Life stories

Life stories

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Life tells a lot of stories. Some of them that I have lived in Italy, Tanzania, Berlin, Frankfurt, New Zealand or the rest of the world I would like to share here. Some might be sad, some philosophical, most will be funny. Most will be in English, but some may also be in German (and on rare occasions in Italian). Feel free to comment on any given story in either of these languages. I would love to hear what you think and feel when you read those stories.
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The slaves of our times

Life is ... ja was eigentlich?Posted by Jules Sat, November 09, 2013 23:03:08

Bagamoyo in Tanzania is where the slaves were gathered from the centre of the country and from where they were sent into the world - to the slave-markets of Zanzibar, an island off the coast of mainland Tanzania, first, and then on to other islands of the Indian Ocean. Bagamoyo is one of the country’s oldest cities on the East coast of Tanzania, roughly seventy kilometres north of Dar es Salaam. Here is where slaves would “lay down their heart” (“bwaga-moyo” = "lay down your heart”) and abandon hope of freedom. Those deported from Bagamoyo would never see their home country again. African rulers sold prisoners taken in battle, mainly Arabs traded the slaves, and Europeans were happy to use the slaves in their plantations. Whereas the sea-borne slave trade was illegal already in the mid-19th century and the slave market in Zanzibar was closed in 1873, the trade continued, particularly on the mainland, also during the times of German colony and until Britain took over the mainland following their defeat of the Germans in the First World War. After that, the situation of former slaves hardly changed, however – they were now employed as labourers in the plantations, but at very low wages. Slave trade remains illegal in Tanzania and is illegal throughout the world.

Nevertheless, a different form of slavery has taken form in our modern society. It has various faces, and certainly, there is a large population in this world that is employed at very low wages, working very hard and hardly earning a living for themselves and their family (see for instance the recent news on the United Arab Emirates). But I am speaking of another kind of slavery, one whose masters are neither the African rulers, nor the Arabs or Europeans, but money, performance and globalisation. Whether these "slaves" are to pity, is left for others to decide. It may well be doubted considering they are slaves at their own, rather free will, and thus may leave slavery at any time – in theory, that is. One should not neglect the effects of constant “brainwashing” on people, creating the values, appropriate goals and biggest fears of a society.

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