Friday, June 22, 2007

Child labor is no game


Well worth watching is the documentary, Not a Game, which details several pernicious forms of child labor found in the countries of Latin America. There is also a web site for the documentary which provides additional information.

The documentary has a segment devoted to the "curileros" of El Salvador, children who work in the mangrove swamps of El Salvador, harvesting mollusks. In this dangerous work, children spend hours in the mud of the mangrove swamp gathering shellfish while smoking cigars to ward off mosquitoes and the pain of their bites.

In a recent outrageous editorial, which could only appear in El Diario de Hoy, the writer opined that:
Part of the campaigns against the so-called child labor is the belief that a child, or an adult for that matter, is only educated in the schools. The thousand-year old experience is that the workshop, the farm, the factories, the stores and the businesses are equally effective alternatives.

The title of the editorial? Better to be a curilero than to fall into drugs. As blogger Hunnapuh put it, the attitude expressed here is a throw-back to prior centuries, of a feudal system where the grand landowners were the owner of both the lands and the lives of the people who worked them. But it's alive and well in the owners and editors of El Salvador's most conservative newspaper. Tragically, child labor and these regressive attitudes are no game.

2 comments:

Caesar said...

Great find on the video Tim! Great reminder of how tough life is not just in El Salvador but across Latin America and the World.

Anonymous said...

I read the editorial I could get the point from the writer saying that to have a job is better than nothing and that's a way how these children help top support their families. But I am disappointed the article failed to address that those children need opportunities to access education and that money should come from the State that gets its money from taxes collected among citizens. I think one of the critical issues in El Salvador is the lack of social responsibility of businessmen and, I have to say, people in general.
We need everyone to go far beyond their duty, pay taxes and really make everyone part of the game. Opportunities for all. I believe the success of some countries is not to close the ring of capitalism to a small group of people but to open it so everyone can share the benefits of private property, opportunities and wealth.

For the writer of the article is easy to say that's better but we can not be proud of that situation.