Recently I saw a program on Cuban TV showing how people died in Turkey from an illness called silicosis. It’s something caused by silicon dust, which is found in grounded sand. Such a material doesn’t come from deserts but through sandblasting (as its name implies, blasting sand with compressed air to clean surfaces).
My father, who’s an engineer, told me that here it’s not exactly the cleaning that’s the problem. Rather, sandblasting is used to artificially wear away the surface of denim to create jeans that are “in style.” For these pants and jackets to be trendy and sell well, the material needs to look worn.
Notwithstanding, the process of creating these can lead to silicosis, which destroys people’s lungs and brings about a painful death.
Watching the TV program, I was immediately reminded of the thousands of teens and younger people who you run into daily in the streets, on buses and at public tourist resorts while wearing those jeans along with glittery T-shirts. These are the youth who sing and dance reggaeton, and they buy those jeans in “dollar stores” here in Cuba.
Do those youths care that people died in Turkey?
Do the managers of chains of Cuban dollar stores care?
We’re already familiar with the depersonalized perspective of capitalists and transnational monopolies; in fact we’re familiar with the whole ballad of globalization.
But…in practice? In daily life? Today? Here? Now?
What’s with that?