Afghanistan is well known for its arid deserts, the snowy Hindu Kush mountain range, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, textiles, and last but not least, a majority of the world’s opium. Opium has been a known problem in Afghanistan for some time. It is a major exporter of the raw product. It has become a big part of the cultural tradition of Afghanistan. Many of the country’s textile workers have come to use the stuff as a means to cope with the physically demanding, repetitive, arduous day to day life as a worker in the textile industry. All of the constituents of this industry are women and children that live in the country’s more rural areas. It is a way for them to keep the kids calm, and turn their head’s to the fact that they are indeed discontented by the nature of what they do for a living.
From many of the children’s first waking moments, they are administered opium in one form or another. It has been noted that they are often times rubber on the belly with the substance directly after birth to keep them from crying and not sleeping. Could you imagine? I begin to think about whether or not these kids are born opiate dependent. You know, kind of like a crack baby or a heroin baby; when their mother uses drugs while still in the womb. Regardless, the mothers’ still choose to use opium to keep their kids quiet while they work their sunrise to sunset hours. Before the time the babies turn a year in age, they are given the drug orally. One mother openly admits to overdosing her child, which resulted in its death.
Imagine: these are people that are living in the epicenter, we’re talkin’ Arrowhead Water: Straight from the Source, for opium and all of its byproducts. This is some of the purest, rawest opium that can be found on the market, and these people are feeding the stuff to their infant children at BIRTH! Consider this my formal cultural diatribe. There are the Cambodians who put their children to work as prostitutes, the Gypsy’s that make their children steal, the Chinese who make their children work in sweatshops, and around the world underprivileged families often put their children to work begging for money. This one, however, takes the cake.
It is such a double edged sword, in my opinion. I believe parents should always have their children’s wellbeing as their foremost priority. Yet, often as it is in poverty stricken rural areas, I believe parents are often faced with the dilemma of having to make sacrifices on behalf of their children in order to care for them. This is true in all societies. I just can’t seem to grasp justifying the giving of a strong opiate to a child in order to pacify it. Claiming they would otherwise hinder productivity is just outrageous. When my father makes the claim he has to live and work overseas full-time so he may support me, I can more easily wrap my head around that. If my father were to have dropped a couple milligrams of oxy down my throat so I didn’t distract him while he was at work, I would find that to be ludicrous. They are doing nothing to stop this dysfunctional legacy from repeating itself.
By Andrew T.