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Slave: Snatched off Britain’s streets. The truth from the victim who brought down her traffickers.

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What a book - I cried and my heart broke. The language of the book is easy and simplistic. The story is told, with no literary embellishments and in the author's own voice - she is not a writer and so there is a matter of fact style (it was told to Damien Lewis, a journalist who helped Mende during her escape and who penned the book, but I'm glad he kept it simple). The book has 2 halves. The first is about Mende's life growing up in a small village in the Nuba mountains of Sudan; and then life after Arab raiders killed many of the people in her village, and captured her and other kids to be used as slaves for wealthy families.

According to Wikipedia, there are between 21 million to 46 million people enslaved today. Which is a pretty large margin but also a very very big number regardless.

While studying at Oxford, Williams, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1911, wrote his thesis on the subject. That formed the basis of Capitalism and Slavery. He took it to Fredric Warburg, a leading publisher of revolutionary texts who had put out all of Stalin’s and Trotsky’s works. Warburg categorically refused. “Mr. Williams,” he said, “are you trying to tell me that the slave trade and slavery were abolished for economic and not for humanitarian reasons? I would never publish such a book, for it would be contrary to the British tradition.” I do not propose to accept any concept of the Commonwealth which means common wealth for Britain and common poverty for us Eric Williams To conclude, Slave: My True Story is not an easy book to read. It's upsetting and it's unpleasant. However, this is also a remarkable tale of a brave young woman and a first hand account of a huge problem.

One of my professors is convinced megacities are the future. Even today, London's budget is bigger than several countries. Such mega-cities are fascinating because they are so international. There are so many cultures represented everywhere. Reading this book was the first time I had considered that international cities also import the troubles of their residents. It makes me think about how our world is so connected, slavery in Sudan also means slavery in London just as covid-19 in China can easily mean covid-19 everywhere else. Williams Connell is the founding curator of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection Research Library, Archives and Museum at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. Speaking from her home in Miami, Florida, she said, “To think that almost 80 years after it was published, Britain is finally discovering Capitalism and Slavery is amazing to me. Recovered Histories Anti-Slavery International has digitised its collection of 18th and 19th century literature on the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Recovered Histories captures the narratives of the enslaved, enslavers, slave ship surgeons, abolitionists, parliamentarians, clergy, planters and rebels.The focus of this book is Mende. The Sudanese wars aren't explained at all. I recently finished First Raise A Flag: How South Sudan Won the Longest War but Lost the Peace so I felt like I could understand what was going on but for people who have not, this is not the book to turn to for Sudanese history. Rather, it describes Nuba culture and life in Khartoum through the eyes of a young girl. Mende eventually came of age, started to attract the attention of adult male visitors to the household, then was "traded" to a family in London. She eventually escaped and was granted amnesty within the UK with aide from fellow Sudanese and British supporters. One of those supporters, Damien Lewis, is the co-author of the novel. Both he and Mende dedicate their time and resources supporting human rights organizations and government assemblies. She has since learned that her parents survived the raid and are alive near her village and communicates with them periodically. Unfortunately with her sensationalized trial, publicized battle for political asylum in the United Kingdom and the release of the novel, came noteriety that prohibits her from returning to the Sudan. Thus Mende's ultimate plea for the abolition of slavery everywhere is coupled by a simple desire to see her family again. The contentious core of the book by Williams – who was the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago for 25 years until his death in 1981 – was that the abolition of the slave trade was not born out of humanitarian wishes but of economic necessity. To think that, almost 80 years after it was published, Britain is finally discovering Capitalism and Slavery is amazing Erica Williams Connell Chloe Currens, the UK editor of Williams’s book for Penguin, said on Wednesday: “The publication of Capitalism and Slavery represented a watershed moment in the historiography of empire; it has proven to be a true classic among historians. We’re so excited to see its vital, urgent analysis reach a new generation of readers almost 60 years after it was first released in the UK.” There have been many rebuttals and affirmations of what has become known the Williams Thesis since it was first published in 1944, and in answer to these, Williams Connell quoted from the foreword of the recent third edition, by William Darity of Duke University in North Carolina, who wrote: “Although scholars of the British Industrial Revolution generally have ignored Williams’s proposition, they only can continue to do so by placing their own intellectual integrity at peril.”

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