Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yemen's Akhdam..

Slavery was always an economic practice rather than a social one.. Derivatives to keep it alive are not products of taboos or stigmas, but reflections of rural, nomadic or traditional economies in some underdeveloped countries.. In Yemen, slavery is an ancient practice, beyond the known history.. It happens that Yemen was a critical stop on the route from Africa to the world; in prehistoric times; which had enabled the early Yemeni settlers to take into forced-work the new comers; then the whole phenomenon was started..

Slavery became and stills as an active part of Yemeni system and society.. Simply, the country will dysfunction without its Slaves..!!
Paradoxically, as slavery is an authentic part of the Yemeni mind-set, it is not stamped with extreme injustice, brutality of physical humiliations as well known in the history in other slavery hot spots.. However; Yemen is one of few who still practice slavery.. Akhdam, or the servant class who are mostly descendents of slaves, are complaining about poverty and unequal opportunities of services.. Yemeni Slaves and Akhdam are (only) human beings without free political will or rights.. They live, grow, work, marry and breed alike anyone else.. This is why it is a remarkable legacy in Yemen..!!!

It is the greatest hurdle; both government and civic society are working on, yet no such impressive results are scored.. Slavery migrated from the urban centers, where the focus of media and monitors are, to the rural areas which the military troops are reluctant to enter.. Thus; the practice stills alive, and would take so many years (or decades) to vanish.. Yemeni elite are torn between discourage the practice, and maintaining their traditional way of living.. The recent unrest in the southern provinces are reflections of the ethnic divide and associated power struggles, which is a direct resultant of Yemeni social structure..

Despite all big talk, Yemeni slaves do not understand the dilemma.. They used to the system, and just eager to keep things calm and ongoing..!!

INSAN Int'l Organization of Spain had a marvelous effort on the issue.. Grateful to Wissam Tarif for the effort..

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