How Does Humanity’s Greatest Gift of Life Cause so Much Suffering?
Life is a precious gift that has brought many of us into this world. From all over across the globe, different ethnicities, cultures, and lifestyles help make each and every one of us unique in our own way. However, the world is not as perfect as it seems. Millions of families are torn apart through the chains of slavery, forced to do things that they do not want to do. The shadows of slavery keeps children, men, and women captive for years to as many as their entire life.
In Frederick Douglass’ personal narrative, he describes
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Power is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. In other words, how power is used may be beneficial to those around its influence or may cause corruption. For example, when power is used correctly, it may help the needs of many into making their lives better. However, when one class is superior to another, often times those elite classes would abuse their own power in order to gain more for themselves. This leads to the question of, “How does Humanity’s Greatest Gift of Life Cause so much Suffering?”. Often times, we tend to overlook and forget about people around us. We may think that the slavery has been abolished in the United States Constitution since 1864, but even since then, slavery has been expanding progressively . People, who are just like us, suffered because of those who are in power around them. Many different forms of slavery includes: forced labor, bonded labor, domestic servitude, child slavery, and sex slavery. Though there are many different forms of slavery, the power of corruption arises engulfs the pleading lives of many.
In the First Amendment of the United States Constitution freedom of speech is given to those who lives in this prosperous country. The First Amendment was created to help ensure that our natural rights would not be taken away from us. In the newspaper article, “American Slavery Justified”, the author Rev. Samuel Seabury, D.D. states that, “the American people believe in full and free discussion, and can hardly wish to decide any question after listening to only side, and even those who have formed opinions will be willing to consider arguments…”. Not only does this newspaper article attempt to justify slavery, it discusses the First Amendment, freedom of speech, and tries to convince others to gain perspectives of both the positives and negatives of slavery. Through the media such as: articles, internet, and books; we are still blinded by the words of those who are in superior than those who are not. The people who created laws were people who had power. These people thought that with power, society would follow the rules that they have created in order to live happily. Although it is illegal to break these laws, the people with power disregard the punishments and hold millions enslaved.
Modern slavery is a prominent issue in today’s society. At this hour, many are working under no pay in the worst environment with tears streamed down their faces. In 1933 a woman named Dina Chan went into debt and found herself owned by a pimp in northern Cambodia. At the age of 17, she faces starvation, rape, and police corruption. She states,
“We are cheated, deceived, trafficked, humiliated, and tortured. Why? Because men want us, and we bring money to the powerful. But we are the powerless.”
This account of slavery was experienced first hand by someone who was once in slavery. Since she was powerless she was unable to do anything to protect herself from the people with power. Even with the money she had earned, she did not earn it for herself but for the people who had chained her to slavery. The fear of the those who are powerful caused Chan to do things that she thought she would never had done. Fear makes those without power hopeless and those with power the ability to do what they want.
Fear causes one to become silent and that is what makes the powerful even more powerful. The slaves who are never stood up for themselves led others to corrupt them even more. In the article, “Modern Slavery Persists the World Over” describes how 60,000 people in India are held bondage because of their inability to speak up for themselves. “The girls are abused — mentally, sexually, physically. Officials don’t care, and sometimes even want maids for their own houses, [which is] partly why they’re silent on this.” Power feeds off silence and because the powerful knows that they are inferior to them, dehumanizing these slaves means nothing to them. The strong and more powerful will always feed off the weak.
Life is beautiful and comes with great wonders. However, when power controls people around it, suffering becomes a consequence. Power causes fear among those who are powerless and forces them into chains in which they are trapped. Slavery is one of the causes of what power can do to a person and may be eliminated if people were to stand up for themselves when they are experiencing something that is unjust and harmful to them. With just a single word, many may be freed from the chains of slavery. Every little thing that we do today can make a difference no matter how big or small it is. By acknowledging and understanding that there are people like us who are also suffering, leads us one step closer into ending slavery.