Friday, December 16, 2005

Firestone Questions

(Dr. Owl from today's Daily Observer)

There's another Firestone story in the paper today. Firestone's been in the news a lot lately, beginning a few weeks ago with headlines accusing the company of practising slavery on its rubber farms in Liberia. The complaint is coming not from rubber tappers and their families, but from a group of lawyers and human rights activists. The lawyers say the tappers are too afraid to speak for themselves. I say if not one tapper out of thousands is willing to sacrifice his job by speaking up for the cause, THERE IS NO CAUSE. Lawyers and activists have important roles to play in struggles for justice and fair treatment, but they cannot lead someone else's revolution. Where are the tappers who will speak up and tell us where they stand and what they want? Are they silent because they are afraid? Or are they silent because Firestone provides them housing, medical care, schools, and salaries that far surpass what the Liberian government pays? Lawyers, please bring your witnesses to the stand!

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