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LETTER: Millions of people are slaves, but not you

Those holding ‘Freedom not slavery’ signs don’t see their own hypocrisy and don’t understand slavery
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A response to the sign: “Freedom not Slavery”

On June 25, while crossing the Yale/Vedder overpass, I saw several individuals waving Canadian flags. One person was holding up a sign which read: “Freedon not Slavery.”

Seeing this sign among all the Canadian flags saddened me. It diminishes what the Canadian flag represents.

First of all, I found it ironic that the person holding the sign seemed to be unaware of the fact that their freedom to hold that sign up in a public place without interference reflected the fact that they are free and a slave to no one.

Second, I thought this slogan is an affront to any person who has come from a history of slavery or is experiencing slavery today.

Third, I wondered what this person’s definition of slavery is? After some research I looked at common threads that encompass definitions based on different circumstances. Slavery is a condition in which one human being is owned by another. A slave was considered by law as property, or chattel, and was deprived of most of the rights ordinarily held by free persons. This is a historic definition, but modern day slavery exists and includes people that are exploited for commercial or personal gain. There are over 45 million people enslaved today.

An example of this is human trafficking which generates an estimated $150 billion a year. Another example is forced begging. Children who are disabled are taken from their impoverished parents with promises that their child will have a better life. They are then forced to beg and give their captors their money.

Meanwhile they are kept in deplorable living conditions.

These are common examples, so how does this person holding the sign: “Freedom not Slavery” see themselves as a slave? I would like to know what their definition of slavery is.

Recently celebrating Canada Day, let us feel grateful for the generous freedoms with which we live.

Mary-Lee Merz

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