This just dropped into my inbox from the ever-diligent Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to remind us all of the observance of a very important day for all Jamaicans – and for all citizens of those countries over whom the shadow of slavery fell. This is a very well-written message. The themes of resilience and the never-ending “good versus evil” narrative, as well as the importance of human rights for all – all are as relevant as ever in 2016.
By the way, I just found an interesting piece of Jamaican history on line that is worth reading to remind ourselves: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/westindies/jamaica.html You can also find much more information on this special day at the UN website here – including updates on activities, materials etc. Tomorrow (August 23) is the actual day the UN observes. Please also note UNESCO’s special project, The Slave Route: 1994 – 2014 – The Road Travelled, which is an important update on the topic of slavery. You can find more details and graphics on the Facebook page and find information on Twitter @rememberslavery.
So, let us take a moment to reflect today.
MESSAGE: INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE SLAVE TRADE AND ITS ABOLITION
(MFA&FT Kingston: August 22, 2016)
Jamaica joins the international community in observing the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Today’s observance of this historic event provides an opportunity for sober reflection on the triumph of good over evil, as well as the strength and determination of an enslaved people to survive despite the odds. This occasion also compels us to not take for granted the freedom which is now a part of our individual and collective existence, gained at such monumental expense. The events of 22-23 August 1791, played a pivotal role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, as it signifies the victory of the enslaved over oppression and domination, and remain a symbol of hope and determination for the global community of nations.
Jamaica has consistently championed the remembrance of slavery and the slave trade, a cause that has been immortalised through the erection of a Permanent Memorial in honour of the victims of these crimes, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It is our hope that additional efforts to recognise or correct the historic injustices committed against people of African Descent will be undertaken during the International Decade for People of African Descent which is being observed from 2015 to 2024.
In commemorating the abolition of the slave trade, we cannot ignore the fact that many persons around the world have become victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking. Our ancestors paid a heavy price to curtail the trafficking of human beings over two centuries ago. The Government of Jamaica is, therefore, committed to ensuring that this scourge does not take root in our society, and will continue to collaborate with local and international partners to this end.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade invites all Jamaicans to take a moment to remember and honour our ancestors who fought against all odds to dismantle the inhumane system of slavery and the trade in Africans. Their resilience and indomitable spirit have left us with an enduring legacy of perseverance, the resolve to be the masters of our own destiny, and the courage to ensure that trafficking in human beings is confined to the annals of human history.
Contact: Ann-Margaret Lim; tel: 564-4241