Friday, February 13, 2009

More Alike Than Different

I got a kick out of this note from Dr. Joyce Furfero, who has invited me to speak to a class in Economic Growth and Development she teaches at St. John's University.

Dave — As I was driving home last night, I heard the following story on the radio:

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Police say a man who was waterproofing the foundation of a diplomatic residence in New York City's northern suburbs has been rescued after his trench collapsed and buried him to his chest.

Eastchester police Chief Timothy Bonci (bahn-SEE') says the man was pinned against the home's wall for two hours or more before being pulled out at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. He says some of the digging had to be done by hand.

The worker's name has not been released. He has been taken to a hospital, but his condition isn't immediately available.
I really didn’t pay it too much attention, until the end, when the announcer said that the house was owned by a diplomat of the Democratic Republic of the Congo! I immediately thought of that scene in your book, where Valerie is touring the mine and a worker slips in the trench! So, I sent an email to my students asking them to read the story, with the following questions and comments:
“Can’t you just picture the injured man wallowing in the mud like the workers in Gary Peterson’s mine (p. 80)? Can’t you just imagine the injured man being carried over the shoulder like a sack of potatoes by Captain Yoweri or one of his FIC henchmen to be deposited at Jaime’s clinic? Apparently, the Congolese provide no better working conditions for their workers here in the US than they do back home in the Congo!”
The more things change, the more they stay the same! --Joyce

Joyce may have a point, but it also seems to me the story demonstrates that a working stiff has it rough no matter which part of the world he's in.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

1 comment:

Joyce said...

Dave -- Thanks for sharing my thoughts with your other readers. Apparently, one of your readers is also one of my colleagues at the University and he brought your instant post to my attention!

The Eastchester incident also reminded me of the story (in Heart of Diamond) of Joseph Karim, who, once maimed by an accident inside Gary Peterson's mine, is just thrown outside the mine's gate to await the mercy of towns people to take him to Jaime's clinic.

Here is a longer article on the Eastchester incident:

Apparently, the waterproofing company with whom the construction worker is employed, like Peterson's mine, had a "No Comment" for the press!

Thanks again. Joyce