Anti-Globalisation = Racial Profiling

"Terima kasih atas menggambarkan pekerjaan kami sebagai teknisi. Kami tidak pencemar kecuali seseorang mengirim kita polusi karena kita tidak memiliki pilihan lain pembeli kecuali e-limbah. Kami adalah pintar dan aku bisa memperbaiki hal-hal IT tidak ada masalah."
The quote above was posted from a commenter to the provocatively-titled blog post (one of the BEST series) "Are E-Waste Advocates Racist?"

My company has repeatedly been accused of being "an exporter" by companies which "don't export".  If you don't marry, how could you possibly be guilty of spouse abuse?  This is the logic established by companies like GARB, which posted to our Youtube video over the weekend
"GARB has the solution to the ewaste problem. The closed cycle principle.  A must see." 
As required, I came, I saw it.  Hammermills grinding and chopping computers into little pieces that are then hand sorted by labor on an assembly line.   It's "the solution" if you are looking for two things:  elimination of screwdriver labor, and elimination of reuse.  Yum yum.  I feel so much better about mining lead, silver, and tin for my new Tablet or 80 inch video display.  Having people pick up chopped pieces is SO much better than removing screws and sorting the same metals and parts, with some reuse.

The translation of the opening quote (auto-detected as Indonesian language)
Thank you for describing our work as a technician. We are not polluters pollution unlesssomeone sends us because we have no other choice except e-waste buyers. We are smartand I can fix things IT does not have a problem.
There you have it.  If you are biased against global trade, if you are anti-globalization, then GARB and other shredders represent "THE" solution.   If you are an Egyptian trying to get an display monitor for under $25 which will last longer than a brand new LCD display, fair trade is a solution.  Trade is globalization.

Eliminate trade and you eliminate the internet in Egypt.  It's simple...  a return to simpler times, Ayatollahs vs. shaws, dictators and terrorists, a binary world.  No more Al-jazeerah, no more Revolution 2.0.

I've been told that even if I'm right about the progress of globalization, that export for reuse cannot be "fair" because it is "illegal" under international law.  As a former intern at the UN in Geneva, I found this to be a simple enough thing to look up online... It seems there are two interpretations of the Basel Convention.

Is shredding the "legal" answer, according to the Basel Convention?

  1. No, shredding is not the legal answer, under Annex IX Basel Convention explicitly allows computer monitors to be exported for repair and refurbishment and reuse.  If the technician electively upgrades parts, they are generated by the Tech and should be properly recycled (something which is part of a Fair Trade agreement).
  2. Yes, shredding is the legal solution, because the Basel Convention does not allow reuse because the Indonesian or Egyptian technician MIGHT electively upgrade it, and even a working item would then generate a part which is being disposed, and the disposal of that part trumps Annex IX.

Never mind that these replaced parts are not upstream from any pollution...

If the legal answer is B, then I say screw the Basel Convention, the USA was right not to ratify it.   But, that's just the perspective of a former Peace Corps volunteer, married to a foreigner, whose 3 kids speak two or three languages, and who loves meeting Techs of Color and Geeks of Color, and who knew the Tahir Square revolution was coming in 2008.   A mere apologist.

Let the shredding begin.  Here again is our answer to the GARB video.  Tip of the hat to Saturday Night Live Bass-o-Matic skit, popular when I was in high school.

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