petak, 2. prosinca 2016.

Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis (book recommendation)

This is a story about a woman who escaped slavery in year 2000. Yes, you read that right. In this century. It was co-written by journalist Damien Lewis who basically wrote down what Mende told him so it's still a narration of her life (just a co-written one). The story itself is written in the first person and it feels like an autobiography. Mende, a girl from Nabu tribe in Sudan, was sold into slavery to a rich Arab family in year 1992, when she was only 12 years old. Hers is a true story, not fiction. Sadly but her case is not solitary. At this very moment several Arabic countries are known to keep black African slaves (more than 140, 000 people in Mauritania according to official records, but some estimate this number to be as high as half a million or even more). Slavery became criminalized in Mauritania only in 2007, but there has been only one conviction so far. In 2002 Mauritania was chosen as the preceding nation by UN Human Rights Council. Yes, five years BEFORE it criminalized slavery it was chosen as its (UN HRC) vice president. Why am I writing all of these facts down? Because this is not just some book, it is also a true story and a warning. What happened to Mende is happening to many African woman and man. As amazed I'm by the spirit and the strength of this woman and her survival, as much as I would like to talk about her personally and about what her story/book meant to me, I think we owe it to her to listen to other stories as well- and do our own research. That is what she wants us to do. That is why she has been an activist ever since she regained her freedom. That is why Mende Nazer has continued to risk her life- not only to tell her story but to speak for other victims of slavery as well. To find out the truth that nobody wants to talk about. The truth that there are slaves around us right now, they might even live next to you and you wouldn't even know it.

Ovo je priča o ženi koja je pobjegla iz ropstva godine 2000. Dobro ste to pročitali. U ovome stoljeću. Pomogao ju je napisati Damien Lewis koji je u biti zapisao životnu priču Mande onako kako mu je ona ispričala, tako da je priča zapravo napisana u prvom licu. To je zapravo autobiografija, ali imala je pomoć pri pisanju. Mende, djevojku iz Nabu plemena u Sudanu, prodali su bogatoj arapskoj obitelji 1992.godine., kada je imala samo 12 godina. Njezina priča je istinita, nije fikcija. Njen slučaj nažalost nije usamljen. U ovome trenutku zna se da neke arapske države drže crne robove (prema istraživanjima u Mauritaniji ima više od 140, 000 robova, no neki pretpostavljaju da ih ima više od pola milijuna). Robstvo je u Mauritaniji kriminalizirano tek 2007.godine, no dosada je samo jedna osoba osuđena zbog njega. Mauritanija je 2002.godine. izabrana kao predsjedajuća nacija od strane UN i njihovoga koncila za ljudska prava. Da, pet godina prije nego što je kriminalizirala robstvo izabrana je na tu visoku funckiju pri UN. Zašto pišem sve ove činjenice? Zato što ovo nije tek neka knjiga, to je istinita priča i upozorenje. Što se događa Mende događa se brojnim afričkim ženama i muškarcima. Koliko god me zadivljuje njen duh i snaga i koliko bi voljela pričati o njoj osobno i onome što mi je njena knjiga i priča značila, mislim da joj dugujemo da poslušamo i druge priče- i sami istražimo ovu problematiku. To je ono što ona želi da napravimo. Zbog toga je aktivistica otkada je postala slobodna. Zato Mende Nazer nastavlja riskirati svoj život- ne samo da bi nam rekla svoju priču već da pričala o žrtvama ropstva. Da saznamo istinu o kojoj nitko ne želi pričati. Istinu da ima robova oko nas upravo sada, možda žive do vas, a vi to ne znate.




 Slavery is a reality of our times. If you're wondering how it is possible that people used to own slaves and nobody did anything about it, don't wonder because the same thing is happening today. It was in year 2000 in London that Mende was sent to throw away the trash. She was not normally allowed to exit the house where she was held as a house slave, but this domestic chore was an exception. At this point, she was held as a slave for 8 years and suffered unimaginable abuse. Somehow her spirit was not broken.  She found the strength in herself to address a black man she saw on the street, a stranger, somebody she never saw before. It was not a small feat of courage. She said hello to him and it turned out that he was Sudanese too. This  man, with the help of other people, will help her regain her life.  The family that owned her had many connection in the government and Mende barely managed to escape them. She was almost sent back to Sudan to her original slave owning family. In this century. In modern day London. A women who was a slave barely managed to get away from her slave masters, even when the truth got out. Imagine that. You know what the irony of this is? If she had ran off to police, they would have probably just returned her to that family because she couldn't explain it to them- not being able to speak in English and perhaps it wouldn't mattered if she did speak it, because the family that owned her is so influential politically. It was only by luck that she meet a man who was willing not only to fight for her but to have his friends who were journalist and political activist fight for her. Mende only barely made it. Imagine her courage at that moment. The risk was so great and the chances of success so small, but she did it- seized the first opportunity for freedom that life gave her. Imagine her courage for all those years. Imagine her courage now. She is not running away from her traumatic past, she is using her voice to help others.

Robstvo je realnost našega doba. Ako se pitate kako je moguće da su ljudi nekad držali robove i nitko nije ništa poduzimao, nemojte se pitati jer se ista stvar događa i danas. Bilo je to 2000. godine. kada su Mende poslali da baci smeće. Nije inače smjela izlaziti iz kuće, ali ovaj kućanski posao bio je iznimka. Do toga trenutka, već je bila robinja osam godina i podnijela je nezamisljivo zlostavljanje. Nekako njen duh nije bio slomljen. Pronašla je snage da se obrati crncu koji joj je išao u u susret, strancu, nekome koga nikada prije nije vidjela. Nije to bila mala hrabrost. Rekla mu je zdravo i ispalo je da je i on iz Sudana. Taj čovjek će joj uz pomoć drugih ljudi pomoći da povrati svoj život. Obitelj koja ju je podsjedovala imala je puno veza u vladi i Mende se jedva uspjela izvući. Skoro su je poslali u Sudan obitelji koja ju je posjedovala u početku. U ovom stoljeću. U modernom Londonu. Žena koja je bila robinja jedva je uspjela pobjeći robovlasnicima i to čak kada je istina bila poznata. Zamislite to. Znate li koja je ironija toga? Da je pobjegla policiji, vjerovatno bi je vratoli toj obitelji jer ne bi mogla objasniti svoj položaj jer nije znala engleski, a možda ne bi bilo drukčije ni da ga je znala, jer je obitelj koja ju je posjedovala tako politički utjecajna. Samo je sretnim stjecajem okolnosti srela čovjeka koji je bio spreman ne samo boriti se za nju nego je imao i prijatelje koji su bili novinari i politički aktivisti i koji su mogli nešto poduzeti za nju. Mende je jedva uspjela. Zamislite njenu hrabrost u tom trenutku. Rizik je bio tako velik, a šanse za uspjeh tako male, ali ona je riskirala- zgrabila je prvu priliku za slobodu koju joj je život pružio. Zamislite njenu hrabrost svih tih godina. Zamislite njenu hrabrost sada.  Ne bježi od svoje traumatične prošlosti, ona koristi svoj glas da bi pomogla drugima.











As difficult as this book was to read, it was also uplifting because every step of the way I was admiring Mende. Her love for her tribe, her language, her culture is so inspiring. Her strength. Imagine what inner strength she must have possessed to even survive! To be taken to a slave owning family when she was a child herself, to be beaten for wanting to do what every child wants to do- play with other children. To have to watch children play while she had to work, every day, all day. All those years of abuse, severe physical abuse and she doesn't even hate her abusers. She points out her abusers for what they were, but she doesn't seem to hate them. Of the women who held her a slave for years Mende says- she had the most beautiful hair I have ever seen. Mende says this of a  women who almost beat her to death. A women who beat her so severely that Mende almost bled to death and had to be hospitalized for days. When Mende arrived to this family, as a raped and orphaned child of 12, she must have excepted some kind of sympathy from this women. But she couldn't have been more wrong, for it was this women who abused her for years. The husband never really came anywhere near her. This is what I find so hard to understand. That a women who is a mother (and a mother of children almost the same age as Mende) was doing this to her in front of the eyes of her children. Who knows if that women has got herself a new slave? I hope not, but I can't really tell for sure, can I?

Koliko god je ova knjiga bila teška za čitati, bila je također i motivirajuća jer sam se u toj cijeloj priči divila Mende. Njena ljubav prema svome plemenu, svome jeziku, svojoj kulturi je tako nadahnujuća. Njena snaga. Zamislite kolika je njena snaga morala biti! Odvedena u robstvo u robovlasničku obitelj, tukli su je jer je željela napraviti ono što svako dijete želi napraviti- igrati se s drugom djecom. Morala je gledati djecu kako se igraju dok je ona radila svaki dan i cijeli dan. Sve te godine zlostavljanja, a ona čak i ne mrzi svoje zlostavljače. Pokazuje što su bili, ali u njenom govoru nema mržnje. O ženi koja ju je godinama zlostavljala ona kaže da nikad nije vidjela nekoga s ljepšom kosom. Ženi koja ju je toliko tukla da je skoro iskrvarila na smrt i morala je dane provesti u bolnici. Kada je kao silovana djevojčica stigla ovoj ženi sigurno se nadala nekom suosjećanju. No, prevarila se. Ta žena koja je uz to i majka djece skoro istih godina je bila glavni zlostavljač. Njen muž je bio distanciran od Mende, žena je bila ta koja ju je svakodnevno tukla i maltetirala. Žena koja je majka je to činila jednom djetetu pred očima svoje djece. To nikako ne mogu razumijeti. Tko zna ima li ta žena sada neku novu robinju? Nadam se da ne, ali to ne mogu znati zasigurno, zar ne?



This was a hard book to read but I'm glad that I did read it. Reading books like this one makes one take the issue of slavery to heart. Understanding what slavery is emotionally is as important as understanding it  from an intellectual point of view. I never reread this book because even thinking about it makes me cry, but I took its message to heart. I want to thank Mende for being so brave and filled with love. It is people like her that make me believe there is hope and that we must never let despair take over us. Because even after all those years living in such horrible circumstances, being treated as less than a dog, Mende didn't lose her identity, her culture, her intelligence, her wit and the essence of what she was. In those extreme conditions, she continued living and growing. Mende was denied education, but she has grown wise. She was denied love, but she has grown loving. She was denied freedom, but in her heart she was free. She was not treated as human, but she became more than human. More human than any of her abusers will ever be. Mende carries her people, their tradition and their identity in her heart. They  burned her village, raped and enslaved her but they haven't destroyed her spirit and her innocence. When she was a little girl, she wanted to be a doctor so that she could help people. Today she is helping people in her way. Take a look at her smile at the back of the book. She is a doctor, just a different kind of doctor. A doctor for souls. 

Ovu knjigu nije bilo lako za pročitati, ali mi je drago što sam je pročitala. Čitanje ovakvih knjiga nam pomaže da shvatimo sav užas robstva svojim srcem, a ne samo sa gledišta intelekta, što je važno jer trebamo uključiti i srce i mozak u ovu problematiku.  Nikada nisam ponovo pročitala ovu knjigu jer čak i kada razmišljam o njoj, suze same dođu, ali primila sam njenu poruku srcu. Želim se zahvaliti Mende što je tako hrabra i puna ljubavi. Zbog ljudi kao što je ona vjerujem da ima nade i da se nikad ne smijemo prepustiti očaju. Sve te godine Mende je živjela  u tako groznim uvjetima, tretirali su je kao manje od psa, a nekako nije izgubila svoj identitet, svoju inteligenciju, svoju oštroumnost.  U tim ekstremnim okolnostima ona je nastavila živjeti i rasti. Nisu joj dali priliku da se školuje, ali je svejedno postala mudra. Osporavali su joj čovječnost, ali ona je postala više čovjek nego što će ikada biti svi oni zajedno. Mende nosi svoje ljude, svoju  i njihovu tradiciju i  identitet u svome srcu. Spalili su joj selo, silovali je i prodali u ropstvo, ali joj nisu oduzeli njen duh i njenu nevinost. Kada je bila djevojčica, željela je biti doktorica i pomagati ljudima. Danas pomaže ljudima na svoj način. Pogledajte njen osmijeh na poleđini knjige. Danas je ona doktorica, ali drukčija doktorica, ona koja pomaže dušama.

Broj komentara: 19:

  1. sembra interessante questo libro!

    OdgovoriIzbriši
  2. So informative post) Thanks for sharing)
    http://beyoutiful.com.ua

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  3. It's really shocking to hear that someone escaped slavery in 2000 but at the same time It's good to be aware that it's still something that exists . I would imagine that Mende Nazer's story would be both harrowing yet inspiring and she must be a person of immense strength.

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    Odgovori
    1. she really is amazingly strong, I admire her courage to tell and share her story.

      Izbriši
  4. It is really truly inspirational story. Thank you dear for sharing such a motivational tale <3 <3

    http://ohladymania.blogspot.com/

    .

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  5. Oddio ma è una cosa terribile!!! Si pensa che queste cose succedano solo nei Paesi sottosviluppati che non hanno ancora maturato una coscienza sociale ma alla fine come si dice "tutto il mondo è paese"... Quesllo che mi ha sconvolto di più è il fatto che tutta la faccenda si sia svolta a Londra all'interno di una familgia benestante (e quindi anche colta suppongo), dove ci si aspetterebbe ce nessuno possa mai esser in grado di maltrattare così un'altro essere umano!
    Una storia che apre davvero gli occhi...
    Baci!
    S
    http://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.it/

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    Odgovori
    1. grazie per il tuo commento...si, tutto il mondo e paese...a volta una paese cattivo...e davvero una cosa terribile.

      Izbriši
  6. WOW. This is almost unimaginable but clearly real. SHOCKING! And about the Mauritania/UN appointment?! What a strong, admirable woman. I bow to her strength.

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    Odgovori
    1. in 2006 she returned to Sudan and found many girls that suffered her fate...it's really hearth- breaking.

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  7. Interesting post my dear, thank you for sharing :-)
    xx

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  8. Now and then we hear stories like that and we don't really believe in them. Terrible, just terrible. Cheers Margot

    OdgovoriIzbriši
    Odgovori
    1. yes, there are terrible things in this world.

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  9. Administrator je uklonio komentar.

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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.