Morten Krogvold at Chobi Mela VII

Photo by Morten Krogvold
Photo by Morten Krogvold

Morten Krogvold
Morten Krogvold
Morten Krogvold ? Artist?s Talk?? ??
Wednesday, 30 January, 7PM, Goethe-Institut
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Morten Krogvold ? Workshop ?Aesthetics in Photography??
26 January ? 1 February, Pathshala ??? ?
Students? work ? Morten Krogvold Workshop/Opening ceremony?? ? .
Sunday, 3 February, 4PM, Asiatic Gallery of Fine Arts
Morten Krogvold is a Norwegian photographer and writer, especially known for his portraits of artists, politicians and other celebrities. He has published numerous books and held many exhibitions. Krogvold was appointed?Knight of the Order of St. Olav?in 2005, received the?Hasselblad Masters Award?in 2002 and has been the?creative director?for?Nordic Light International Festival of Photography?in Norway from 2006-2012.
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Visit Morten Krogvold?s website?http://krogvold.com/

Aesthetics in Photography by Morten Krogvold

Morten Krogvold has a major impact as a teacher in Norway and abroad. He has so far held more than 100 workshops in Norway & other countries of the world and this is his 6th workshop in Bangladesh. His dynamic black & white and color photographs have been extensively exhibited throughout the world, including Bangladesh, the Republic of China, France Botswana, Canada, Sweden, USA & of course, Norway. Krogvold was appointed Knight of the Order of St. Olav in 2005, received Hasselblad master award in 2002 and he is creative director for Nordic Light International Festival of Photography, Norway from 2006-2012.

The objective of this workshop is to develop participants? aesthetics in photography. Morten will look at the portfolios of each participants concentrating on composition, light, printing & craftsmanship and give valuable feedback. Participants should be prepared to receive honest and hard feedback and push their limits. The focus will be on developing a single image; there will be assignments all through the workshop. His lectures are as inspiring as his photos. It starts with history of art and end with the formation of classic paintings and its relationship with photography.

His teaching methods are novel. Using painting, literature, sculpture and music for inspiration, he imbibes in his students an appreciation of life and culture, which they can use to drive their own photography. Morten is an energetic, lively & resourceful presence in any room, believes ?the winners of the future are those who use creativity & individual thought.?

Workshop Details

  • Venue-?Pathshala, 26 Jan to 1st Feb

  • Language-?English

  • Timing-?Workshop will meet everyday from 9 am to 6 pm- but participants should be prepared to put in longer hours.

  • Fee-?100 US Dollar/ 8000 thousand Bangladeshi Taka

  • Logistics-?The fee excludes the cost of accommodation, food, visa fee and all kind of logistics. The students should carry his/her digital camera and laptop.

  • Participants-?20 students (14 seats are already booked)

  • Deadline for submission– 10th Jan, 2013, 4 pm Bangladeshi time.

  • Who can apply– We will give more priority to young (under 30) students from Asia.

Portfolio submission

  • Photos– Max 15- Story/Series

  • Dimension– 800 pixels, save as 8, jpeg

  • Story text– Max 300 word

  • Bio– Max 300 word

  • Send to- [email protected]?(all in one zip file)

Application Deadline:Jan 10th, 4 pm (Dhaka time), 2013

For more information please contact?[email protected]

Bio-Morten Krogvold (born 3 May 1950) is a Norwegian photographer and writer. Krogvold is especially known for his portraits of artists, politicians and other celebrities. He has published numerous books, held numerous exhibitions.

Visit-?http://krogvold.com/

Please Retweet #photography #mortenkrogvold #chobimela #bangladesh #pathshala #drik

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Chronicler of conflicts

Chronicler of conflicts – The Times of India.

?By?

Trainers Greg Marinovich (South Africa), Per Anders (Norway) and Munem Wasif (Bangladesh) in workshop in Kolkata organised by Pathshala (Bangladesh) and Oslo University College (Norway), with students in Kolkata. The local organisers were Drik India

Greg Marinovich in classroom in Kolkata

Greg Sebastian Marinovich is the only one of the ‘Bang Bang Club’s’ four members to be standing on his feet today. Two are dead and the third’s legs have been amputated. Between them, they share two Pulitzers and a host of other prestigious awards from all over the world. Greg, 50, co-authored a book on the ‘club’ that was made into a film two years ago. And what a film it was: a visual narrative on the lives of four ‘conflict photographers’–all white South Africans who grew up in the apartheid regime, opposed it and exposed the apartheid regime-sponsored violence to the world-whose lives intertwined and took them to many parts of the world to record telling images of war and strife.
Greg, who was in Kolkata to conduct a workshop for photographers from India, Nepal and?Bangladesh?(Editor’s note: organised by Pathshala in Bangladesh and Oslo University College in Norway), told TOI about his work and experiences. Continue reading “Chronicler of conflicts”

Happy February!
We are in the middle of a very stimulating workshop with 14 Bangladeshi, Nepali and Norwegian students and award winning photographer Philip Blenkinsop. The workshop is the beginning of an extended exchange program where participating students will produce an in-depth photo reportage project.

Philip Blenkinsop conducting a workshop in Drik Studio in Dhaka. Photo Wahid Adnan/DrikNews

Philip Blenkinsop has been described as “one of the most essential photographers of his generation” (Christian Caujolle). He is adamant that the photographer should never censor scenes through the camera. ?Photographers are both witnesses and messengers. Our responsibility must always lie with the people we focus on, and with the accurate depiction of their plight, regardless of how unpalatable this might be for magazine readers.? His work, published in international arenas, has been the catalyst for much discussion and amongst other accolades was awarded Amnesty International?s Photojournalism prize for excellence in human rights journalism. Continue reading “”

Frank Fournier at Pathshala

Omaira Sanchez (12) is trapped in the debris caused by the eruption of Nevado del Ru?z volcano. After sixty hours she eventually lost consciousness and died of a heart attack. Photo: Frank Fournier

Pathshala, the South Asian Media Academy takes pleasure in inviting you to the presentation of Frank?Fournier in Pathshala.
Frank Fournier is a French photographer. He originally studied?medicine before becoming a photographer. He moved to New York and?became a staff photographer at Contact Press Images in 1982 after joining the office staff in 1977. His portrait of Omayra Sanchez, a 13-year-old trapped under the debris of her home, won the 1986 World?Press Photo award.
Frank is currently in Bangladesh to conduct a workshop on international reporting at Sylhet in the north east of Bangladesh. He is one of three international photographers, the others being Greg Marinovic (Kolkata), and Philip Blenkinsop (Kathmandu), who will be lead trainers in workshops involving photographers in Bangladesh (organised by Pathshala), India (organised by Drik India) and Nepal (organised by Photo Circle). Pathshala tutors Munem Wasif (India), Tanzim Ibne Wahab (Nepal) and Debashish Shom (Bangladesh) who along with Per Anders Rosenkvist of Oslo University College (OUC) ?in Norway,?will provide mentoring throught the workshop.
Pathshala has been actively collaborating with OUC for over six years, and students from Bangladesh, Nepal and Norway have been involved in exchanges supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Frank’s presentation follows talks by David Burnett (December 2011) and Pep Bonet (January 2012) and is part of the regular teaching programme at Pathshala.
The schedule of the presentation:
Date: February 04, 2012
Day: Saturday
Time: 6.00 pm
Venue: Pathshala (Room # 1)

Who gets to define terrorism?

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By?Ethan Casey

July 26th 2011

My column last week on drone attacks so clearly struck a nerve that I intended to write a follow-up this week, addressing some of the many comments and responses. I did publish an interim statement on my own website, where I invite you to continue that conversation. And the subject is not going away, so I?m sure I?ll be writing about it here again all too soon.
In the meantime, the terrorist attack in Norway brings home once again a very, very important question of our time: Who gets to define terrorism? I?m not sure whether the pen really is mightier than the sword, although I hope it is. What I do know is that a big part of every struggle for power or primacy in human society hinges on the issue of who defines the terms, and that all writing is an attempt to define terms. This means that writing is inherently a political act, and an ability to deploy or control language is essential to human freedom, because language is the repository of meaning.
I don?t want power or primacy, but like anyone I do need to be respected, and I refuse to be bullied. Political bullies use language as a blunt weapon, and the word ?terrorism? is an instance of this. I daresay that over the past decade we?ve all been bludgeoned by the word even more than by the fact of terrorism. And the bullies of the American right wing ? who control the American conversation, thanks to the fecklessness of our spineless president ? would allow the word to be used only in conjunction with the words ?Muslim? or ?Islamic? or (that pernicious neologism) ?Islamist.? If, for example, anyone dares to ask, as I asked in January after the attacks on Salmaan Taseer in Islamabad and Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, ?Is America Any Different from Pakistan??, he or she will be dismissed thus:
?Yawn yet another typical leftie more than willing to jump on the bandwagon of blaming the right, America, and any other group he/she opposes for the actions of a mentally insane person. Jared Loughner [the would-be assassin of Giffords] appears to have been a psychotic, I suspect a schizophrenic. Please wait for the facts instead [of] falling into your own biases.?
This is a very representative presumption among the bullies of the American right wing: that American extremists like Loughner and Timothy McVeigh are lone crazies, whereas Muslim or Pakistani extremists somehow represent their entire society or religion. And it reinforces my belief that how we speak and write is extremely important, and that not only must we resist letting the bullies define the terms, we must seize the initiative by defining them ourselves. Hence I made a point of referring above to the terrorist attack in Norway, because that?s what it was. The terrorist in this case is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist who apparently wants to ignite a holy war against Muslims, and a terrorist is absolutely what he is. If anyone deserves to languish for years without trial at Guantanamo Bay, he does. (Nobody does, but that?s another column.)
Continue reading “Who gets to define terrorism?”

Nobel Peace Prize winner?s reputation under threat in riddle of ?40m loans

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*Fariha Karim, Dhaka, and Francis Elliott, Delhi*

The Times of London

The reputation of a Nobel peace laureate, credited with helping to defeat?global poverty through microcredit, hung in the balance last night after?allegations that he had diverted ?40 million from a bank set up to help the?poor.
Muhammad Yunus, internationally f?ted as banker to the world?s poor, now?faces an investigation by the Norwegian Government, which donated funds to?him.
It marks a further blow to the reputation of microfinance, once hailed as?the most effective way to help the most needy out of poverty.
The model of extending small loans to help to stimulate entrepreneurial?activity was pioneered by Dr Yunus in Bangladesh. It won him the Nobel Peace?Prize in 2006.
But letters obtained by a Norwegian film-maker suggest that Oslo?s embassy?in Dhaka was furious to discover that cash donated to his microfinance?vehicle, Grameen Bank, for housing loans had been diverted to another?company without its knowledge or permission. The arrangement, which Dr Yunus claimed had been made for tax reasons, was not mentioned in Grameen Bank?s annual report.
When his actions were challenged in formal correspondence, Dr Yunus wrote to?the head of an aid agency, Norad, asking for its help.
?This allegation will create a lot of misunderstanding within the Government?of Bangladesh. If the people, within and outside government, who are not?supportive of Grameen get hold of this letter, we?ll face real problem[s] in?Bangladesh,? he wrote.
Dr Yunus was ordered to return the money but while about ?17.6 million was?repaid, the rest of the funds were used for other social causes including?victims of cyclones, according to the Norwegian Government.
The chain of events ? which took place between 1996 and 1998 ? came to light?this week after the letters were aired as part of a documentary on microfinance that was shown on Norwegian television.
Although it said that there was no suggestion of tax fraud, a minister in?the current Oslo administration said that it was ?totally unacceptable? that?aid was used for purposes other than what was intended.
A report into the matter has now been ordered by the International?Development Minister after questions in the Norwegian parliament.
Dr Yunus could not be contacted for comment in Bangladesh last night and?aides said that he was out of the country.
A statement released by Grameen Bank said that the claims were false and?that a full explanation would be provided at the ?earliest convenient time?.
The Nobel Committee stood by Dr Yunus last night, admitting that it was?aware of ?isolated incidents? relating to Grameen Bank when it awarded him?the Peace Prize, but it does not plan to raise any further questions.
The director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad, said: ?The?Norwegian Nobel Committee looked into Yunus and the Grameen Bank very?thoroughly before he was awarded the Peace Prize in 2006, and we used many?international and Norwegian experts to find out about the larger picture and?not just the isolated incidents. On this basis he was awarded the prize for?2006 and we are not raising any questions in this context.?
He refused to clarify whether the committee was aware of allegations of?financial irregularities, saying: ?We have a 50-year secrecy rule. I?m not?commenting on anything else.?
Erik Solheim, the Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International?Development, insisted that there were no suspicions of tax fraud or?corruption committed by the bank.
He added: ?Having said that, the Government of Norway finds it totally?unacceptable that aid is used for other purposes intended, no matter how?praiseworthy the cases might be.
?In the light of an audit review in 1998, Grameen Kalyan returned 170?million kroner [?17.6 million] to Grameen Bank. The additional funds have?among other projects been spent on emergency aid after a devastating cyclone?hit Bangladesh.
?I will ask the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation for a full?report into this matter. At the same time it is important to stress that we?are firm believers in microfinance as a tool in the fight against poverty.?
The allegations will further fuel the controversy surrounding microfinance?amid concerns that what has grown into a massive and largely unregulated?industry is doing more harm than good.
The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the hub of small-loan activity, cracked?down on microfinanciers after accusations that high interest rates and?aggressive debt collectors had led to more than 30 suicides.
Report in bdnews24.com
Earlier article on Grameen Bank

Tracing Freedom

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In late 2008 and early 2009 the Norwegian photographer Tom Hatlestad spent four months driving overland between Norway and Bangladesh. Along the way, he asked a hundred people to define freedom. Some of them are featured in this exhibition. Tom began dreaming of making an exhibition of photos and statements on perceptions of freedom after hearing that the theme for the 2009 Chobi Mela international festival of photography in Dhaka would be ?Freedom?.

Tom Hatlestad's Defender approaching the gates of Drik in Dhanmondi. Dhaka. 17th January 2009. Shehabuddin/Drik/Majority World

Freedom of movement – Tom has always loved to travel freely, and has visited some 50 countries to date. As a Norwegian citizen, he is also privileged in being able to travel to most places without problems. However, freedom of movement is actually less now than it was 50 years ago, mostly due to international politics and increasing levels of tension. With closed borders in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Burma making the northern and southern routes impassable, Tom drove the only remaining overland route between Norway and Bangladesh: Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Nepal and India.

Tom through the windscreen of his Defender. Drik. Dhaka. 17th January 2009. Shehabuddin/Drik/Majority World

Freedom of thought – Driving ten hours daily for 102 days evokes a type of meditative state and a sense of freedom from domestic concerns. Tom?s Land Rover was not only a rolling studio with its own photo backdrop, but also a canvas for exploring his personal challenges on route. From its safety, he could differentiate real external barriers from those which were mostly in his head.

Tom demonstrating his tent. Drik. Dhaka. 17th January 2009. Shehabuddin/Drik/Majority World

Freedom to congregate – Tom talked to people from around 30 different countries and from all walks of life and social standings. They include the head of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet, a world renowned violin maker, a Nobel Peace laureate, authors and activists. But it wasn?t easy to meet people of different ages, genders and nationalities ? in some countries women just aren?t allowed to talk to strangers, in others Tom?s passport was confiscated and he had to follow a military escort.

The route taken by Tom Hatlestad. Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

***
Tracing Freedom is a project in cooperation with the Nobel Peace Centre. Tom hopes that these portraits of freedom encourage you to reflect upon the freedom you experience in your own life, country and neighbourhood. Ultimately, he wants Tracing Freedom to help inspire a more open-minded and generous spirit in relation to our acceptance of other people?s attitudes.
***
Tom Hatlestad?s base is in Tj?me, Norway, from where he is currently planning his next Freedom Track journey. Tracing Freedom is supported by H?yanger N?ringsutvikling, Sparebanken Sogn og Fjordane and Fond for Lyd og Bilde.
Scroll down this link to see a description of Tom’s trip to Bangladesh

A Two Day Visa

They sing in harmony. Rhythmic tunes with simple lyrics. The lilting songs and the dance-like-footsteps have a deceptive beauty. The metal sheets balanced on their shoulders may weigh tons. Bare feet on slippery clay weaving through scrap metal, is dangerous at the best of times. In pouring rain, and with the loads they carry, the smallest slip could spell disaster. They gently sway in careful steps singing to stay in synchrony. It is a song of death.


Online Norwegian version in Dagbladet
shipbreaking-magazinet1?PDF in Norwegian Magasinet
dagbladet-nyhet?PDF in Norwegian Nyhet
“You wouldn’t have the time” he’d said. It was a polite conversation. Salahuddin, the cousin of Jahangir Alam, had rung me to thank me for helping him get an ambulance at the Apollo Hospital in the elite Bashundhara Complex in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, 250 kilometres from the port city Chittagong. Despite the hospital’s motto of “Bringing healthcare of international standard within the reach of every individual,” it was understood that all patients were not equal. Jahangir and his family had been waiting for over five hours. The hospital was for rich people and Jahangir, a worker at Ziri Subeder Shipbreaking Yard was undeniably poor. Even though the money had been paid, Jahangir, on his deathbed was not going to get the same treatment the other VIP patients at Apollo were given. Eventually the presence of a pesky journalist taking pictures had enough nuisance value for the hospital to dredge up an ambulance. Jahangir would arrive at a cheaper, less equipped hospital in Chittagong, in the early hours of the morning. Knowing I was interested in the plight of the workers, Salahuddin had rung to tell me there had been another accident. A worker was in hospital and they were going to amputate his leg. He felt my presence might save the man’s leg. I was due to go to London the following day, for a brainstorming meeting with Amnesty International. Going to and from Chittagong that day would have been difficult. I had things to do before leaving. Salahuddin was right. Even though I knew that my presence might perhaps have made a difference to a man’s life. I didn’t have the time. We never have the time. Not for some people.
The working conditions at the shipbreaking yards of Chittagong are well known. It is the usual story. In order to get the ships, the Bangladeshi shipbreakers pay the best rates to the ship-owners. To retain their profits, they pay the workers the lowest rates in the world, and provide virtually no safety. Workers die and suffer injuries on a regular basis. Some receive modest compensation, others don’t. According to workers, many deaths are simply not registered with the bodies being ‘disappeared’ by the owners.
I had wanted to do a story on the shipbreaking yards for some time. When Halldor Hustadnes of the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet approached me I was immediately interested. I rescheduled a short assignment in Manila so that we could work together for the entire period. A loophole in the Basle Convention was allowing ship-owners to continue dumping ships with toxic waste with abandon in majority world countries that had little regulation.
The new International Maritime Organisation, convention was about to be ratified, but environmentalists felt it would not result in better conditions for workers. Norwegian ship-owners, who benefitted the most from loopholes in the convention (like the ships not being declared waste, and therefore not falling under waste jurisdiction), were a powerful lobby. Even Lloyds the insurers, who register and control the world’s shipping, felt the new convention would not have an effect.
We were hoping our story, timed to appear before the ratification of the convention, would bring attention to the plight of the workers. Getting access to the yard was going to be the main stumbling block. My student Sourav Das, put me in touch with Wahid Adnan. Adnan had good links with Rahman yard. We had been told that the Norwegian ship UMA was berthed at Rahmania yard. The slightly different name might just have been due to a mistake in communication. There was a ship UMA near Rahman yard. This was a breakthrough. Adnan managed to get me in, but though it was the right ship, it was the wrong yard. UMA was going to be broken at Royal, the yard next to Rahman, where we had no access.

The unique continental shelf near Chittagong allow ships to be brought right up to the beach. UMA at Royal Shipyard.
The unique continental shelf near Chittagong allow ships to be brought right up to the beach. The Norwegian ship UMA at Royal Shipyard. 8th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

So we started with the access we had, and worked our way across the porous beach. It was a Friday. The weekend in Bangladesh. We utilised the absence of the manager to bluff our way into the ship. The abundance of asbestos, the open chemical store, the sacks of Potassium Hydroxide pellets and other toxic chemicals left unprotected, were all fairly visible. One of the workers talked of the films they had been shown about how asbestos was toxic, and had to be buried under concrete and that workers needed to wear protective clothing. “But that was just a film” he said.
Young men work on the ship handling asbestos and other toxic chemicals.
Young men work on the ship handling asbestos and other toxic chemicals. 8th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Shujon and co-workers wading through toxic waste as they pull ship parts into the yard. 8th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet
Shujon and co-workers walking through toxic waste as they pull ship parts into the yard. 9th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Shujon was the smallest of the workers. With marigolds dangling from his ears, he insisted on being photographed. He behaved like a child, though we found out he was older than he looked. Only wealthy Bangladeshis have birth records. And with most children being malnourished, looks can be deceptive. Shujon was a helper. Hirolal, the cutter he was helping, didn’t look much older than him. They were cousins. Shielding his eyes from the intense heat with his hands, Hirolal, broke down larger pieces of metal into more manageable shapes. Shujon cleared the debris, oblivious to the sparks that flew around him. Both boys wanted to find work overseas. Singapore was their dream destination. I didn’t tell them that Bangladeshi workers in Singapore, often found themselves in similar bonded labour. At least Shujon and Hirolal had a dream. The contractor came over and started beating up Shujon. He needed to get on with his work. We were getting him into trouble and kept our distance.
An angry contractor beat up Shujon and warns him against talking to us.
An angry contractor beats up Shujon and warns him against talking to us. 9th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Welding goes on into the night. Often welders do not have protective glasses which are expensive and they have to pay for.
Welding goes on into the night. Often welders do not have protective glasses which are expensive and not supplied by the yard. 9th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Ship propellors are made of expensive metal and require special cutting skills and very high heat.
Ship propellors are made of expensive metal and require special cutting skills and very high heat. 9th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Early in the morning Rubel (14) begins ferrying workers from the beach to the ships being stripped. He has been doing this job for three years.
Early in the morning Rubel (14) begins ferrying workers from the beach to the ships being stripped. He has been doing this job for three years. 10th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Early the following morning I saw Rubel, bailing out the water from a lifeboat. Rubel was 14 and had been a ferry ‘man’ since he was 11. His mother didn’t really want him to be doing risky work, but they needed the money. We left before sunrise, before the manager arrived. Rubel was well into his day’s work.
That night when the manager had left, we went back into the yard and slept with the workers. We were guests and had the luxury of having a metal sheet to ourselves for a bed. They sung for us that night. Not the pop songs that we heard on television, or the Tagore songs that the wealthy elite took as a sign of culture. They were haunting songs of longing and parting. One was a song about visas:
With a two day visa
To this false world
Why did Alla send me
Why send me here
With the pain of seeking comfort
He sent me on my own
What game did he play
What game does he play
Using metal sheets for beds, workers sleep in crowded huts with no toilets.

Using metal sheets for beds, workers sleep in crowded huts with no toilets. 11th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

With an empty water bottle and a wooden box as a drum, we sang into the night. Their raw voices blending with the steady rain on the tin roof. “We are poor folk. There’s work tomorrow. We need to sleep.” The foreman said abruptly. We knew the songs had been sung for the entertainment of the guests, at the cost of much needed rest. I walked out into the rain. The tide was coming in. UMA was glistening in the yard searchlight. The guards in their yellow raincoats stood out in the darkness.

UMA, a ship formerly owned by the Norwegian company Odfjell, is beached at Royal Ship Yard in Chittagong.

Beaching master Captain Inam by the Norwegian ship New Berge at Habib Ship Yard, which was beached by him.
Beaching master Captain Inam by the Norwegian ship New Berge at Habib Ship Yard, which was beached by him. 11th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Captain Inam was a boisterous jovial man. He was the most experienced beach captain, and the de-facto spokesperson for the shipyard owners. He was much in demand. When we wanted to speak to the owners, they insisted that the good captain be around. The owners spoke little, leaving it up to the articulate seaman to fend our questions. They invited us over to Bonanza, a posh restaurant in downtown Chittagong. One of the many businesses owned by Mr. Amin, in whose yard two other Norwegian ships, the Gold Berge and New Berge were also being stripped. Captain Inam explained how the ship-owners who made the bulk of the profit took no responsibility for the situation of the workers. How they should allocate a percentage of their profits to building a modern shipyard in Chittagong. How these environmentalists were in collusion with the Northern ship-owners and working towards increasing their profits. Of how the shipyard owners really felt for the workers. Of how they provided helmets, and gloves and shoes to all workers, but that workers didn’t want to wear them. None of this matched with what the workers had to say. “A pair of shoes cost us 500 Taka” they said. That was four days’ wages for the average worker. Odfjell the Norwegian owner of UMA had made 7.5 million dollars from the sale of the dying ship.
The foreman cutter of Royal Ship Yard in his home. He claims attempts to set up a union have been brutally quelled by the shipyard owners.
The foreman cutter of Royal Ship Yard in his home. He claims attempts to set up a union have been brutally quelled by the shipyard owners. 11th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

The foreman cutter talked of how he had escaped death but the person next to him had died due to poisoned gas in the hull of a ship. He took us to his one room house where the parents and the two children shared a bed that almost occupied the entire room. He talked of the four times they had tried to set up a union. Each time the local goons were used to beat them into submission. The main organisers were tortured and lost their jobs. Captain Inam, has a different version. “There are no restrictions to forming unions.” He says. “The workers are simple people and don’t think in those terms.”
Security officers and contractors at Royal Shipping Yard.
Security officers and contractors at Royal Shipping Yard. 12th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

The number of injuries have gone down enormously says the captain. Now there are hardly one or two a year. They take us to the hospital they are building, to reduce medical fees paid to external hospitals. We never went into the logic of requiring to build a hospital to reduce costs if only one or two deaths and a few injuries were taking place all year.
One of the workers Saiful takes us to a nearby village. Walking a few hundred metres, we come across several families of injured workers. A few say they have received modest compensation. Some say they’ve received nothing. Even though these injuries were from a few years ago, the frequency of injuries has little in common with the captain’s figures.
Shahin, an NGO worker who has been campaigning for the rights of shipyard workers, rings us to tell us of an accident that has just taken place. We rush over to Chittagong Medical Hospital (CMH). As all other public hospitals in Bangladesh, CMH is overrun. The three workers were carried up the five flights of stairs and lay on the hospital floor. There were no spare beds. Jahangir was the most badly injured. His head was bleeding, and he couldn’t move. He was barely conscious. The other two workers had broken limbs but would survive. There were no stretchers and Jahangir’s family and friends, took him across to a less busy part of the hospital floor, carrying him on a stretched sheet.
Jahangir Alam being moved to a quieter part of Ward 28 in Chittagong Medical Hospital. They use a stretched sheet as there are no stretchers available.
Jahangir Alam being moved to a quieter part of Ward 28 in Chittagong Medical Hospital. They use a stretched sheet as there are no stretchers available. 12th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Critically injured worker Jahangir Alam lying on the floor of Chittagong Medical Hospital Ward 28.
Critically injured worker Jahangir Alam lying on the floor of Chittagong Medical Hospital Ward 28. 12th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

We contact Al Hajj Lokman Hakim, the owner of Ziri Subedar Yard. Mr. Hakim is angry. “They have accidents because of their own stupidity. Sometimes they have minor injuries, and we have to pay for it. If these foreigners care so much about our workers why don’t they build a new dock for us?” Cursing everyone in sight as we go down the lift of his highrise building, the Lokman Tower, Mr. Hakim drives off in his shiny car. A 5.5 million Taka car according to our driver.
Lokman Tower, the office of Al Hajj Lokman Hakim, the owner of Ziri Subedar, the shipyard where Jahangir Alam was injured. The cart being pulled in the foreground carries steel rods used for construction, which are made from scrap metal obtained from ships.
Lokman Tower, the office of Al Hajj Lokman Hakim, the owner of Ziri Subedar, the shipyard where Jahangir Alam was injured. The cart being pulled in the foreground carries steel rods used for construction, which are made from scrap metal obtained from ships. 14th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Al Hajj Lokman Hakim's house in Chittagong. He is angry that we have arrived and does not want to answer questions.
Al Hajj Lokman Hakim in his house in Chittagong. He is angry that we have arrived and does not want to answer questions. 14th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

The news was more than Jahangir’s mother Nurjahan could take. Her eldest son had an accident a year ago. Two months ago her husband had died. Two weeks later, Alamgir, Jahangir’s younger brother had been injured while working in a different yard. The yard owner had paid for Alamgir’s treatment, but there was no knowing if he would ever be able to work again, or how long the owner would keep paying for the treatment. Jahangir had been the only earning member of the family. As it was, the family depended upon the generosity of the neighbours for their survival. Jahangir’s injury had left the family in tatters. “It is poverty that has driven my sons to this life,” says Nurjahan. “If my Jahangir returns, I will never send him to the yard again.”
Jahangir's mother Nurjahan and his younger brother Alamgir.
Jahangir’s mother Nurjahan and his younger brother Alamgir, in their home. 15th August 2008. Chittagong. Bangladesh ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/MW/Dagbladet

Jahangir never returned. On the night of the 6th September, Jahangir had spoken. He seemed to be on the verge of recovery. He would never walk again, but at least he would live. The following morning Shahjahan heard he had died. Shahjahan knew that the company had been concerned about the rising medical bills, and wondered if Jahangir’s death had been necessary to keep the bills down. One thing was certain. His two day visa had expired.
The ship owners in Norway, will never know he lived.