Guest Writer: Mary Ajayi
|(Image Credit: globalmarch|
'Slavery' is one word that has transcended time, in words and actions; it is as common today as it was years ago, howbeit in different ways. In time past, we had human trafficking as the most common form of slavery, followed by domestic slavery but in this age and time, we've got different variants, too numerous to mention. societal, mental, emotional, financial etc.are the variants of slavery we now have. However, the focus of this observance breaks it all down and selects issues which are deeply woven into the fabric of humanity- not that the aforementioned are not. It just helps us see things better from five dimensions. I hope with this cases (find below), you'd see slavery with new eyes, and help to eradicate it.
WHAT FREEDOM IS
Earlier today, that boy who goes to that school next street and lives two houses away had said ‘freedom is the word I learnt in school today’ to his mother and I had heard while throwing away refuse.
‘Beautiful. What does it mean?’ she had asked and he had said ‘the ability to make one’s choices and think freely.’ This boy is ignorant and his mother is doubly ignorant. Even me who hasn’t stepped foot in school knows that is not the real definition. What do they teach them in school anyway? Lies definitely. I'll tell you what freedom is. Freedom to me means surviving day to day by doing others’ biddings so you can be left alone in peace.
I am an orphan and since I moved in with my aunt and her husband, I have learnt that in the real world, you do what you have to survive. THAT is freedom. Every day I service everyone in one form or the other. My aunt has me wash her clothes, clean the house top to bottom, her son has me wash his clothes and meet his other needs; her husband has me meet the needs his wife should have. That’s the way I remain here, and sane. The day I challenged my aunt’s husband, son and wife simultaneously and on different platforms, I was told to never think off speaking about any of their actions. Why? Because they were good to me and if I don’t like it, I can ‘go and die’. What am I to do? I am just 12 with nowhere to go.
THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS 'FREEDOM'
This is my life, the one I have always known. The one which prepares you to walk the path that has been chosen for you without question. 'Choice' is a foreign term to me because all my life, I had never had to make it. I made no bid to understand it in school, not even in Economics. Why? I didn't see a point to it. I finished secondary school and got married because that was the life that had been planned for me. From the family of four and a female child in a home that believes in the tradition of a lady not schooling beyond the secondary school, marrying early, and the arrangement of a 'capable man' for her, I had no choice. I didn’t struggle when it became time for me to be married because from the age of 7, I had been made to understand that I was being reared for a certain man.What can I say...? It is life.
WHAT TO DO?
He came to class as usual, wearing his big red hat and firing questions at us, expecting answers to questions he never taught. My classmates and I had discussed about how no one should answer him in cases like this but that day, I couldn’t help it. What was his problem? We are final year students and he treats us this way? Strutting about in oversized black suit and a big red hat, so what if he is the Part Adviser?
‘What is Chomksyian theory of tree diagram?’
‘Are you kidding fucking me?’ I screamed from my seat at the back of the class and he along my mates looked at me.
‘follow me’ he said to me and to the rest of the class ‘ read eevverything on Chomsky and submit a five-paged essay on it by tomorrow or none of you will graduate. Lecture is over’. Then, he walked out and I followed him. In his office, he looked me in the face and said ‘I will FUCKING kid you’, emphasis on the ‘fucking’. And he made good on his word. My mates are in NYSC orientation camp right now but I’m still a student carrying over his course as a punishment for first refusing his demand. I had given in later when he worked against my research project yet I have to suffer for first disobeying him. What am I to do? My family is poor and my parents expect me to graduate, get a job and take over the education of my siblings. I cannot afford to do anything besides give in.
CARRY ON THE TRADITION
When I clocked 9yrs of age, father and i took a walk and he told me what I was to become. A fighter for the Lord, and a protector of his people. So, when I became 12yrs of age, I got introduced into the family tradition of fighting our enemies in the name of the Lord. I had been tutored since the age of 9 so I had all I needed to know and even though I don't want to fight anyone, not kill anyone, what choice do I have? It is our family, our society's tradition.
I WALKED WRONG
‘Gbaiii! Gbaiii!! Gbaiii!!! Entan wii tchuenty noirah shange! The bus conductor screamed and I responded to his call for passengers headed to Gbagi from my position 5feets away, shoving and jostling with other 'strugglers' to scramble for space in the big brown bus. I’ve had a long day and been standing at the bus stop for the past 30mins waiting for a bus but the passengers were many and the prices were exorbitant. Now, here is one with a cheap price. I had to have a space in it. Had I known, I’d have waited or walked home. My journey into slavery had begun and now, I am a resident in the house and hands of kidnappers and ritualists, forced to do their bidding, after surviving the slaughtering of others.
|(Image Credit: UN)|
Whatever form it takes, whatever shape, slavery is slavery. The victims might not have had choices or in a position to take a stand for what they want but if we can enlighten someone today, and encourage people to stand for whatever they want, no matter how hard it may be, we would have started in fighting this war called 'slavery' and hopefully, we will win.