Today, August 23, marks this year’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
It is in honor of the profound stand taken by a group of people in history that set in motion the eventual abolishment of slave trade.
The stand in question took place on the night of 22 to 23 August 1791. Men and women who had been sold into the slave trade banded together and revolted against the system to obtain freedom and independence for Haiti.
Of course, the freedom was not gained on that same day but rather in 1804 but that uprising became a historic turning point in the history of slave trade abolishment as evidenced by the world’s celebration of this day. It greatly impacted the establishment of universal human rights, a treasure that although not perfect, we can all be grateful for to an extent.
All UNESCO member-states are a part of the celebration of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition on August 23 every year. It is an opportunity to bring forward and focus on the slave trade and it’s aftermath.
UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, in marking this year’s celebration had this to say;
“The courage of these men and women has created obligations for us. UNESCO is marking International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition to pay tribute to all those who fought for freedom, and, in their name, to continue teaching about their story and the values therein…
“The history of the slave trade and slavery created a storm of rage, cruelty and bitterness that has not yet abated. It is also a story of courage, freedom and pride in newfound freedom. All of humanity is part of this story, in its transgressions and good deeds. It would be a mistake and a crime to cover it up and forget. Through its project The Slave Route, UNESCO intends to find in this collective memory the strength to build a better world and to show the historical and moral connections that unite different peoples.”
Indeed slavery is an irreversible part of our history that cannot be ‘ignored’ away. To learn from the bravery of the people who buckled against the system and determine to build together a better world is a task that falls on each and every one of us equally and one that we must pick up with that same bravery.
Happy International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, use your freedom for something great today.