The Terror of the Barbery Coast - Regarding slavery:



Northen Africa is today a chaotic place. The leaders of Tunisia and Egypt has been sacked from their positions, and in Libya there is a civil war going on. There were some lunatics there 300 years ago as well. During the Enlightenment, the Ottoman Empire had control over the the North African coast to the mediterranean. The coast called ”The Barbery Coast”, because of the Berber inhabitants, (The most famous Berber to you is probably Zinedine Zidane), was the home of the Barbery corsairs. Also called the Ottoman corsairs they were primarily based in the port cities of Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis. But their predation did not only cover one small part of the Mediterranean, oh no. Their area of predation extended through the Mediterranean, up the Northen Atlantic reaching as far as Iceland, and south along Western Africa's Atlantic seabord and even South America. What   did they do then? As their name suggests, they were pirates. They did however not only seize ships, they did also engage in razzias on European coastal towns. The main purpose of this vile behaviour was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market. They were extremely successful, from the 16th to 19th century they captured 800,000 to 1.25 million slaves. The corsairs were not just ottomans, some corsairs were european outcasts. Englishman John Ward was the most famous of the huddle. Some of the corsairs were a part of the Ottoman fleet, the most famous Ottoman corsair, Hayreddin Barbarossa was appointed admiral-in-chief  by the sultan himself. The impact of the corsairs in Southern Europe was devastating, the European powers lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were abandoned.


Anyhow, slave trading was it. Why did the islamic corsairs capture all those slaves? One reason can be the influenced of Aristotle's ideas of certain ethnic groups being slaves by nature. Many Muslim philosophers echoed these ideas, so that can be a factor. Basically though, I believe that they did for the money, and it would not surprise me if they also found big pleasure in what they did. One might argue if they were truthful muslims because as the prophet Mohammed so nicely put it: ”There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for black over the white except in piety”.  In piety means to do something in devotion to one's god. Somehow I doubt that the corsairs was capturing slaves in the name of Allah, it does not seem right to me. The corsairs might have captured many, but you should keep in mind that it is only one tenth of the amount of the slaves that were taken from Africa to America during the 19th century. What about slavery and the trading of slave today? A naive person would say that it is not a problem anymore, this is not the case. Slavery has just gone shapeshifting, Loki style. Former Secretary-General of the U.N Kofi Annan said in 1999: ”Even as laws banning slavery and its prohibition are enshrined in international instruments, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is stilled practised in many forms: tradional chattel slavery, bonded labour, serfdom, child labour, forced labour and slavery for ritual or religious purposes”. Why is that? Why do slavery still exist? There are other kinds of human trading as the trafficking of young women and forcing prostitution onto them. What can be done to stop this? I believe that a weak economy is the biggest reason to the most of these problems. Poor countries in Central Africa do not stand a chance in the fight against slavery, if they fight at all. Many governments in the poor countries of the world are also very corrupt, and are doing nothing to stop this. Bonded labour is another kind of slavery, I do not know if you remember when the guy from Pakistan visited us and talked about it. I believe we wrote a paragraph on the topic as well. Anyhow, quick recap, bonded labour is when the poor people are forced to loan money from the rich people and they are then ”bonded” to work for them. This is also a popular theme in popular culture. I could go on forever and discuss all the aspects of slavery, but I will not do that, because none of you would then be bothered to read the whole text, and then it would be no interesting discussion in the comment field. So I end my text by asking you: What should be done to stop slavery and trafficking, and who is responsible for doing it?


Do you want read up on the Barbery corsairs or slavery? Then I recommend you to check this links out and then come back to this page and discuss the subject with me. ;)


Oh, I almost forgot to tell you of the end of the Barbery corsairs! The piracy came to an end when France conquested Algiers in 1830




/Andreas Larsson

Postat av: lpytdf

2011-08-15 @ 04:34:17

Kommentera inlägget här:

Kom ihåg mig?

E-postadress: (publiceras ej)



RSS 2.0