October in the fields

Posted on October 28, 2009 by | No Comments

What’s so bad about cotton conscription: Part II, violence and accidents

Posted on October 28, 2009 by | No Comments

Each year that children are forced out to pick Uzbekistan’s cotton, many will be injured, sickened, crippled and some will be killed.  Their families will receive little or no compensation.  A few reports have already emerged on the victims of the 2009 harvest. Deaths by violence At least one young person has been killed in […]

What’s so bad about cotton conscription, anyhow? Part 1: toxins

Posted on October 28, 2009 by | No Comments

There are sometimes blog commenters (and authors!) who downplay the harm to children brought on by their forced stints in the fields each Fall.  Never mind that the work clearly meets the standards of the UN Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.  The thinking goes, if I did this back in college and […]

“Little Slaves” by Yodgar Obid

Posted on October 19, 2009 by | No Comments

Little Slaves Bitter frost and biting wind at their backs How it howls and wails; Weakened and bent, they trudge with their sacks Little hands, little slaves Torn galoshes and worn out clothes They dream of warm sunny days; Shaking from cough they tremble as they go Little hands, little slaves Childish thoughts, sweet dreams […]

Poetry and the people’s tragedy

Posted on October 18, 2009 by | No Comments

Literature being the common spiritual refuge for those living under totalitarian regimes, it is not surprising that the literary intelligentsia was among the first to speak out against Uzbekistan’s cotton monoculture in the waning years of the Soviet era.  Sadly, they are still decrying it twenty years later. Yodgar Obid, exiled now for seventeen years, […]

AFT and other groups protest: Uzbek child labor has got to go

Posted on October 16, 2009 by | No Comments

October 14 AFT protest: Uzbek kids belong in school

Bukhara U. dean to students: pick cotton or be expelled

Posted on October 16, 2009 by | No Comments

Expulsion is a real threat for students at Bukhara State University, according to the dean of the Humanities faculty, S. S. Raupov, if they don’t immediately report to the cotton fields.  Those with a “documented excuse” are ordered to report to the University daily and are forced to clean the classrooms or do yardwork on […]

October’s cotton fair in Tashkent: undercover and out of sight

Posted on October 12, 2009 by | No Comments

In past years, the Uzbek government has gone to a lot of trouble to advertise their main venue for marketing their ill-gotten cotton, but this year, I’ve noticed, they’re keeping it pretty much on the down low. Which makes sense. The official news agency UzA has several cotton stories on the Uzbek language site, a […]

Nearly all provinces reporting children in the fields so far

Posted on October 8, 2009 by | No Comments

Here is the list of Uzbekistan’s provinces from which we have reliable reports of the mass mobilization of children for cotton-picking, three weeks into the harvest:

Farmers 2009: set us free and we won’t need children

Posted on October 7, 2009 by | No Comments

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting has produced some of the most insightful discussions on this subject since 2004, exposing the reasons behind forced child labor on cotton. Their latest chronicle of the start of the 2009 harvest is based on interviews with several farmers who candidly discuss why they go along with the […]

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