Feb 15, 2007

"Democracy Now!"-Induced Valentine's Day Guilt

If you ever want to feel like a horrible person for living a comfortable life, a good program is Democracy Now! found on your local liberal-bent radio station. You can listen to the Valentine's Day special and hear stories that make you want to go out and change the world because there's so much injustice even in the day that's supposed to celebrate love:

Those lovely flowers you received - they were probably genetically engineered and grown in Colombia on a giant pesticide-soaked factory farm run by U.S.-owned Dole Foods. How about the chocolate? Well, over 40 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast, in West Africa, where child labor and child slavery is widespread. And diamonds? They are a girl’s best friend. And they have been used to finance some of the most brutal warfare of the last two decades.

Labor Conditions at US-Owned Plantations Show Hidden Realities of Flower Industry

Child Labor: The Hidden Ingredient to the Billion-Dollar Chocolate Industry?

Global Witness Founder Charmian Gooch: “The Diamond Industry is Failing to Live Up to Its Promises”

But then your date for the evening shows up with a lovely flower for you and you realize that while it may have been produced by a single mother working for no pay and physically abused by her supervisors in Colombia, it really will look pretty in your apartment and you forget all about her.

It's horrible, but what can you really do about it? You still really like flowers and really like chocolate and really like diamonds and intend to enjoy them. There are companies that guarantee that their diamonds don't fund the torture of African children and companies that promise their cocoa was produced by well-paid laborers, but you don't have the time or money to buy from them. You don't have the money to buy diamonds at all, of course, but you ignore this fact for a minute for the sake of argument.

You settle your feelings by saying a prayer of gratitude that you're not a child slave in Côte d'Ivoire and then go to the kitchen for another chocolate.

1 comment:

Meilssa said...

Thanks Mika has been looking for a valid excuse for hating Valentine's day. Now I can't argue against her.