12 Years A Slave? Not really. Forever a slave!

by | Apr 21, 2015 | Shahnaz Blog (Previously They Throw Rocks)

Yes, this post is about the movie.  I watched, not expecting to be taken to a cliff and thrown off.  I think the memory of the movie that truly cuts through me, are those scenes where the whip cuts through the backs of the slaves, leaving raw ravines of flesh.  It’s a visual, albeit created by makeup, that grabs you and churns your insides.

I’m not here to talk about the movie or the uplifting end.  Yes, I cried at the end and although it was a happy ending, it was bitter sweet.  There was no justification for the ordeal and I know that was the nature of the beast, but how does one digest that?  I remember, either from the movie or the commentary, that the author tried to take the men who had sold him to trial.  He lost.  Twice.  For me, despite the end, there was still no retribution and that’s horrible.  I know, life is like that.  I know we say, what goes around, comes around, or we talk about karma, but really how much of that really mattered in those times when slavery was going on?  Did the slave owners ever get tied up and beaten like animals?

Here’s the deal.  I am not advocating for the reverse either.  A human being is a human being is a human being.  Period.  It’s unsettling how America just goes on, as though nothing really happened. How can one delete that much inhumanity?  The concept of “owning” people like property, is just beyond me.  I know.  This is old news and why am I giving you a history lesson?  It’s just that it really sinks in after you see the movie.  Even if I owned a thing as property, say my home, or my car, or my clothes, or my iPhone, or my coffee mug, or just anything at all, would I treat it with as much disrespect and disdain as Solomon Northup or any of those men and women were treated?  I’m sick to my stomach and my eyes well up with tears at the history.

I’m very grateful to live in a world and a time where I have a pretty decent life and I don’t have much fear of death knocking on my door any moment, but am I being complacent?  It’s not just our history of slavery.  There’s just so much more and perhaps I’m being un-realistic about my current world, because I am a Muslim and America loves Muslims!  Right?  WRONG!  But here’s the material point though.  Can a country like this ever raise it’s ugly head again?  Ever?

A country that has so brutally abused and handicapped the African Americans and until today struggles with race relations, doesn’t deserve respect.  Does it?  How can we as Americans accept our lives when we are drowning in our prejudices and drowning in a history of absolute embarrassment. The country owes a debt to them that can never be re-paid.  And what do we do instead?  Ahhh, you get into issues of Ferguson, harsher verdicts, no I take that back, extremely harsh and unfair verdicts for the African American and just all that jazz.  We think slavery is abolished.  What happens when a white police officer beats the crap out of a black person, because he can!  Isn’t that similar?  Ooooh.  I get it.  He didn’t use the whip, so it’s not the same thing?  Seriously people.  How can we even say that slavery is abolished.  It is a power trip, a control psychosis, and it’s a demented mind set.  They may justify by saying, “That African American was up to no good!”  Or “He was causing trouble.”  Or “He was walking and I could tell by his walk that something was wrong.”  Puhleez.  Give me a break here.  This post is hard for me to continue really.  I feel like throwing up.

I know this post is really about our history of slavery, but it’s also about our history moving forward. After slavery, what did we have?  You have the WWII internment of the Japanese.  Why not?  This country is filled with self-deception enshrining an ideal but miserably failing to uphold it.  The land of the free.  Free to abuse all that aren’t white and don’t think white.  That was war, but come on!  How does our legal system get away with dissolving one’s rights?  Now, in today’s society, there’s the whole deal with distrust of Muslims.  Media everywhere loves to hate us.  Let’s get together and have a giant big hate-fest, shall we?  Because we don’t function if we don’t hate each other or cause dissension among the ranks.

This whole rant is getting me riled up so I think we should return back to the movie and the issue of slavery and just end.  I know if a child did something wrong, a mom would ask them to apologize and say sorry.  That’s manners right?  In this case, it’s not just doing something wrong, it’s beyond that.  America and Americans where are your manners?  You owe an apology to a lot of people.  A lot.  And you owe a lot of people more than that!  For starters, I for one want to personally apologize to every person of any ethnic group or race that has been affected by the cruelty of the people in this country.  My country.  I’m embarrassed.  You could tell me to go home then, but this is home.  It’s just that my home has a lot of issues that need to be dealt with.  Some say that this is the best country in the world.  If it is, God save us all.  We have a long, long, long way to go.

Best wishes all,

PS.  I hope I’m not being offensive to anyone in particular.  It’s not my intent.  It’s just unreal to me because I keep asking myself, “how can someone be so horrible to another person?” for no justifiable reason.


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