Response 5 – Article Example
Response 5 The intense patriotic sentiment and national pride in Panama Canal started after the end of Suez Canal. The project started in 1904 with the guidance of chief engineer John Wallace. In as much as it started under praises and hope of success from Suez Canal, several challenges prevailed to both European and Spanish labourers. The film A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama shares these sentiments with Julie Greene’s book Spaniards on the Silver Roll: Labor Troubles and Liminality in the Panama Canal Zone, 1904-1914.
In the film, building of the canal gets guided by smart people without the wisdom to harmonize different cultures. The deadly look through Nova’s eye brings into perspective a 30-year-old period of torment. The human trap in the film leads to death of many labourers mainly European and Spanish labourers1. They have no access to information, are victims to corruption and discrimination in terms of payment. For example, many labourers received 10 cents an hour, an amount not able to sustain anybody.
The racial segregation in the book also unveils the imperial and complex labour issues in the Canal Zone. Green notes that labourers have the opportunity to suffer but cannot air their grievances. For example, when the Spaniards protest against the right to eat in the job, a foreman suspends 500 people for insubordination2. The high number of workers raises many labor concerns; however, race and nationality takes priority during the construction period. Interestingly, recruitment agents promise heavens despite the deplorable conditions. Worse of all, labourers have no protection from the police or any labor unions.
David McCullough. NOVA: A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama. 2011
Julie Greene, aSpaniards on the Silver Roll: Labor Troubles and Liminality in the Panama Canal Zone, 1904-1914, International Labor and Working-Class History, No. 66, New Approaches to Global Labor History (Fall, 2004), pp. 78-98, Cambridge University Press