While much has been written concerning the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, surprisingly little attention has been given to the Islamic slave trade across the Sahara, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. While the European involvement in the Trans Atlantic slave trade to the Americas lasted for just over three centuries, the Arab involvement in the slave trade has lasted fourteen centuries, and in some parts of the Muslim world is still continuing to this day.
CONTRASTS IN CAPTIVITY
A comparison of the Islamic slave trade to the American slave trade reveals some interesting contrasts. While two out of every three slaves shipped across the Atlantic were men, the proportions were reversed in the Islamic slave trade. Two women for every man were enslaved by the Muslims.
While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Trans Sahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%!
While almost all the slaves shipped across the Atlantic were for agricultural work, most of the slaves destined for the Muslim Middle East were for sexual exploitation as concubines, in harems, and for military service.
While many children were born to slaves in the Americas, and millions of their descendants are citizens in Brazil and the USA to this day, very few descendants of the slaves that ended up in the Middle East survive.
Called to Courage
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
In the South African Infantry we were taught: "You have never lived until you have almost died and for those who fight for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know."
At Milton High School, in Bulawayo, I was taught Rudyard Kipling's inspiring poem on courage and integrity. Kipling stated that this was modelled on the life and character of Rhodesia's Chief Justice and Administrator, Leander Star Jameson:
The New African magazine (August – September 2004) recently published the results of their poll. The choices of the readers who participated in this New African survey are quite incredible. Robert Mugabe, the brutal dictator of Zimbabwe was voted the third greatest African of all time! Winnie Mandela, despite her convictions for kidnapping, child abuse and theft from the poor, was voted the "most popular woman in Africa!"
The editors of the New African observed that although they requested nominations for “the greatest Africans of all time”, over 95% of the nominations were from the post-independent era. They asked the question: “Have people forgotten Africa's history?”
AFRICA - THE CHALLENGE
Volume 4 1994
Africa presents the greatest challenges and opportunities for missionary service in the world today. The most intensive human suffering, the largest number of wars, the worst famines, the most severe persecutions, the sharpest confrontations between Christianity and Islam, communism and witchcraft, the greatest openness and hunger for the Gospel and the most promising potential for Biblical Reformation and revival - all of these aspects are concentrated in this vast and fascinating continent.
“Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35
In 1980 there were 20 countries in Africa which were “closed” for the proclamation of the Gospel and where Christians were persecuted. Now only 9 remain. There are many new - previously undreamed of - opportunities for evangelism in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Togo. One previously socialist country - Zambia - is currently undergoing a Christian Reformation.
PROFITING FROM POVERTY
Volume 4 1989
Imagine the heartache of bringing food to the starving, only to see them die in front of your eyes because the vitamin-enriched milk was too late. Then try and appreciate the outrage we feel when we see Soviet bloc ships exporting food out of Mozambique in return for the T54 tanks, MI-24 Hind attack helicopters and other military hardware imported into this starving country.
Try and understand our shock as we witness the abuse of foreign aid and relief aid in these needy countries. Corruption, intrigue, the deliberate creation of famine, the manipulation of famine, the combination of scorched earth policies to starve out local resistance to the communist government, and forced relocations by starvation, cynically abusing the relief aid as a weapon in the civil war.
Then imagine our disgust as Western journalists, relief agencies and clergy men ignore this cold-blooded exercise in manufacturing poverty, starvation and death. Not only do most of them ignore it, many rush to praise, support and fund the Marxist dictatorship which is responsible for over one million deaths — in a country which used to export food. Worse than that, they fuel the corruption, rewarding tyranny for having starving people in their tropical country.