I grew up in a culture where there was very little to no memory of slavery. However, in speaking with some of my friends, in some other cultures around the world there is a still a strong lingering aftermath from the effects of slavery. Apparently, it takes decades if not centuries for healing and reversal of the effects of cruelty and mistreatment of other people – these are passed on via culture and attitudes and psychology from generation to generation.
It’s been 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin (and Abraham Lincoln) this past week, and media has been full of this coverage.
I was struck by these quotes from Charles Darwin regarding his observations of slavery-condoning societies of his time.
I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, Brazil, I heard the most pitiful screams, and could not suspect that some poor slave was being tortured…. Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have stayed in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal …. I have seen a boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horse whip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean. It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty.