Most of things are hidden from us.
Just flip a switch and the room is no longer dark. Haul the trash can out to the curb and it disappears on Thursdays. Buy a $8 bag of peeled shrimp, a throw pillow with a series of triangles printed on it or trendy jacket for $15. How are things so inexpensive? So disposable? Target. Walmart. Dollar tree. Kroger. Made in China. Made in Mexico. Made in Pakistan. Made in Indonesia. These places are hidden from us, the people who craft these items are hidden from us. The conditions for their labor, freedoms, environment, and pay are hidden from us.
These “other” places and people do not really exist or matter because they exist on the other side of the veil. The veil is an enchantment – a distraction created by the most fantastical marketing. It numbs our guilt, exploits insecurities, feeds our narcissism, and keeps us complacent and exhausted by its whirlwind promises of some static end goal as the prize.
But the veil is wearing down – thinner and thinner. This is the information age. This is the internet age. Nothing can hide. No one can be hidden.
From the BBC article:
The SOS in my Halloween Decorations
Inside a notorious Chinese labour camp, a dissident smuggled an SOS letter into the Halloween decorations he was forced to manufacture. Years later, a woman in the US opened a box of fake tombstones and found his note. It seemed impossible at that moment that they would ever meet.
She’d picked it up for $29.99 from the supermarket chain, Kmart, a couple of years before that. It contained polystyrene headstones, fake skulls and bones, black spiders and a cloth drenched in imitation blood. […]she opened the box in her living room, a sheet of lined paper fell out.
On it was a message, neatly hand-written in blue ink.
“Sir,” it began. “If you occassionally buy this product, please kindly send this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.” Julie read on. The note said that the graveyard kit had been produced in unit eight, department two of Masanjia labour camp in Shenyang, China. Inmates there had to work there for 15 hours a day seven days a week: “Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month).” Today 10 yuan is roughly equivalent to £1.10 or US$1.44.
Prisoners were detained on average for one to three years without a formal court sentence, the note continued. Some of them belonged to the spiritual movement Falun Gong. “They often suffer more punishment than others,” the note said.
You can listen to the interview on Outlook on the BBC World Service here
“What type of person do you want to be in your 80-or-so years on this earth?”
To Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M: Do you want to be a man who allows his company to continue to do things like kill 21 Bangladeshi sweatshop workers, and who has “plausible deniability” when it comes to child labor?
To Edward Lampert, CEO of Sears Holdings: Do you want to be a man who allows his company to lock fire exit doors and force workers back to their desk when the fire alarm went off, killing 117 people and injuring over 200?
To Ashley Brooke, YouTuber: Do you want to be a person who gets views out of “hauling” piles of clothes made by kids, promoting a consumption pattern in our society that will make the problem even worse?
Energy is another hidden “other”.
Williams Cos Inc resubmitted a water permit application with New York environmental regulators for the company’s proposed $1 billion Northeast Supply Enhancement natural gas pipeline project from Pennsylvania to New York.
Deep layers of underground coal are all but gone in West Virginia after 200 years of relentless mining, leaving thinner seams of coal on top of the state’s beautiful mountains. But surface mining carries a huge cost: nothing less than mountains themselves. […] the Appalachian landscape is being fundamentally and irrevocably changed.
Interactive map of coal mines in West Virginia (https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/maps/interactive-map-coal-mines-west-virginia)
Can anyone person or agency be responsible ?