Eleven Days in May
This documentary is harrowing, but necessary, viewing. It remembers the lives and deaths of the 60 children killed in the sustained bombing of the Gaza Strip in May 2021 by showing family members sharing their memories of them through stories, photographs, home movies and personal belongings. In an interview, director Michael Winterbottom (who collaborated with Palestinian film-maker Mohammed Sawwaf) said ‘bombing doesn’t solve problems. It creates new ones.’ This was not the first time Israel had bombed Gaza but, he asked, what did we do to stop it? He went on: ‘we have all reacted with horror to the events in Ukraine. Rightly. People there are suffering the same as the families in Gaza. We should work together to try and stop this from happening again.’ Available in Picturehouse cinemas now.
Child Labour and Chocolate
A Channel 4 Dispatches programme showed children as young as 10 working in gruelling and hazardous conditions on Ghanaian farms supplying the company Mondelez International which bought Cadbury in 2010. These farms supply the Cocoa Life programme, a scheme set up in 2012 to reassure consumers that its chocolate is ethically sourced. Its website states that it is helping to stamp out child labour so that ‘children will have opportunities to grow and learn’ …. ‘ we believe the work of children is education and play. No amount of child labour in the cocoa supply chain is acceptable.’ Under Ghanaian law, no child under 13 should be working on cocoa farms, and any work involving hazardous tasks (i.e., using a machete) is banned for anyone under 18. However, Cocoa Life farmers earn under £2 a day and cannot afford adult workers.
- The programme presents evidence that the children were working against their will and were prohibited from attending school. Ayn Riggs, the founder of Slave Free Chocolate, says the answer is simple: companies must pay more for cocoa beans. Mondelez International made $4bn in profits last year and its chairman was paid over $18m. She also says that the company, alongside others such as Mars, Nestlé, Hershey, Cargill, and Barry Callebaut, has admitted accountability for human rights abuses in the supply chain, including trafficking, child exploitation and slavery, and promised to remedy them, but that 20 years have passed since then and the situation has worsened. What is now required is an independent monitoring system. View the programme Cadbury Exposed, Dispatches at rb.gy/k9wbwo.And here’s a list of slave-labour-free chocolate manufacturers: rb.gy/tlpyec.