What the Fuck is Wrong With These People? - Loan Brides

Friday, April 4, 2008
Afghanistan is the source of 93% of the world's heroin and other opiates. The country is uniquely suited to grow the poppies that provide the raw ingredients for the drugs, and small family farmers are able to make more money planting poppies than other, legal crops. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 500,000 Afghan families support themselves by raising poppies, which results in a per capita $300 yearly income for members of these families. The real profits are going to the traffickers, their Taliban allies and the corrupt officials in the supply chain.

Such subsistence living leads to poppy farmers taking out "loans" from the traffickers, against future harvests. So a farmer will borrow $2,000.00 from a trafficker, in exchange for 20 kilos of opium when his poppy harvest comes in. It's like pork-belly futures, only with Heroin.

However, the country is trying to eradicate poppy growing. It will routinely send in crop-eradication teams to raze poppy fields in an effort to control the trade.

So what happens when a farmer's cash crop is destroyed, and he cannot repay the loan he took at the beginning of the season? Why, he gives his prepubescent daughter to the trafficker, of course! She will be married to the (usually) middle-aged man in payment of the debt, and all will be forgiven. Or the farmer can be killed, instead. That's always an option. Take your pick!

What the fuck is wrong with these people?

Girls who are forced into underage marriage with dirty old men always make my blood boil, regardless of the location of the atrocity. I just don't get it. What makes these people think that forcing these young girls (and I mean young - 9 or 10, in some cases) to sacrifice their futures to satisfy the urges of these pedophiles is a Good Idea?

Seriously - what the fuck is wrong with these people?

7 comments:

Cindi in CO said...

I realize this issue is probably more complex than this, but-

Why is it that these family sanctioned, under age marriages always seem to be associated with cultures that have an extreme view of religion? That is to say, that the majority of Mormans wouldn't do this, but the extremists would. Same with Islam. There are also "Christian" sects out there that follow the same practices; women and girls are chattel, to be used as the men see fit.

Don't get it, don't like it. And I feel pretty sure that Jesus wouldn't like it either.

Janiece Murphy said...

Cindi, I noticed that too. Fanatics seem to lose their grip on acceptable behavior in the fervor of their fanaticism.

WWJD? Smack the shit out of the asshats who mistreat their women.

I could get behind that.

John the Scientist said...

WWJD: Millstones and all that.

Asia is, in general, only marginally less nasty on this score than Africa.

I know someone who lost their kid to a Chinese ganster in a majong game. Couldn't pay the debt, gangster had no son, so kid went to live with gangster (about 6 y.o. IIRC). I'm pretty sure no physical abuse was involved, but this took place in the fucking 21st century.

This wasn't even a case of a farmer living close to sunsitence, this was a preventable atrocity. And yes, this guy is a very strict, fundamentalist Buddhist.

Speaking of atrocities, I just can't imagine what my wife would do to me if I came home and told her I lost our son in a poker game.

Janiece Murphy said...

John, if you lost your kid in a poker game, I'd hold her coat while she pummeled you.

Just sayin'.

John the Scientist said...

janiece - I don't think she'd ask to to become an accesory to murder.

Michelle K said...

Somewhat tangental...

I heard on the news earlier this week a story about Asian immigrants in the US having more male children than would be possible without intervention.

They only looked at birth and survival statistics, so they couldn't saw what was leading to the result, but I agree with their conclusion that it makes no sense in the US for male children to be valued more than female children--yet it's happening just the same.

On the bright side, mortality stats were exactly the same, so once a child is born it doesn't matter if it's male or female.

Unfortunately, families seem to be using medical technology, be it abortion, IVF, or even sperm separation, to try and change the odds of having a male child.

When you have these kinds of attitudes about the value of a male child over a female child--and can carry those values with you to the US--then it's how surprising can it be when girls are treated like chattel in other less prosperous countries.

To close on a better note:

"And don't you ever stand for that sort of thing. Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back."

Carol Elaine said...

Michele K, you wouldn't happen to be a Browncoat, would you?

I share in your outrage, Janiece, but I'm sorry to say that I'm not surprised. Not much in this world surprises me these days.