Monday, April 29, 2013
Padash LOVE award - Iqbal Masih
Every now and then a person comes along who just makes you look bad. No matter who you are, or what you do... you could be a doctor who corrects cleft palates on Third World babies for free, it doesn't matter. Iqbal Masih was that kind of person... by the age of 10.
Indentured at the age of five to a carpet factory, Iqbal was chained to his loom and forced to work 12 hours a day. And when he tried to escape, he was beaten. And because the carpet bosses didn't feed him well enough, he never grew. And he shuffled when he walked, no doubt because he spent his childhood on his feet and chained to a freaking loom. Life was hard for Iqbal.
Yet, at the age of 10, the pint-sized Cool Hand Luke escaped and joined the Bonded Labor Liberation Front of Pakistan, a group that was dedicated to freeing child slaves.
In two years, Iqbal liberated 3,000 kids from slavery.
Iqbal didn't just join the BLLF, he pretty much became their spokesman. Which is a pretty audacious thing to do, when you think about it. While most of us would have just sauntered back home and caught up on eating and Wii, this kid actually went back into trenches, even disguising himself and sneaking into factories to interview kids about their working conditions.
In fact, Iqbal was so effective in his crusading that Pakistani carpet exports actually dropped by over $200,000,000 during the years he worked for the BLLF. Sadly, it also made him a high profile target of the alleged "carpet mafia" and the boy was murdered at the age of 13 in 1995. Which means that he helped liberate all those kids in just two short years of work.