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A World Enslaved

Posted by nonanswers on December 23, 2008

A World Enslaved

The Cruel Truth

It would be nice if that conversation, like the description of the journey, were fictional. It is not. I recorded it on Oct. 6, 2005, as part of four years of research into slavery on five continents. In the popular consciousness, “slavery” has come to be little more than just a metaphor for undue hardship. Investment bankers routinely refer to themselves as “high-paid wage slaves.” Human rights activists may call $1-an-hour sweatshop laborers slaves, regardless of the fact that they are paid and can often walk away from the job. But the reality of slavery is far different. Slavery exists today on an unprecedented scale. In Africa, tens of thousands are chattel slaves, seized in war or tucked away for generations. Across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, traffickers have forced as many as 2 million into prostitution or labor. In South Asia, which has the highest concentration of slaves on the planet, nearly 10 million languish in bondage, unable to leave their captors until they pay off “debts,” legal fictions that in many cases are generations old.

Few in the developed world have a grasp of the enormity of modern-day slavery. Fewer still are doing anything to combat it. Beginning in 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush was urged by several of his key advisors to vigorously enforce the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, a U.S. law enacted a month earlier that sought to prosecute domestic human traffickers and cajole foreign governments into doing the same. The Bush administration trumpeted the effort—at home via the Christian evangelical media and more broadly via speeches and pronouncements, including in addresses to the U.N. General Assembly in 2003 and 2004. But even the quiet and diligent work of some within the U.S. State Department, which credibly claims to have secured more than 100 antitrafficking laws and more than 10,000 trafficking convictions worldwide, has resulted in no measurable decline in the number of slaves worldwide. Between 2000 and 2006, the U.S. Justice Department increased human trafficking prosecutions from 3 to 32, and convictions from 10 to 98. By 2006, 27 states had passed antitrafficking laws. Yet, during the same period, the United States liberated less than 2 percent of its own modern-day slaves. As many as 17,500 new slaves continue to enter bondage in the United States every year.

The West’s efforts have been, from the outset, hamstrung by a warped understanding of slavery. In the United States, a hard-driving coalition of feminist and evangelical activists has forced the Bush administration to focus almost exclusively on the sex trade. The official State Department line is that voluntary prostitution does not exist, and that commercial sex is the main driver of slavery today. In Europe, though Germany and the Netherlands have decriminalized most prostitution, other nations such as Bulgaria have moved in the opposite direction, bowing to U.S. pressure and cracking down on the flesh trade. But, across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, unregulated escort services are exploding with the help of the Internet. Even when enlightened governments have offered clearheaded solutions to deal with this problem, such as granting victims temporary residence, they have had little impact.

Many feel that sex slavery is particularly revolting—and it is. I saw it firsthand. In a Bucharest brothel, for instance, I was offered a mentally handicapped, suicidal girl in exchange for a used car. But for every one woman or child enslaved in commercial sex, there are at least 15 men, women, and children enslaved in other fields, such as domestic work or agricultural labor. Recent studies have shown that locking up pimps and traffickers has had a negligible effect on the aggregate rates of bondage. And though eradicating prostitution may be a just cause, Western policies based on the idea that all prostitutes are slaves and all slaves are prostitutes belittles the suffering of all victims. It’s an approach that threatens to put most governments on the wrong side of history.

rest at link


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Bush escapes assassination attempt

Posted by nonanswers on December 14, 2008

not once but twice!

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Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Posted by nonanswers on October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

watch the above video all the way to the end. His criticism of Obama=Muslim “smear” is spot on.


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Les Misbarack

Posted by nonanswers on October 4, 2008

Les Misbarack

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Do Not Vote

Posted by nonanswers on October 1, 2008

Do  not vote. It’s overrated!

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Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque

Posted by nonanswers on September 28, 2008

Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio
via dailykos

On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain’s supporters has led to — Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.

Full Article Here

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McCain’s Obama Problem

Posted by nonanswers on September 27, 2008

Did McCain look at Obamam even once during and post debate?

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Economics and Annoying Smart Guys

Posted by nonanswers on September 24, 2008

Economics and Annoying Smart Guys

America, Its time to pick the nerd for President.

Posted in Comedy, Economy, Election 2008, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Confronting the Economic Crisis

Posted by nonanswers on September 16, 2008

Barack Obama on Confronting the Economic Crisis-

Barack gave a speech detailing his plans for repairing America’s struggling economy in Golden, CO on September 16th, 2008.

Also more on Obama’s Economic Policy by NYTimes. It’s a comprehensive look at his economic philosophy.
How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy

I recommend both.

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Muslim-Americans: Between American Society and the American Story

Posted by nonanswers on September 6, 2008

Muslim-Americans: Between American Society and the American Story
Sherman Abdal Hakim Jackson

Justice Felix Frankfurter once observed that it is neither law, religious creed nor ideology that holds America together; it is, rather, a “binding tie of cohesive sentiment.” As a Jew, Frankfurter understood that while “sentiment” was not the most stately concept it had its clear advantages. For, while not totally immune to abuses of power, sentiment is far more resistant than law, theology or ideology. A tyrannical government might condemn today’s saint as tomorrow’s heretic, but it cannot remove feelings of solidarity and empathy from the hearts and minds of those who see him as one of their own. Not only, however, was Justice Frankfurter a Jew, he was an immigrant. And this too surely helped him see the importance of “cohesive sentiment,” even over such lofty concepts as law, equality or democracy.

Muslims too should now be learning about the importance of sentiment. Recently, Chicago attorney Mazen Asbahi was forced to retire as Barack Obama’s Muslim-Outreach advisor, after it was learned that in 2000 he briefly served on the board of an Islamic investment fund with an allegedly “fundamentalist” Imam who was recently named an un-indicted co-conspirator in a case against alleged Hamas fund-raisers. Of course, everyone understood the game that was being played here: Obama’s outreach to Muslim-Americans was about to be contorted into an exercise of aiding and abetting Muslim terrorists! In order to preempt this unfounded insinuation, Mr. Asbahi felt obliged to resign, in order, in his words, “to avoid distracting from Barack Obama’s message of change.”

Most Muslim observers have decried this fiasco as a blatant case of “guilt by association.” I think the matter goes deeper. After all, the so-called “fundamentalist” Imam with whom Asbahi was alleged to have ties was found guilty of no wrong-doing. With what guilt, then, was Asbahi supposed to be associated? Rather than any wrong-doing, Asbahi was simply being associated with being a Muslim, the same ‘charge’ with which some have tried to ‘smear’ Senator Obama. Parties aiming to exclude Muslims from the American political process simply found a way to strip Asbahi’s religious affiliation of all innocence, thereby inviting non-Muslim Americans to give full vent to their anti-Muslim phobia, under the cover of a would-be justification.

The real story in all of this, however, is that this tactic worked. And here we return to Justice Frankfurter’s point about sentiment. Muslim-Americans are vulnerable to the attacks of their detractors because they are not sufficiently bound to their fellow Americans by enough “cohesive sentiment” to place a proper burden of proof on their accusers. The way to that sentiment, however, is neither through simple protest nor acts of ostensible public altruism. The way to that sentiment is through becoming a part of the American story, a story of powerful truths, lies and contradictions that have destined America to struggle, to her dying breath, to find that balance between enough remembering and enough forgetting to point her towards redemption. It is a story of America’s quest to rid herself of the vile habit of violating her own principles and creating “problem peoples” who fall outside the reach of her lofty ideals. From the founding of the republic and Thomas Jefferson’s “We hold these truths to be self-evident …,” this quest — more than anything else – has defined us as Americans. Indeed, this is the struggle that generates the “cohesive sentiment” that binds Americans as a people.

This is why Americans are so excited about the candidacy of Barack Obama: Obama holds out a chance for redemption. Amidst this excitement, however, Americans must remain mindful of the evil of which we have proved ourselves so capable of perpetrating. Muslim-Americans, meanwhile, must come to see that American history, whether we like it or not, is now our history, and that we cannot accept the bounties of her present without sharing responsibility for her past. And we must understand the difference between being a part of American society and being a part of the American story. To be part of the American story is to strive as mightily as other Americans in pursuit of American redemption. Thus far, however, Muslims remain outside the American story, which is why, despite their positive contributions to society, they seldom enlist empathy when they are jailed, deported or discriminated against. Hopefully, however, it will not be long before Muslims come to understand this. Once they do, while guilt by association may continue, Muslims will be able to fight back. For in this they will be joined by others.


Sherman Jackson is a Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Law and Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan. He is also a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). He is author of Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection (Oxford Univ. Press 2005) and Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering (Oxford Univ. Press forthcoming)

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