The Peoples of the World Foundation

Education for and about Indigenous Peoples

Op-Ed June, 2017: Want To Cry?
Any opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the policies of The Peoples of the World Foundation. Unless otherwise noted, the author and photographer is Dr. Ray Waddington.

WannaCry? Right now many IT managers do. But you needn't worry if you're not an IT manager. Many recent events will make you want to cry.

You could start by reading an article in this month's The Atlantic, "My Family's Slave," by the late Alex Tizon. It's the story of Eudocia Tomas Pulido (Lola), who was "given," at age eighteen, by the author's grandfather to his own daughter (the author's mother) as a "gift" (read "slave") when they lived in The Philippines. She was later trafficked to the United States where she was kept illegally and where she continued her life of slavery almost until she died. Horrific as the story is, it is told with pathos, compassion and even some humor. It has already awoken many to the reality of modern-day slavery. This month's photo was taken in the area of The Philippines where Lola was born.

Or you could think about those Chibok schoolgirls who were not freed by their kidnappers last month, about the tears that must have been cried by families upon learning that theirs were not among the freed girls or about the horrors that all of those girls must be going through.

If the topic of the Chibok schoolgirls is too emotional for you, try reading about Chinese lawyer Wang Quanzhang. He is not being held for ransom by the Chinese government, but only they know if he is even still alive after they detained him almost two years ago. Since then, nothing has been heard from or about him. His "crime" is standing up for human rights which is, according to that country's president, too liberal. You may end up crying tears of joy that you don't live there.

Or you could acknowledge last month's twentieth anniversary of Australia's official report about its Stolen Generations — thousands of indigenous children who were kidnapped from their families and then trafficked by the government — by watching Rabbit-Proof Fence. If that doesn't make you cry, nothing will. Except, perhaps, the authentic handmaid's tale. While the tale is fictional in Atwood's novel, it is stark reality for the Kenyan women and girls currently being kidnapped, trafficked and raped to provide the next generation of al-Shabab fighters — a production line of terrorism.

They say there's no use crying over spilled milk. But what if the milk didn't have to be spilled in the first place? That's why IT managers are crying. Last month's WannaCry ransomware affected almost exclusively computers for which Microsoft had released the security patch two months previously.

When an industry demonstrates that it cannot regulate itself, the regulators duly step in. If we still don't realize, after WannaCry, that IT should be a regulated industry, we perhaps never will. Lola was enslaved many years ago. Today, countries like The Philippines have regulation in place to prevent slavery, yet it is all-too-often not enforced. Hopefully, IT regulation will be enforced. Then IT managers can start learning about things that should make them cry.

The Philippines is one of the locations in our feature-length documentary, Peoples of the World: Southeast Asia.

The Peoples of the World Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in the United States under Internal Revenue Service code 501(c)(3).

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