This week has been a crazy week on social media with the trending hash tags, #PrayforLibya, #StopSlavery, #Humantrafficking, #Libyaslavetrade, #Saynotomodernslavery and many others. A lot of words have been said, essays written, protests organized and demonstrated and conferences have been held and are still being organized. I’m proud of my people for going all out to show their support and allegiance to Africans and blacks going through this insidious acts of inhumanity and savagery that reminds us of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, in Libya. It goes to show that we still abhor the evils of depriving a fellow human of his basic human rights; the right to live, exist, and be. However, it saddens me to state here that a lot of those promoting those hash tags online /offline are masters of slavery themselves. I have my reasons for stating so.
First, we need to understand that slavery comes in different ways. It’s not just about the chains, the whips and the sales in public arenas; those are just the physical proofs of it. Of course, there are psychological implications on the victims as well but, modern day slavery has taken a new shape. If you’re a horrible boss, breathing fire on the necks of your subordinates like a dragon, you’re a slave master. If you’re a husband or wife subjecting your spouse to physical and mental torture or emotional abuse, you’re a slave master. If you’re a school student or staff of an organization bullying your colleagues and blackmailing them just to have your way and be dominant in that environment, you’re a slave master. If you’re a law enforcement agent always harassing pedestrians or motorists on the streets/roads and also battering them when they refuse to tip you, you’re a slave master. If you’re a religious leader always using the scriptures of your faith to threaten your flock into following your own created doctrines, you’re a slave master. If you’re a national leader who rules instead of leads without consideration for the economic, social and general welfare of your people, you’re a slave master. Lastly, if you’re a couple who goes out to functions or to dine with your domestic help present and you order heaven and earth for yourselves but order nothing for your help and allow him/her to salivate in a corner of the room, you are MOST DEFINITELY SLAVE MASTERS! It’s worse when you look flawless and your help looks like something dragged out of the gutters. It just goes to show how retarded you could be.
That brings me to the point of writing this post. I’m pissed. I’m pissed at couples who lack the common sense to know how to manage their homes and not draw negative attention to themselves yet, when it’s time to shout, “Stop modern day slavery”, they are quick to load their gadgets with enough data and preach as well as propagate a truth they lack the capacity to practice.
Last week Sunday, I went to Lunch after Church at Black Bells in Lekki with some friends. There was great food, good music and the ambiance was amazing with families, friends and lovers who just wants to have a great meal and a nice time. Then I noticed a family seating beside our table. It comprised a young couple; probably in their early thirties, two other people (friends maybe) their baby and then the house help or babysitter. They looked happy, had ordered for food and were already half way through their meal of salad, chips, chicken turkey and other yummy delicacies. Then I noticed that the help who was a young girl of just 13 or 15 years old wasn’t eating save for a plastic bottle of Fanta in front of her that wasn’t opened. I noticed that she kept looking around her like she was overwhelmed with the numerous varieties of delicacies she was surrounded by but couldn’t touch or taste any of them. Anyone who knows Black Bells at Lekki would understand what I’m writing about.
It so happened that I was seated directly opposite them from our own table so I did something. I started staring at the wife. I gave her the sort of telepathic look that would tell her how pissed I was at them for not at least ordering something for the girl to munch on. She eventually noticed that I was staring at them and her especially, unwaveringly. She became so uncomfortable that she couldn’t laugh anymore at the jokes they were sharing then I saw her whisper into her husband’s ears. He looked at me and then immediately but stylishly summoned the waiter attending to their table and in the next five minutes, the help had a beautiful plate of chicken, chips, and coleslaw in front of her. She dug into the meal like an hungry wolf of course. Then I gave the wife a knowing look that said “Thank you” and she gave a slight apologetic nod.
I was happy afterwards and I felt like I had done good but it brought back painful memories of once when I had gone to live with an Uncle as a help all because I needed support to pay for Jamb classes. The wife would come to my room during sleep time and ask me to turn of my AC so that the one in the baby’s room would blow cooler. If there had been a fan in my room, I wouldn’t have seen the wrong in that but my room had most of the loads in the house in it so I had no choice but to sleep in there, with the heat as my companion while she slept in the baby’s room sometimes. I felt cheated when I noticed that whenever her kid sister who was my age mate came to the house, she would allow her sleep in the baby’s room; something she never allowed me do. And as usual, my AC had to be off.
Seriously people, your house helps aren’t animals and shouldn’t be treated like one. They are humans and really, if you could do all of your chores yourself, then why employ them in the first place? But if you can’t, it won’t kill you to be NICE! What we fail to understand is that, in every organisation, the employees are a reflection of such an organization. If they dress well, speak well and exude confidence with a mix of good mannerisms, it speaks highly of the organization. Anything contrary shows just how messed up the system is and all fingers are usually pointed to the directors.
Be good to your workers; domestic or non domestic and watch them project you in a good light. If they had a choice, they wouldn’t choose the path of serving you so don’t make their lives miserable for it. I know that some could pose a tad bit troublesome but feed them, clothe them, use nice words and unabusive language with them, compensate and compliment them well, teach and train them if necessary and then watch how love can suppress even the most strong headed spirits.
I pity those who take the liberty of torturing their helps with belts, hot pepper to razors blade cuts they inflicted on them, acids to their skins, fuels and hot irons and hot water to their backs and at the end of the month, pay them manager salaries as if they’re doing them a favour. Who gave you that right to treat another human like an animal? Even animals are treated more nicely. You forget Karma is a jolly go fellow. Some even go as far as locking up their helps in dark rooms for a week or more as forms of punishment. Others use their helps as sex toys both for themselves and for their friends. Seriously?! God help us cos all of these are exactly all the treatments meted out to slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Stop Modern Day Slavery in all it’s forms and remember, your house helps shouldn’t be made to feel like house pests.
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