A Contradiction: It is not clear when they are children, when not

By Prof. Dr. A. Gurhan Fisek

We are conversing with child labourers in a seminar + theatre show organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the apprentices of an Apprenticeship Education Centre.

In a different environment disciplined “at the minimum”degree, how nice children could enjoy their relaxation and freedom without any excessive behaviour… It, on the one hand, enables the lessons to be studied with an active method, on the other hand gives us a hope as well. Most of the topics known by these children were not known in the previous century. However, it is a shame that previous century’s health insurance system and occupational safety policies have a prevalence today… This is a contradiction.

We are starting to this conversation with a question at first:

  1. Who cast his or her vote in the previous elections?

(Silence) Then, one or two apprentices reply:

  1. But we are young. We are not old enough.

  2. Among you, is there anyone who either established a society or attending to any?

  3. But we are young. We are not old enough.

  4. It is forbidden such that people under 18 cannot be worked in hard and hazardous conditions.

  5. Well, why we are working then?

Another contradiction. Even children got this contradiction; thus, it’s hard to understand why the people whom call themselves “adults” still pretend to be the “three monkeys”.

There were some points as surprising as the contradictions presented in thisconversation. One of these was the working children’s level ofperceiving and expressing the physical dangers in their own working environments.

In spite of this, the following points should also be noted down as the ones of which children are not aware enough: long working hours, their working together with the adults, social risks like fatigue and not being able to utilise from leisure times, and etc.

The points are realised by children gradually, and some of which are defined as “rights”. But above all things, the important point that should be underlined was their views on how these fundamental rights and necessities could be acquired. These violence-based opinions were the reflections of both a desperation and an inexperience on that matter.

Up to that time, children have not been introduced with the means of democracy (voting, organisation, insufficient opportunities and environments in regard to children’s meeting with their coevals, and etc.); and this and its being delayed were the basic reasons behind this desperation and inexperience.

With respect to the following stages of life, we observe the extensions of same disorganisation over the issues like labour organisations and formation of interest groups.

We should appreciate and congratulate the Ministry of Labour and Social Security due to its searching for new approaches other than the conventional supervising approach. However, this should not overshadow the unavoidable importance of this conventional supervising approach, which cannot be undervalued as well.