EWaste Whiplash II: PriestaTollah, Reporters, Sex

"Why your daughter should not marry outside the village"
How E-Waste Trade is basically about Sex and the Church

Whiplash begins when you care, listen, "like", and "follow" people in a competition for your attention.

You are a farmer with 3 daughters.  One is educated, learned well in school.  A second is illiterate, she speaks only her native language, and she works in the fields.  A third daughter is only 10 years old.

A wealthy man comes from the capital city.  He is dressed in a fine suit, he has expensive gadgets, he is obviously very rich.  He asks about taking one of your daughters hands in marriage.

You want to check the guy out.  You go to the Priestatollah.

The Priestatollah emphatically says that he knows about the men from the City.

The Priestatollah came himself from the City... he knows what goes on there.

The Priestatollah will save the one thing most important to you... your family.

. . .

According to the Priestatollah:

  • The marriage will be exploitative.
  • The marriage is illegal and she will be arrested.
  • Your daughters will be abused and treated like slaves
  • The City men will take the daughter too young for marriage.
  • The City men will poison your daughter's blood with toxics.

As proof the Priestatollah cites himself... quoted in the news, by respectable journalists.  CBS 60 Minutes and This American Life have done entire episodes about the City Man marriages, the child slavery, the poisonous exploitation.

You love your daughters.  You are afraid of the lives that they could face in the city, of the dark exploitation and sexual debauchery described by the priest.

Then one of the journalists comes forward and says that he reported what your priestatollah said, but then found that the priestatollah had lied on several occasions.

The priestatollah had led the journalist to a brothel and said that the daughters were taken there... but the journalist regretted saying the daughters had been brought to the brothel.  All the women in the brothel had come from the city, not from the countryside.

The Priestatollah had very specifically lied about numbers, saying that 80-90% of these marriages end in divorce, when only 15% of the marriages failed.

You feel whiplashed.

You confront the Priestatollah.

He says that the reporter is nitpicking and wrong, and the Priestatollhah is only concerned about the safety of your children.  Anyway, he says only one of the reporters had retracted his story.  They other has not.  And the other has received a prestigious Polk Award for the reporting.

Which would you do?
  • Ban the City Man from seeing your daughters.  The risk is too great.
  • Allow the most vulnerable of your daughters to marry him... she will not likely have another chance. Perhaps he will give her a better life.
  • Establish other rules and certifications for dating your daughters...
Or how about you ask your daughters what they think?  This is the 21st Century.

The Priestatollahs aren't evil... they are truly concerned, they do mean well.  To quote Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
 "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

This is an allegory for the e-waste recycling export trade.   Most of us know no more about buyers overseas than the farmer knows about the rich man from the city.  But our "daughters" - the emerging markets - are going to have to grow up somehow and do something.   Using our fears and uncertainties to manipulate the outcome goes back as long as priests and ayatollahs have been "certifying" marriages.

Sometimes you just gotta say "Bull nipples."

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