Sunday, January 04, 2009

BBC best documentary of the year

In my minor bliss of being able to slack at home and do some channel surfing, i chance upon this documentary on BBC, which is a repeat as it is showcasing the candidates for best documentary of 2008. The documentary is talking about child slavery in Africa, which can be found on BBC website at I know that there have been many other shows on slavery and i have watched a few before, but seriously watching documentaries of this genre does not make the emotions any less frustrating.

However, unlike the other documentaries i had seen so far, this one actually provide another perspective, that instead of just condemning child slavery (which should be and the show did), it actually ask the viewers to not see the local child slavery from our perspective as citizens of developed countries, but rather from their own perspective. While many children were bluffed into child slavery or sold unwillingly by their parents, some actually see this as a chance of a different life, that by working they would have the chance to earn money and eventually able to have enough to go to school. Of course every child has their own story and each family has their own problems, and it is by no means sufficient to generalize the plight of each child. I find it rather irritating when parents tell their children whenever they see such situation on tv or out traveling that if they (their children) don't study hard they would end up like these child worker or how lucky we are as compared to them. I do agree that we are lucky, but does it necessarily means that just by a stroke of unluckiness that these children ended up in poverty? Furthermore, these children are not worker by choice because they HAD to work not because they decided to work just to get money so that they can buy more commodities like teenagers of developed societies. Child slavery has nothing to do with performance in education, and the link between child slavery and education is probably because many children were duped into working for their master with promises of an education.

I think that child slaves are probably the lowest of the human food chain, even lower than those children living in poverty. But instead of feeling sorry for them, i feel more towards the exploiters of child slavery. While child labour can arguably be necessary at times for survival, child slavery is totally a different matter. Profits and revenues seem to have so much more lure than the compassion one might feel for another, such that a man would have no hesitation in controlling the lives of children just to get money. Murderers get death sentence for killing another man, but are the sins of these exploiters any lesser by making the lives of many a living hell. I was always told that life is never easy, but the fact is it is made harder by other individuals just because they feel that they have the ability to do so to further their interests. But in the case of these children, they have no chance of fighting back, because in the world of money, money is everything and even people are merely commodities.

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