Slave: My True Story Essay Example
Slave: My True Story Essay Example

Slave: My True Story Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1684 words)
  • Published: October 20, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Fourteen thousand. That is the estimated number of Sudanese men, women, and children that have been abducted and forced into slavery between 1986 and 2002. (Agnes Scott College, http://prww. asp? id=260)

Mende Nazer is one of those 14,000. The thing that sets her apart is that she escaped and had the courage to tell her story to the world. Slave: My True Story, the Memoir of Mende Nazer, depicts how courage and the will to live can triumph over oppression and enslavement by showing the world that slavery did not end in 1865, but is still a worldwide problem.

In Slave: My True Story, Nazer personally and vividly chronicles her life, which began in the Nuba Mountains of southern Sudan. Her early life with the Karko Tribe in a rural and isolated area was very


simple and happy. Nazer grew up in a family that was, by Nuba standards, considerably well off. She was the youngest of five children, with two brothers and two sisters. Nazer, along with both her brothers and one sister attended a government-run, Arab school. She led what has been described as an “idyllic childhood” with no worries about food, shelter, or social comforts.

However, in the spring of 1993, everything changed. At the age of twelve or thirteen (the Nuba people do not keep records of birth dates), Nazer was abducted during a raid on her village. “…a man seized me from behind. He pinned me down with his stubbly beard pricking the back of my neck…He dragged me to my feet and started to march me through the village…We arrived at the edge of the forest. Beneath the trees, there wer

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about thirty other children huddled together” (Nazer 97).

Nazer, along with the other children were taken to a converted army base run by Arab Militiamen loyal to Sudan’s Islamist government. …a camp – made up of twenty or more khaki green tents, arranged in rows. We approached the camp in a long line, and at the gates, we were met by a group of men in military uniforms” (Nazer 105). She was then sold to a wealthy Arab family in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, for the equivalent of $150 (estimated). She worked as a slave for the family for seven years, from 1993-1999, and was then sent to London, England to work for the family’s relatives.

She was a slave in London from 1999-2000. Nazer escaped on September 11, 2000, with the help of a British journalist and a Sudanese national. Shortly after my escape, I went to live in the London home of Damien Lewis, the British journalist who helped me write my story. I had met him on the day of my escape, as he had agreed to witness my bid for freedom. He helped take me to the asylum lawyers on the day of my escape, along with the Nuba man who rescued me” (Nazer 316). While Nazer’s account of her enslavement in Sudan and England could have easily become vindictive, bitter, and self-centered, Slave: My True Story is the exact opposite.

As Nazer tells her story she weaves in her experiences of events and tells how after her escape she was able to put them into perspective. …one night I was jerked awake in the early hours of the morning by a series of massive

whooshing sounds, right above my shed. The sound was followed a few seconds later by a number of enormous explosions. Shortly after I could hear the sirens of emergency vehicles racing across the city…The next morning I listened to Rahab and Mustafa talking excitedly over breakfast. They had also been woken by all the noise. They had gone outside to see a huge, orange glow on the horizon.

Clearly, something was on fire, but that’s as much as I knew…Years later, I learned the truth about the attack. The whooshing noise we had all heard was later revealed to be the sound of six cruise missiles passing low over our quarter of Khartoum…The explosions I had heard were American missiles blowing up a factory in Khartoum that was supposedly making deadly weapons for terrorists” (Nazer 193-194). Nazer also tells about how she was able to decipher the reasons behind her masters’ treatment of her and understand she was being treated differently than other domestic workers. “‘No! You are my abda! ’ she yelled at me. ‘So don’t you argue. That means you stay here in this house and you do what I say. You work. You don’t play. Got it? Abda! Abda! One abda, many abused. ’…I suddenly remembered the story my father had told me about the Arabs who had raided the Shimii village. He had said they had taken the girls as ‘Abeed’ – as slaves. Now I finally knew what Rahab was calling me. She was calling me her slave”(Nazer 153-154).

Nazer’s story is further legitimized by the fact that her co-author, Damien Lewis, was with her the day she escaped. “I first heard

of her plight a few days earlier. A Nuba friend called to ask if I could help rescue her. He needed a British journalist to witness the rescue so that it was ‘on the record. ’ That’s where I came in” (Nazer 337, ‘A Note from Damien Lewis’). Slave: My True Story is not a book for those seeking dry, historical accounts of slavery, or a tirade against the injustice of the Sudanese slave trade. It is a story that grabs the reader from the first sentence to the last.

“The day that changed my life forever started with a beautiful dawn… Maybe my story will have a happy ending, after all. Insha’Allah – God willing”(Nazer 1 & 335). Nazer writes in a way that makes the book so compelling that it is impossible for the reader to put it down. The language is not so simple that the book seems childish nor does it overemphasize or over-exaggerate her experiences.

Instead, Nazer tells her story in a voice that everyone can understand, and that allows her to get her point across easily and effectively. “To me, freedom is a treasure…I have realized that those who live in the west often take their freedom for granted. They were born into it and it has always been there for them…But for those of us who come from countries like Sudan, freedom is wonderful and precious…But for me, this freedom was also a terrifying thing” (Nazer 311). Slave: My True Story is, at once, starkly personal and extremely powerful. When refused asylum by the British government two years after her escape, Nazer writes: “The British government says it does not

believe that I have suffered enough persecution either in Sudan or the UK to justify my asylum claim…How could I possibly have suffered more than I have done over the past ten years? Things could only have been any worse for me if they had killed me. In my asylum ruling, the British government accepts that there is slavery in the war zones and that slaves are sent to North Sudan – yet they are refusing to give me asylum when I was captured and kept as a slave in exactly the way they describe. The British government accepts that the Nuba people suffer death and injury because the Sudanese government attacks the Nuba people, yet they propose to return me to the Nuba Mountains. How can I possibly be safe there? The British government says that if I am sent back to Sudan I will not be noticed by the Sudanese government. How can they possibly say this when I have written a book exposing the role that regime plays in slavery? As soon as I arrive at the airport they would know about it, seize me, and then I would disappear.”

“The British government says there is no evidence that the Sudanese government was involved in my capture and enslavement. How cay they say this when I and other captured children were taken to Sudanese government army camps; and when I was sent to the UK to work for a Sudanese diplomat? The British government says that my asylum claim is not based upon suffering due to my race, religion, or nationality. How can they possibly say this, when I was enslaved and oppressed

by Arabs because I am a black, Nuba person? The British government says there are no reasons to believe that I will be killed if I am sent back to Sudan. The Sudanese government kills and tortures its own people – I am one of the few Sudanese who have stood up and exposed the government’s role in war-driven slavery in Sudan. How can they possibly say my life would not be in danger if I were sent back? ” “Since my escape…I believed that Britain was a democratic country that respected human rights, justice, and freedom. For the first time in my life, I had started to feel safe and secure in this country. I cannot believe that the British government will now send me back to face the horrors that for certain await me in Sudan. I am shocked and shaken to the core by this asylum decision” (Nazer 322-324). Mende Nazer was granted asylum by the British government in November 2003.

The story she tells is not just her own but speaks for the 14,000 men, women, and children who have been enslaved and continue to suffer at the hands of their captors and masters. Nazer makes her point most eloquently when she responds to the question “What would you say to the people of the world about slavery in Sudan today? : “I’d say that there is slavery going on, right now, today. I am an example and I am the living proof and it happened to me, personally. It happened to me in Sudan and then in London. And I know there are lots of other people still enslaved in Sudan.

I want people to realize this and that they need to do something to help stop it” (Nazer 345-346).

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