Is this a modern-day slave trade?

Dear Editor,


If all things I read on the news are true then we are witnessing a modern-day ‘slave-trade’ at the expense of our very own Pacific players. As nasty as this comparison is, I believe, this is the most fitting way to describe the current set-up of the World Ruby Union.

The scope and extent of maltreatment are so severe Hillary will be ashamed of you. A practice as vile as slavery must be kept in the annals of humanity’s darkest history, not at the forefront of rugby!

Sadly, after centuries since the world universally abolished the slave trade, the idea and practice are still well and healthy. And our people are at the wrong end of the stick because we are subjugated by the few powerful men of rugby.

At the helm of this egregious ‘slave trade’ practices is the World Rugby Union. For years, they fattened themselves by collecting all the revenues for themselves, and their tier one friends, with our sweats. 

For them, perhaps, this is a smart business model to follow. In some degree, this is true however one-sided the set-up is. 

For us, this is a modern-day slave trade hidden under the sports banner. 

Our resting forebears are justified in some degrees for engaging in the slave trade. But you, members of the World Rugby Union and your tier one friends, are not, and so beyond the reach of clemency. 

A society that claims to be civilized, such as NZ, Australia, and other Europeans countries, should never engage in exploiting the talents of sportsmen and sportswomen irrespective of geography. 

Heck, they should not even think about it let alone engage in this amoral practices for years as if it’s okay. What if the situation is reversed, will you trade places with us?

Here is a dose of reality clothed as irony.

If slave trade is practiced by the less powerful and less connected people such as the Pacific Islanders, I am sure we will be in trouble a hundred-fold over. Yet, when slave trade is practiced by the powerful men of rugby, the phrase slave trade becomes a smart business model. Smart business model my bum!

So before the World Rugby Union strictly implements all the field rules to protect every rugby player in the field would it be more fitting to change their ridiculous set-up wherein they get all the money playing against the Pacific Islanders? 

I guess there are things that never change and slave-trade mentality is one of them aside from a lousy car dealer. 

Years ago, I was so naïve to even consider that besides sacred sites, sports field is the only hallowed ground left untouched by greediness and corruptions of men-- a place with which everyone is equal. Or, at the very least, everyone feels temporarily equal regardless of differences. 

I was more than wrong, I was dead wrong- mummified wrong.

Where is the civility? Where is the equality? Where is the love for the sports of rugby?

Or, maybe civility, equality, and love are simply nice topics for speeches when the world is listening?

Moreover, if the slave-esque practice of the World Rugby Union and its affiliates, is accurate as described by the PM, the World Rugby Union is in serious trouble. 

As far as know, a slave-esque practice as described above is protected by law.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Why it is none of the top-tier rugby nations are doing something substantial to go beyond addressing the situation but stop the practice altogether? 

None of us can afford to sit and accept that this is one the realities of life wherein life is meant to be unfair; favors the rich, famous, and the powerful while subjects the rest! 

As for us, a small bankrupted union, should we keep our servitude intact because equality is never part of the plan of the World Rugby Union? Otherwise, suffer the financial consequences from the World Rugby Union.

I thought that the SRU situation could not go further south than it was, with this detailed revelation, this goes beyond south of the equator! Our SRU is far from perfect on its own but this is a different issue altogether that is well beyond SRU’s power.

Where is the morality in this? Even the atheist and the agnostic can see no civility or equality in this.

Or maybe, WRU completely changed the meaning of equality, morality, and civility to suit their greed?

So I call the conscientious powerful men of rugby to exercise a little equality and civility! As inferior as our world is, I believe we are still far better than this.

Now, how do we address the issue when the author of the slave trade resides in the top? 

My first thought is to have the governments of these respective countries investigate and penalize this slave-like practices of WRU and its affiliates.

But then I thought, how can a corrupt sports organization be disciplined by a more corruptible organization like the government? 

So here are a few primary-grade ideas.

•    All Pacific media outlets must cover young talented rugby players but only earns him/her $1 a day. At this stage, we can’t reason with these elites but maybe we can touch their hearts when they see the real struggles of real Pacific Islander players.

•    All Pacific writers, keyboard warriors, and fans should use the power of social media in shaming the elites of rugby by publishing facts of their misdeeds.  This is not cyberbullying, there is no moral ground in cyberbullying. Instead, we engage in cyber shaming using only facts. We can use any available means to shame these guys without being violent in any shapes or forms. Most importantly, keep the shaming within the guilty party(ies) and hands-off from their families.

•    If things are still in stalemate mode, then we call the SRU leadership and Dan Leo to start with the gathering of evidence and file the complaint to the United Nation against the World Rugby Union and affiliates for their slave-esque business set-up. 

To spice things up, we can all do the Siva Tau, Sipi Tau, and the Fijian Cibi accompanied by the choir as the investigation is ongoing. That would be a sight to behold. Exaggeration aside, you get the picture. 

I, for one, don’t want to start chaining up the people of WRU with the beautiful shiny bracelet called handcuffs. But someone has to be held accountable for the slave-esque business dealings of the World Rugby Union.

An explosive scandal investigation such as this, at the minimum, will surely rival the airtime given to the Trump-Russian investigation—after all this is 2017.  

Sarcasm aside, where is the love for the athletes?

As Pacific Islanders, we have to bring this abhorrent practices where it belong—in the rubbish bin. 

To the World Rugby Union, stop enslaving our peoples, our brothers, and sisters in genes! If the WRU chooses to play mute then listen to the PM suggestion by splitting the revenue between the hosts and visiting nations. I am sure playing against yourself is not an exciting prospect. 

If my hullabaloo here is inaccurate then offer us your side of the story by addressing the heart of the issue with your hearts for the sake of the sports of rugby!

The ball is in your court now World Rugby Union!    


Ryan Christian Flor Nemes

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