May Day

1 May

It’s been so long since I’ve published anything I actually forgot how to log on. I don’t know why, I’ve had a lot on my mind, but haven’t been sitting down to add to this for months.

Having just gotten back from two weeks in Bangladesh the day of the Savar building collapse, I’ve been preoccupied by that disaster. There are now some 400 dead and, depending on which list is accurate, between 130 and 1,300 people unaccounted for.

I was very moved by Charlie Kernaghan’s interview today on Democracy Now!. Codes of conduct are not enough. The U.S. (and other countries) can legislate that imported goods and clothes must be made in factories that don’t exploit child labor, that allow workers to organize in unions for better working conditions, and that meet certain safety standards.

I’ll leave this post at that. I have lots more to say about Bangladesh, a country of incredible hospitality and warmth, and beauty and culture (epecially literary) yet at the same time a country where certain individuals are capable of treating their fellow citizens with sometimes astonishing cruelty and callousness, with total impunity.

I hope this May Day signals the beginning of some real change for workers in Bangladesh, now the 2nd largest garment exporter in the world. We in the West have our work to do too, to use the leverage consumers (and other workers) have to bring about positive change.

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