an interview with someone connected to Fair Trade products (and the website) if anyone is so inclined. Fair Trade does business with and sets up co-ops with poor farmers who would normally sell their produce at a very diminished cost to larger corporations. in this manner the farmers reap a larger profit and protect their land for future farming. my mom often sends me Fair Trade tea and i must admit it's okay. maybe not the best, but better than the norm. oddly, though, one quote from the interview caught my eye and made me remember a housemate in seattle who had been on the frontlines in the first iraq war:
"I met one farmer who had his gall bladder removed because of the effects of working with pesticides, and he talked about three waves of physical effects for other farmers, from rashes all the way up to cancer.In fact, almost all the farmers I met had had some sort of physical effect. This damages not only people but also the eco-system and animals."
when bill went to war he was one of the many soldiers told to take certain unnamed pills to protect them from biochemicals that saddam hussein was certain to unleash. he refused (so he said), because he had no idea what they were and his superiors wouldn't or couldn't tell him. in hindsight, it seems to have been the right choice, because as it turns out the military machine had grouped together with the major pharmaceutical companies and agreed to try out unapproved medicines on unsuspecting GIs. medicines that had nothing to do with the possibilities within a war. bill was, however, exposed to Depleted Uranium (DI). DI was and is still used as bullet points for piercing tank armor. DI was a major problem for the military in terms of its long half-life and had no recyclable use up until someone figured out that (because of its extemely high burning temp) it would cut through thick steel like butter. some experts estimate that up to 1000 metric tons of the stuff was left behind in iraq after the first war, most of it in dust form (the estimate for the current war is 10,000). and the only way for it to get into your system is to breathe it unless you wait long enough for it to infiltrate the water table. our GIs breathed it. a UN estimate says that over 500,000 iraqi children have died since the first war of complications due being exposed to DI.
bill breathed it. he came back already complaining of intestinal pains and migraines. he became an extremely mean drunk. he could be found writhing on the living room floor after eating certain types of produce, because his body could no longer break it down enough to pass through the duodenum. eventually, he had to have his gall bladder removed. the military never admitted responsibility nor did it ever admit that DI is radioactive enough to harm humans. at first, they even tried to deny DI was being used (as did the first Bush administration). they called it White Phosphorous. they tried to call it that again during the first stages of the current war, but eventually had to admit it was DI. while denying that it could have any long-term effects on those who breathed it.
anyway, the effect of pesticides on farmers and that of DI on soldiers seems to be similar and that is what got me on this.
i encourage the purchase of Fair Trade products unless you don't like the taste of it. it's one small way in which to help the needy who help themselves and to stick it to conglomerates of the world. although, it most likely helps them financially, too, in some sickpervertedmorallywrong way.