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Obianuju Ekeocha: 12 Years A Slave, My Personal Reflective Movie Review

By Obianuju Ekeocha
January 21st, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Who knows, just as I sat in the cinema last night to watch this movie titled "12 Years A Slave" , my own descendants might one day sit in a cinema to watch a movie titled "9 Months A Foetus" ! My prayer is that on that day, they will hold up their heads because you and I would have succeeded in establishing the just Law that protects (without discrimination) all human beings during their 9 months in the womb be they black, white, blond, blind or downs!

LONDON, England (Catholic Online) - Last night I watched the riveting movie - "12 Years A Slave" and living in a polite English town I wasn't surprised to see some people leaving the cinema half-way through the movie because of the viciousness and violence that was on display.

But still I couldn't help but be a bit annoyed by these ones who in their English politeness turned their backs on the harsh real life story of Black man - Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) who was a free man until he was kidnapped and sold into Slavery in 1841.

The brutality of Solomon's story is no fiction. It is the ineffaceable reality of slavery in 19th century America.

For me "12 Years A Slave" was a very powerful movie which brought me to tears and thoughts. It led me to deep reflections about Legalized Slavery and all that it portended for our African brothers and sisters who were captured and carried across the ocean to America in that era when the law made it possible for them to become the "property" of any white person who had the wherewithal to purchase them.

The law made it possible for them to be reduced almost to the level of livestock.

The law made it possible for them to be hunted down like animals when they ran away.

The law made it possible for them to be raped, bound, branded, beaten, whipped and even killed.

The law of Slavery was vile and vicious. And yet it lasted and lasted and lasted.

Those who defended and advocated for slavery of the black-skinned people said that it was good and even necessary for the economy because black slaves worked the cotton fields and the wood mills and the sugar plantations.

I guess one could say that the blood, the tears and the sweat of the African slaves kept the American economy strong for over a century and whoever tried to fight the legal system of slavery was considered an enemy of the good economy, the enemy of the people, the scum of society, the unwelcome abolitionist.

But today, I can watch a movie entitled "12 Years A Slave" because slavery is now against the law in almost every nation in the world. And those people who are dealing clandestinely in the buying and selling of other human beings are considered traffickers and criminals, they are indicted and prosecuted by law for their violent trade.

And we heartily celebrate this victory over violence from one end of the earth to the other  while aiming to bring a complete end to slavery.

We must not forget that all of this started from the heroic suffering and sacrifice of the abolitionists who refused to accept a vile and vicious unjust law.

Those who challenged slave owners of their time, and wrote books and traveled near and far to speak up for the life and dignity of the black people.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie, was the tense and chilling conversation between the slave owner Edwin Epps (played by Michael Fassbender) and Bass- the Canadian construction labourer (played by Brad Pitt).

In their brief exchange of words, Bass earned Epps' displeasure by expressing his opposition to slavery and in the course of their tense conversation, Bass spoke an unforgettable line that will now be engraved upon my heart for the rest of my days. He said to the slave owner "laws come and go, but universal truths remain".

Laws come and go...

How true!

Legalized slavery has come and gone.

As an African woman living and working side by side with white people, you cannot imagine my gratitude to the men and women who 150 years ago incurred displeasure and risked everything so that one day in the future I can be where I am, do what I am doing and be paid justly for my skills and intellect.

No law will allow anyone to own me.

No law will allow anyone to treat me like livestock.

No law will allow anyone to rape me, bind me, brand me, beat up, whip me, or kill me.

I am black, yet I am free, and yes I am protected by the law.

Because Universal truths remain...

This is why I in turn, have resolved to challenge the most unjust law of my time- the Law that gives women and their doctors the right to kill the most tender unborn babies in the womb. The law that tells us that a woman is a valued patient but her unborn baby is not. The law that makes it possible for 90% of our Down's syndrome babies to be killed before they see the light of day.

The law that makes it possible for millions of babies to be killed every year in the modern world.

Pro-Abortion defenders and advocates say that abortion is good for the healthcare system (probably as good as slavery was for the 19th century economy).

They tell us that women's health and well being is dependent on the availability of legal abortion.

They revile nations with pro-life laws for not caring enough for women.

Great Nations like USA, UK, France and China channel government funds to sustain and support this violent and blood-thirsty system.

And every day in too many "clinics" and hospitals in these nations, the blood of the most innocent among us flows into surgical sheets and pans as their remains is unceremoniously thrown into clinical waste bins.

And the Abortion doctors in these "modern" nations remain arrogant, proud and well paid to raise their instruments of death against the tender babies in the womb. They kill and yet the law protects them (just as much as the law protected the meanest of plantation overseers 150 years ago).

The Law of Abortion is vile, vicious, violent and surely will one day come to an end as long as the pro-life activists of our time continue to thread the well-worn beaten path of the 19th century abolitionists, that path paved with sacrifice and suffering.

As a pro-life activist, I have been called an enemy of good healthcare, I've been labeled an enemy of medical advancement, I have been treated like a scum of the land.

But in all of this I remain resolute because I tell myself that I am black and yet I am free thanks to those who courageously struggled150 years ago for a Law that would protect me today in every way.

So as I enjoy my dignity and freedom, I believe that I am duty bound to sacrifice, suffer and risk all for a law that would protect every human being even the little ones in the womb.

I can no longer sit silent and pro-choice in the face of unspeakable injustice. Neither should you.

We must lay down our lives for the elevation of the universal truth.

And one day this universal truth will reign in every nation of the world. And Abortionists will have no choice but to hang up their vile instruments of death, and those of them who continue to kill babies clandestinely in the back allays will be considered as killers and criminals (as we consider the human traffickers of our time), they will be indicted and prosecuted by law for their violent trade.

And good people and lovers of life will heartily celebrate this victory over violence from one end of the earth to the other.

Who knows, just as I sat in the cinema last night to watch this movie titled "12 Years A Slave" , my own descendants might one day sit in a cinema to watch a movie titled "9 Months A Foetus" !

My prayer is that on that day, they will hold up their heads because you and I would have succeeded in establishing the just Law that protects (without discrimination) all human beings during their 9 months in the womb be they black, white, blond, blind or downs!

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Obianuju Ekeocha is an African woman, living and working in the United Kingdom as a Specialist Biomedical Scientist. She is also the founder of Culture of Life Africa, an initiative dedicated to the promotion of a Culture of Life in Africa  through the dissemination of good information, sensitisation and education. She has written several articles including the "Open Letter to Melinda Gates"  and "Africa in the redefined world (An Open Letter to President Obama)" Her passion and privilege is to continue to work in defence of the sanctity and dignity of life within Culture.

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