Sunday, February 04, 2007

Our last best word


Scarcely a tribe of East Africa was left unaffected in one way or another from a suffering unimaginable when the slave traders arrived from Arabia backed by their European financers. They travelled many miles into the African Plains to abduct their slaves before heading back to the coast toward Zanzibar. The last stop on the mainland was (and still is) an eerie place called Bwagamoyo.

Legend says that Bwagamoyo takes its name from the two Swahili words, bwaga and moyo. Bwaga means to throw down or put down, and during the long safari (journey), the leader of the group of slaves would, at certain times, shout to the other porters, “Bwaga mizigo” which means put down your loads. Moyo means heart. Bwaga moyo literally means to put down your heart.

I remember standing at Bwagamoyo awaiting the arrival of a ferry to Zanzibar nearly two years ago. As I stood at the waters edge I realised the enormity of its name. It was the place a captured slave, after his gruelling journey from the plains of East Africa, would lay down his heart, it was the place all hope was lost, because this would be the last time he would stand on the soil of his homeland before his trip to Zanzibar and beyond to a lifetime of cruelty and despair.


Two hundred years ago, British politician William Wilberforce and a small group of loyal friends took on the most powerful forces of their day to end the slave trade. His mentor was John Newton, the slave-trader-turned-songwriter who wrote the world’s most popular hymn, "Amazing Grace."

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, but the work of justice and mercy continues. Today 27 million men, women, and children are still enslaved around the globe.

Watch this and if it does not make you weep then I doubt you have a pulse....as Philip Yancey says, this is truly our last best word


* seems some are having problems with the link, if so, go to www.amazinggracemovie.com and play the trailer...

7 comments:

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Rainbow dreams said...

Hi Paul, not sure if it's just me, but I can't get the link to work - one person enslaved is criminal, 27 million is beyond belief - people are so cruel to each other...

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

seems that the link is not all it should be, works on my lap top, sadly not for others

go to www.amazinggracemovie.com

click on the trailer for the film and see what i mean....

Mystified said...

check out www.amazinggracesunday.com

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

lovely version by mr tomlin

i remember chris evans interviewing bono some years ago now, and kind of flippantly asking if U2 had one song to play at the end of the final gig, what would it be....many a song i guess would spring to mind - Bono tho,very soberly held the moment lond enough for grace to dance, and replied, 'amazing grace', tell me chris, what's that about......

my sadness tonight tho is, where is todays William Wilberforce?

Awareness said...

the world is so much more complicated and so many issues competing for attention. do you think one wilberforce can do it, or do we need a "body" of wilberforces to work together?

the idea of amazing grace sunday......where people from all over the planet sing.....is such a powerful concept to me. it wouldn't be sung in unison.......instead it would be sung in different time zones spreading like light and hope across the planet as the sun comes up.........maybe it's just one solitary person singing it somewhere and then in other spots it would be a large chorus of hearts joining together.........hummed, chanted, sung with beautiful tears.

wilberforce is out there.....i can feel it.......

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

what was it someone much wiser than i (though for the life of me i can't remember who) said - never doubt that a small committed bunch of people can change the world - it's the only thing that ever has...

maybe you're right, maybe they are out there...