An African Connection in Iraq
Jalal Diyaab, a leader of the Free Iraqi Movement, seeking recognition of those of African descent living in Iraq as a minority with rights to be protected, has stated:
People here see us as slaves. They even call us 'abd,' which means slave.
From National Public Radio (NPR):
The election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency was celebrated with special fervor by Iraqis of African descent in the southern port city of Basra.
Although they have lived in Iraq for more than 1,000 years, the black Basrawis say they are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and they see Obama as a role model. Long relegated to menial jobs or work as musicians and dancers, some of them have recently formed a group to advance their civil rights.
For over one thousand years, Iraqis of African descent have resided in Iraq, some arriving as sailors, the rest arriving to be enslaved as a consequence of the less known or spoken of Arab Slave Trade. It is estimated the Arab Slave Trade transplanted some 10 million African people.
Collectively, the Arab Slave Trade, conducted along the east Coast of Africa and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, conducted along the west coast of Africa, have come to be called the Maafa, also known as the African Holocaust, with estimates for the dispersal and displacement of African people during this approximately 1,200 year period numbering from 40 to 100 million.
The Arab Slave Trade began during the 7th Century, approximately eight hundred years before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, with the Arab trade also extending into the 19th Century.
The first enslaved arrivals of the Arab Slave Trade were primarily African women from East Africa, brought to Iraq via a route through India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as traveling a route across the Sahara Desert to North Africa and the Mediterranean, to be purchased to work as slaves in Spain, Portugal and other European countries. Africans were purchased as domestic slaves, wet nurses and sex slaves.
Today, in modern day Iraq in Basra, a movement is on the rise to recognize the rights of some two million descendants of Africa and their desire for equal treatment on par with other citizens of Iraq.
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Also of interest:
The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database has assembled partial information regarding approximately 35,000 voyages conducted by slaving ships, spanning from the 16th to 19th centuries, helping to document most likely the largest forced movement of members of humanity in the history of the world.