The following is my opinion on an article that was written in June of 2007 (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/12/1826) and an article from July of 2011 (http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE76C02L20110713). I’m appalled that such atrocities towards mankind ever took place. This is the worst exploitation of slave labour I have heard of since the delta in the early 1900’s.
Firestone Corp. has a plantation in Liberia it has been in operation since the 1926 and apparently there business model has kept its original form. Workers are forced to wake up early from their slum were basic amenities such as indoor plumbing and electricity are something to be left to the owners of this company. When workers go to work it is a family affair because they have to work an accumulated 21 hour work day on persons less then sub-standard wage. The reason why a whole family including small children must come together to produce on average 21 hours of labour a day is because of the companies extremely high production quotas. Imagine the life you would be living, all hours of your day spent in exhaustion tapping rubber trees to go home and bath and fish in a river that is polluted with toxins from the very company you work for then having a bowl movement in a hole while you senior boss practices golfing to eventually get a hole in one. The very thought of this makes me grit my teeth thankfully I am able to get in my car put ware on my tires and see a dentist where these people would never even dream of dental coverage.
In order to stand up for their rights like most employees of major companies they tried to form a union. When this union tried to stage a strike in April they were greeted by police forces. Employee and family members alike were brutally assaulted and smoked out with tear gas; imagine children crying not over a broken toy but because of an involuntary chemical reaction. 6 workers were seriously injured and 13 were arrested.
Unfortunately there is no happy ending to this story as I look further into this matter I learn that the lawsuit against Firestone was thrown out of court. U.S. law in the 7th circuit of appeals court in Chicago states that companies are not immune from liability in U.S. courts under the alien Tort Statue for human rights abuses outside the country. Yet the very judge that makes this statement, Judge Richard Posner then rejects claims by 23 Liberian children who challenged working conditions on 118,000 acre latex producing rubber tree farm in Liberia. Who will be held accountable?
written by Josh Anshen