The Power of The Pen

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack and the ensuing demonstrations, it is even more important to note instances of the power of the pen. In December 2014 the Los Angeles Times ran a four parts series “Products of Mexico” where it documented the conditions of megafarms in that country. Those large enterprises and corporations are the source of much of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States. As one can deduce as the reason behind the series, they are places of abuse, with dangerous and squalid housing, with children as young as 6 working in the fields, with workers being denied wages, with company owned stores charging high prices and placing the workers in a perpetual indebtedness. The report was accompanied by striking pictures making the message vivid and poignant. Since its publication two groups have launched a joint social responsibility initiative to help abate or resolve the conditions: The Confederation of Agribusiness Associations in the Mexican state of Sinaloa and the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Arizona. In addition the series has prodded several activists and organizations to renew their interest and pursue solutions, thus giving the problem enough visibility to create an impetus .

The power of the pen shouldn’t be overrated, but neither should it be underestimated.