CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviews Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

On May 2, 02:05 PM EST Christiane Amanpour of CNN interviewed Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina via live video conference on the Rana Plaza garment's factory collapse.

Check it out here

http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/02/prime-minister-says-bangladesh-is-reforming-its-garment-industry/#comment-53141


I could not help commenting and so here goes.





It was interesting to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina share her views in a face to face interview. I think the PM gave as good as she got. She seemed rather unruffled by all the heat Amanpour was directing and stood her ground much better than I was expecting. 
Its a shame it has come to this.
I watched with concern though over the one factory owner Mr Rana who (innocent until proven guilty please) was seen arrested and displayed for the world's media. So it is the fault of one man? Really? I felt the same about a photo I also saw of the factory supervisors from the Tazreen Fashion Factory Fire in December 2012. Again. they too were paraded in front of the media. So these three men and the Bangladeshi Government are too blame? I do not agree.
I am reminded of a quote "All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing."
We should all stop and think. And admit there are more who could do more but did not do so The buyers, the top labels, the consumer who buy without thinking, the international bodies who fund Bangladesh (yet unable to insist on regulation), the affluent NRBs (non resident Bangladeshis living in the West) and of course us ordinary citizens.
Perhaps the best thing that Bangladesh citizens, its diaspora AND Western consumers who wear the cheap clothing can do, is to stop finger pointing and sniping and start to lobby, support and encourage the Bangladesh government and its people to ensure such tragedies can never happen again. Nor does the answer lie in shutting up shop and taking the trade away (Disney recently announced it was pulling out). I mean to annihilate ordinary people's livelihoods is knee jerk and will not help in the long term. Will it? We ought to help demand the garments sector in Bangladesh changes permanently so it is safe and has the highest safety standards. We all should urge for legislation that helps and protects the worker's wellbeing, Hang on. Surely that is also something the buyers of top labels can surely insist or ought to have checked on before they enter the country and place orders? Why have they not? Surely it is that simple? Isn't it?
Why are we just blaming Bangladesh when given their structure, infancy as a country (they are still only 42 years old) and economically challenged? Why ar we shocked these such nations are not operating at European standards? It is because we as consumers forgot to care, did not check and did not think it mattered. The reason we in the West have strict regulations now is because we have bodies that were set up decades ago to protect us all, a fall out from the evolving legacy of highly developed countries. Bangladesh has been a fast growing competitor to China where garment manufacturing is concerned. Yet it is still struggling to get its people literate. It has been swimming in an international arena a bit like the Titanic (so excited at its initial prowess and ability to enter and stay on stage) but perhaps EU, UN etc could have funded and ensured that least developing nations' industry sectors are brought up to line to EU standards (if they want to play with the big boys). Then none of this would have happened. So if bodies such as the EU stopped being concerned about the size of bananas and crazy petty regulations and instead, with the World Bank and other trade bodies had focused on getting poor nations like Bangladesh ready and ship shape for international export arena – these deaths would not have happened.
In the 1950s USA there was segregation and it took good men and women to over turn it. I simply suggest that next time, we can all do something on a micro level, even if it is to donate to War on Want or Labour Behind The Label, all of whom are urging for top brands to sign a safety agreement (many of whom still have not). It's easy I know, donating from an armchair.I have done it. It might take a lot more combined effort, time and money to take action personally but you know what? The personal rewards are immense.
Finally if you really want to help poor nations like Bangladesh, please get to know it better rather than shouting from atop an ivory tower. That goes for all the NRBs too who having escaped Bangladesh, hurl verbal missiles from afar (and constantly snipe about the corruption). Yet think nothing of the effect of travelling out there for a holiday, so they can chuck some money out to villagers (as alms) and then fly back out to pick up their modern Western lives. How about lending skills or influence back in Bangladesh so that the citizens can benefit from a new community of professionals who are from the West but just as passionate to see Bangladesh progress? For the record that is not to say there are no NRBs doing such work but they are few and far between.
And visit these countries personally. I happen to think it is one of the best charitable acts you can ever do in your lifetime. Spend your money out there to boost the local economy in ways that will benefit the citizens. The planet is full of a billion people! Help buy seeds for a rural farmer or donate a sewing machine. We can start with helping just one family – one of us at a time. Perhaps the Government will then see sustainable tourism and export of fairtrade handicrafts can be a great income stream too – just as worthy if not more, than the ill fated garments sector.
There are two sides to each nation. Don't overlook the beauty to focus on the ugly and just blame the nation. Us Western consumers are to blame for demanding cheap clothing. .
Finally, if you care about countries like Bangladesh, you could check out www.Lovedesh.com you could always show your support for our little start up that shares what is great and good about the poorest nations known as LDCs (least developed nations). We are starting with Bangladesh and trying to put together a textiles and architecture tour. There is no voice for these nations to showcase their natural inherent beauty. It's not much I know but I hope it is a start to redress the balance for countries such as Bangladesh.
Yasmin Choudhury
Founder of Lovedesh.com, a food, travel and design start up that is in love with the poorest nations in the world.


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