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some letters about unfair trade

Robina's letter to the victims of the Bhopal tragedy
A reply from Bhopal

A letter to the victims of the the Bhopal tragedy

My class at school has been learning about the Bhopal tragedy. I personally have researched a lot of websites connected with the Bhopal crisis including the Union Carbide website, Bhopal.net, Bhopal.org, Bhopal.com and Fair trade websites. Our year group has set up a small website http://www.unfairtrade.co.uk and I would be obliged if you could have a look at it. At the moment it is a work in progress, but a lot of my classes' work will soon be up on the site. The site is mainly about how to help promote fairtrade and give people in LEDC's a better chance in life, and a fair price for their products. It also aims to make sure big companies stick to their regulations and do not encourage child labour or unfair pay. We have found that many factories in India owned by big companies are breaking their regulations and employing underage worker's, giving unfair pay and making employee's work overtime by using threats and bodily harm. We have also found that in many factories there are children working and poor conditions. Some ladies are beaten unless they work overtime and the usual day consists of starting at 6:15am till 10:00pm at night 7 days a week for the equivalent of £8.00 a week. There must be ways to stop this as well as underfunding in many LEDC's across the world.

Thankyou for your time. Robina (aged 14)

and the reply.....

Dear Robina.
Many thanks for your mail, and it is very good to know that you are learning about the tragedy in Bhopal I am sure you are aware that while the continuing tragedy in Bhopal is awful and seemingly endless, slow and silent Bhopals are taking place all around us, wherever we may be. I am very curious to know what is your understanding of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, whom do hold responsible and why? Can such disasters be stopped and how? what is the best way to provide support to victims and survivors? I just visited your web site. It has a lot of promise but I have a lot of problems with people in Oxfam, the way they think and work, they seem to present a lot of hard realities but the solutions they suggest are almost always rather flaky. For example fairtrade is like an oxymoron except that oxymorons are not allowed to be just one word. Ttrade by definition is unfair. It does not take a degree in economics or arithmetic to realize that if all workers were paid a fair price for their work we would never have created such disparities in wealth as we have today. As you must have learnt, the conditions of workers and working children in England at one time in history was the same (in some ways worse) as it is today in countries in the South. It is true that the worker in England is not whipped, but isnít making a person work on an assembly line doing a boring repetitive job for eight hours a day as de-humanising if not as cruel. There is no law against corporations paying people to do boring jobs that quite often contribute to harmful effects on the environment and human life and health. What I am trying to say is that while I agree that campaigning for proper implementation of labour and saftey laws is indeed a laudable effort, but one always has to be mindful that most human misery is caused by routine and quite legal acts of corporations and governments and other monsters. I look forward to hearing from you

Cheers Sathyu www.bhopal.net

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