- South Asia
- September 21, 2017
It is time for the country to start taking property rights seriously
Bangladesh is rapidly taking steps towards establishing itself as a mid-income country.
Socio-economic indicators demonstrate that Bangladesh is a strong emerging economy and a culturally enriched nation.
This emergence has been gradually recognised worldwide and the international media has reported that Bangladesh may surpass western countries by 2050.
The impression made by Tazreen and Rana Plaza shouldn’t define the sector
With all the blaming, speculation and misinformation going around, I would like to put in my two cents as a garment manufacturer.
For over 30 years, this industry has been the backbone of development in Bangladesh. It may not be evident now but Bangladesh is where it is today because of the apparel sector. No other industry has employed so many or brought in as much wealth into the country over the last three decades. Every other industry: service, hotels, transportation, and even real estate has developed due to the multiplier effect from the apparel sector.
“Choli ke piche kya hai? (What’s behind the blouse?)” was a song that sent India into a tailspin in the early 90s. The moral brigade termed it vulgar. A lot of us sniggered at the provocative innuendo. I think what was forgotten was the following line that answered: the heart is behind.
I wonder if the members of the Baridhara Society (appropriately BS) ever heard that song.
While civil society and activists fight to regain ground lost, a far more insidious and difficult challenge faces Bangladesh.
Mark Twain wrote “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.”
It fits the situation we are facing in Bangladesh perfectly.
Rights and freedoms are under attack across the board, with impunity. While civil society and activists fight to regain ground lost, a far more insidious and difficult challenge faces Bangladesh.
Social responsibility in business entails a somewhat common sense notion
The phrase “social responsibility in business” is a yawner for most of us butch entrepreneurs.
It seems to be a concept that is currently in vogue among the chatterati who are invariably found solving all of the world’s problems in soigné enclaves of exorbitant five-star hotels. It’s a useless notion that has no relevance in the business world.
Or does it?
The exploitation of our workers must be brought to an end
In the wake of the tragic events at Savar on April 24 one wonders if the legal framework of our State is really equipped to protect the lives of all its citizens. The Constitution of Bangladesh in article 32 guarantees, as a fundamental right, the right to life. Numerous laws on labour safety aim to prevent such mindless death.
It happened again. Due to the negligence of factory owners, more than 100 people died. And we are asking, how many more times! Didn’t we say last time that it will happen again and again until the government protects the workers? Yes, that is how we think, probably all the people, who are neither the ruthless owners nor their government patrons. We think that the solution is simple.
The building collapse at Savar, and the following why and how of the incident in the various media, only raised one question in my mind.
Why should a person like Sohel Rana bother with building regulations, quality of materials used and such? He is a Jubo League leader in the area and that title exempts him from certain laws and regulations.
Three months into the Shahbagh movement, we are in somewhat better position to perhaps ask – why all the fuss. The late night political commentators and non resident bloggers are out in full force analysing the strategic blunders committed by its leaders. I will leave it to them to write the premature obituaries. But let me ask if it was all worth it.
Much has been said about it’s tangible achievements – stopping a potential electoral year compromise, providing much needed public support for the movement and changing the law around the appeal process of the verdict.
The nation has failed to live up to its ideals
The past few months, we’ve seen a resurgent and emphatic affirmation of our identity.
We’ve seen chest-beating nationalism, vigorous flag waving, and passionate, positive posturing about what it means to be Bangladeshi.
We’ve made our secular values heard, our demands for justice known. We’ve even asserted our right to be ultra-religious if we want to be. The truth is, it seems to mean very little to be Bangladeshi.
In marketing design class, we were taught that many factors effect a
reader’s decision: font, colour, shape and size. However there is one
exception: SALE. It is the only word that has the same impact on people, regardless of red or blue font, direction, or size. Their reactions remain constant.
Yet another tragedy in Savar, where hundreds of garments- workers have died. Yet again, there will be a lot of hype about this, and after a while, everyone will forget this incident after we have to face something even worse. Lots of buildings have collapsed in recent history without much being done about it.
Those responsible must be held accountable
One girl asked him [the factory manager]: “Mr. Bonstein, why is there no water in the buckets? In case of a fire, there would be nothing with which to fight it.” He became enraged at our group of price committee members, and with inhuman anger replied: “If you’ll burn, there’ll be something to put out the fire.” (Stein, 1977)
There are brave people like Nazma Akhtar who are fighting tirelessly for the rights of the workers
In marketing design class, we were taught that many factors effect a reader’s decision: font, colour, shape and size.However there is one exception: SALE. It is the only word that has the same impact on people, regardless of red or blue font, direction, or size. Their reactions remain constant.
So it is with the reaction to disasters in our country. Human lives are now going at the discounted rate of BDT20,000. A great bargain, isn’t it?
The time has come for Bangladesh to prove that we truly value all human life
We have been here before. It has not been five months since a tragedy in the garment industry had us all wringing our hands and vowing that enough was enough.
Then it was a fire that broke out in Ashulia, killing at least 120. Yesterday it was the collapse of a building that housed five garment factories, and the death toll has already reached 80. With hundreds trapped under the rubble the only grim certainty is that it will continue to rise.
When I was a child, I always believed good triumphed over evil. There was never a question of it being otherwise. That was just the way things were. People who were good came out on top. People who were kind got rewards. People who loved were loved back.
These are the unfortunate lessons that my parents taught in every bedtime story they told me when I was young, and in every lecture they sternly gave me when I so much as put a toe out of line.
Despite campaign promises, Guantamo remains open
More than four years after Barack Obama pledged to close the US internment camp at Guantanamo, over half its 166 inmates are on hunger strike, 16 are being force fed, and soldiers last week used rubber bullets against “non-compliant” prisoners. Guantanamo, along with Abu Ghraib, long ago became a symbol of the lawless brutality of George Bush’s war on terror.
It is high time political parties learn to coexist so that people can get on with their daily lives
Since the passage of the 15th amendment to the constitution on June 30, 2011, abolishing the caretaker government (CTG) system, public debate has centred around the form of government under which the next parliamentary elections will be held; whether it should be a non-party CTG as demanded by the BNP-led opposition or the incumbent government going into a caretaker mode with an independent Election Commission as proposed by the AL-led ruling alliance.
As America’s influence wanes, we see China coming up as the challenger
In a unipolar world order, the term post American world remains quite novel to an average person.
Many may question the practicality of a world order devoid of US influence and dominance. Since the close of the second world war, the US has maintained its dominance over the world by combining its military might with economic power.
Some thoughts on newspapers’ role in society
Human beings are by nature garrulous and gossipy; they love to talk and must have others to listen.
Newspapers are born, and continue to proliferate, on these very basic human instincts. In practice, a trade is not a trade if it does not develop and institutionalise both its internal system and public image.
The print media industry is no different; it has to develop just as any other trade or business practice. While internal processes may vary by organisation, the industry has done well in making itself indispensable to the public.