen as concubines (a woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives) are genitally mutilated.

In Uganda, armed factions kidnap kids to become ruthless killers, after forcing them to kill their mothers.

In Lebanon human trafficking has developed into sex work. With Lebanon being one of the least conservative countries in the Middle East, brothels or ‘’whore houses” have found fertile ground in the spoils of the shadowy industry.

In analyzing the causes of slavery, it can be seen that it is often a by-product of poverty.

Countries that lack education, economic freedoms and the rule of law, and which have poor societal structure can create an environment that fosters the acceptance of slavery.

The majority of the trade is initialized in the developing world such as in Asia and Africa, where, the Middle East is merely another one of the drop-off points en route.

Government corruption around the world allows slavery to settle into a norm. Countries within the Middle East and North Africa are infamous for being corrupt states with police bribes and even government officials themselves playing a big role.

Even though it is illegal, millions have become vulnerable to slave holders and human traffickers looking to profit from the theft of people’s lives. This new slavery has two prime characteristics: slaves today are cheap and they are disposable.

From deceiving maids to work for a wealthy family in Lebanon to trading slaves from one buyer to another as if they were products in South Sudan, slaves are a rare commodity that won’t die down anytime soon until the right methods are aimed at stopping this from growing.

It is easy to analyze the causes of slavery in the Middle East and all over the world and identify it as a problem, but it is even easier to find solutions to eradicate slavery.

It’s important to state that this is only a plan of action that has to be adopted by all parties involved from the UN to members in society.

First plan of action is for governments to do more than they actually say. It’s the duty of the governments in the Middle East and all over the world to build a national plan to end slavery within its borders.

They can do this by bringing together all relevant existing government agencies, and appointing an anti-slavery ambassador charged with coordinating their efforts and actively involving the local anti-slavery organizations in their countries that are closest to the problem.

Second plan of action is for the UN to get more involved by putting pressure on permanent members to provide funds and resources to special representatives to aid in the eradication  of slavery, The Security Council should appoint a committee of experts to review the existing conventions on slavery and recommend how to unify and clarify these conventions.

The Security Council should establish a commission to determine how the existing UN inspection mandate could be applied to slavery.

Third plan of action is to promote plans that promise slavery-free cities. For example, Public Awareness Raising which could involve conferences in schools and universities all over the region and the world, promote the use of social media networks, and encourage more research to be done, going down to the street level and educating those who don’t know about slavery on the issue, and finally go to your community level where we all can be a hero and tackle slavery as a mobile force.

These are a few steps that can be used to finally eradicate slavery but will only take place when society as a whole decides to come together as a united force in social mobilization from the bottom up with the aim at influencing those in power that there is a problem that needs to be tackled.

Until then however, slavery will continue to go on right under our noses and in our back yards with no aim at ever stopping.

The Middle East is only a small percentage of what has developed into a social problem that should have ended centuries ago.

 

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The World: As seen by Albert Einstein

“School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam.

What I hated most was the competitive system there, and especially sports. Because of this, I wasn’t worth anything, and several times they suggested I leave.

I posted a dozen articles on Einstein, his world view, on theoretical physics, sciences, how he saw the USA, and on Zionism… You may read more from the links in the notes

 posted this Feb. 16, 2014:

How Einstein Saw the World

Albert

Einstein resumed:

“This was a Catholic School in Munich. I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement. How can a teacher understand youth with such a system?

From the age of 12 I began to suspect authority and distrust teachers. I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.

The more I read, the more puzzled I was by the order of the universe and the disorder of the human mind, by the scientists who didn’t agree on the how, the when, or the why of creation.

Then one day this student brought me Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Reading Kant, I began to suspect everything I was taught. I no longer believed in the known God of the Bible, but rather in the mysterious God expressed in nature.

The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.

If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.

Science is never finished because the human mind only uses a small portion of its capacity, and man’s exploration of his world is also limited.

Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you?

Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual.

Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found.

Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation.

If I hadn’t an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, I wouldn’t have tried for 30 years to express it in a mathematical formula. It is only man’s consciousness of what he does with his mind that elevates him above the animals, and enables him to become aware of himself and his relationship to the universe.

I believe that I have cosmic religious feelings. I never could grasp how one could satisfy these feelings by praying to limited objects. The tree outside is life, a statue is dead. The whole of nature is life, and life, as I observe it, rejects a God resembling man.

Man has infinite dimensions and finds God in his conscience. [A cosmic religion] has no dogma other than teaching man that the universe is rational and that his highest destiny is to ponder it and co-create with its laws.

I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified.

Our bodies are like prisons, and I look forward to be free, but I don’t speculate on what will happen to me.

I live here now, and my responsibility is in this world now. I deal with natural laws. This is my work here on earth.

The world needs new moral impulses which, I’m afraid, won’t come from the churches, heavily compromised as they have been throughout the centuries.

Perhaps those impulses must come from scientists in the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and Newton.

In spite of failures and persecutions, these men devoted their lives to proving that the universe is a single entity, in which, I believe, a humanized God has no place.

The genuine scientist is not moved by praise or blame, nor does he preach. He unveils the universe and people come eagerly, without being pushed, to behold a new revelation: the order, the harmony, the magnificence of creation!

And as man becomes conscious of the stupendous laws that govern the universe in perfect harmony, he begins to realize how small he is. He sees the pettiness of human existence, with its ambitions and intrigues, its ‘I am better than thou’ creed.

This is the beginning of cosmic religion within him; fellowship and human service become his moral code. Without such moral foundations, we are hopelessly doomed.

If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done.

We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind.

Religion and science go together.

As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth.

Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God.

The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed.

Without religion there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.

I am not a mystic.

Trying to find out the laws of nature has nothing to do with mysticism, though in the face of creation I feel very humble. It is as if a spirit is manifest infinitely superior to man’s spirit.

Through my pursuit in science I have known cosmic religious feelings. But I don’t care to be called a mystic.

I believe that we don’t need to worry about what happens after this life, as long as we do our duty here—to love and to serve.

I have faith in the universe, for it is rational.

Law underlies each happening.

And I have faith in my purpose here on earth.

I have faith in my intuition, the language of my conscience, but I have no faith in speculation about Heaven and Hell. I’m concerned with this time—here and now.

Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction. For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following a trodden path of thought.

Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts.

Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself.

Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life.

I do not need any promise of eternity to be happy. My eternity is now.

I have only one interest: to fulfill my purpose here where I am.

This purpose is not given me by my parents or my surroundings. It is induced by some unknown factors. These factors make me a part of eternity.”

~Albert Einstein

Text Source: Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983). From a series of meetings William Hermanns had with Einstein in 1930, 1943, 1948, and 1954

PBS TV Special- How Einstein Saw the World

Note 1: Read more on this topic https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/einstein-speaks-on-%E2%80%9Chow-i-see-the-world%E2%80%9D/

Note 2:  On Zionism https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/einstein-speaks-on-zionism/

Handicapped journalist: Roula Helou Not allowed to board MEAirline

I was in another room and heard a young woman sobbing during the evening news. She was saying that she is feeling terribly “humiliated, deeply hurt and her dignity as a person trampled” (majrou7at, mouhaanat…).

“Today, my handicap precedes my humanity. I am sad that my country does not respect or care for my handicapped condition…”

Roula Al Helou said that she has already toured the world on her own and also boarded the MEAirlines many times.

The MEAirline changed her policy and stopped Roula from flying to Egypt this time around.

Why the airline host and supervisor had to taunt Roula and ordered her to walk down the aisle?

Note: The Arabic comment of Roula
نعم اليوم اعاقتي تسبق انسانيتي وذلك في مطار بيروت وتحديدا مع شركة “الميدل ايست” اي الطيران الوطني. الشركة منعتني من السفر لاني مسافرة وحدي ولا استطيع المشي في الطيارة. “انا اليوم حزينة في وطن لا يحترم اعاقتي وبين شركات تحرمنا من استقلاليتنا وحريتنا الفردية وكياننا، عار علي ان ابقى هنا بين بشر لا يحترم انجازاتي ولا يقدر تخطي الذات وقوة شخصيتي”.

وأضافت: انا اليوم اشعر انني ابدأ الكفاح من جديد مع كل الذي بنيته، ليأتي موظف من شركة الميدل ايست ويمنعني ويستفزني ويقول لي: “قومي امشي لشوف”. انا دواليب كرستي اشرف من اي شخص يرى اعاقتي قبل ان يرى انسانيتي..كنت ذاهبة الى القاهرة وانا اليوم مع حقائبي امنع من التساوي بالاخر بسبب مجتمع حقير.. يصنفني كما يريد ويقول ما يريد. انا اليوم اطلب اللجوء على اي بلد يحترم اعاقتي ويعاملني بالتساوي مع اخي الانسان، ادعو الاشخاص المعوقين وجمعيات الاعاقة واصدقائي وزملائي الاعلاميين مؤازرتي لنجعل من هذا التعرض قضية محقة..
رلى الحلو تُمنع من السفر بمفردها بسبب اعاقتها

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