For Adults

TRANSATLANTIC SLAVERY (Against Human Dignity.)

TRANSATLANTIC SLAVERY  (Against Human Dignity.)

TRANSATLANTIC SLAVERY (Against Human Dignity.)Ed. Anthony Tibbles.

Slavery! What pictures does it conjure up? Hard work, with little or no pay? The reality was much worse than that.

First, the raiders (Spanish, Portuguese, English) landing in Africa. Then the trading with the local dealers and, where that was insufficient, the brutal capture of men, women and children; the journey, heavily chained and cruelly restricted, to the ships. On board they were herded like cattle (but treated worse) some half dead with hunger, fear and the torture of their position, the lucky ones jumping overboard to drown.

At their destination they were offloaded and sold at auction to the highest bidder. Their new owners worked them in the fields for long hours under terrible conditions and disciplined by the whip. Perhaps a small minority had more humane owners who, nonetheless, saw them as property, goods to be bought and sold.

The book was published in conjunction with a Liverpool museum, a reminder that this city's prosperity had been built on the backs of the Trade. The contributors ask "how and why such an inhuman trade could be conducted by a supposedly civilised Western culture." "Supposedly"? "Civilised"? Where profits are concerned all other considerations are swept aside or totally ignored. Sounds familiar?

They deal with the imperial takeover of the Americas, the origins and methods of the Trade, aspects of marine technology of the time, African resistance, Caribbean slave society, the special situation of women slaves, the Liverpool connection, Africans in Britain and the resultant racism – and much more

How to react? With horror? Feelings of guilt? Resignation – it's just human nature? Or determination to wipe out the obscene racism which still exists in our midst today? Read this book before you decide.


The Release of Nelson Mandela (Dates with History)

The Release of Nelson Mandela (Dates with History)

The Release of Nelson Mandela (Dates with History)by John Malam.

Imperialism: "Extending a State's rule over other territories", according to the dictionary. Perhaps one should add, "and its exploitation by the latter for their own interests." It is usually accomplished by superior force, of ten allied to trade (as in India) or connected with missionary religion.

South Africa was first colonised by the Boers (Dutch) who were ousted by the British in the second Boer War (1899-1902). And the native Africans? Their fate was similar to that of other Asian and African victims of imperialist aggression: treated as inferior, employed as cheap labour and, in the main, led a life of poverty and exploitation. Some luckier ones, however, prospered and even managed to get an education which was denied to the rest. There was organised resistance leading to uprisings which were brutally suppressed.

The ANC was founded in 1912 to fight for equality and against injustice. Nelson Mandela (originally called by an African name meaning 'troublemaker') was born in 1918 in an African village. He was descended from kings and his father was headman of his village and advisor to the king of that area. He was taken into the king's household and given his new, English, name.

He was fortunate enough to get an education, denied to most Africans and was able to continue his studies in law at university. This did not dampen his indignation at the lot of his fellow Africans. He joined the struggle and soon played a leading role in the ANC. It was decided that, as peaceful protests were met with state violence and seemed to be getting nowhere, they would go over to secret, violent struggle. As a result he and many of his comrades spent years in jail. Whilst there, he and others were accused of serious crimes and he was sentenced to life imprisonment – in the notorious Robben Island prison.

During his 28 years incarceration the struggle against white supremacy continued and sharpened. International support was widespread. The system of Apartheid, as the discrimination against blacks was called, eventually gave way and Mandela was released. New elections were held and Mandela became president.

Read the inspiring story of the life of his great man who today is honoured throughout the world.

How Bad are Bananas? (The Carbon Footprint of Everything)

How Bad are Bananas

How Bad are Bananas? (The Carbon Footprint of Everything) - by Mike Berners-Lee

Bananas may be fresh and tasty but getting them to market has a negative impact on the environment. 'How so' you may ask? The answer is their carbon footprint.

In this book Berners-Lee explains in detail the concept behind carbon footprints and how, having carried out complex research over a long period, it has been possible to calculate the footprint for a staggering list of items. These include foodstuffs, goods, materials, actions, activities, establishments (a house, for example) and almost everything in between.

The author explains how carbon footprints are measured by weight and has organised the book's chapters for ease of reference from 1g right up to 1 million tonnes. Some interesting and valuable advice about how to choose, prepare and cook food with the least impact on the environment is provided, as well as calculations of the cost-efficiency of carbon-saving options. An explanation of how the research underpinning this book was conducted is also explained.

An entertaining read, informative, and well worth studying.

The Green Belt Movement

wangari maathai

The Green Belt Movement by Wangari Maathai (Sharing the Approach and the Experience).

Nelson Mandela called her "a vision of hope" and described the movement she founded in Kenya as "[democratising] the connection between sustainable development of resources, democracy and peace." 'The Green Belt Movement' is written by the remarkable innovator herself. Maathai goes into detail as to how she went about starting the movement and lists the aims; to raise consciousness of the need for protection of the environment, fostering a community spirit and enthusiasm amongst others.

Maathai lays out the structure of the movement, how it is organised and financed, what it has achieved despite the obstacles (mainly from the authorities) and the learning outcomes. She also gives advice to those wishing to follow in her footsteps and details the vision for the future of her movement. Maathai's heroic efforts to fight her corner and lead the movement are what led to her becoming the first female in Africa to receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace. Read also Mama Miti (The Mother of Trees) a superbly illustrated book by Donna Jo Napoli which sheds further light on this wonderful woman.

Peaceful Heroes

Peaceful Heros

Peaceful Heros by Jonah Winter

The cruelty of those who oppress the poor and ethnic minorities is only matched by their cowardice. Of these heroes of peace, especially the well known ones, many were murdered by the powers that be for daring to preach and act upon belief in humanity. The outstanding example, Jesus of Nazareth, dared to assert that all humans are of equal worth. That he added "in the sight of God" did not spare him the Roman version of the hangman's rope. How could a slave be of equal worth to Caesar and even claim the same human rights? It was rank sedition. Gandhi – murdered; Martin Luther King – murdered. Archbishop Romero – murdered; Aung San incarcerated.

All these remarkable and courageous – some might say foolhardy, in view of the risks they were taking – heroes are noted for their overriding love of their fellows. Their stories are so moving that I defy any sensistive person to read these stories and not get a lump in the throat if not to weep.

We are persuaded to believe that "human nature" is essentially selfish. But though we may live in an "elbow society", there is plenty of evidence that individuals can resist the siren call of self first. And the people featured here are just a few examples of a very different aspect of that same nature.

We have Jesus and the others mentioned above, championing the poor, defying racial discrimination, demanding political rights. Other lesser known heroes were Sojourner Truth who preceded King in the struggle for emancipation; Corrie ten Boom, who hid Jews in her home during the frightful Nazi period; Ginetta Sagan who stood up to Mussolini; Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Muslim defending his Pushtun people in the North-west Frontier region of India, against the British colonialists; Paul Rusesabagina, a hotelier in Rwanda, refusing to murder Tutsis at the behest of his Hutu leaders, protected them instead, using his hotel as a refuge. And there were many more.

Dry your tears, dear reader, and go out into the world and take courage from their example. It is extremely important that all our future citizens should be made aware that there is an alternative to the rat race. They are human beings, first and foremost. This book will encourage them to behave like one.

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