Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Conscientious Objection

If I were to bring a hungry, sick and dirty child into your house and into your care, what would you do? The most likely answer is some combination of "feed them, wash them and take them to the doctor." There is little or no doubt that when the plight of another human being is brought close to us, most of us who have the power to intervene will do so.

So, if we will intervene to help in the life of a person who is in our immediate vicinity, would we help if the person was one step removed? Say, for example, that you knew the person who was responsible for that child being hungry, sick and dirty. Would you support that person?

Now suppose that this harsh person was the owner of a business that sold your favourite brand of chocolate, and the reason that the child was hungry, sick and dirty is that the child had been kidnapped from its family, brought to the plantation which grew the cocoa and forced to work there for no money. Would you buy chocolate from the man who contrived this arrangement? It is, after all, your favourite chocolate.

The moral choices associated with this cannot be ignored. If we knowingly support activities that put people into these kinds of situations we are no better than the one who kidnapped the child in the first place. Being a conscientious objector to these kinds of exploitations is right and good. Our only defenses are ignorance and apathy. We either don't know, or we don't care. Please, for the sake of the oppressed, find out whatever you can about modern slavery and stand against it.

You can read more about fair trade at these sites.

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