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April 26, 2013

Colorful Bangladesh

“Even in a situation of grave threat, when they saw cracks in the walls, factory managers thought it was too risky not to work because of the pressure on them from U.S. and European retailers to deliver their goods on time….” – Dara O’Rourke, workplace monitoring expert, UC Berkeley (Western Firms Feel Pressure as Toll Rises in Bangladesh – NYT)

What’s ironic is how the Bangladeshis employed the very fabrics they use to produce those West European and American brands to try and rescue survivors from this latest and horrific factory safety disaster. The building collapse near Dhaka involved almost 300 avoidable deaths and 3000 workers on site. Besides a primary source of low cost textiles, South Asia has also been a steady source of exotic and colorful images feeding Western newswire slideshows.

(photo 1: AP caption: Rescue workers use clothes to bring down survivors and bodies after an eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. The building collapsed near Bangladesh’s capital Wednesday morning, killing dozens of people and trapping many more in the rubble, officials said. photo 2: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images.  caption: Bangladeshi garment workers help evacuate a survivor using lengths of textile as a slide to evacuate from the rubble.)

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