The International Herald Tribune reported today on the findings of an Associate Press investigation, revealing that thousands of children now work in the gold mines of Africa. The article said: "These hard-working miners include many thousands of children. They work long hours at often dangerous jobs in hundreds of primitive mines scattered through the West African bush. Some are as young as 4 years old."
This article confronts us with the stark reality of how the world exploits its children. In 2006 the International Labor Organization reported that "some 218 million children worldwide are forced to work, 126 million of whom do so in dangerous and difficult conditions such as prostitutes or in mines and quarries.
And here I am reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's famous quote: "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." (for more on Bonhoeffer go here also)
I often think of this "test" as allowing us to see just how jaded and how decadent not only developing countries are, but just how decadent and soul-poor we are here in the West as well.