Friday, May 10, 2013

The rescue of Reshma: some random thoughts

The rescue of Reshma today, (the last?) survivor of the terrible tragedy that had befallen Bangladesh 17 days ago, has been hailed as a miracle. The religious have shed tears and hailed the greatness of the Almighty Allah and congratulated the rescue workers on the event. Atheists have been scratching their heads on what to make of the ‘miracle’. Seculibs have already started pondering on the finer details of the ‘miracle’ and debating on how Reshma survived. Carefree optimists have rallied on about Reshma making another Guinness record for her survival skills. Online enthusiasts have started making their memes, tributes to the Woman Who Survived.

Newspapers and television have started to spin emotional stories in order to make create the illusion that the survival of Reshma would not have been possible without us, the viewers. We, the fed masses, have been feeling so good.

Politicians have begun to emphasize on the role of the state, both positively and negatively. Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister, has shown the level to which she cares about the latest survivor, by calling Reshma through the red phone and ensuring the resultant blinking TV headlines. The opposition leader has nonetheless shed tears of happiness while keeping mum and maintaining her observance of suspicious government activity.

All seems well and good and the story seems to head to the ‘happily ever after’ stage.


è You consider the fact that most workers of Rana Plaza have not received their monthly wages yet. The BGMEA have ‘given’ a month’s wage to workers with 1 year experience, 2 months for those with 2 years and so on up to a max of  4 months. Workers have complained to the TV stations of underpayment (getting a set amount lower than their actual wages). Those who have lost their ID’s in the carnage and those whose loved one’s have died (but lost their ID’s) have not received a cent yet.
è Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, has been given a light treatment and the flow of events suggests that no charges of manslaughter have been brought against him yet. The most he will face is a mere 5-7 years in ‘Shoshurbari’ (In-laws palace) situated in Dhaka Central Jail.
è The Walt Disney Company has pulled out of Bangladesh to search for cheaper alternatives and shirk any responsibility. Other buyers are on the way in following suit. (Will that make workers safer?)  
è Rescue work continues even 17 days after and neither the government nor the rescue apparatus has any plan or idea on when to stop or even whether to continue.
è The official death toll has been rising steadily to above a thousand dead. Shows the caliber of the Guardian in predicting about 1400 deaths.

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