24 February 2006

It Must Be So Tiring to Be Holier Than Thou.

I found this on abctales.com a while ago, and was incensed enough, I'm pretty sure, to write the author, rip her a new asshole, and direct her to the Stolen Childhoods website in hopes that she would get a clue. Sadly, I doubt it worked, but she is at least no longer active on the board.

Of Stolen Childhoods, and Unfair TV Programmes

By ritawrites
from the ABC set GURUWRITES

I am convinced it is a Judeo/Christian thing. Come the year end, come the time for yuletide, when we will witness how the rich west shamelessly displays its throw-away wealth, you suddenly get flooded with media tearjerkers about the "those poor sods in those dark third-world holes". It almost seems to be a self-flagellation trip. Or maybe it's just a culture-thing that cannot feel happy about feeling happy - where happiness is measured by how much you can spend - without feeling guilty. Anyway, this year, it seems they have gone for the most tear-jerkers of all - those poor children, overworked in sweat shops, child labourers working in stone quarries, living in horrendous conditions - which according to one media sage, Aaron Brown of CNN/Newsnight, displays the shortcomings of a cultural indifference to such a sorry plight for their children. (I don't know how these obviously mediocre no-brainers like A. Brown make it to such positions as they end up holding, but I guess it's the very sliminess they display that puts them there), as if to say that the parents in Asia and Africa don't give a damn about their children and produce them only so that they can send them to work in stone quarries and horrible sweatshops.

Anyway, coming back to the point, this year it's these guys who've made a documentary called 'Stollenchildhoods' that everybody, beginning with dear bleedingheart Aaron Brown, seems to be getting all frothed up about. Oooh, look at those poor eight and nine year old boys in Philipines "tricked" into shrimp farming! Aaaah, look at those girl children carrying all those heavy loads in those stone quarries of India, "collaterals" in the unfeeling country of their birth. And so on and so forth. It's all heartrending stuff, there's no doubt about that. And it's important to highlight children's plight around the world. And watching the programme (Newsnight on CNN) I was waiting for the lugubrious crocodile tears to dry, and for them - experienced news guys - to get to the 'root cause' of the problem. Why such children exist in the world, in the first place. Which they finally did, in a round about way, after they had exhausted lachrymosing themselves hoarse about the "cultural" thing - poverty.

Wow, I thought, now I will get to hear what solutions they have to get rid of this terrible blight in our world - stolen childhoods - as in what the causes of world poverty are, and how the world can deal with eradicating it, so I sat up straight and strained my ears - and I heard NOTHING. Except the age-old thing - aid. As if the UNICEFs of the world are going to eradicate poverty in the world, so that every child is assured that its childhood is not stolen - HAHAHA! And then Aaron Brown and co talked about the need for education. Every child ought to be educated, they said loftily, while wiping each other's tears. And who is going to pay for that, pray? It turns out that it will take 8 billion a year to educate all the deprived children of the world. Where is that money going to come from? Silence! All I got to hear was that the onus was solely on the shoulders of the third world countries themselves. Doesn't the rich first world have a duty towards the rest of the world, which presumably it belongs to? The question didn't even come up!

And what about the real reason of the inequality that exists in the world - the skewed trade and tariff systems that creates more wealth for the wealthy countries and puts poor countries at a disadvantage? Which only ends up in perpetuating the endemic poverty that exists there. Not a word about that.

And then I really sit up straight and look between the tear-jerker images being put out. Who financed these guys, the makers of 'stolenchildhoods' I wonder. Could it be some first world
companies/businesses, or their agencies, who are afraid of the rapid economic growth of countries like India, and are afraid of the real competition that is looming, and want to put a spanner in the works, I wonder. The fact remains, while indeed it is a shame that children are robbed of their childhoods, merely shedding tears over it is not going to solve the problem. Let's talk about the real issues. Let's talk about the fact that if these children are suddenly sacked - which is the real purpose of all this hullabaloo, so that third world firms/companies/businesses don't have the competitive advantage by the lower wages they pay to children - who at least are able to eat, they would just be put out on the streets, into prostitution, crime, drug pushing, starvation. That before pushing for "eradication of child labour", let's talk about setting up the infrastructure so that they get their rightful childhoods - a good education, and the simple pleasures of play and carefree gadding about. In order to be able to achieve that, the rich countries have to shoulder much of the burden - create the schools, help in creating the employment that parents need in order for them to have the luxury of sending their children to school, and to be carefree. Which entails fairer world trade and tariff practices. Unfair world trade practices, e.g. subsidizing first world farmers, forcing third world countries to open their markets to cheaper first world goods, which wipes out indigenous businesses which cannot compete, and perpetuating the first world/ third world divide are the real causes of most of why childhoods are really stolen. Will the makers of "stolenchildhoods" and Aaron Brown and co. make a documentary/TV programme about that? I bet not.

First, let me address this diatribe overall by wondering here in ether-space if "rita" (the vegan/vegetarian/yoga-touting/guru-worshipping airheaded saint) in fact viewed the same CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown segment for which I was present at airing in December of 2004 (in fact, he's wearing my husband's tie). Because all that she swears is not addressed by my "tear-jerking," "corporate financed" and "lugubrious bleedingheart" friends.....in fact is addressed in the film and was addressed in the segment--or as much as can be addressed in a ten-minute segment.

Now. Let me address point by point.

1. Robin doesn't give a shit about Yuletide and whether or not he needs to grub to fill a void created by his consumerism. Firstly, he's not very consumerist, being one of the least materialistic people I know. Secondly, he's Jewish. Actually, to get technical, he's agnostic, convinced by his pessimism that the God he reaches for in his work doesn't exist.

2. He and Len worked on the film for seven years. To hell with this being the topic du jour. [ed. note: though the film is complete, as of 3/07, he is still working on the problem. What are you doing?]

3. The cultural indifference is not that these children's parents don't care that this is happening to them, it's that we don't care that it's happening to them.

4. Aid and education. Have you done the research? Education is the solution to this. It's been proven. When education rates rise, this sort of thing decreases. Especially in girls and women.

4a. Aid, because it's not the third world countries' fault that they're in this predicament. It's the World Bank, the IMF, globalization. This was also addressed. You obviously weren't listening, instead being too busy tap-tapping away your little pranic musings. These countries got screwed, my dear. By us. So it damn well is our job to make reparations. And this was mentioned.

4b. Not a word about skewed trade? Excuse you?

5. Who financed Robin and Len? Robin and Len. Robin spent his entire life savings and Len mortgaged his fucking office, you twat. So don't go making assumptions. I've seen the paperwork. As a matter of fact, I'm in charge of the paperwork. You have no idea how much this cost them. Personally. Furthermore, it damn near cost each of them their lives several times over. Robin especially, more than you will ever know. How dare you, you ignorant idolater.

6. It's not about causing the child-labour countries to lose their competitive edge. It's about.....get this.....the children themselves. Maybe you confused deva with diva.

6a. The consequences of those children getting "sacked" as you put it? Weren't you listening? Crime, prostitution, drug-pushing, starvation? Those things already exist, because of the child labour problem. Setting up an infrastructure is what the legislation is for. Jesus. Or maybe you missed that part too. Do the words "Global Marshall Plan" ring a bell? Not even a little finger cymbal? No?

7. Fair trade? The awful effects of globalization wiping out indigenous businesses? Why yes, yes they are making a movie about that. Or should I say, another movie. The first one was called "Globalization and Human Rights." Maybe you missed it. You don't strike me as the type to watch much educational television. So I'm pretty sure you'd owe me on that bet.

And now, since you seem to have missed the actual point, let's go to the videotape. Aaron?