Scores of children as young as 5 are sent into the brick fields of South Asia to work,
often as labourers and also as as donkey boys (shepherds) in order to pay
off gambling debts borne by drunk uncles and fathers or to earn
money for the very basics of life, food and water.
Once there they become bonded and institutionalised for years to come.
The kilns envelop them physically and emotionally as bodies are broken
and dreams dashed.
It is here they will grow into men. However, what kind of men is moot
as nuture in the kilns is one of a lawless, peerless underworld in which
children not only witness but also feel the wrongs done to their elders
as the psychology and the pain inflicted on others is passed down the line
to them, weak and defenceless as they are. In turn they learn how to inflict
pain on to a body even less powerful, the animals themselves.
The brick business in South Asia cares not for childhood but for profit.
Lessons learned here come not from books and family but how to use sticks,
the witnessing of violence and an almost perfect form of capitalism writ large
in the modern day as it destroys not only natural resources, but also the resource
of childhood itself in favour of economic growth.
For if the walls in South Asia could tell their stories they may speak not in the
bass baritone of a powerful labourer in his prime, but more likely through
the innocent whispers & stolen secrets of a generation learning to labour
in bad company.
See interview about this production here: