There is something very worrying about the discussion we are having: we are relegating these atrocities to the past and treating slavery as a thing of the past and restricting discussions to legacy
effects. The reason why practices / institutions survive is because they re-invent themselves: new / old actors, new labels. We sanitize the landscape, we remove reminders of our collective past.
Gandhi's statue has already been taken down in Ghana. (his most ferocious critics have for decades been Indian intellectuals). He changed the course of history. How he did it, who it benefited and his legacy effects are up for discussion. He is a historical figure. His statue is still up in other parts of the world - for how much longer, who knows?
One day, our descendants will find a plausible reason to tear down Nelson Mandela's statue. He sold out Black South Africans / He presided over a negotiation that gave Black South Africans the right to vote without economic emancipation / He and his successor implemented policies that were not pro-poor / Affirmative Action was not aggressive enough / South Africa's atrocious GINI co-efficient can be traced back to events he set in motion / He didn't nationalise the mines ..etc. These are just possible reasons off the top of my head. Someone/group hell-bent on toppling his statue will find more.
When atrocities are committed, an additional dimension of depravity is introduced when it is visited upon one's own people IMO. Take Ghana for example: it is widely documented and researched that the Ashanti tribe were slave traders who sold Africans for weapons to expand their empire. How is that OK?
Treating atrocities perpetrated by African leaders on their own people as something tinpot dictators do, is the ultimate form of racism. Is there something fundamentally deficient in leaders from Africa that we cannot hold them to the same standards as their European counterparts? Were/are they not smart enough that they did/do not comprehend the import of their actions? Are they not virtuous enough that they were capable of only base behaviour and should hence be given a hospital pass?
Treating Blacks as universal victims takes away agency. How can an honest discussion about slavery be held without discussing the role everyone played in it?
Once we are done with the statues, what will we do next? Burn the books? That should usher in a new age of enlightenment.
How much of attention have we paid to what is going on in the world, now? Wait: this cannot be happening: slavery is a relic of the past. We are tearing down the statues of those heinous criminals so the human race can heal, those atrocities never to be repeated again.
Modern slavery takes many forms. The most common are:
• Human trafficking. The use of violence, threats or coercion to transport, recruit or harbour people in order to exploit them for purposes such as forced prostitution, labour, criminality, marriage or organ removal.
• Forced labour. Any work or services people are forced to do against their will under threat of punishment.
• Debt bondage/bonded labour. The world’s most widespread form of slavery. People trapped in poverty borrow money and are forced to work to pay off the debt, losing control over both their employment conditions and the debt.
• Descent–based slavery. Most traditional form, where people are treated as property, and their “slave” status was passed down the maternal line.
• Slavery of children. When a child is exploited for someone else’s gain. This can include child trafficking, child soldiers, child marriage and child domestic slavery.
• Forced and early marriage. When someone is married against their will and cannot leave. Most child marriages can be considered slavery
"If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself."
"To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle."