Why I’m posting this heartbreaking photograph

April 25, 2013. Two victims amid the rubble of a garment factory building collapse in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Read more: http://lightbox.time.com/2013/05/08/a-final-embrace-the-most-haunting-photograph-from-bangladesh/#ixzz2SlWRG3gY
April 25, 2013. Two victims amid the rubble of a garment factory building collapse in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Whilst the world’s media is abuzz with stories of lunatic kidnappers in America, and retiring football managers in the UK (both grabbing legitimate headline space) another Dhaka factory fire last night claimed 7 lives – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/09/deadly-clothing-factory-fire-bangladesh

Last week, I posted about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka.  Rescuers are still pulling bodies out from under the two week old rubble.  Including those of the two workers embracing in the heart-wrenching photograph above.

Taslima Akhter, the photographer who took this picture, was interviewed (see link below) about her experience of being at the scene of this tragedy.  And about this particular photo.

Her statements are powerful.  The image she has captured stirs a million emotions for those who lay eyes on it.

All the questions being asked about accountability for the Rana Plaza collapse need answers.

But, given questions about accountability for how the global garment industry is governed and managed, were being asked more than twenty years ago, how many more years need to transpire before a stop is put to unnecessary lives – like those unnamed in the picture – are lost?

So much of what we read about in the news are “white noise” stories.  There will be replacement football club managers, and, depressingly, replacement lunatics.  Is that why, often, such stories don’t penetrate our consciences for very long, or in a way that makes us stop and think and wonder.

I cannot let this picture go.

Taslima Akhter interview: http://lightbox.time.com/2013/05/08/a-final-embrace-the-most-haunting-photograph-from-bangladesh/#ixzz2SlWktLCD

Brave new world (of uncertainty)

"Only by embracing uncertainty, will the way forward manifest itself" (Jo Confino)
“Only by embracing uncertainty, will the way forward manifest itself” (Jo Confino)

When I was last in Bangladesh, in November, a factory fire broke out in Ashulia, near the capital Dhaka, killing over 135 factory workers.

Like others at the time, this event prompted me to write – http://saigonsays.wordpress.com/category/travels/bangladesh/ – to raise awareness, to express sadness, and to describe CARE’s work in this particular arena.

It’s selfish writing in many ways.  Such an unnecessary event, needlessly taking lives, and a sense that you can respond in some capacity by simply writing a narrative.  Although, at the time, I don’t remember it making me feel any better about what had taken place in Ashulia.

And now it has happened all over again, once more in Bangladesh, this time just north of the capital, in Savar, after the total collapse of the Rana Plaza building, last Wednesday.  Rana Plaza was eight-storeys high, housed four garment factories, 6,000 workers, and should never have been open last week, after factory inspectors had ordered the building be evacuated having declared it unsafe. Continue reading “Brave new world (of uncertainty)”