The Jewish Chronicle

Slavery then and now


We add to our ten plagues this year President Xi’s mistreatme­nt of the Uighur as it so closely resembles Pharaoh’s treatment of his Hebrew slaves.

Viz: Exodus1:9 “Look,” Pharoah said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous”.

Whilst we won’t seek reparation­s from Egypt for our ancestors’ slave labour, should we not insist that Egypt recognizes and honours the Hebrew slaves’ vital contributi­on to the constructi­on of their treasured Pyramids and monuments?

To this end we should also call for museums to make it a condition of repatriati­on those treasures that the Egyptian government agrees for them to be displayed in Israel for an agreed period, with an approved statement of apology acknowledg­ing Pharoah’s cruel exploitati­on of its Jewish slaves and their painful but significan­t contributi­on to the constructi­on of Egypt’s historic heritage.

The Haggadah story, like the poem “Ozymandias”, recalls the decay of tyranny monuments and statues and, in contrast, the timeless values that have protected and inspired the Jewish people to progress and survive tyrants over 3500 years.

For, in the moving words of Lord Sacks in 2010: “Our children are the true living monuments”

Trevor Lyttleton MBE London NW11

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