Letter to a Friend (3): On Slavery, Freedom and the Essence of Human Political Adventures – By Ibraheem A. Waziri

It is true that there was never a time when ROOTS, the television series or the novel banned in the United States. In fact Alex Haley the author of ROOTS who happened to have authored the autobiography of Malcom X, bagged some 15 PhDs by 15 different American Universities when ROOTS first came out. He is till today one of the most distinguished Americans ever.

Slavery is actually the worst of the evils created by human mind. As slaves fellow human beings were not expected to have virtue or conscience save those allowed for them by their masters. In Spartacus, the television series, that reality was aptly captured. Also the movie, Amistad, depicted those anomalies associated with the bestial nature of this human negative.

The best of human beings over time were those who opposed slavery or set orders that geared the world socio-cultural systems toward abolishing slavery. Islam began it in the 7th century. Still, the West stands on the highest moral pedestal by abolishing it completely in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. No matter what we can say today against the West it gave the world one of the finest human legacies. It abolished slavery!

And for the slavery that happened in the pre-abolishment period, I will say we don’t have the West only to blame as it was the order of the day. In Zaria, Northern Nigeria alone. over 9000 slaves were freed after the complete seizure of the town by the colonial forces. Why didn’t our grandparents free them before the colonialists came, despite the fact that Qur’an clearly instructed them to free slaves? Fakku rakabah(Free slaves), is basic and common to the Islamic ideal to which our grandparents subscribed.

The challenge of the world today is the continued sustenance of a socio-cultural order that ensures the freedom of humankind and present all with equal opportunities in pursuit of happiness. Despite America’s crude use of hard power on foreign countries, it still leads in the maintenance of a just social order that guarantees equal opportunities for all in its country. Surprisingly, second on that line is Nigeria of today. Regardless of one’s social background they can become anything under the sun in Nigeria. Bloodline or social status is not a standard. Nigeria has a social system that does not discriminate on the basis of class, ethnic and religious affiliations even in its injustices and flaws!

The reason why we had Arab spring in the affected countries was people had everything they needed materially, save for a system that made Gaddafi(Libya), Zainul Abidina(Tunisia) and Mubarak(Egypt) mini-gods. The system or order placed these leaders above all in a strict uncompromising manner that the subjects felt their spirits were being subjugated and caged forever. Yes! To all human minds equal opportunity is priceless. I say today, down with all the dictators of all times; down with anybody who will take away our God given rights to freedom, equal opportunity and the pursuit of happiness by the dictates of our own virtues, vices and living conscience!