Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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A victory against slavery

a landmark verdict in Niger

Adidjatou Mani Korau is a 24-year-old woman from Niger of poor rural descent. At 12 she was sold as a slave for the equivalent of 330 euros. Over the next decade she was forced to carry out domestic and agricultural work and she lived as a sexual slave to her master, who already had four wives and seven other slaves. On 11 November, 2008 she managed to get Niger fined by the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States for failing to apply anti-slavery legislation. Despite this landmark verdict, according to Anti-Slavery International, the organization that backed Adidjatou in her successful lawsuit, there are still at least 43,000 slaves in the country."They are born into an established slave class and are made to do all the labour required by their masters without pay, . . . They are denied all rights and choice," it says.
Source AFP

11 November 2008

Defence of human dignity

against totalitarian tendencies

In Dentures, collection of Kolyma Tales, Varlam Shalamov told the protagonist, held in the gulag, addressed to the executioners who wanted to strip him of everything: "No, do not give up the soul."
This sentence contains the essence of the Righteous: Those who refuse to "sell their soul" in extreme situations, even with the fear to go in the field of victims and of no escape, in the face of persecution, hatred and discrimination.
The defense of human dignity is the defense of one’s own self, of their own moral integrity, even when he/she rescues another human being. For this we can say that it is just the gesture of one who safeguards the dignity of the victims with his own humanity. To paraphrase the famous words of the Talmud: "Whoever saves one’s life, saves the whole world", we can also say "he who saves himself saves the whole world," not defending his own life, but the soul, listening to the authentic voice of conscience .
In the gulag one could rarely assist and help another prisoner, but every day one could try to oppose the process of dehumanization lucidly put in motion by the perverse mechanism of the working field.

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