Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Op-ed: A world where slavery still lives

By Thad Box

First Published May 16 2014 04:24 pm • Last Updated May 16 2014 04:24 pm

In my living room there’s a photograph of a beautiful young African woman holding my month-old son Paul. Seated beside her is a young man holding our daughter Mary and our son Dennis. The woman was Soraya Magid, the man her husband El Rasheed Abdel Magid. The image was taken in our Logan home 54 years ago while Rasheed was my graduate student.

Soon after the couple returned to the Sudan, Rasheed’s wife and one of his sisters were kidnapped by Soraya’s family because the bride price had not been paid. The women were sold into slavery. Rasheed never quit searching for his wife and sister. He became one of the most powerful men in the Sudanese department of agriculture and was able to travel widely in Arabian countries looking for his lost love. The last time I was in Sudan, about 1976, he was in Saudi Arabia where an acquaintance reported seeing a woman who might be Soraya.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

A decade later, Rasheed was dead. He never found his wife or sister. Soraya is probably dead. Slavery is alive and well. On April 15, Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped more than 300 girls from a Nigerian school. The terrorists reportedly took some as wives, the remainder they intend to sell as slaves.

Mothers of the girls wailed in protest, many holding a sign: #BringBackOurGirls. An outraged world joined them. Celebrities, including the pope and First Lady Michelle Obama, filled newspapers and television screens with support. But the girls were property, useful to some male.

On Mother’s Day some Utahns held the hashtag sign and demonstrated for the release of the girls. But for the most part we celebrated Mother’s Day with flowers, Sunday brunches and purchases to fuel a commercial event that employs mothers working for wages that will not support a family.

Abraham Lincoln abolished chattel slavery seven years before Julia Ward Howe wrote her Mother’s Day proclamation of 1870. It says, in part:

"Arise then...women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts!

Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!.....

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.


story continues below
story continues below

Blood does not wipe out dishonor,

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil

At the summons of war,

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace..."

Mother’s Day has come and gone. As we approach Memorial Day, — "a day to bewail and commemorate the dead" — there are still women who labor in slavery.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed by placing flowers on the graves of men who died in a war to end slavery. In Utah it has become a day where graves of ancestors and other loved ones are decorated with flowers.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.