Friday, November 23, 2012

"A hundred years and more will pass before we're walking side by side"

November 22, 2012. Police found the children, some as young as 6, working deep in gold mines and cotton fields around Burkina Faso. They were unpaid and unschooled. Some were being sexually abused. An international police operation has freed nearly 400 children in the West African country and arrested 73 people suspected of child trafficking or forced labour, Interpol announced Thursday.
November 13, 2012. Juliane Kippenberg reports: In Tanzania, I met "Julius", a boy of about 13, who works in an artisanal gold mine. He told me he digs ore in pits more than 15 metres deep and mixes toxic mercury with ground ore to retrieve the gold. Once a pit collapsed and almost killed another boy, his friend. The work had made him feel "pain in the whole body".
November 5, 2012: A boy who appeared no older than 8 was found panning for gold in a mining camp in Guyana, a sign that greater efforts are needed to stop child labour in the South American country, the president of a non-government organization said Monday.
October 29, 2012: The UN says there will still be about 190 million child labourers in eight years' time – a drop of just 25 million on today's figures. Even worse is that in the poorest parts of the world, the UN says, the numbers will rise: child labourers in sub-Saharan Africa will jump by around 15 million over the next decade, reaching 65 million by 2020.
Lord Ashley's Mines Commission of 1842, British Parliamentary Papers 1842, vols. XV-XVII, Appendix I, pp. 252, 258, 439, 461; Appendix II, pp. 107, 122, 205, Testimony of Patience Kershaw, aged 17, "an ignorant, filthy, ragged, and deplorable-looking object, and such an one as the uncivilized natives of the prairies would be shocked t o look upon":
I hurry in the clothes I have now got on, trousers and ragged jacket; the bald place upon my head is made by thrusting the corves; my legs have never swelled, but sisters' did when they went to mill; I hurry the corves a mile and more under ground and back; they weigh 300 cwt.; I hurry 11 a-day; I wear a belt and chain at the workings, to get the corves out; the getters that I work for are naked except their caps; they pull off all their clothes; I see them at work when I go up; sometimes they beat me, if I am not quick enough. . .

Rachel and Becky Unthank of Tyne and Wear are from a coal-mining family. The mines are all shut down now, of course. But the Tynesiders remember. Here is the Unthank sisters' "The Testimony of Patience Kershaw":


Blogger Anton Deque said...

I am terribly moved by this. From Tyneside with gratitude.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Long live Geordies, Anton. Long live Mackams.

9:34 PM  

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