Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Guilty As Charged

Today, November 1, 2005, only two months since my return from Nepal, the situation in the Middle East continues to deteriorate. Nepal's part in the Iraq war is that of an-innocent bystander with no political or religious ties to either the Iraqis or the U.S. Yet, because of their position as the best source of literate, low-cost labor the people of Nepal are now reluctant participants. Many young Nepalese has been tricked into jobs as "civilian support personnel" for the U.S. Armed Forces. Local village headmen have earned huge (by Nepalese standards) bounties or recruitment bonuses by convincing young men in their villages to sign employment contracts with companies thought to be offering employment in Saudi , Jordan or the United Arab Empire. After flying to Saudi (at their own expense) they discovered that their jobs were in Iraq cleaning toilets, cooking or other menial jobs that the soldiers no longer perform. (What ever happened to KP?)
If they refuse these jobs they are required to pay their own way back to Nepal and reimburse their employers for all expenses incurred on their behalf, including the headman's fees. The only way this would be possible would be for their families to sell their small farms and everything else they own of any value in order to pay back their sons' debts.
A group of Nepalese workers who worked on one of the U.S. military bases in Iraq was captured by insurgents and after a short attempt at ransom negotiations it became obvious that no one was going to pay anything for their freedom. After some videotaped statements by the prisoners, all of the Nepalese were brutally murdered on camera.
Their only crime was poverty

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