Price of Cloth

Women wait for bodies at Rana Plaza

For weeks now news trickled into our living rooms;

Factory collapsed in Bangladesh. Bangladesh

Toothless mouth of an elderly man gapes open in pain; looking for his daughter under the rubble,

Gone to work this morning, cutting garments for living,

Day in and day out,

Three small children left at home.

Beautiful young woman climbs over the pile of bricks; searching for her sister,

They worked together, side by side; making clothes for exports, to places unknown,

From dusk to down.

She was pregnant, she said,

Her sister was.

Then she covers her eyes inside the red and gold coloured head-cover,

To join others standing in a long line waiting for bodies. Women wait for bodies at Rana Plaza

So we can buy trendy clothes for handful of coins and marvel at how cheap they are. Over lattes and brunches on lazy Saturday mornings. Dissatisfied with our lives, our bodies, our children. Only happy with the price of cloth; so cheap you can buy many. And if you do not like them; just threw them into garbage. Easy.

Camera zooms in on a group of men standing in a small circle. Their shirts are thorn open; ribs protruding, hands slicing dusty air.

They shout angrily; building was derelict, everyone knew it, managers forced workers in; to keep up with demands for exports, engineers are corrupt, owner is a gangster who kept a gun in his office.

Our wives and sisters and mothers are dead.

We must change that.

News’ crew moves on. To some other slaughter. To some other sorrow.

Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

22 thoughts on “Price of Cloth”

    1. Dear Deb,

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. Of course it could be, and in some way it is, all of us … and in saying that I know that we are all product of consumerism with its insatiable hunger for possessions that has been fed to us since cradle … so we are all conditioned to buy and go on buying until our last breath … so that factories can keep on churning goods and ludicrous profits can continue to be made … and show goes on and on … for now! Or until grief of having becomes greater than the grief of not having.

      Take Care,
      Daniela

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  1. This is really sad! It is already worse they are made to work in conditions that beasts of burden would organise a revolt. Add to an unsafe factory building, that is pushing it too far!

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    1. It is sad indeed … and more than that. Textile workers of Bangladesh are only one part of it all … there are ship-wreck yard workers in Sri Lanka putting their lives at risk each and every day, working in unsafe and toxic conditions, and many many more … modern-day exploitation and slavery is alive and well all over the world … or what is known as so called ‘developing world.’ Where dirty, and dangerous work is done in unsafe conditions and without any protection by those who have very little or no choice.

      Ironically enough, descendants of at least some of those workers slaving away in 19th century work houses across Europe who fought bitterly for better work-conditions, laws, and protections, are now consumers of goods produced by those working in similar or worse conditions as their forebears … only this time far enough from home to be of little if any consequences, or even disturbance. And yes there is this argument that multinational corporations bring employment and thus progress to people in developing countries that they would otherwise not have, and there is some truth in that. But (and it is a BIG but), if they have to work in such terrible, unsafe and dangerous conditions, for those benefits … then those ‘benefits’, that ‘employment’, and that ‘progress’ are nothing more but disguises for the exploration of the worst kind! Because huge, obscenely huge profits are drawn by those corporations thanks to the ‘race to the bottom’ … for how much longer are we going to sit and watch?

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      1. Profits, employment or progress cannot and will not justify making people work in inhumane conditions. The society has to look itself in the mirror and really examine whether we have made in progress in the living conditions of our lot globally or is this just a chimera?
        As I keep saying, we are worse than we allow ourselves to think. I also recognize there are those of us who stand up and say no, it can’t go on like this. We may not change their working conditions in the immediate circumstances but if we keep it long enough, just maybe, things will improve a bit.

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  2. Great post, Daniela. This is a global crisis. If people really knew the source and the sacrifice behind each article of clothing, would they still purchase the item? I know that economy drives it all… and so the flip side is to wonder if these ‘factories’ should not exist at all. Global economists argue both sides. I don’t understand why we can’t have both. Factories, yes, but SAFE with humane working conditions.

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    1. Thank you very much -:)!

      And yes, I think exactly the same … it is not so much about the existence of those factories, as it is about the conditions in which they operate.

      Kind Regards,
      Daniela

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  3. These photos along with its passage are deep. Yet millions of Native Americans, particularly Christians, live in derelict temples (Selah). They are the mordernists who will never ever be appreciative or content with the things they have, unless there is repentance, reconciliation and restoration. Such persons’ worldview must change. And Americans must become humbled and grateful or else our “greed” for materialistic things will continue to rule us and slaughter us causing us to end up in the rubble. Luke 1:12-21
    Great passage, thank you lady Daniela

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  4. Your post is very important Daniela, because it points out the unseen masses who are so immune to tragedy and tragic working conditions that produce our consumables. And the real problem is “The News’ crew moves on. To some other slaughter. To some other sorrow. “

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  5. I do not watch the news, but big events like this one come to my attention. Indeed, forcing workers to come back to work after serious problems with the stability of the building have been detected.
    What a waste of lives, working for peanuts, for the hierarchy, where we are on the top. The customer is always the top of the hierarchy. Shouldn’t we go for honest trade in stead of free trade?

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    1. Yes, the honest trade or what is becoming known as ‘fair trade’ might be the way to go. However, many argue and quite loudly at that, that trade cannot occur if not free. My view is that one does not necessarily excludes the other. Unless of course greed enters.

      Many thanks
      Daniela

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      1. In the past 10000 years we have been able to change the law of the strongest into the law of the smartest, and now it is time for the law of the kindest …

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      2. I hope you are right … however in those same 10000 or so years we have never ceased to kill, maim, starve, exploit and otherwise torture one another …

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      3. Average compassion has been rising all the time, ever more encompassing and slowly going global. Unfortunately we don’t know whether it will take another 10000 years or just 50 for this to trickle down in government, and business.

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  6. And as we know, these practices will continue as will the atrocities. As long as we all have to have the latest fashions and the profiteers have something to gain.

    Thank you Daniela.

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  7. Great post. These recent collapses are so tragic, and similar things have been happening in the garment (& other industries) for far too long. I really hope that raising awareness will make more consumers more aware of their shopping chooses and the workers who have created what we wear/eat/drive etc.

    Fair Trade is so important, it emphasises workers rights and working conditions, pays a fair wage and contributes back to workers communities via such a wide range of community development projects.

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    1. Hi Seba Silver,

      Thank you for this thoughtful comment. Raising public awareness is very important indeed and every voice counts. Fair Trade is becoming more and more present, however there is a still long way to go.

      Once again – thank you,
      Daniela

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