by Kenneth Justice
~20 years ago the NEWS wire was running like wild fire with stories about the child slavery problem in Africa’s Ivory Coast. I was a teenager at the time and I remember front page stories on the local News Papers (back when we used to get the paper delivered to our house) and I was overcome with emotion as I came face to face with the reality of what those children in the Ivory Coast are going through every day.
In 2001 the problem in the Ivory Coast resurfaced thanks to a small documentary that was filmed and once again media from Europe to the America’s began talking about child slavery…….
Its now 2013 and slavery still exists in the Ivory Coast
I have followed the story with disciplined regularity every month since I first became aware of the child slaves who are bought for 260 Euro’s (about $350 in American dollars) and then forced to work in the chocolate fields of the Ivory Coast.
1/3 of all chocolate consumed world wide is produced by the slaves in the Ivory Coast.
There is little you or I can do about this problem. We are not the Prime Minister of England and we aren’t the President of the United States. Boycotting chocolate is said to be a ‘bad idea’ by the people who are intimately acquainted with the problem;
–) allegedly, if the Western World were to boycott chocolate from the Ivory Coast it would supposedly drive the cost down which would then mean the slaves would have to work even harder.
–) I have read numerous perspectives on the problem with boycotting any chocolate that comes from the Ivory Coast and it seems as though it is a very complex issue that is difficult to understand
But this article isn’t necessarily about the child slaves in the Ivory Coast; it’s about perspective.
I love talking about culture. I love talking about the various elements that make up Western Society like media, politics, art, religion, film, music and more. I think it is a subject that directly relates to all of us because our culture is all around us.
Lately, it seems as though there is a large consensus of people who believe Western Culture is spiraling downward;
—) Unemployment is a major problem all across Europe and the Americas
—) News Journalism seems to care more about celebrities than reporting NEWS that is relevant and the things that matter most
—) Smart Phones are changing our way of life unlike anything else we’ve ever seen before; last week a man boarded a subway with a loaded gun to commit a crime and none of the passengers even noticed because they were all looking at their phones!
We’ve discussed the various problems in the Western World throughout the past year…..but sometimes its important to step back and take in just a little perspective. Because as bad as it may be getting here in the Western World….there are still child slaves in the Ivory Coast!
in the twenty years since the story of the child slaves became a world wide story….not much has changed.
Isn’t that how life can be? We can get so wrapped up in our own problems that we can forget that there is a bigger world outside of our own backyard. Of course, this isn’t to say that I’m not empathetic to our problems here in the West; I am! I am very concerned with the trends that we’ve discussed in relation to jobs, unemployment, religion, politics, media, other such subjects.
But as with so many topics…its important to always remember the bigger picture. If I’m not careful, I can become so upset over the way the NEWS media is in love with talking about Hollywood celebrities that I can forget about the millions of children who are kept in activity along the Ivory Coast.
Isn’t there a way to find a balance between these issues? To still be concerned with the problems in Western Society but not to lose focus on the problems around the globe?
My heart goes out to the child slaves in the Ivory Coast…it has frustrated me to no end that there has been so little I can do about the problem. I have written about the subject in various forms in the past 20 years….but what more can I really do?
As for each of us….its always good to have just a little perspective…
and for now another cup of coffee for me,
For more info on the Ivory Coast Slave Trades go to;
Categories: Culture & Society