Slavery: Then and Now

July 14, 2013

In Orange County, a Saudi princess was arrested for forcing a Kenyan woman to work as her slave.   No surprise, she quickly posted her $5 million bail.  Via the LA Times:

Alayban was arrested early Wednesday by police at her Irvine home in a gated community where they say she forced a 30-year-old to work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for only $220 a month. She was unable to leave because Alayban kept the woman’s passport and documents, police say. …

In addition to the Kenyan woman, police said officers found four other workers being held under similar circumstances at Alayban’s residence. Their passports had been locked in a safe-deposit box along with the alleged victim’s, Rackauckas said. No charges have been filed in relation to the four other women, but Rackauckas said further charges are possible.

Orange County prosecutors identified Alayban as one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

There are a lot of things that frankly puzzle me.  Among them is why so many African Americans have turned to Islam, whose thousand-year history of enslaving sub-Saharan Africans (and selling them to Western slave traders) legally ended only a few decades ago but unofficially continues to this day.

During my research for the book L.A. ’56: A Devil in the City of Angels, a true-crime drama that revolves around the issue of racism in 1956 Los Angeles, I spent weeks poring through back issues on microfiche of two local black weeklies, The Los Angeles Sentinel and the (now defunct) California Eagle.

It was in the Eagle that I spotted a full-page advertisement urging a no vote on Proposition 4.  The headline, OIL MONEY SUPPORTS THE ARABIAN SLAVE TRADE, was set above a photo of black-skinned men and women who were identified as being in a Saudi slave market, awaiting buyers.  I couldn’t actually ascertain what the proposition was about, only that it would benefit the big oil companies.  Anyway, the proposition itself seemed beside the point.

Proposition No. 4, an OIL MONOPOLY bill, will shut in [sic] California oil production. It will flood the state with Arabian oil. That means millions of dollars more will go into the pockets of those who are BUYING AND SELLING HUMAN BEINGS in the legalized slave markets of the Middle East! In Saudi Arabia alone, there are more than 500,000 slaves.

Last year Standard Oil and its importing allies (Arabian-American Oil Co.) paid King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia $250 million in oil royalties – money that helps make a big business of the slave trade. The Wall Street Journal on April 10 described the slave market as a “byproduct of oil prosperity”:…

HERE’S what the NAACP said in a resolution adopted at its San Francisco convention just a month ago:

“Resolved, that the NAACP takes cognizance of the United Nations report relating to slave trade in the Middle East and demand that the State Department…discourage and eliminate the trafficking in human beings as it now exists in Saudi Arabia.”


That was in 1956.  Here’s from a 2005 report by our own State Department:

The Government of Saudi Arabia does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Saudi Arabia has moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 because of its lack of progress in anti-trafficking efforts, particularly its failure to protect victims and prosecute those guilty of involuntary servitude. Despite reports of trafficking and abuses of domestic and other unskilled workers and children, there is evidence of only one Saudi Government prosecution of a Saudi employer for a trafficking-related offense during the reporting period.

So you see, the Saudi princess was just conforming to her cultural norms.  Maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on her.

Minister Farrakhan could not be reached for comment.  Either that or no one tried.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

LukeHandCool July 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

“There are a lot of things that frankly puzzle me. Among them is why so many African Americans have turned to Islam, whose thousand-year history of enslaving sub-Saharan Africans …”

Sammy Davis Jr., … Jew.

Remember seeing him as a guest on Dinah Shore’s TV Show in the early 1970s when I was a kid. The subject of race relations came up and, he said, (paraphrasing here), “Black people need to realize there’s a lot of goodwill out there among white Americans. As a minority, we could’ve been wiped out from genocide if the majority had wished it.”

Wish someone could find that in Dinah’s archives.

We’ve devolved from the likes of the cheerful, converted Jew, Sammy Davis Jr., to the hateful, converted Muslim, Louis Farrakhan … from Martin Luther King Jr., to Al Sharpton.


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