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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/7/10

Banjos Playing Through the Broken Glass

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"At a Karuturi site 20 kilometers from Elliah, more than a dozen tractors clear newly burned savannah for a corn crop to be planted in June. Omeud Obank, 50, guards the site 24 hours a day, six days a week. The job helps support his family of 10 on a salary of $47 dollars per month, more than the $35 dollars he earned monthly as a soldier in the Ethiopian army."

Obank said it isn't enough to adequately feed and clothe his family.

"These Indians do not have any humanity," he said, speaking of his employers. "Just because we are poor it doesn't make us less human."

Karuturi said his company pays its workers at least Ethiopia's minimum wage of 63 cents per day, and abides by Ethiopia's labor and environmental laws. Well, with a minimum wage of 63 cents per day I'm certain that the environmental laws are equally as tough.

"We have to be very, very cognizant of the fact that we are dealing with people who are easily exploitable," Karuturi said, adding that the company will create up to 20,000 jobs and has plans to build a hospital, a cinema, a school and a day-care center in the settlement. "We're going to have a very healthy township that we will build. We are creating jobs where there were none."

You know, they did the same thing in Alabama, they created thousands of jobs. The promises of a hospital, a cinema and a school rings pretty hollow when workers are required to be on the job 24 hours per day. How will 13-year-old Obang Moe attend this school when he must work for a company that expects a hundred million dollar annual profit and pays him 66 cents a day? What does Obang Moe do with his weekly wage of $3.96 for six days labor in the hot Ethiopian sun? He uses it to help his family to eat one meal per day. What relevance would a cinema have to a child that works doing manual labor six days a week? Do you suppose that he would enjoy the movie "Avatar?"

"Buntin Buli, a 21-year-old supervisor at the nursery who earns $50 a month, said he hopes Karuturi will use some of its earnings to improve working conditions and provide housing and food. Otherwise we would have been better off working on our own lands."

Mr. Buli is only dreaming. Those are the types of things that only slaves are provided with and then only when mandated by law, this is capitalism.

"Your Cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track."

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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