Jan 11, 2008

Disney World - For Slaves

Thank you to Abdurahman for that lovely introduction and I'm very excited to be a part of this great blog.

An early contender for the most bizarre news story of the year is that of American expats Ron and Carla Bluntschli who are, at this very moment, trying to raise enough money to create Memory Village - the first ever 'Slavery Theme Park'. The couple, who have lived in Haiti for over 20 years, are hoping to commemorate the enslavement that took place in Haiti over 200 years ago.
According to reports, 'visitors to Memory Village would decide whether they wanted to be spectators or participants during a twelve-hour day. The latter would receive traditional African clothing and then be mock-kidnapped from their homelands, shackled, chained and forced to march to the slave ship (resting on a real stream), where they'd be piled in as cargo for the crossing of the Atlantic. Once the ship reached the New World, the participants would be brought to market and sold, then broken down in the quarantine and put to work out on the plantation. Near the end of the day, a slave rebellion would start, a rebellion that would eventually lead to the establishment of Haiti.'
It's not yet clear how much much a 'day pass' would cost but who would really want to pay money to be humiliated? The notion of educating people about the devastating effect of slavery to this day is great but this reeks too much of being influenced by a 'reality TV era' that is being dramatic for the sake of being shocking. Obviously there is far more to slavery than this 12 hour 'experience', no word if rape and lynching is involved. Or perhaps that is where the thin line is drawn? I don't think that slavery should be forgotten in any way but I absolutely don't think that it is progressive for the couple to conclude, after 20 years of living there, that the best way to spend up to a million US dollars is to build an event that profits a great deal of money from reminding people of their pain. That money should be spent on the millions in absolute poverty in Haiti as I suspect the real tragedy would be that the poor population wouldn't be able to afford to "act" as a slave for half a day.


Flower.of.Chaos said...

Hey Hanna! Congrats on becoming an esteemed contributor to 'No Longer at Ease'. I'm a silent lurker :)

About the 'Slave Village', I understand where you're coming from and how this must seem demeaning to the long suffering of the people. However, there a slight pro to it - people who have this experience will know first hand how it feels to be enslaved. A lesson no amount of reading can match.

Flower.of.Chaos said...

p.s. Please check out our blog at Somaliblogs.blogspot.com


Hanna said...

Well, I see how people might gain an insight into what it was like to be a slave but if that is actually useful or life changing is another scenario. People who are usually well read on the subject of slavery understand its horror very well and those who aren't sadly don't tend to think of it as it is "in the past" (to an extent). But I'd be very interested to see what the financial gains will be from this project, if it ever does open, to see if the money made will go towards the current situation in Haiti.

sokari said...

We do not need this - its perverse to say the least. It is a mockary of our ancestors, of the pain and struggle of Haitians. To think these people spent 20 years in Haiti and this is all they came away with. Words I would use are unprintable

sokari said...

Flower of chaos - i do not need to go through this to imagine the suffering of my ancestors. Do you have to have a mock execution to imagine what it is like to be hung from a tree in a lynching - I dont think so.

Ana said...

Those who are interested in the topic of slavery have read about it and are capable of using their imagination. The idea Slave Village is absurd.