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December 13, 2012

Juxtaposition of the Day #2: Don’t Tell Gandhi

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LIFE.com’s latest feature, containing 25 pictures, is called: “Gandhi: Quiet Scenes From a Revolutionary Life.” The powerful images were taken by Margaret Bourke-White. This was the lead picture and here’s the caption:

In 1946, Mohandas Gandhi sits next to a spinning wheel, a device used to make yarn or thread; the now-famous image came to symbolize the notion of Indian self-sufficiency — and thus independence from British rule.

The caption of the second photo reads:

A Bangladeshi police official walks past row of burnt sewing machines in a garment factory in the Savar neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday Nov. 25, 2012. (Khurshed Rinku/AP)

What should be added is that The Nation has photos demonstrating that the Bangladeshi factory, despite evasive statements from the company, was producing clothing for Walmart. In response to those photos, the retailer, which has been involved in what best be called slipshod monitoring of Asian factories for fire safety, has passed on the blame.

With the juxtaposition, the fateful license of stateless corporations, and the rights and dignity of workers in mind (including all those U.S. “right-to-work” states), did I mention the brand of Walmart clothing the factory was producing is called “Faded Glory”?

…Don’t tell Gandhi.

  • LanceThruster

    Thank you for the tragic details.

    I have purchased Faded Glory in the past and rightly feel I have blood on my hands. I will contact Wal-Mart and express my grave concerns over the lack of oversight of the safety standards for contracted labor and outside/offshore vedors and suppliers.

    *No one* should have to pay that dearly for someone else’s low-priced consumer goods.

  • BooksAlive

    Wal-Mart has proposed building a super-store in Northbrook, where I live. There are very few Wal-Marts in the Chicago area. The developer says opening this store means 300 new jobs. Not much of a trade-off for the lives lost in the fire.

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