“The ubiquitous smile of the poor should not be taken at face value; it conceals inexhaustible grief…” – Jeremy Seabrook
Above are the hands of an eight year old child laborer. Take a look at your own hands and look at the picture again. Stark difference. We here in the western world are far removed from labor atrocities such as this. Yes, we have our issues, but the difference in comparison is extreme to say the least. The purpose of this post is not to shame you, but to educate. We live a privileged life and must not forget that in order for us to enjoy our conveniences, we rely upon the labors of the unfortunate. The garments we wear, the fancy gadgets we use, the cheap consumables we buy in our markets, the laptop that I type this from. These are the fruits of poorly paid laborers living in desperate poverty. These laborers consist of the unfortunate few who must work for cents on the dollar every day because our corporations will do anything to increase their profit margins and if asked for a raise will simply discard the ‘rebel rousers’ for someone else who will fill their shoes and continue in indecent labor conditions. These groups of laborers include the trafficked children forced into decrepit work conditions in order to help their families earn enough to survive at a bare minimum base line. These children, never given the chance to enjoy the dreams and fantasies of an oblivious childhood; forced to grow into tiny adults in the dark and gloom of sweltering factories. Can they ever reclaim the light of childhood?
In order for us as a species to make any life we live worthwhile, we must work to stop these types of atrocities and learn to value each other equally. We need to take a hard look at how we blindly consume without an afterthought to the outcomes to those laborers who create our products. Slapping on the band aid of ‘charity’ to address issues doesn’t improve us. It is an admission that we are aware of the dire need for change except we don’t change ourselves. We throw money at a problem without learning what we can actively do to solve the issue within ourselves. Spiritual change is the slowest while technological and economic change is the fastest benefiting the elite few. We are on a potentially dangerous trajectory with the ingredients for the perfect storm to cause social collapse. We must turn this around or at least bring it into a manageable balance. I am not a doomsday naysayer, but if we can’t learn to treat each other with care, equality, compassion, then all is for naught for we will leave behind a legacy of imbalance and dissonance. As a species, we carry the capability within us to transcend the basest way of living, to open our minds to higher consciousness, and create magnificent worlds full of wonder and curiosity. My mandate is to create these worlds so that all may enjoy and not just the privileged few. These worlds can be built without exploitation of our brothers and sisters. I ask that you join this mandate. I believe we can create a sensible world as a labor of love.
Please visit the following site for updated information on the fight for better global labor rights: www.globallabourrights.org
I leave you with this video to help in breaking the cycle of devalued labor: