Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Insomnia

Somewhen shortly before 4am this morning, insomnia struck. I contemplated trying hard to ignore it, in the hope it would go away, but had eventually to acknowledge its presence and accept it as fact.

So I switched on the TV and discovered BBC3 was showing the last episode of a documentary about the clothing industry in India - Mumbai, to be exact - and the shocking incidence of child labour in the 'sweat shops'. I had seen the other programmes in the series, but missed no.4 somehow, so was glad to be able to fill the gap at last.

Six English teenagers, all interested in the fashion industry, one way or another, had gone to India to see where many of their cheap, high street clothes were manufactured. During their stay, they visited a variety of factories, from one hig-end, ethical, well run establishment to several grubby, back street ones, where the workers were paid a pittance and where children who were obviously younger than fourteen - the legal age - were employed. The English lads and lasses actually lived and worked in some appalling conditions, alongside their Indian counterparts, so they really got to ' see how the other half lived ' and how the glitzy garments destined for London, New York or other world wide cities were being made .

There was a government body of inspectors who attempted valiantly to stop children as young as nine from being exploited, and to let them have a chance to get an education as well as experience a proper childhood, but as soon as one child was freed from the virtually slave labour conditions, there were instantly several eager youngsters waiting to take over, as any kind of a job meant they could at least afford to eat.

The lucky children saved by the inspectors, were sent to an establishment where they were cared for, to a degree, and given an eduaction in the hope that they would be able to lead a better life as an adult. One youngster who couldn't have been more than nine, had run away from his boss who had not only beaten him for any misdemeanour, but also punished him by hanging him up and dousing him with sugar water to attract flies or other biting, stinging insects to plague him.

The group of English teenagers, once arrived back in England, began several schemes to raise money for this worthwhile school in Mumbai, which had rescued so many boys from a hellish existence. They also asked us, the audience, to think a little more about clothes we bought, for a few questions about where and how they'd been produced, before opting to buy them, might help eventually to eliminate the very worst of the manufacturing hot beds of child exploitation.

As this started with insomnia, here's a poem with the same subject:-

Breathing rasps
and heart pounds
in the silence.
Dancing shapes
in the dark behind eyelids
swirl like woodfire sparks
inside closed eyes.
Absense of sounds;
ears strain to hear.
No light;
eyes strain to see.
The world is asleep,
but not me...

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for the visit and your wonderfully kind comment.

    There is actually a segment in my first novel about child labour.

    It's early New Year's morning here - so all the very best to you for 2009.

    Cheers

    David

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  2. Hi Jinsky, this made me think of those dark yet light visions we see on closed eyelids sometimes. Mine tend towards purple, yellow and green. It always amazes me that they seem to last so long. I can close my eyes for several minutes and still see whatever my vision was.

    I too woke before the alarm went off. Didn't want to stay awake but my cats changed my mind and I decided that I could do some reading I hadn't accomplished last night.

    Thanks for stopping by and your nice words. Happy New Year!

    Lee

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  3. Hallo Jinsky, thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment...it really is the only way to meet other bloggers. We see a new name there and pop over to discover more about their new friend. Welcome to blogland. I began last August and now am addicted; this can be a curse sometimes, when your mind is busy but comes up with zero.
    A lot of my visitors are in England, but isn't it marvellous that we can talk to folk all over the world, enter their lives and sense their caring. the truth is that no-one HAS to reply or take the time to leave a message, so when they do it is like a gift, for me, every time.
    My insomnia comes at bedtime, but with a dog and a husband alert to every noise, I lay there until, usually about two oclock, I fall asleep.

    One little tip, if you will allow; always use the spellcheck before you publish.

    A very happy new year to you, we must visit often.

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  4. Thanks Lee - I did say I was a new to this game, so today I discovered the spell check feature just befor I read this comment of yours, but unfortunately not until After I'd posted today's blog with yet another crap typo error - I really can spell, but my fingers are not always connected to my brain! Will try to do better in future, promise.

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  5. This is a P.S. to the above note - I meant to say 'Thanks to Lee AND MOANNIE', but my excitement at finding comments affected my equilibrium!

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