Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23 is not a very cheerful day

Image from Mel Brooks' History of the World: Part 1

Mel Brooks said, "It's good to be the King!" -- but King Louis XVI of France would have disputed that notion.

Louis was born on this day in 1754; he lost his head in 1793.

August 23 is not a cheery day. It's Black Ribbon Day, a day set aside to commemorate the victims of Nazism and Stalinism. The United Nations suggests that today is also the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, a day that might be a bit cheery if the slave trade really had been abolished.

But slavery hasn't been truly abolished, not even in the very complacent United States. New American Bar Association President Laurel Bellows warns that "We have approximately 100,000 U.S. citizens who are being forced into labor or sex for the profit of their captors." Meanwhile, Bellows said, according to James Podgers' linked article posted August 1 on ABA Journal Law News Now, "human traffickers are bringing 'hundreds and hundreds of thousands' of people--children as well as adults--into the United States to become part of the sex trade or forced laborers. 'We have a scourge that has to be eradicated,' she said, 'but it is a silent crime.'"

Depressed yet? Well, American Greetings says today is Hug Day. You may need one after thinking about all this stuff.

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