sexta-feira, 21 de setembro de 2007

Oh God protect the inocents

Alan Gold September 17, 2007
FEW of us are fence-sitters when it comes to the abuse or endangerment of children. The moment we hear about pedophilia or a child being abused by evil parents, we demand that our governments do something to protect the innocent.
We make judgment calls against alleged abusers in our righteous indignation. Look, for instance, at the lather into which the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and worthy people across Australia have got themselves recently over a 12-year-old child chosen as a model to represent the face of Gold Coast Fashion Week.
No crime, it seems, makes us more infuriated than reading about the immorality of pedophiles or the heartlessness of incestuous parents. The moment we're told of even suspicions about the abuse such people perpetrate against innocents, we're ready to throw off 100 years of humane treatment of criminals and threaten them with medieval torture.
But who's really to blame for the exploitation of our children, who have been used as models ever since advertising was in its infancy? Pretty youngsters are used to sell food, toys, games and much more. The industry is well supervised and a responsible adult must be present.
Perhaps 12 years of age is too young for a model to represent the Gold Coast, but there are strict government regulations to ensure this child isn't overworked or abused by predators. And in reality, there are far bigger dangers for the world's children than being lauded by society for being young and beautiful.
The problem, surely, doesn't lie with the overly eager parents of young models, but with the marketing, advertising, media and retail industries, which have been mercilessly exploiting children for decades. Ultra-sophisticated marketing devices and advertising are aimed squarely at children to force parents to purchase products and services they otherwise wouldn't. The fast-food industry is notorious for tie-ins with film companies in pushing the latest fad to get kids to come into their outlets.
Children with angelic faces adorn the pages of fashion magazines to push everything from cosmetics to lingerie, dresses to jewellery. But why blame parents for making money out of their beautiful offspring when the advertising and marketing industry has created an insatiable demand? Why even call it child abuse when most kids who strut their stuff as little adults in school performances or fashion parades are able to be paid for it in the commercial world?
We as a community are infuriated when we read of such alleged abuse; yet how many of us inform ourselves about the real and genuine abuse of children? Only now, after decades of being warned about what was happening, has something been done about the shocking abuse of Aboriginal children. How many of us protested against the incarceration of refugee children in detention centres?
Why is the world silent about the most horrible abuse of kids imaginable that is happening today? Sudanese, Bangladeshi and Pakistani children just out of infancy are being trafficked as camel jockeys by the Arab Gulf states' racing industry, where they are often sexually and physically abused, mentally stunted and starved to prevent weight gain. Children as young as 10 in dozens of countries are armed with rifles and bandoliers of bullets and sent off to fight in the front line of a war. An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children are fighting in Sudan, Uganda, Lebanon, Liberia, Burma and other countries.
Children are being pressed into servitude by unscrupulous parents and mobster-traffickers. UNICEF has estimated that there are 100 million children worldwide who are working in conditions that are harmful to their health, development and wellbeing.
And where was the outcry when it was discovered that Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had willingly sacrificed hundreds of thousands of children whom he deliberately sent to die as martyrs in the front line of his battle against Saddam Hussein? This man of God imported half a million plastic tokens from Taiwan that were hung around the necks of children as keys to paradise before they were force-marched over minefields to clear the way for adult soldiers. They even wrapped themselves in blankets so their body parts would stay together when they arrived in heaven.
How many of us have taken to the streets in protest against the exploitation of children as sex slaves and prostitutes in Asia and the Middle East? Where is the outcry against the rape of babies in South Africa because of the perverted belief that sex with an infant is a cure for AIDS?
The amount of exploitation, pedophilia, enslavement and physical abuse against children throughout the world is a mark of eternal shame in society. Yet we're incensed when a beautiful 12-year-old girl, well protected by both her parents and her society, is chosen to represent modern fashion on the Gold Coast.
Even in Australia, one of the richest and most advanced societies on earth, government services that exist to assist and protect families are so badly understaffed and underfunded that children supposedly in their care are dying of parental abuse and neglect.
Perhaps we should be more worried about the real abuse of children than about a pretty young girl growing up too fast.
Alan Gold is a writer.
Took from:,25197,22428142-7583,00.html

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