A powerful HBO documentary about the beginning and end of using children as camel jockeys highlights the difference between Islam and Biblical morality.
One of HBO’s better shows is Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. It has a 60 Minutes format which sees it have three relatively “in-depth” stories per hour of show. Since I don’t follow sports, the stories are often new to me, so I learn from them. Some of them tremble on the line between pathos and bathos, but overall they’re interesting and humanist without tumbling into political correctness.
And sometimes, it turns out, a story can change the world. Just recently, I learned about one such story.
The story I’m about to tell you actually began in 2004. That was when Real Sports aired an expose about camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates, a deeply Muslim country. Someone has that expose on video and, while the picture quality is poor, I recommend watching it:
If you do not have the time to watch, the ability to watch, or the desire to watch, I’ll sum it up quickly: At the time this video was made, in both the UAE and entire the Arab Peninsula, the ubiquitous camel races that are integral to these desert societies relied on child jockeys to ride the camels in the races. The trainers, with the knowledge and complicity of the fabulously wealthy sheikhs who owned the camels, would kidnap or buy young boys from the poorest places in the world to train as jockeys.
When I say “young boys,” I do not mean ten- or twelve-year olds. I mean two-, three-, or four-year olds. These enslaved children were then housed in compounds where they would do endless menial labor caring for the camels, were systematically starved and drugged to stunt their growth, and slept in the outdoors on the dirt, because the inner buildings of the compounds were used for corporal punishment (whipping and hanging in chains) and for rape. [Read more…]