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Editorial - A Slave’s Woe PDF Print E-mail
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Contributed by Eman Hatim   
Friday, 02 November 2007

childTo whoever will open their ears to my woes………………………………

Through copper tinted irises, my gaze travels up the steps which will lead me to my daily rituals and errands. Unfinished work waits to be completed by my soiled and juvenile hands, wrenching my muscles as I labour away saturated in my own sweat and misery. I have been thrust into an unsanitary and inhabitable working and living quarter with respite a word I can no longer flavor the delightful rewards of.  I shift around the workplace bare foot and I am compelled to an existence intolerable to an animal.

My workmanship is critisced by my masters, my rights marginalized by the gluttonous and my opinions and emotions snickered at by the jokers but that is nothing in comparison to the unforeseen acts I am subjected to. Acts of humiliation where my body is forced upon by others to experience and mature in an indecent way and where my childhood is stolen from me with their sickening acts of perverted intimacy.  I have become accustomed to labouring with rebellious children running riot around me, the repeated experience of which has tamed my earlier onset of vertigo. Lonesomeness has also become my second name and society and my vocation have enforced a sense of blind acceptance and surrender to my situation and seniors. They call themselves my seniors, my masters, but are they justified in ridiculing my mere 7 years of life with their social status?

Obligation to work, ownership, dehumanization and limitations on freedom of movement still take place in my world today in spite of the raised eyebrows many of you may form. Not only am I still living with the legacies of historical slavery, but millions of women, children and men around the world are trapped in slavery today, just like I am. The others may be enslaved through bonded or forced labour and early or forced marriages but I, I am a child labourer.  My country alone is seemingly a destination for overseas women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. My contemporaries, primarily boys, are trafficked to countries such as Saudi Arabia for utilization as beggars, street vendors, and unskilled labourers and there were some reports of our women and underage girls being trafficked internally from rural areas to cities for sexual manipulation. Am I a prey to the contemporary version of the millennial-old Ethiopian-Yemeni style slave trade?

Slavery is much older than my religion and insults the moral fiber of it. It was a basis of livelihood and labour for thousands and to the influential, their quantity in the household was a representation of rank. It was innately rooted in commerce, social structure and agricultural undertakings. International law is intended to rescue me as making me their slave is illegal. Nonetheless, imprisonment, being trampled on and mistreatment for others’ pleasure has defined my pittance of an existence since existing laws are not enforced by the relevant authoritative bodies. Trafficking in persons is a new crisis in my country and it is my suspicion that my government has modest resources to dedicate in combating my overwhelming dilemma which has seen my bones toughen to a grown man’s, my skin coarsen to that of a manual worker and my hair steadily transform to a shade of grey in resignation to the ruthless realities of this life. My proof is that no anti-trafficking law is present in my country but provisions are present in its criminal code to prosecute and punish traffickers, my only ray of optimism in a long tunnel of dimness.

I swear to the ears that hunt for the truth and to the hands that will bring about justice, I have been deprived, I have been pressurized and I have been oppressed. My physical defenselessness has opened the doors to my manhandling; my family’s poverty has taken precedence over my development and my velvety voice unheard amongst the boisterous tongues of society and their materialism. Your carefree attitudes to my health, safety, education and leisure have turned you into men with cannibal infested tendencies. What hurts the most is recalling my own flesh and blood who so effortlessly handed me over to the polluted outstretched arms all in the name of neediness. What is to be my outcome and what will I witness with every glimpse in the mirror but an unskillful, unworldly, prematurely touched youthful man with a future of greased hands and split slippers.

Oh sender, do tell of my woes…………………………………….

A Yemeni child.

 

References:

  • www.yementimes.com Rude Awakening article
  • http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/reading/pershist/horn.htmlSeventh - eight centuries: An Illustrious Yemeni Convert - and Expanding Trade By Richard Pankhurst
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk
  • www.britannica.com
  • www.islamonline.net
  • http://magma.nationalgeographic.com

Views: 1303

  Comments (8)
 1 .................
Written by Osama, on 03-11-2007 07:19
Sad indeed when one thinks about the inhumane forms in which some societies treat childhood, which in effect has inflicted lasting moral wounds on the human condition. 
 
In a Yemeni context, I believe that at the root of chidren\\\'s exploitation are problems of proverty and social exclusion. With abject poverty of an entire nation, the family structure crumbles since its priorities re-arrange, and that breaks the last barrier of defense for children. Not to say that poverty is an excuse for a family to give its children away, neglect them or otherwise mistreat them, but when it is a question of survival, families won\\\'t hesitate to send children out to the street, marry them off at a young age, even to cater to the new form of pedophilia coming from the north under the disguise of \\\"tourist marriages\\\". Or they simply will have so much to worry about that they lose focus of what is important to them anymore. And even if the family does still hang on to its precious children in the midst of destitution and poverty, some children will run away from the hell of their home to the hell of their non-existence, not having lived what would normally constitute a \\\'childhood\\\'. They\\\'ll turn to crime, or the street or flee the country altogether.
 2 Be simple !!
Written by Tariq, on 03-11-2007 10:24
its was great to read ur view, its realy nice and symapathetic u feel to this child, as i spent my child hood in jemen and now i am in Nederland, but i like to tell u 1 point which is , try to be simple in what u write , u use difficuklt words , not all the readers will understand u, use simple english 
Best regrads 
Tariq - Holland 
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 3 Written by Eman/Author, on 03-11-2007 13:15
Thank you Tariq.lol, I have tried particularly with this article to make it more acceptable to my readers,please advise me if Im making any progress whatsoever or if I am still living in my own planet. 
Many thanks for your patience with my articles
 4 Thanks But ...
Written by khaldoon Otaifah, on 03-11-2007 23:47
I really enjoy reading articles of those who are innovative and have a purposeful look. But, at the same time, some of us are trying to enjoy the reading with the intention of enrich himself/herself with good numerous of vocabularies. As a result, I kindly ask the writer to check out his/her article before publishing it out regarding to some spelling mistakes that should be reviewed before. Thanks a lot and please accept my admiration. 
 
khaldoon Otaifah 
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 5 Written by A. Al-monthir, on 04-11-2007 01:53
I very much enjoyed reading your article. It is very accessible this time, with no hard vocabularies. 
 
Keep it up please.
 6 Written by Reader, on 04-11-2007 03:12
Great article as usual.
 7 Written by Eman/Author, on 04-11-2007 14:14
May I remind the readers that my articles are spelt with British English and not American English.Any other spelling mistakes, i take full responsibility for and will adjust it asap. 
Thank you for the reminder.
 8 Excellent !
Written by jd, on 17-11-2007 14:52
Keep up the good work.

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