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Don't look away now

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Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. There are things we just don't want to know. Like how our aging neighbor pays her Polish caregiver. Or from which dubious websites your teenage nephew downloads movies that aren't even playing in cinemas yet. Or what kind of people sexually abuse children, and how. Or what our sausages are actually made of. And what it's like to work in a German slaughterhouse.

These are topics where society prefers to look away. And that makes it all the more painful when a sudden event forces us to confront these realities.

The coronavirus pandemic is one such unexpected event. And, more specifically, the major outbreak at the Tönnies meat-processing plant in northwestern Germany. Over 1,500 laborers have tested positive for the virus so far. Some have needed intensive medial care.

Read more: Coronavirus solidarity in Germany is on the wane but not gone

The outbreak has forced politicians and locals to acknowledge that foreign laborers working at the Tönnies site have seen their wages squeezed and their living conditions drop. That week after week, thousands of Romanians, Poles and Bulgarians are exploited, worn out and then sent home when they fall ill. Discarded, like broken consumer electronics goods. The Tönnies laborers have been........

© Deutsche Welle