Costly Dream

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Costly Dream

Susan Meiselas

Women from Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka are migrating in increasing numbers to the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan to work as live-in domestic workers.

This is an essential issue regarding the globalization not of products but of humanity. As if the situations portrayed within are not dire enough, they can be much worse. I am talking about the trapped Sri Lankan maids in Lebanon during the summer war in 2006. Many, many Lebanese fled the country while leaving their indentured maids behind to fend for themselves in a war zone. I'm sure several of the Magnum members in Lebanon that awful summer remember this scenario. Good on Ms. Meiselas for highlighting this (and HRW).
What a strong work. Susan has done something wonderful by writing these women path. It's really sad. This essay is more than a motion work: it's a battle for justice and healthy labour.
I lived in Lebanon and saw an incredible amount of domestic workers; many were abused and basically imprisoned in the home. When I spoke to the Lebanese they seemed to accept the fact that they took away basic human rights from the workers. Nearly everyone had s story to tell about their neighbours maid who committed suicide or was beaten every night. No one actually did anything to change the situation, if you know someone is being abused there seemed to be nothing you could do, nowhere to go to help the worker. More exposure is needed that will bring about more protection. Thank you for this essay.
...for being sensitive to the plight of these women. Am actually surprised (and a bit sad) that nobody else has seemed to make a comment to this essay. I am a Filipino working here in HK, and seeing a lot of the women from my country milling around in any vacant spot during public holidays is enough to make one's heart ache...
I was very touched by Meiselas's essay. The narrator made a statement made in the "Returning" section that she thinks what needs to be done is very clear. I want to know what exactly needs to be done. I have been concerned about abuse of domestic workers for many years, but do not know what to do to help.
wonderful stuff! great work- fascinating subject matter. very effective :-)
I am a university student from the Philippines, working as a photojournalist for our university paper. I have been wanting to do something like this but my resources are very limited. This is a very powerful essay. The topic is very relevant and the storytelling is not sanitized and presents things as they are. The photos might not be that "creative" or "technically excellent" but I think that in this particular essay, it works in just putting straight to your face the real pictures behind this ignored conflicts and issues of domestic helpers.
Hello mario rivera. I am not that surprised that nobody comment that essay. In my opinion there are too many bad pictures. Just a few good ones hidden in the middle of the essay. Also, for me, the dull look of these images not match the theme. This theme gives a strong background to work with, but the pictures are processed like portraits. Lacks contrast and sometimes the exposure is just wrong. In my opinion that kind of pictures needs strong contrast and more exposure für the lights to look more dramatic. But that is just my humble opinion why not much people like to comment something... Greetings Michael
I am living in Hong Kong and virtually all my friends / relatives hire maids from less developed Asian countries. We indeed treat our mails as members of our own families. Whilst rape ... abuse ... no wages ... could be isolated incidents but should not be regared somethings commonly happening in Hong Kong Singapore ... etc. May all those evil employers / agents receive the proper punishment. However, do note that there are countless good-hearted employers in our place.

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