12 October 2013: Blog Response to “Qatar World Cup construction ‘will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead’”
I remember when I was deployed in Kuwait, we also had contractors who work in our military base, Camp Arifjan. We call them “TCN’s” or third-country nationals. As a soldier, I am occasionally called to “supervise” these workers who are constructing the buildings inside the Patriot base. By “supervising” I mean I am ordered to watch these workers for the entire day or until someone else relieves me. If they start to walk towards restricted areas or start to do anything suspicious such as making maps, taking notes, or just acting funny, I am required to report it to my sergeant.
The workers there were treated well. They drink water from the same water supply or chest as soldiers do. The restrooms were open for us and them. On hot days, I remember offering one of them some ice-cold water. Surprisingly, he refused. He told me, with difficulty, that he prefers drinking warm water because it’s better for his stomach. When I talk to them, they would stand very close to me and have constant eye contact because it is part of their culture. Knowing this, I would do the same. One time, I was watching them during their lunch time. I already ate lunch earlier. They went in a canvas-like building and started eating. I decided to sit with them. I was learning Arabic from Rosetta Stone back then so I said “a weledu ya a ku lu” which means “He (boy) is eating.” I remembered one of the workers across from me nod his head and repeated what I said. They offered me some of their food but I declined. I know it is against military policy to “fraternize” with the TCN’s but I still decided to have some light conversations with them in English. They are kind to me.
When I read this article, it touched my heart. I’m shocked that this Qutari company mistreated their workers to the point of death. There was no enforcement of existing company polices to ensure the worker’s well-being. To look from a conflict-theory perspective, pure capitalism may disregard human life. The company’s main focus is to generate a profit. If the workers are cheap, the company won’t pay so much attention to them. They are worth as much as supply and demand goes and the value other people place on them. This is why human enterprises need some form of outside monitoring and enforcing agency to ensure that the worker’s rights are met.
God knows about this and he will be the judge. He will punish those responsible and comfort those workers who already died (Luke 16:19-25).