Oct. 25  2021
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Bread and Roses

A couple of days ago I went to the cinema with my migrant worker friends from Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia, along with some FWR staffs.

Source  :  Asian Workers News No. 135 (August 4th , 2002)

By Shagor, Bangladeshi Worker

A couple of days ago I went to the cinema with my migrant worker friends from Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia, along with some FWR staffs.
Normally I don't like watching movies and in Korea I don't have many chances to see them. However, this movie was not based on a popular story, it depicted migrant workers lives.
Although there are many migrant workers all over the world, those of us in Korea seem to be in the most difficult situation of all. It's because many unfair conditions haven't been changed yet and working in these conditions has me wishing for better days to come sooner.
In the mean time, the movie, Bread and Roses, was a shock to me because the characters in it are just the same as us! The fact that they're treated unfairly and beaten by employers and local workers reflects our life, so I felt that I was seeing us, not a movie.
The movie depicts the lives and struggles of Mexican migrant workers, working as sweepers in 1990s America. The reason I was shocked is because the plight of the characters in the movie is exactly the same as that of migrant workers in 2002 Korea.
In the movie, the migrant workers finally acquire Green Cards and the right to work legally, by fighting against an unfair system. However, we still live a hard life here in Korea.
In Korea, most employers and laws say no matter how hard or difficult our work is, or how injured, sick or disadvantaged we are, don't complain and just work though the discomfort. Life was made of labours sweat and endeavor. They dont realize that if labourers are united and strike against an unfair situation they can't take advantage of us any more.
While watching the movie, I thought it would be wonderful to have someone like Maya, the main character - who has faith and bravery, change our situation. It must be very hard to fight against injustice and sacrifice your life. I know I'm not brave enough to do this. That's why I'm eager for our situation to be changed here in Korea by someone like Maya.
However, as I thought it over, I realized there are many people like Maya around me, like the many individual Koreans and NGOs who share migrant workers pain and try to better conditions for us. However, their power is not very strong in Korean society.
I hope these organisations efforts obtain good results as soon as possible. In addition, I ask that our suffering be reported to more people based on data, so that more concrete solutions will come out.
Miracles, like that in the movie, can happen if we don't lose our hope and give up, despite the difficult current condition. I think encouraging each other not to lose hope is our power.
I deeply thank the many people who share our pain by making these types of movies and paying to see them. And I wish this effort not to be useless.
2002 / -0 / 9-
BASE21 News Desk

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