Today marks the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition. It is set aside to intentionally etch the tragedy of slave trade in people’s memories as well as remember all subjected to dehumanization by the cruel practice of systemic racism.
The day also offers an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of this tragedy.
The beginning of an uprising that played a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade was set in motion on August 23, 1791 In Santo Domingo (today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic). The revolt paved the way for the end of slavery and dehumanization.
It is against this background that the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is commemorated on 23 August each year.
A message by the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, urged that once and for all, it is time to abolish human exploitation and to recognize the equal and unconditional dignity of each and every individual on Earth.
“Today, let us remember the victims and freedom fighters of the past so that they may inspire future generations to build just societies,” he stated.
During the imperialist colonial regimes, a section of the world and its peoples, mainly from Africa and Asia were reduced to mere slaves who were bought, sold and transported to colonial settlements in Haiti, Caribbean, and other parts of the world.
While the abolishment of slavery is an ongoing process, the reality is that its legacy continues to exist today.
Those in positions of power have refused to acknowledge the crimes of the past, and an implementing of reparations so that it never happens again, appears to be near impossible.
It should be remembered that years after it became independent from slavery and colonial rule, Haiti and Dominican Republic continue to face internal crisis.
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