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Don't Blame the USA

Reader comment on item: Saudis Import Slaves to America
in response to reader comment: only in america... land of opportunity

Submitted by Peter J. Herz (Taiwan), Jun 21, 2005 at 10:28

Before we blame the US government for turning a blind eye to such abuses, please note that such cases come to our attention because word got out and local government acted. The USA is a place where you cannot expect the police to check on you simply because they're in the neighborhood and want to remind you that Big Brother is watching; rather, only when someone complains or calls in something suspicious does the machinery of the law move--and that's not necessarily a bad thing for a people who are fond of their liberty.

Yes, the USA does need to remind Sa'udi Arabia and others that we Americans killed so many of our own countrymen over slavery between 1861-65 that it took five more wars to rack up the same number of dead Americans--and hence we don't appreciate the re-introduction of the "peculiar institution" into our country. I say a hearty "hear, hear" to all who have castigated the grand old Middle Arabian tradition of abusing the domestic help. But, at the same time, American police simply don't go around knocking on doors unless someone calls for help or a judge hands them a search warrant.

Perhaps, though, VOA or USIS could air public service anouncements passed around to radio and TV stations nationwide in Bahasa Indonesia, Arabic, Tagalog, Thai, Hindi, Tamil, and a few East African languages explaining that being held against one's will or abused by an employer is against the law. A hotline could be offered, and a databank or network of translators in these languages established for those who call in. It would possibly avoid embarrassing situations for visiting dignitaries who behave themselves and would allow the abused maids to do something for themselves.
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