Slavery is about power. And power is about control.

Although it might officially be a thing of the past, Kanoo Group deputy chairman Mishal Kanoo argues that slavery still exists in many forms.

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By  Mishal Kanoo Published  February 12, 2006

|~||~||~|Over 50 years ago, it was declared that slavery was a thing of the past. No longer would man own man or subjugate him to humiliation and pain. My! How wrong they were. The problem with slavery is that there is more than just one kind. The worse part is that slavery is self-induced and some of the worst slavery proponents are cruelly known as ‘house slaves’. These are at the head of the slave chain. Neither a free person nor a low slave, this type of slave ensures that the rest of the slaves tow the line that the master creates for them. Usually, this type of slave is even more vicious to the lower ranking slaves than the slave master himself. This type of slave strives to please the master by finding new ways of breaking the lower ranking slave’s back. The way their mind works is that by coming down strong on the other slaves, the master will look more favourably at them, like a good pet, and would therefore be most likely to ensure that they are well looked after. What the house slave fails to understand is that no matter what, they are just slaves and therefore, they are dispensable. As I mentioned, slavery takes many forms. There is physical slavery, which, apart from specific forms of dressing in certain places, has been nearly eradicated. The image of boys and girls in chains captured by other men and lead around in shackles no longer exists. As I say, however, slavery comes in many colours; there are slaves to an idea. These are the people who can’t bring themselves to question their faith or beliefs. If a notion is true, it can overcome any sort of questioning. Thus, religious leaders who want to control people from doing things they do not want them to do will always say that it was ordained from God. The theory goes: humans can’t challenge God. This I agree to. But I can challenge people’s interpretation of what God says if it is not clear and specific. Unfortunately, this is best used in the political arena to quash any unruliness that thinkers may have. This is why the intellectuals and the vocal opponents of this dumbing down process are the most frightening people to have a voice because they force others to re-examine their situation and by doing this, they cause a loss of control from the few to the many. If this is done gradually and peacefully, it is called an evolution of political power. This is the mild method of ending slavery. If it is done in a quick, (and usually violent) way, it is called a revolution of political power. Usually this effect doesn't last for long because the freed slaves haven’t learned not to be slaves so they simply move from one slave master to another. The worst type of slavery is a slavery that plagues a significant part of the industrialised countries and those countries trying to emulate them but can’t see it, even though it’s clear as crystal — slavery of debt. We are slowly being indoctrinated to be slaves to our wants over our needs. We need car for transportation but we want it to be a certain make. This is fine if the person can afford it. But what if they can’t? This is the crux of the problem. People will take out loans for non-essential things just for the social prestige of owning it. This brain washing is the worst of all slaveries for one reason, and one reason alone: the slave volunteers to become a slave without even knowing it. Worse still, even though he or she becomes aware of this, he or she can’t — or should I say, won’t — give it up. Slavery is about power. And power is about control. The only way people can take control of their lives is not just by living one day at a time but by actually understanding who they are, what they want and how will they achieve it. Once they know the answers to these questions, they become free. ‘Free’ because they no longer hold anyone else responsible for their actions but themselves. We humans can be weak to our desires. Yet we can be strong because we can control them. Which one are you? Mishal Kanoo's guest column comes courtesy of ||**||

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