Dear Kadija


Dear Kadija (aka, Black African in Libya),

I am sorry.

My heart shatters into a thousand pieces at every remembrance of you.

I cannot forget you, because I look exactly like you.

I am so sorry.

I am sorry that it took a CNN report of the live auction of you in 2017 for the world at large to acknowledge what is happening to you.

I am sorry for the eerie silence following the shocking and unbelievable exposure of your continued dehumanization and slavery in our world. I am sorry that it took your abandonment at sea this June for more deliberations about how to make room for you to live among us.

You are trapped in no-man’s land while those who do not know you—European and African alike—continue to focus on self-interest at the expense of your future. My heart bleeds, because I know many of you will not survive before freedom comes.

We have created a world with hierarchy where those of us with the darkest skins are pushed to the bottom of this invisible ladder. Instead of your name, you are called black dog, monkey, gorilla, dispensable.

When will we, humanity, realize that when one is enslaved, we all are? If I am a monkey to be disposed what does that make the disposer? I am sorry that many still choose not to see you as themselves.

Your plight is a repeat of bloodied historical chains that never seem to truly break. After the Saharan slavers came the trans-Atlantic ones with more enslavement, more colonialism and more exploitation. We thought those days were gone, but the world economics and our ongoing collusion have long been showing us the kaleidoscope of impacts continue. So, today, boomerang. You are once again called slave. This time, it is the Mediterranean receiving your human sacrifice, not the Atlantic. Oh, if the seas could talk of your suffering. If the seas could but throw-up their dead to remind us of our tyrannies.

Your name is not Migrant.

Your name is Ibrahim, like my brother; Kadija, like my sister; Angela like my best friend; Maria like my cousin; Mateo, like my son’s best friend. Yours, is the same name as your captors’ and your rejectors’. Stark reminders of our intertwined histories and connections. You were not born to be a slave or to be a pawn in anyone’s political game. There is nothing strange about what you have attempted to do, because many before you have migrated in search of a better life too. It is not you. It is us. We, the rest of humanity, have abandoned you. Today you die, and we conveniently choose to forget that tomorrow, whether we live in Ivory Towers or sleep in luxury or not, we too will die.

I am sorry, that we humanity have created a world system where we cannot just say, “Stop” to evil and moral ills. Instead we debate the meaning of morality while you die. I am sorry that today you wake up with terror enveloping your heart and mind, because it is another day when your body will be torn, ripped, violated and broken by violent acts from a fellow human being. You will work for no pay and be beaten worse than any animal.You are in a living hell while the rest of us live the dream you set out to find—waking, working, buying what we need to survive and thrive and sleeping in peace.

So, I will not forget you. On days like today when I feel hopeless, I will speak about you and write about you. I will call you by name, Kadija. I will remember that even though this writing seems futile, Martin Luther reminds us: “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” 

Words shaped the world we formed that put you where you are. And maybe these words, added to those of others calling us to conscience, will help us to remember you and work to set you free.

I am sorry. And I will not forget you. Because to forget you means I will not remember … that there, but for the luck of the draw … go I.


P.S to the reader—my overarching hope and prayer is that we, humanity will continue to awake to our highest calling to social justice and healing for our world…Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily…” Amen.