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Childhood

November 8, 2005

The BBC ran an article by Fergus Walsh, their Medical Correspondent, which talks about the brick chipping children in Bangladesh.

On initial reading it really tugs on my heart strings. But child labour is inherent in Bangladesh. We can think about the domestic help in most middle class houses, and they are children. Very often they are looked after well, but on occasion they may be abused and that should be eradicated.

What I find interesting though is how my eyes have effectively become blind to it. I do not condone forcing children to work, but when I see it, it doesn’t strike me as being morally wrong. When a family needs to survive, everyone chips in when they can. That to me is what should happen. However, it is wrong that I see such things and consider them normal.

On the flipside, am I trying to put my own ‘Islamowestern’ moral code on something which will not allow it? I have been brought up knowing that all children need an education, all children need a loving family, children should not work until they have finished studying. But what says that working in itself is not an education. Albeit, they may not learn to read and write, which are basic skills, but a 12-year old child worker’s understanding of the real world is likely to be far greater than many 25-year old graduates I know.

Also, who are we in the West to judge and assume that our way is right. I think about ‘latch-key’ children, who are the norm in the West. Both parents are out working until late into the day. And children return home from school, to an empty house, potentially make their own dinner which on a good day is food reheated in the microwave, or in the worst case, a packet of crisps/chips, a can of Coke, and a bar of chocolate. So although the child is getting an education, but suffering from a poor diet. Giving a child the perfect childhood is an impossibility for the majority of the world’s population. But for my part, next time I see something like this, I will look at the situation differently.

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3 Comments
  1. onorthok permalink

    this is very nice to read take care buddy

  2. this is very nice to read…….. take care buddy

  3. how can you make so nice blog !

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