November 14, 2022

Qatar's Modern Slave Trade

"The Veiled Genocide: Selective Theses on the Arab Slave Trade" written in 2008 by Franco-Senegalese author Tidiane N’Diaye remains unavailable in English.

Qatar, winter, football; those three words should never be put in the same sentence ever. But here we are. 

Nobody should begrudge those who will partake in the games and festivities at this iteration of the World Cup. But, the damage that's been done should not be hidden under the rug. The workers who suffered and died during the construction of the stadiums should be honoured and remembered during the ceremonies, and their families should be compensated. Hopefully the teams and players fight to make that a reality. 

I don't have a World Cup favourite, I think it is wide open this year. But if I had to make a finals prediction: Argentina vs Denmark.

Also, here's hoping Senegal pummels Qatar 10-0 in their match. 


An excerpt from, "Forgotten Slavery: The Arab-Muslim Slave Trade" By Bob Koigi,

Over the years, global focus and discourse on slavery has concentrated on the Trans-Atlantic trade that featured American and European merchants. One other trade has however remained largely ignored, and at times has even been treated as a taboo subject, despite being a key component of African history owing to the devastating impact it has had on the continent, its generations and its people’s way of life.

The Arab Muslim slave trade, also known as the trans-Saharan trade or Eastern slave trade, is noted as the longest slave trade, having occurred for more than 1,300 years while taking millions of Africans away from their continent to work in foreign lands in the most inhumane conditions.

Scholars have christened it a veiled genocide, attributing the tag line to the most humiliating and near-death experience slaves were subjected to, from capture in slave markets to labour fields abroad and the harrowing journey in between.

While official figures on the exact number of slaves captured from Africa in the Trans Sahara trade are contested, most scholars put the estimate at about nine million.

The Eastern slave trade in Africa was predominantly concentrated in the East and West African regions. In East Africa the coastal region was the preferred route and Tanzania’s archipelago of Zanzibar became a hub for this trade.

“The Arabs raided sub-Saharan Africa for thirteen centuries without interruption. Most of the millions of men they deported have disappeared as a result of inhumane treatment. This painful page in the history of black people has apparently not been completely turned,” read a loosely translated excerpt from The Veiled Genocide a book by Tidiane N'Diaye, a Franco-Senegalese author and anthropologist.

An excerpt from, "The Veiled Genocide: A forgotten Historic Tragedy" By Bassam Michael Madany, May 22, 2018:

In 2008, Editions Gallimard[i] , published Le Génocide Voilé. The author, Tidiane N’Diaye, is a Senegalese anthropologist and economist, living in Dakar, the capital of  Senegal. 

To the best of my knowledge, this book is only available in French. Interest in the subject is quite high in the Francophone world. 

Philippe Triay, a French writer, sent questions about this subject to Mr. Tidiane N’Diaye, who graciously answered them. 

The following are excerpts from Tidiane N’Diaye’s responses:

"To date, the most analyzed and documented forms of slavery and the slave-trade, have been the Trans-Atlantic ones. Several essays, novels, and movies have dealt with the subject, allowing the public to learn about this tragic history.

“However, Europe did not have a monopoly on the slave-trade. There were others, like the East African and trans-Saharan trades organized by the Arabs. Those were violent and devastating for Africans and their descendants, as were the Trans-Atlantic ones, that were supported by Islam and Christianity, for a long time.

“My main concern is with the East African and Trans-Saharan trades. The reason for calling my book, “The Veiled Genocide,” is due to the massive castration of the African captives during the Arab-Muslim slave-trade. 

“While slavery has been known throughout history among all nations, and on all continents, what is less known is that the African slave-trade was inaugurated by the Arab-Muslims; it lasted around thirteen centuries without interruption. It was accompanied by a generalized castration of incalculable numbers of Black captives. Its impact was greater than the Trans-Atlantic slave-trade. The saddest thing about this historic tragedy is that most of the deported people were deprived of having any descendants, due to the policy adopted by the Arabs.   

“The Trans-Atlantic slave-trade lasted for four hundred years. Despite its monstrosity, and the humiliations that befell the captives, a slave had an inherent monetary value. His master wanted him to be productive in the long term. Thus, the goal was not the extermination of a people. Furthermore, the Arab-Muslim trade went on for thirteen centuries. Most of the men they had deported have disappeared from history. From the moment Africa had become the main source for the provision of slaves, in the collective Arab consciousness a Black person became also a symbol, or a synonym, of slavery.  

“In the Arab world, the notion of the basic inferiority of Black people took deep root, which explains the acceptance of the ill-treatment of Black captives, and the means used to deny them any descendants. The result is that in our day they have almost disappeared in Turkey, Yemen, and Iraq; and very few survivors can be found in North Africa and Saudi Arabia."

Video Title: Migrant Workers in Qatar - Trapped in Slave-like conditions as they work for World Cup 2022. Source: Benjamin Best Productions GmbH. Date Published: June 8, 2019. Description:

How migrant workers are being exploited in Qatar. Due to the documentary "TRAPPED IN QATAR" FIFA has for the first time admitted a violation in workers' standards as Qatar prepares for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The revelation comes following this investigative report by Benjamin Best for German broadcaster WDR. Broadcasted June 5th 2019. WDR journalist Benjamin Best went to Qatar undercover without the approval of the Qatari government, armed with a hidden camera, to shed light on slave like conditions and the human cost of the 2022 World Cup. 

It's another troubling development surrounding the working conditions in Qatar for workers, which have been heavily criticized for several years by unions and human rights groups alike. 

While a lack of pay, terrible housing conditions and lack of food were recurring themes, so too were the deaths of migrant workers. The Nepali government granted WDR's request for official data regarding Nepali workers in Qatar, which showed that 1,426 had passed away between 2009 and 2019.