A Day in the Life of a Guantanamo Detainee

copyright © 2008. Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

Imagine for a few moments how your life would change if you were suddenly charged as an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay as a detainee.

You’d be transported under conditions of sensory deprivation to maximize your disorientation.





Brooke Anderson, Flickr, Creative Commons (reenactment)



Carlos Ferrer, Flickr, Creative Commons   (reenactment)



Carlos Ferrer, Flickr, Creative Commons   (reenactment)

If you were really unlucky you’d end in Camp Delta.





Lorri 37, Flickr, Creative Commons

In any event there would be guard towers all around the place.





USMarine0311, Flickr, Creative Commons

You might be allowed to exercise, or maybe be gathered as a group in an enclosed pen.





ManilaRyce, Flickr, Creative Commons

Your day would not begin or end with regularity.  From the LA Times the story continues:

It’s a dreary winter afternoon, but the scene could be any time of the day or night. The hour for rec time is one of the few unpredictable features in a day in the life of a detainee.

Reveille is at 5 a.m., when guards collect the single bedsheet allotted to each detainee. That precaution has been in effect since June 2006, when three prisoners were found dead, hanging from nooses fashioned from their bedding.

When they do leave their cells, prisoners are shackled and escorted — to and from showers, recreation pens, interrogation interviews, and a meeting or two each year with their lawyers. They leave their cells in the “hard facilities” of Camps 5, 6 and the new 7 for no other reason, unless they are found to need medical or dental treatment when corpsmen make periodic rounds.

Once a man has refused nine consecutive meals, he is considered a hunger striker and brought to the detention medical center. His head, arms and legs are strapped to a “restraint chair” while a tube is threaded through his nose and throat into the stomach. A doctor-recommended quantity of Ensure is administered.

Under those circumstances forced feeding is one more nice way of saying “torture.”  Put yourself in the prisoner’s place and imagine the pain and distress of being strapped down and having a tube forced into your body.

A schoolroom was added to the predominantly Afghan camp last year to teach basic written Pashtu and Urdu to the illiterate.

Leather-and-steel shackles protrude from the floor beneath each desk where prisoners’ ankles are tethered during classes.





mushroomandrooster, Flickr, Creative Commons  (reenactment)

Lights are kept on in the cells 24/7 for what military jailers said were security reasons.

The full story has many more details than my excerpts.  You should read the entire article.  And put yourself in the  place and time as you read.  Then remember this is our nation at work.  We, the citizens of the United States are represented by the actions of every day in Guantanamo.  We cannot let this continue.





jemstaht, Flickr, Creative Commons

The United States needs to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay as soon as possible.  All detainees deserve the right to a fair trial or release.  We cannot continue to hold human beings in the conditions of Guantanamo if we as a nation hope to hold any measure of moral high ground.

Peace.

103

copyright © 2008. Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

In the first 90 days of 2008 the United States reports 103 troop deaths in Iraq.  Since the invasion we have commemorated the 5th anniversary we have commemorated 5 years and more than 4000 soldiers lost.  Today we hear of costs near $12 billion per month and estimates of $3 trillion overall before all is said and done.  

Meanwhile our mainstream media continues to play down the ongoing failure with barely a mention any more of the deaths let alone stories of the families and friends left behind.  The death count also fails to reflect the numbers of US contractors killed in country.  No mention is made of the many thousands of life altering injuries such as limbs or eyes lost.  Nor do we hear much of the many minds broken beyond repair.  Suicides related to service time are also not counted and often not mentioned.  Coalition losses are not counted in the total.  The Iraqi losses count many thousands more, yet those are dismissed often without a thought.  Every death rends the fabric of humanity a bit more.





activefree, Flickr, Creative Commons



Recent news of increasing violence in Basra is characterized by President Bush as a “defining moment” for the Iraqi forces.  The time is defining alright, but not in the way Bush meant.  US and British troops are being put back into the fray once again.  There are increasing reports of US air attacks in which civilians are killed.  Bombing a populated area always results in casualties among the innocent.

While the ground war continues day by day and our losses mount, the insanity of Guantanamo Bay continues.  Several hundred detainees remain confined in legal limbo.  While the military would have us believe the prisoners are held in relative comfort





US Navy, public domain

we know better.  Reports of abuse may be found most any day.  Justice is a fleeting hope for the detainees as the only court on the horizon is a military proceeding in which the rules of evidence favor the prosecution.  We know the prisoners spend their days in shackles.





US Navy, public domain

Even transport for medical reasons or for exercise may result in the shackling of a detainee.





US Navy, public domain



US Navy, public domain

Razor wire surrounds the compound.





US Navy, public domain

Pictures of Camp Delta suggest conditions far removed from the reality we know exists today.





www.bloomberg.com



US Navy, public domain

In 1970 I came home right off the helicopter pads of Vietnam only a few days out of the field.  I came home a changed person.  In 1967 I enlisted in the US Army filled with the patriotic vigor only the young seem to possess.  I came home well aware of the terrible tragedy war represents.  I saw first hand how war affects the people on both sides as well as the havoc wreaked across the land.  Since those days I have stood firm in my opposition to war for almost all reasons.  Today I stand opposed to the ongoing occupation of Iraq with every fiber of my physical and moral being.  The costs are far too high in both dollars and blood.  We as a nation can ill afford to continue one more day let alone the years predicted by most in the administration.

Today the reaction of the public in our nation reminds me of a line from a song

a nation blinded by its disgrace

Today I am ashamed of my country’s actions.  Recent years have seen a drift in this nation our Founders would never have imagined.  We have watched the atrocities of Abu Ghraib along with the aforementioned Guantanamo Bay and all the damage done in Iraq.  And yet we as a nation continue to survive.





CID image

Is there any hope for us?  Of course there is.  So long as good people stand to fight the good fight our nation will survive this trauma the same way we have survived so many past times of trial and tribulation.

How are we to resolve the morass?  We must withdraw ALL our troops from Iraq.  The Iraqi people do not wish our presence to continue.  The international community does not support our continued occupation.  The time has come to end the occupation and let diplomatic maneuvers replace military force.  We must act to bring stability to the entire region through the cooperation of all nations around the globe.  We stand to be much more successful if we use the carrot rather than the stick approach.

If we withdraw will there be blood shed in Iraq?  Of course.  Will the situation be made worse than the one we see today?  Maybe or maybe not.  Who can predict that future?  The one indisputable fact remains the longer we continue as an occupying force the higher the cost to our nation.

We who believe the war is wrong headed must stand steadfast in our opposition.  The blind stubbornness of the administration will ruin our nation forever if we fail to fight.  We cannot afford to lose this one.  There is no room for failure.

Out the door, people.  Hit the streets.  Talk to every person you encounter.  Tell everyone you can corner the truth.  Show them the images of war and of Guantanamo.  Let them see the facts for a change.  It is only by our continued action and ongoing protest that we stand to win in the end.  

Peace to one and all.

Please remember I am running for Congress, DE-AL.  Please check out the website and consider a contribution  Your help is needed for the effort to succeed.  Contributions of all sorts, both moral and monetary are most appreciated.

Black History: Triangular Trade

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear. Town Called Dobson


To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson.  Black History: Triangular Trade

Triangular trade is a historical term indicating trade between three ports or regions.  The trade evolved where a region had an export commodity that was not required in the region from which its major imports came.  Triangular trade thus provided a mechanism for rectifying trade imbalances.

The most famous triangular trade in human history was the 18th century trade between West Africa, the West Indies, and Europe (alternatively: West Africa, the West Indies, and northern colonies in British North America).  Of these, the sea lane west from Africa was the notorious Middle Passage; its cargo, abducted or recently purchased African slaves.

The trade represented a profitable enterprise for merchants.  The business was risky, competitive, and severe, but enslaved Africans fetched a high price at auctions, making the trade in human cargo a lucrative business.

European colonists initially practiced systems of both bonded labor and Indian slavery, enslaving many of the natives of the New World.  For a variety of reasons, Africans replaced Indians as the main population of slaves in the Americas.  In some cases, such as on some of the Caribbean Islands, disease such as smallpox and warfare eliminated the natives completely.  In other cases, such as in South Carolina, Virginia, and New England, the need for alliances with native tribes coupled with the availability of African slaves at affordable prices (beginning in the early 18th century for these colonies) resulted in a shift away from Indian slavery.  It is often falsely claimed that Indians made poor slaves compared to Africans, explaining the shift to using Africans.  The reasons had more to do with economics and politics.

The first leg of the triangle was from a European port, where supplies such as copper, cloth, trinkets, slave beads, guns and ammunition would be shipped to a port in Africa.  When the slave ship arrived, its cargo would be sold in exchange for slaves, who were often tightly-packed like any other cargo to maximize profits.  The ship would then make the journey along the Middle Passage to the New World.  Once the slave ship reached the New World, the survivors would be sold for a good profit.  The ships were then prepared to get them thoroughly cleaned, drained, and loaded for a return voyage to their home port.

A burial ground in Campeche, Mexico, suggests slaves had been brought there not long after Hernán Cortés completed the subjugation of Aztec and Mayan Mexico.  The graveyard had been in use from about 1550 to the late 1600s.

The first side of the triangle was the export of goods from Europe to Africa.  A number of African kings and merchants took part in the trading of slaves from 1440 to about 1900.  For each captive, the African rulers would receive a variety of goods from Europe.  Many of them were confronted with the dilemma of trading with Europe or becoming slaves themselves.  The second leg of the triangle exported enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to South America, the Caribbean islands, and North America.  The third and final part of the triangle was the return of goods to Europe from the Americas.  The goods were the products of slave-labor plantations and included cotton, sugar, tobacco, molasses and rum.

From the West Indies, the main cargo was sugar, rum, and molasses; from Virginia, it was tobacco and hemp.  The ship then returned to Europe to complete the triangle.

Alternatively, New England also benefited from the trade, as many merchants were from New England, especially Rhode Island, replacing the role of Europe in the triangle.  New England also made rum from the Caribbean sugar and molasses, which it shipped to Africa as well as within the New World.

However, Brazil (the main importer of slaves) manufactured these goods in South America and directly traded with African ports, thus not taking part in a triangular trade.

Disclaimer:

When I went to school, we were never taught Black History.  We never learned about the Black leaders, the long, agonizing history that brought most Blacks to America.  Those atrocities were glossed over in favor of mindlessly boring topics like the X Y Z Affair.

This series of cartoons will review Black history as told from a Black mother to an interracial child.  This series will be ugly, course, horrific and truthful.  I will mostly abandon the commentary for an article on Black history.

This series is not about Obama or Hillary.  I want to you to try to imagine how Black families tell their children of the atrocities their ancestors, all of them, suffered because of the color of their skin.  Try to imagine how Black families counsel their children when someone calls them “n*gg*r” for the first time.  Can you imagine the bone crushing emotion that must well up?  Can you imagine the agony, frustration, and anger?

Can you imagine being the Black preacher who tries to paint a picture of a just God every Sunday?  Especially in a country that claims where the notion of racism is a thing of the past, the job is difficult.

These strips may at times be entertaining and sometimes they may not – mostly not.

I don’t want you to laugh so hard you cry, I want you to cry so hard you do something about it.

Ice Shelf Shifts. Bee Colonies Collapse. Bats Perish. Mother Earth Tortured



Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctic break-up!  (2008.03.25)

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

It was a day late in March.  The month roared in like a lion and in some regions, the last days of this turbulent time were gentle as a lamb.  A twister tore through the town of Atlanta, Georgia in mid-March.  However, the winds died down, and the later hours were calmer, at least in America.

During the last days of the month, in some cities, people walked the streets in short sleeves.  Jackets were open.  Hats gloves and mitten were put away in hopes of an early Spring.  After a long Winter nap, plants, and people were renewed.  The air smelled sweet.  Buds appeared on trees.  Snowdrifts were shrinking.  Conditions were slushy.  In yards, patches of grass were visible; and oh, did you see the tip of a green leave rising from the flowerbed.  Then the news broke, or was it the Wilkins Ice Shelf that melted and crumbled long before humans thought possible.

Most Americans, unaffected by the event that occurred on the Antarctic Peninsula, continued to go about their day carelessly.  Apathetic citizens in the most “vibrant” country in the world entered their automobiles, filled up their gas tanks, and drove endless miles to work in an office where the lights never dim and machines hum for hours, even when not in use.  Countless laborers, during the lunch hour, again, dash to their cute cars, speed to their Sports Utility Vehicles, and drive a distance more for food.  Most dine in quaint restaurants, where a meal is served on Styrofoam plates.  Plastic utensils are all the rage.  Use them and then dispose of these petroleum based forks, knives, and spoons.  Into the garbage they go, off to a landfill, and then poof, all the waste is out of sight and far from the minds of Americans.

Those who are five percent of the planet’s population, and consume twenty-four percent of the resources care not for what is invisible.  While Americans see the weather from their windows, and are aware of the conditions in their backyards, until the community in which they live experiences a weather-related crisis the public does not think there is reason to worry,

Often, after a catastrophe, neighbors cleanup.  The city removes the wreckage.  Business and families rebuild.  Then, everyone is content.  People continue to live as though the earlier episode was a singular incident.  Few question the cause beyond what they can easily observe and conclude.

Since Spring is upon us, our countrymen are concerned with floods, just not the an ice shelf shift in the South Pole might cause.  People understand the season of overflows is fast approaching.  Most believe themselves protected.  Insurance is meant to shelter subscribers from the effects of an excessively rainy day.  However, what of the storm some “scientists” tell us is no reason for panic.

A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.

Satellite images suggest that part of the ice shelf is disintegrating, and will soon crumble away.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf has been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s.

Six ice shelves in the same part of the continent have already been lost, says the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

While the potential for a rise in sea level is high, or at least far higher than it was, for now,  in America, we are able to believe all is well.  Certainly, our President does not ponder any drastic difference in the climate.

President Bush, . . . has consistently refused to take any significant action to limit U.S. production of carbon emissions, the primary cause of global warming.

Americans, particularly, Progressives may wish to blame George W. Bush for all that ails our planet.  However, in truth, most, if not many liberals, happily look the other way when given a choice.  Would I rather ride mass transit or cruise in a Hummer.  The broadminded among us observe, “A hybrid vehicle might be fine, once the system is perfected.”  

The public waits for what industry does not invest in.  There is no supply, and less demand, for vehicles, which do not allow an adventurous soul to travel to the ends of the Earth.  Freedom is not a virtue anyone wishes to sacrifice.  Not on a beautiful Spring day or in the summer.

The avant-garde are willing to walk or maybe ride in an automobile equipped with more emission controls.  Californians, and those in thirteen [13] other states have decided to, or have stated an unequivocal intent to do a bit to alleviate some of the erosion of the atmosphere.  In Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington there is a some  concern for what man “might” have done to the environment and how he can prevent further destruction.

These states account for a little over half the nation’s population

We cannot be certain what portion of the people in these territories contribute to pollution.  Nonetheless, there is reason for residents to consider cause and effect.  In some regions, inhabitants have seen rivers rise higher year after year.  While few people contemplate the ice as it melts, when the streets are wet and water seeps through basement walls, a few wonder, might global warming be a problem.

Still, enthusiasm for authentic change is not great.  Citizens in California are more interested in compensating for what their lifestyle creates, incredible pollution.  People in other areas may accept, if they do nothing, smog will soon color their skies.  If modifications are minimal, they are more easily accepted.

Thus, the people in the Golden State have elected to adopt far stricter greenhouse gas regulations for motor vehicles, regardless of what the Federal government mandates.  However, in order to vary from Federal standards, California needed to file a formal statement with the Environmental Protection Agency.  In December 2005, the Western most submitted a petition.

Little more than two years ago, when California first requested the waiver, long after most scientists acknowledged global warming was a reality,  there were no federal standards regulating greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles or any other sources.  The EPA declined to respond to the appeal.  Apparently, protection of the environment was not a priority.  The construct exists in name only.

The official word was, the Clean Air Act did not cover greenhouse gas emissions.  Hence, there was no need to alter the provisions.  According to the bureaucrats, accepted theory, even when endorsed by the Administration,  must be rejected.  Since 2002, each Spring day when the ground is saturated and roads become rivers Americans recall a time in June when .  .  .

The US Government has acknowledged for the first time that man-made pollution is largely to blame for global warming.

But it has again refused to shift its position on the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty designed to mitigate global warming which the Bush administration rejected last year.

In a 268-page report submitted to the United Nations, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) endorsed what many scientists have long argued – that human activities such as oil refining, power generation and car emissions are significant causes of global warming.

Notwithstanding, the Environmental Protection Agency refused to consider the Golden State’s waiver, that is not until the EPA was forced to do so.  In the interim, the people were not outraged.  Throngs of individuals did not pour out on the streets in protest.  Torrential rains, sunshine so intense hills were scorched, ice shelves adrift did not disturb the public enough to move them off of the couch or away from the computer.  As long as luxurious forms of leisure were sustained, the populace, for the most part was content to stay silent.

The body that required the Environmental Protection Agency to act was the Supreme Court.  In April 2007, the most prominent Jurists in the most powerful nation handed down a decision in Massachusetts versus the Environmental Protection Agency.  The edict stated carbon dioxide could be regulated as an air pollutant under the clean air act.  Yet, almost a year after the judgment, ample public hearings, and a time to gather comments, the . . .

EPA denies California global warming emission standards for cars

In an extremely unusual response to the waiver request, Administrator Johnson sent a short letter to Governor Schwarzenegger explaining that EPA intended to deny California’s request for a waiver.  California, along with other states that adopted California’s standards and a few that have not adopted the standards, have sued EPA on its denial of the waiver request.

Now the agency has published its final notice denying the waiver.  EPA makes the argument that the circumstances of California are not “compelling and extraordinary.”  Basically, EPA argues, because the effects of global warming will be felt globally, the actions of California are not warranted because the catastrophic effects EPA projects for California will be felt all over the country.

Since last December, a cascade of revelations have been made about the political climate under which Administrator Johnson made a unilateral decision to deny California’s request for the waiver.  Recently released internal memos from the EPA show that Johnson’s staff sided with California.  They gave him materials in support of the California waiver, but after meetings with the White House, Johnson chose to ignore them . . .

An appropriate response would be to set stringent federal standards for greenhouse gas emissions.  The gross indifference of EPA’s actions are unconscionable in light of the effects global warming including changes in precipitation trends, sea level rise, desertification, and increased frequency and severity of wildfires to name just a few.

When the political climate changes people may notice.  Some may complain, demonstrate, and dissent; however, these are few in number.  When the weather wields Mother Nature’s distress, only a whimper is heard from the masses.  An article may appear in the newspapers.  Broadcasters may offer a comment.  Most of the people, particularly in America continue to stay settled in.  Even in the Spring, citizens in the United States mentally settle in for a long “winter nap.”  They remain asleep and do not attend to the environment and how our actions destroy it.

Bees are unable to ignore what humans in a consumptive society do.  These sensitive insects feel the effects to their core.  Hives are disturbed; colonies collapse.  Bee colonies expire and no one knows why.  Few are aware of how this impacts the Earth, inclusive of selfish human beings.  The planet may be in peril, but people are able to take pleasure in plasma television, and other playful pursuits.

Meanwhile, the bees are burdened.  Ultimately, they die en masse.

In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have discovered bumblebees have begun to disappear without explanation.  The loss of insect life is great.  The livelihood of farmers is at stake.  More importantly, numerous crops are threatened.  Few Americans recall that food is not magically found in supermarkets.  Fruits and vegetables are grown in fields.  All that sustains human life is effected by the sun, the moon, tides, sea levels that rise, rain, snow, or the environment as a whole.  The whole is what is worrisome.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Mr. Bradshaw, 50, said from an almond orchard here beginning to bloom.  “Box after box after box [of bee hives] are just empty.  There’s nobody home.”

The sudden mysterious losses are highlighting the critical link that honeybees play in the long chain that gets fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and dinner tables across the country.

Beekeepers have fought regional bee crises before, but this is the first national affliction.

Now, in a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie, bees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies.  And nobody knows why.  Researchers say the bees are presumably dying in the fields, perhaps becoming exhausted or simply disoriented and eventually falling victim to the cold.

The drones are not the only species to vanish as if into thin air.  Millions of animals in various classes have disappeared  and Americans simply move on.  Some take note, and say, “Tis the nature of things.”  Every entity has it season.  Organisms live; and then they die.  In time we will all go.

Now, the bats take their turn.  A few are baffled, those who take a moment to notice the interdependence of life.  The persons who see beyond the city, the concrete, the cars, or the comfy sofa, on which we sit when it is just too cold to venture out, study the bats as they pass away and ponder.

Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why

By Tina Kelley

The New York Times

March 25, 2008

Al Hicks was standing outside an old mine in the Adirondacks, the largest bat hibernaculum, or winter resting place, in New York State.

It was broad daylight in the middle of winter, and bats flew out of the mine about one a minute.  Some had fallen to the ground where they flailed around on the snow like tiny wind-broken umbrellas, using the thumbs at the top joint of their wings to gain their balance.

All would be dead by nightfall.  Mr. Hicks, a mammal specialist with the state’s Environmental Conservation Department, said: “Bats don’t fly in the daytime, and bats don’t fly in the winter.  Every bat you see out here is a ‘dead bat flying,’ so to speak.”

They have plenty of company.  In what is one of the worst calamities to hit bat populations in the United States, on average 90 percent of the hibernating bats in four caves and mines in New York have died since last winter.

Only one in ten of these winged New York creatures survive what is meant to be a time to sleep.  Bats in Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Virginia are also thought to be affected.  The bats awaken only long enough to fly to their death.  Perchance, these mammals in the order Chiroptera foreshadow the future of humans.  We will scurry about,  see little, and sleep.  Then, rouse long enough to realize it is too late.  One day soon, we may die moments after we leave our cozy caves.  High seas from melted ice may be our doom.

Perchance, the public might consider there are options; opportunities are made.  Rather than purchase what is supplied and accept that these commodities must be what we demand, tell proprietors, restaurateurs, manufacturers, and members of Congress convenience does not mean as much to you as Mother Nature does.  When you dine out, as a patron, you have the right to bring a washable plate if the bistro provides only Styrofoam.  Travel with utensils.  Store them in a backpack if you use mass transit or in the glove compartment of a vehicle, that does not guzzle gallons of gas.

Complain of built in obsolescence.  Write your Congressman or woman.  Telephone tycoons.  Repair what you are able to restore.  

Create communities which actively demonstrate care.  Insist city leaders build recycling centers.  Speak out.  Silence is not always golden.  When your Mother, Earth, is being tortured, it is time to ask yourself, can I remain remiss.  Our Mom, nature cries out each day.  Please let us listen to her call.  America, it is past time to wake up.  We can only hope that it is not too late.

References, Realities of a Threatened Environment . . .

Black History: Sailing To Arabia

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear. Town Called Dobson


To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson.  Black History: Sailing To Arabia

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In order to achieve profit, the owners of the ships divided their hulls into holds with little headroom, so they could transport as many slaves as possible. Unhygienic conditions, dehydration, dysentery and scurvy led to a high mortality rate, up to a third of captives. Only the most resilient survived the transport. Often the ships transported hundreds of slaves, who were chained tightly to plank beds. For example, the slave ship “Henrietta Marie” carried about 200 slaves on the long Middle Passage. They were confined to cargo holds with each slave chained with little room to move.

The most important routes of the slave ships led from the northern and middle coasts of Africa to South America and the south coast of what is today the Caribbean and the United States of America. The captains and sailors of the boats were allowed to do whatever they wanted with the slaves. This included rape, murder, and torture because the slaves were considered their property. As many as 20 million Africans were transported by ship. The transportation of slaves from Africa to America was known as the Middle Passage.

The African slave trade was outlawed in 1807, by a law passed jointly in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, the applicable UK Act was the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act and outlawed slavery throughout the British Empire. The US law took effect on January 1, 1808. After that date all US and English slave ships leaving Africa were legally pirate vessels subject to capture by the American and British navies. It was 1815 at the Council of Vienna before Spain, Portugal, France and The Netherlands agreed to abolish their slave trade. During this time, the slave ships became smaller and more cramped in exchange for improved performance in their new role as smuggling craft and blockade runners.

Only a few decades after the discovery of America by Europeans, demand for cheap labor to work plantations made slave-trading a profitable business. The peak time of slave ships to the Atlantic passage was between the 17th and 18th century when large plantations developed in the English colonies of North America.

The Arab slave trade was the practice of slavery in West Asia, North Africa, East Africa, and certain parts of Europe (such as Sicily and Iberia) during their period of domination by Arab leaders. The trade mostly involved North and East Africans and Middle Eastern peoples (Arabs, Berbers, Persians, etc.). Also, the Arab slave trade was not limited to people of certain color, ethnicity, or religion. In the early days of the Islamic state-during the 8th and 9th centuries-most of the slaves were Slavic Eastern Europeans (called Saqaliba), people from surrounding Mediterranean areas, Persians, Turks, other neighbouring Middle Eastern peoples, peoples from the Caucasus Mountain regions (such as Georgia and Armenia) and parts of Central Asia (including Mamluks), Berbers, and various other peoples of varied origins as well as those of Black African origins. Later, toward the 18th and 19th centuries, slaves increasingly came from East Africa.

Some historians estimate that between 11 and 18 million black African slaves crossed the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert from 650 CE to 1900 CE, or more than the 9.4 to 14 million Africans brought to the Americas in the Atlantic slave trade.

The medieval slave trade in Europe was mainly to the East and South: The Byzantine Empire and the Muslim World were the destinations, pagan Central and Eastern Europe an important source. Slavery in medieval Europe was so common that the Roman Catholic Church repeatedly prohibited it- or at least the export of Christian slaves to non-Christian lands was prohibited at, for example, the Council of Koblenz in 922, the Council of London in 1102, and the Council of Armagh in 1171. Viking, Arab, Greek and Jewish merchants (known as Radhanites) were all involved in the slave trade during the Early Middle Ages.

So many Slavs were enslaved that the very name ‘slave’ was derived from their name; not only in English, but in other European languages and Arabic as well.

Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Islamic Iberia to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. In a raid against Lisbon in 1189 CE, for example, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191 CE, took 3,000 Christian slaves.

According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates, who were vassals of the Ottoman Empire, and sold as slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries.

This considerably exceeds the figure of 645,000 Africans who were brought to what is now the United States. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages from Italy, Spain, Portugal and also from more distant places like France or England, the Netherlands, Ireland and even Iceland and North America. The impact of these attacks was devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.

The Ottoman wars in Europe and Tatar raids brought large numbers of Christian slaves into the Islamic world too.

The ‘Oriental’ or ‘Arab’ slave trade is sometimes called the ‘Islamic’ slave trade, but a religious imperative was not the driver of the slavery, Patrick Manning, a professor of World History, states. However, since if a non-Muslim population refuses to adopt Islam or pay the Jizzya protection/ subjugation tax, that population is considered to be at war with the Muslim “ummah” and therefore it becomes legal under Islamic law to take slaves from that non-Muslim population. Usage of the terms “Islamic trade” or “Islamic world” has been disputed by some Muslims as it treats Africa as outside of Islam, or a negligible portion of the Islamic world. Propagators of Islam in Africa often revealed a cautious attitude towards proselytizing because of its effect in reducing the potential reservoir of slaves.

Disclaimer:


When I went to school, we were never taught Black History. We never learned about the Black leaders, the long, agonizing history that brought most Blacks to America. Those atrocities were glossed over in favor of mindlessly boring topics like the X Y Z Affair.

This series of cartoons will review Black history as told from a Black mother to an interracial child. This series will be ugly, course, horrific and truthful. I will mostly abandon the commentary for an article on Black history.

This series is not about Obama or Hillary. I want to you to try to imagine how Black families tell their children of the atrocities their ancestors, all of them, suffered because of the color of their skin. Try to imagine how Black families counsel their children when someone calls them “n*gg*r” for the first time. Can you imagine the bone crushing emotion that must well up? Can you imagine the agony, frustration and anger?

Can you imagine being the Black preacher who tries to paint a picture of a just God every Sunday? Especially in a country that claims where the notion of racism is a thing of the past, the job is difficult.

These strips may at times be entertaining and sometimes they may not.

I don’t want you to laugh so hard you cry, I want you to cry so hard you do something about it.

Black History: Sailing to the New World

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear. Town Called Dobson


To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson.  Black History: Sailing to the New World

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The trade of enslaved Africans in the Atlantic has its origins in the explorations of Portuguese mariners down the coast of West Africa in the 15th century. Before that, contact with African slave markets was made to ransom Portuguese that had been captured by the intense North African Barbary pirate attacks to the Portuguese ships and coastal villages, frequently leaving them depopulated. The first Europeans to use African slaves in the New World were the Spaniards who sought auxiliaries for their conquest expeditions and laborers on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola, where the alarming decline in the native population had spurred the first royal laws protecting the native population (Laws of Burgos, 1512-1513).

The first African slaves arrived in Hispaniola in 1501. After Portugal had succeeded in establishing sugar plantations (engenhos) in northern Brazil ca. 1545, Portuguese merchants on the West African coast began to supply enslaved Africans to the sugar planters there. While at first these planters relied almost exclusively on the native Tupani for slave labor, a titanic shift toward Africans took place after 1570 following a series of epidemics which decimated the already destabilized Tupani communities. By 1630, Africans had replaced the Tupani as the largest contingent of labor on Brazilian sugar plantations, heralding equally the final collapse of the European medieval household tradition of slavery, the rise of Brazil as the largest single destination for enslaved Africans and sugar as the reason that roughly 84% of these Africans were shipped to the New World.

Merchants from various European nations were later involved in the Atlantic Slave trade: Portugal, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Brandenburg-Prussia, Denmark, Holland. As Britain rose in naval power and settled continental north America and some islands of the West Indies, they became the leading slave traders. At one stage the trade was the monopoly of the Royal Africa Company, operating out of London, but following the loss of the company’s monopoly in 1689, Bristol and Liverpool merchants became increasingly involved in the trade. By the late 17th century, one out of every four ships that left Liverpool harbour was a slave trading ship. Other British cities also profited from the slave trade. Birmingham, the largest gun producing town in Britain at the time, supplied guns to be traded for slaves. 75% of all sugar produced in the plantations came to London to supply the highly lucrative coffee houses there.

In general, early Christians, such as Paul, St. Augustine, or St. Thomas Aquinas did not oppose slavery. Pope Nicholas V even encouraged enslaving non-Christian Africans in his Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex of 1454. Since then other popes stated that slavery was against Christian teachings, as is now generally held. Even earlier, in 1435, Pope Eugene IV condemned the enslavement of the inhabitants of the Canary Islands. A list of papal statements against slavery (and also claims that the popes nonetheless owned and bought slaves) is found in the discussion Christianity and Slavery.

Most Christian sects found some way to soothe the consciences of their slave-owning members. One notable exception was the Society of Friends (Quakers), who advocated the abolition of slavery from earliest times.

The first slaves to arrive as part of a labor force appeared in 1502 on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Cuba received its first four slaves in 1513. Slave exports to Honduras and Guatemala started in 1526. The first African slaves to reach what would become the US arrived in January of 1526 as part of a Spanish attempt at colonizing South Carolina near Jamestown. By November the 300 Spanish colonist were reduced to a mere 100 accompanied by 70 of their original 100 slaves. The slaves revolted and joined a nearby native population while the Spanish abandoned the colony altogether. Colombia received its first slaves in 1533. El Salvador, Costa Rica and Florida began their stint in the slave trade in 1541, 1563 and 1581 respectively.

The 17th century saw an increase in shipments with slaves arriving in the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Irish immigrants brought slaves to Montserrat in 1651. And in 1655, slaves arrive in Belize.

Disclaimer:


When I went to school, we were never taught Black History. We never learned about the Black leaders, the long, agonizing history that brought most Blacks to America. Those atrocities were glossed over in favor of mindlessly boring topics like the X Y Z Affair.

This series of cartoons will review Black history as told from a Black mother to an interracial child. This series will be ugly, course, horrific and truthful. I will mostly abandon the commentary for an article on Black history.

This series is not about Obama or Hillary. I want to you to try to imagine how Black families tell their children of the atrocities their ancestors, all of them, suffered because of the color of their skin. Try to imagine how Black families counsel their children when someone calls them “n*gg*r” for the first time. Can you imagine the bone crushing emotion that must well up? Can you imagine the agony, frustration and anger?

Can you imagine being the Black preacher who tries to paint a picture of a just God every Sunday? Especially in a country that claims where the notion of racism is a thing of the past, the job is difficult.

These strips may at times be entertaining and sometimes they may not.

I don’t want you to laugh so hard you cry, I want you to cry so hard you do something about it.

With A Friend Like Him

copyright © 2008 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

As if things in America were not hard enough for blacks, what with Barack Obama having to explain and denounce his relationship with his “angry” black pastor to ease the fears of his white supporters. It is amazing to me how we allow and accept comments from whites without so much as a whimper, but let a black man say them and all hell breaks loose. It is this double standard and hypocrisy that created the “invisible” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. I call him invisible because unfortunately for him he is too black to be white and too white to be black. He is lost in a false reality that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. He is a black man that hates black people, what a terrible place that must be.

Justice Thurgood Marshall was the first black man appointed to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Marshall had a distinguished career as a civil rights attorney many times arguing before the Court he would someday join. He brought an appreciation and an understanding of the plight of the black man in the American criminal and social justice systems. He understood that the laws of this land had been skewed in favor of white men and against women and minorities. This was the Justice that Clarence Thomas was nominated to replace. Many wanted and expected the nominee to replace Justice Marshall to bring a similar sensitivity to the Court.

Justice Thomas was not that person. I can accept that he wants to believe that he lives in a color blind society and that racial prejudice is ancient history. I can accept that he wants to interpret the laws written by imperfect and bias people as if they weren’t. I can even accept the fact that he doesn’t believe that after centuries of prejudice and bias that blacks do not need help in leveling the playing field. I can never understand it, but I can accept it. What I cannot accept is when a black man who doesn’t want to help other blacks does want to intentionally harm other blacks. I can not accept it from the dope dealers that prowl our neighborhoods selling poison to the their brothers and sisters. I can not accept it from the gang bangers who have replaced the Klan as the biggest threat to other black men. I can not accept it from a member of our highest Court concealing it as equal protection under the law.

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction and death sentence of a Louisiana man who killed his estranged wife in a jealous rage, finding that the trial judge “committed clear error” in excluding black jurors.

By 7 to 2, the court ruled in favor of Allen Snyder, whose case came before the justices for the second time last December, two years after they had sent it back to the Louisiana Supreme Court and told that tribunal to consider whether the jury selection had been tainted by racial bias. NY Times

In the case that the Court overturned the prosecutor had dismissed all the potential black jurors from the jury pool for ridiculous reasons, reasons that were not used to excuse the white jurors. There were two Justices that voted against the majority opinion. Mind you, this is a case involving a black man being tried by an all-white jury and the sole black Justice on the Court did not see a problem with this scenario. Once again Justice Thomas displays why he is despised by many of his fellow black Americans. You are telling me that 7 whites including the Chief Justice who is by no means friendly to black causes finds fault with this case, but Justice Thomas can’t see a problem.

Ok Justice Thomas, you have proven that you don’t want to help your fellow black citizens or represent their causes, but why would you want to harm those same people and causes? As much as I despise the dope dealers and gang bangers, I despise Clarence Thomas more because due to his position on the Court he has the capabilities to do more harm to blacks than either of those two combined. He makes decisions that can affect all black people by a single vote. This is too much power to give any man that suffers from the degree of self-hate that he suffers from. Doctors have to take an oath that they will do no harm, I wish Justice Thomas had taken such an oath.

Why do we appoint women and blacks to the Supreme Court? Many will argue it is because they represent the best jurisprudence irrespective of race or gender. In a perfect world this would probably be true, however as many have tried to point out we do not live in that perfect world. We live in a country that for centuries believed that women and blacks were inherently inferior. We designed laws, public and social policies to enforce those beliefs. As a nation it took us 200 years to place the first black and woman on the Supreme Court. Why do we have diversity in our criminal justice system if justice is blind? Because our history and current experience has shown us that justice is not blind, that because of our racial and gender biases justice has been meted out unfairly. How many murderers of blacks were freed by all white juries? How many murderers of women were freed by all male juries?

We have diversity in our criminal justice system to ensure that everyone gets equal treatment under the law. We believe that by having blacks and women serving as jurors, lawyers, prosecutors, and judges that we open the system up to prevent past injustices from continuing. We also believe that they will bring their unique experiences to these positions to help temper justice with mercy. The whole purpose of being judged by ones peers is to bring this understanding of being in the other person’s shoes into the system. So we now know that it is inherently unfair to have a jury of all whites, or all men, or all blacks to judge anyone. Our court system is based on the belief of fairness and impartiality. Justice Thomas should be a better student of history than he is a student of ideology maybe then he would be more sympathetic to the plight of his brothers and sisters. With a friend like him on the Court, we certainly don’t need any enemies.

There are many more wrong answers than right ones, and they are easier to find – Michael Friedlander

U.S. fatalities top 4,000




To view the original art, please travel to U.S. fatalities top 4,000

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

I’m sending out my cartoon a day early this week to commemorate another grim milestone in the war in Iraq. Late Sunday, U.S. military fatalities in Iraq hit 4,000. That news barely made a ripple with the media, which seems to have again lost its way when it comes to watch-dogging this fiasco.

President Bush and leaders in Congress: Support our troops by getting them the hell out of harm’s way.

Support The Troops. Help Stop Soldier Suicides

(Tis in the news once again.  Our troops take their own lives.

During the month of January, more soldiers committed suicide (24) than were killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan and Iraq combined (16). This is unusual, but–amazingly–not unique. In fact, the problem of military suicides is growing much worse, as Army Chief of Staff George Casey said yesterday in Hawaii.

Casey claimed to be mystified by the suicide rates:

“The fact of the matter is, we just don’t know” why suicides have increased, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said Friday. “It’s been very frustrating to me with the effort that we made over the last year, and we did not stem the tide.”

Read more: Military Suicides

By Joe Klein
Monday, March 1, 2020

– promoted by Betsy L. Angert)



Andrew Horne on MSNBC Discuss Soldier Suicide

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

“Supporting the troops means more than slapping a bumper sticker on your car”

~ David Berry, 26, Iraq Veteran

They say the soldiers fight for our freedom, and while many may argue the truth of this statement, no one can dispute that we must support our troops.  Today, citizens have a chance to demonstrate that we, the people care about those who serve our country in combat.  Please reflect on a reality too terrible to ignore, soldier suicide.  Then, if you choose telephone, or write, your Florida State Representative.  Express your desire to endorse State Bill 2554, Prevention Services for Veterans and Their Families, submitted by Senator Ted Deutch.  If you are not a Florida resident, please ponder what you can do within your home region.  The tales and the tears of those torn from within tell an unforgettable story.  Will we listen, and look for ways to help those hurt by our war?

Lieutenant Elizabeth Whiteside, was a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  The soldier was distressed and depressed.  While in Iraq, a year ago, the woman was accused of endangering another solider.  She also pointed a gun at herself.  As she awaited a verdict she became more anxious.  Army officials would decide her fate.   She expected to be  court-martialed.  Before the judgment was heard, the Lieutenant decided to end her own life.

In so doing, the 25-year-old Army reservist joined a record number of soldiers who have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“I’m very disappointed with the Army,” Whiteside wrote in a note before swallowing dozens of antidepressants and other pills. “Hopefully this will help other soldiers.” She was taken to the emergency room early Tuesday [January 29, 2008]. Whiteside, who is now in stable physical condition, learned yesterday that the charges against her had been dismissed.

Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.

At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Suicide is not painless as the song might have mused.  Nor is the life of a soldier after they have experienced warfare.  The men and women who serve their country proudly, often cannot cope with the scope of what has become their newfound reality.  War is wicked.  Most think warfare is wrong.  Some say it is a necessary evil.  Collectively, we might agree; to kill is debauched, depraved, and despicable.  Yet, in the name of G-d and country, our youth are asked to take the lives of others.  Few consider how such an action might affect the individual who executes a person labeled the “enemy.”

Those who may have never pulled a trigger, still suffer.  The sight of what they witnessed while in country can cause such pain.  A veteran, or an active duty warrior, when alone, may not be able to escape the memories that fill the mind after such a dire experience..

A battle may be won; however, much is lost when we engage in death and destruction.  Perhaps, innocence is invaluable.  We may wish to ask ourselves as many an experienced soldier has, “Is a victor, also a victim?” Is an experienced military man or woman wounded in ways we, those who have not served, cannot imagine?  There are no official totals; nonetheless, anecdotally, we know soldier suicides are not uncommon.  A five-month CBS News investigation revealed those who saw battle, frequently sought serenity in death by their own hand.   The decision to depart from an Earthly existence before it is time, may be a epidemic amongst the troops. Chief Investigative Reporter Armen Keteyian offers an exclusive and exasperating report.

“I just felt like this silent scream inside of me,” said Jessica Harrell, the sister of a soldier who took his own life.

“I opened up the door and there he was,” recalled Mike Bowman, the father of an Army reservist.

“I saw the hose double looped around his neck,” said Kevin Lucey, another military father.

“He was gone,” said Mia Sagahon, whose soldier boyfriend committed suicide.  . . .

Twenty-three-year-old Marine Reservist Jeff Lucey hanged himself with a garden hose in the cellar of this parents’ home – where his father, Kevin, found him.

“There’s a crisis going on and people are just turning the other way,” Kevin Lucey said.

Kim and Mike Bowman’s son Tim was an Army reservist who patrolled one of the most dangerous places in Baghdad, known as Airport Road.

“His eyes when he came back were just dead. The light wasn’t there anymore,” Kim Bowman said.

Eight months later, on Thanksgiving Day, Tim shot himself. He was 23.

Diana Henderson’s son, Derek, served three tours of duty in Iraq. He died jumping off a bridge at 27.

“Going to that morgue and seeing my baby … my life will never be the same,” she said.

An existence, comfortable, cozy, and calm is never as it was, once we have witnessed inconceivable horrors.  The tragedy, the trauma that is the Iraq War has changed many an individual.  Studies show the suicide risk among male United States veterans is double that of the general population.  This study, and thus, the statistic, does not include those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Yet, soldiers who served in these more recent conflicts are known to be more depressed, more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problems.  A fifth of soldiers are at risk for Post Traumatic stress Syndrome.  Mental illness common in returning United States soldiers.

We need only consider recent reports; Army Suicides Highest in 26 Years.  While the numbers may not be exact, it is obvious, our  troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, frequently fight the war within.  They continue the battle once home.

Doctor Mark S. Kaplan, Professor of Community Health at Portland State University in Oregon, lead author of a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health pleads, “We need to be more alert to the problem of suicide as a major public health issue and we need to do better screening among individuals who have served in the military, probe for their mental health risk as well as gun availability.”  

We can be grateful, in November 2007, the United States Congress concluded there was a need to address the issue.  The House and Senate each passed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act.  While the United States Code is designed “to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a comprehensive program designed to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans,” those of us familiar with the depth of a depression that might lead someone to submit to suicide, know that the Federal government alone cannot stop a soldier sworn to end it all.  We must act locally.  If you chose, please contact your Representatives, do what you can to save the lives of those who hoped to save yours.  By doing so, we the people, can and will decide what  support means to us.

Support the Troops.  Prevent Soldier Suicides Sources . . .

Black History: Slave Factories, The Middle Passage and Seasoning Camps

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear. Town Called Dobson


To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson.  Black History: Slave Factories, The Middle Passage and Seasoning Camps

After being marched to the coast for sale, Africans waited in large forts called factories. The amount of time in factories varied, but Milton Meltzer’s Slavery: A World History states this process resulted in or around 4.5% of deaths during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. In other words, over 820,000 people would have died in African ports such as Benguela, Elmina and Bonny reducing the number of those shipped to 17.5 million.

After being captured and held in the factories, slaves entered the infamous Middle Passage.

The Middle Passage took place from one to six months depending on weather conditions.

Ships contained up to several hundred slaves aboard one slave ship with a crew of 30. The male captives were normally chained together in pairs to save space; right leg to the next man’s left leg – while the women and children may have had somewhat more room. The captives were fed beans, corn, yams, rice, and palm oil. Slaves were fed one meal a day with water, but if food was scarce, slaveholders would get priority over meals. Sometimes captives were allowed to move around during the day, but many ships kept the shackles on throughout the arduous journey.

Most contemporary historians estimate that between 9.4 and 12 million Africans arrived in the New World. Disease and starvation due to the length of the passage were the main contributors to the death toll with amoebic dysentery and scurvy causing the majority of deaths. Additionally, outbreaks of smallpox, syphilis, malaria, measles, and other diseases spread rapidly in the close-quarter compartments. The number of dead increased with the length of voyage, since the incidence of dysentery and of scurvy increased with longer stints at sea as the quality and amount of food and water diminished with every passing day. In addition to physical sickness, many slaves became too depressed to eat or function efficiently because of the loss of freedom, family, security, and their own humanity. This often led to worse treatment like force-feeding or lashings. Some even committed suicide by jumping over board before they arrived in the New World.

For two hundred years, 1440-1640, Portugal had a quasi-monopoly on the export of slaves from Africa.

Meltzer’s research puts this phase of the slave trade’s overall mortality at 12.5%. Around 2.2 million Africans died during these voyages where they were packed into tight, unsanitary spaces on ships for months at a time. Measures were taken to stem the onboard mortality rate such as mandatory dancing above deck and the practice of force-feeding any slaves that attempted to starve themselves. The conditions on board also resulted in the spread of fatal diseases. Other fatalities were the result of suicides by jumping over board by slaves who could no longer endure the conditions. Before the shipping of slaves was completely outlawed in 1853, 15.3 million “immigrants” had arrived in the Americas.

Raymond L. Cohn, an economics professor whose research has focused on economic history and international migration, has researched the mortality rates among Africans during the voyages of the Atlantic slave trade. He found that mortality rates decreased over the history of the slave trade, primarily because the length of time necessary for the voyage was declining. “In the eighteenth century many slave voyages took at least 2-1/2 months. In the nineteenth century, 2 months appears to have been the maximum length of the voyage, and many voyages were far shorter. Fewer slaves died in the Middle Passage over time mainly because the passage was shorter.”

Once across the Atlantic, the slaves then entered “seasoning camps” where the slaves were tortured for the purpose of “breaking” them (like the practice of breaking horses) and conditioning them to their new lot in life. Jamaica held one of the most notorious of these camps. Milton Meltzer also states that 33% of Africans would have died in the first year at seasoning camps found throughout the Caribbean. Many slaves shipped directly to North America bypassed this process; however most slaves (destined for island or South American plantations) were likely to be put through this ordeal. All in all, 5 million Africans died in these camps reducing the final number of Africans to about 10 million.

Disclaimer:


When I went to school, we were never taught Black History. We never learned about the Black leaders, the long, agonizing history that brought most Blacks to America. Those atrocities were glossed over in favor of mindlessly boring topics like the X Y Z Affair.

This series of cartoons will review Black history as told from a Black mother to an interracial child. This series will be ugly, course, horrific and truthful. I will mostly abandon the commentary for an article on Black history.

This series is not about Obama or Hillary. I want to you to try to imagine how Black families tell their children of the atrocities their ancestors, all of them, suffered because of the color of their skin. Try to imagine how Black families counsel their children when someone calls them “n*gg*r” for the first time. Can you imagine the bone crushing emotion that must well up? Can you imagine the agony, frustration and anger?

Can you imagine being the Black preacher who tries to paint a picture of a just God every Sunday? Especially in a country that claims where the notion of racism is a thing of the past, the job is difficult.

These strips may at times be entertaining and sometimes they may not.

I don’t want you to laugh so hard you cry, I want you to cry so hard you do something about it.