środa, 1 maja 2013

"When one man dies, it is a tragedy, when thousands die, it's statistics"

Okay, so maybe you've noticed, but I had a writer's block in the past ummm... month. Not that I'm a writer. I had like gazillion  things to say, but somehow it didn't look good written down. In past weeks I went to visit my friend in the University of Essex and I came back super stoked, I started planning how to achieve my goal numer four, I had some really cool interviews for my thesis, I even made a short video as a part of my job application. But seriously, none of those things seemed worth sharing. Or they did, but sounded corny either in English or in Polish. (Does any of you experience this? You write a piece of a witty, brilliant text in Polish and when you translate it to English it all sounds like "I be potato". Or the other way round).
But there is one thing that got stuck in my mind and I just must write about it, otherwise I'll explode. Now focus, and think about the most important thing that happened last month and got a worldwide attention.
Mesdames et monsieurs, now my assistant will pick a card, and I'm telling you that first thing that you thought about was Boston Marathon bombings. Did you?
Allright. So, Boston Marathon bombings, 5 deaths in total: 3 spectators at the Marathon, 1 police officer and one suspect. Add to it 281 injuried people. We all know about Dzokhar and Tamerlane Tsarnaev, about their mother, about Chechnya, pressure-cookers, about that eight-years-old boy, who died, about that brave man, Carlos Arredondo, who ran in the marathon to protest against the war and ended up rescuing people.

Nine days later a factory building in Bangladesh collapsed. Now, ask yourself: a) how many people died? b) where exactly did it happen? c) who is responsible for this?
Can you answer these questions? I couln't, I had to google it. 401 people died, 1000 are injuried, it happened in Savar Upazila in Dhaka and companies, which employed those people (and didn't make sure that the factory building meets safety norms) were Benetton Group, The Children's Place, Primark, Monsoon, DressBarn and probably also WallMart. Inspectors discovered the cracks on the walls of the building just a day before. Some of employees were immediately evacuated, but the managers threatened to withhold the monthly pay from garmets workers who refused to enter the factory. Don't get me wrong, every death is a tragedy, what happened in Boston is just wrong and terryfying, but how come that I knew so many things about marathon bombing and so little about Savar Upazila?
Probably, I wouldn't really bother to check anything about what happened in Bangladesh, but I found this on Facebook and I can't stop thinking about it:

This photo just left me speechless. You can watch documentaries, read tons of reports and articles and then a picture like this comes and you feel a lump in your throat, even though you aren't particularly emotional person. And you can't help thinking that  she is a person, she has a name. Maybe it was Chaitali, maybe Devangi. The skin on her arm is smooth, she's young, could she be your age? Or maybe she was your little sister's age? Who gave her this golden bracelet? And him? Maybe he fancied her? Did he try to rescue her or just embraced her because he knew he's dying and just wanted to hold someone? The lump in your throat is still there and you can't get rid of this image and erase it from your head for the rest of your day. The jumper you wear is made in Cambodia, your T-shirt was produced in China and out of sudden they don't feel that comfortable anymore. But on the other hand you know that voting with your (very thin) wallet won't make a change. Will it?
I saw this picture in the morning, now it's 5:35 pm and I keep thinking about it. Yeah, Benetton is guilty, Mango is guilty, Inditex is guilty for using other people in different parts of the world. I am guilty and you are guilty too because you're buying their products. But do you really have a choice?

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