Upon winning best picture for 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen addressed the issue of slavery. ‘Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live.’
Each year in China, 600,000 people are worked to death. The number of people held in captivity throughout the world is just as staggering. Defining slavery and comparing past and present conditions of slave workers is difficult, however it is realistic to suggest that there are more slaves today than any other period in history.
‘I dedicate this award to all the people that have endured slavery, and to the 21 million people that still suffer slavery today’ McQueen tells the audience before celebrating with his star-studded cast.
With slave numbers equal to the population of Australia, it seems inconceivable to the western world that such an awful practice can be allowed to continue, and does so with little to no coverage or awareness.
Are you reading this on an iPad? It isn’t silly to assume that after the last components were put in place, the worker that assembled it leapt from the roof of his or her workplace. The desired end to the suffering is now being prevented by giant ‘suicide nets’, set up to catch those looking for an escape.
The next 35 hour shift awaits.
We are a funny bunch when choosing what to boycott, what to protest, what to support. I am fairly convinced the next vegan you meet will have a smartphone. Is the welfare of cows providing our milk a bigger priority than children chained to desks for the technology we take for granted? I am no angel in this respect. I indeed own an iPhone, I eat meat. I also understand that many would take offence if I consumed alcohol in their presence on religious grounds.
Does enjoying a pint in my local family-run micro brewery deserve more scrutiny than a tee total technology user? If you can think of a reason why, let me know below.
Too often the religious community insists on setting the moral standard and condoning life choices made by others. Same sex marriage, alcohol consumption, pre marital sex. Are these worse than your desision to buy products made by slaves? Why is your life made an exception?
We all are guilty of buying products made in the most inhumane of ways, there is no way to know for sure that what we buy is as ethical as it can and should be. But whilst our world is becoming more aware of such violations, largely due to charities, blogging and social media communication, kindly refrain from telling me that the lifestyle choices I know are completely moral make me a bad person in some form. Your scripture may say so, I’m afraid however this holds little relevance.