MASS MURDER AT SAVAR

The stench of rotting corpses
by Rahnuma Ahmed

It’s past midnight now, I took a shower after returning home but it refuses to go away.

I can smell it on my wet hair as strands blow over my face while the fan whirs above. I can smell it on my nightwear and, as I rest my chin on my clasped hands, I can smell the stench of rotting corpses and bloated bodies which stretches from Rana Plaza to Adhar Chandra school grounds in Savar  rise up from my fingers.

It has not only come home with me, all that scrubbing as I showered has proven to be of little use.

It is not the dead workers who are to be blamed. The stench rises from, as Vijay Prasad puts it, the terror of capitalism.

At this end of the subcontracting regime, terror has become normalised, which is why the BGMEA head Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin could get away by declaring in June, there is no logic for increasing the wages of workers.

Which is why the BGMEA could callously disregard the Tazreen factory fire last November when more than 112 workers were burnt alive because the gates had been locked. Which is why it could get away by not taking any visible and effective followup measures of investigating and identifying structurally unsafe factories, of insisting that they be closed down until safety standards had been met, or else, BGMEA membership would be cancelled.

Embrace. Death in Rana Plaza. #Savar. #Bangladesh. Photo by Taslima Akhter.
Continue reading “MASS MURDER AT SAVAR”

Bangladesh death toll rises

Labels Primark and Mango found after factory collapse Bangladesh Labour Rights groups mourn senseless loss of life

Kazi Azizul from Linkedin group:?Bangladesh Business Discussion
Latest count 261 dead, 371 missing. bdnews24.com 4:00 am GMT.

Workers killed in Rana Plaza in Savar, Bangladesh, embrace in death. Photo Taslima Akhter
Workers killed in Rana Plaza in Savar, Bangladesh, embrace in death. Photo Taslima Akhter

Wednesday, 24 Apri: The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following today’s collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, in Dhaka Bangladesh. The collapse of the eight story building, covering three factories and a mall, cost the lives of at least 82 people and injured over 800.
Wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
Wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

Wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Monirul Islam
Wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Monirul Islam

Activists today managed to enter the ruins of ‘Rana Plaza’ and found labels linking major European retailers to this latest tragedy: Spanish high street brand Mango and British Primark. Rana Plaza also produced for a host of well known European and US brand names including C&A, KIK and Wal-Mart. These brands were also involved in the fire at the Tazreen factory, not far from Savar, where 112 workers died in a fire exactly five months ago. German costcutter KIK was also involved in the Ali Enterprises fire in Pakistan, where nearly 300 workers burned to death last September.
Blackboard lists number of dead and missing at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter
Blackboard lists number of dead and missing at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter

Uncontrollable grief of survivors at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter
Uncontrollable grief of survivors at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter

Woman grieves over a body at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
Woman grieves over a body at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

Survivors grieve at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
Survivors grieve at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

 
The killed and injured workers were producing garments for when their factory ? with allegedly illegally built floors – suddenly gave way with a loud sound, leaving only the ground floor intact. This latest collapse provides yet further evidence that voluntary company led monitoring has failed to protect workers? lives. Labour rights groups say unnecessary deaths will continue unless and until brands and government officials agree to an independent and binding fire and building safety program.
Shocked onlookers at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
Shocked onlookers at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

Hundreds of people gather at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
Hundreds of people gather at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

 
?It’s unbelievable that brands still refuse to sign a binding agreement with unions and labour groups to stop these unsafe working conditions from existing. Tragedy after tragedy shows that corporate-controlled monitoring is completely inadequate,? says Tessel Pauli from Clean Clothes Campaign.
Bodies being excavated at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
Bodies being excavated at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

She adds: ?Right now the families of the victims are grieving and the community is in shock. But they, and the hundreds injured in the collapse, are without income and without support. Immediate relief and longterm compensation must be provided by the brands who were sourcing from these factories, and responsibility taken for their lack of action to prevent this happening.?
Survivors searching for loved ones at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter
Survivors searching for loved ones at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter

Survivors being taken for medical care at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter
Survivors being taken for medical care at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter

Survivor in shock being given water at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter
Survivor in shock being given water at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter

 
Makeshift medical centre at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter
Makeshift medical centre at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Taslima Akhter

 
To stop these collapses from happening, the Clean Clothes Campaign calls upon brands sourcing from Bangladesh to sign on to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement immediately. The CCC, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations has developed a sector-wide program for action that includes independent building inspections, worker rights training, public disclosure and a long-overdue review of safety standards. It is transparent as well as practical, and unique in being supported by all key labour stakeholders in Bangladesh and internationally.
A woman searches for missing family members at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad
A woman searches for missing family members at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo K M Asad

The agreement was already signed last year by the US company PVH Corp (owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) and the German retailer Tchibo. The labour signatories are now calling on all major brands sourcing in the industry to sign on to the initiative in order to ensure its rapid implementation. The programme has the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers currently at risk in unsafe and illegally built factories.
The price of greed. A dismembered hand at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Monirul Islam
The price of greed. A dismembered hand at wreckage of Rana Plaza, a building which collapsed on 24th April in Savar Bangladesh, killing many. Photo Monirul Islam

CCC has been campaigning on safety issues in Bangladesh since the collapse of the Spectrum factory in 2005, which left 64 people dead and involved high street brand Zara.

Savar hi-rise collapse, more than 80 dead

Dhaka, Bangladesh. April 24, 2013 [DrikNEWS] – At least 100 garments workers have been found dead and 600 others injured as an 8-storied building, Rana Plaza, collapsed in Savar bus-stand area of Dhaka on Wednesday morning. Four garments factories and a bank branch located in the complex were closed on Tuesday after the building?s wall showed cracks. However, some workers returned to factories on Wednesday before the collapse. The injured workers of the Rana Plaza collapse alleged that they had been compelled to join work Wednesday. They also alleged that garments authorities forced them to enter the risky building on Tuesday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is closely observing the incident and ordered three unit of Army instantly to start rescue mission.

Author:?Ranak Martin?|?Category:?News Flash

Bangladesh Building Collapse Kills at Least 70

By??New York Times

  • A.M. Ahad/Associated Press
    NEW DELHI ? An eight-story building in Bangladesh that housed several garment factories collapsed on Wednesday morning, killing at least 70 people, injuring hundreds of others, and leaving an unknown number of people trapped in the rubble, according to Bangladeshi officials and media outlets. Continue reading “Bangladesh Building Collapse Kills at Least 70”

Eating up children

By Rahnuma Ahmed

LOCAL RESIDENTS HELP FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE THE DEADLY FACTORY BLAZE AT SMART EXPORTS, MOHAMMADPUR, DHAKA, JANUARY 26, 2013 ©AP

Josna, isn’t Josna feeling cold?

I didn’t know what to say as I sat beside Josna’s mother on the curb, outside the Emergency department of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). It was slightly chilly, the last cold wave of January was making its appearance felt.

The breeze seemed to blow away her words, but only as far as outside appearances went. They clung to the inner recesses of my mind.

I shivered, but not because of the cold. Josna, 16 years old, a garment factory worker at Smart Exports in Mohammadpur Beribadh area, was lying cold, on a metal trolley inside the morgue.

Saydia Gulrukh (PhD student), Kanon Barua (Polytechnic student) and I had rushed to the Emergency building. We walked rapidly into a maze of ill-lit corridors,  rubbing shoulders with patients, family members, doctors, nurses and floor-cleaners, stopping at each turn to ask, where’s the morgue? All fingers pointed ahead, finally, a left turn which proved to be a dead end, and we came across “Morgue” written in Bangla on the wall facing us at the end of the corridor. We rushed and joined a small group of men and women miserably huddled outside a collapsible gate. Our eyes followed their gaze.

Josna lay on a metal trolley inside the morgue. All alone. Dead.

The locked iron gate stood between us and Josna, it prevented her family members from entering the room, from holding her closely, from clasping her lifeless body, hoping against hope that their cries, the tears streaming down their faces, would somehow bring her back to life.

But they possessed neither the class-ed clout nor the political connections which can, and do, unlock locked gates.

I looked at Josna’s body through the grill, a young girl dressed in a yellow and white flowery shalwar-kameez, her head turned away from us, thick long black hair half-coiled, half-spread outwards on the metal tray. She reminded me of a sunflower.

“She’d just returned to the factory after eating lunch. The fire started five minutes later,” said her father in a low voice, no trace of emotion on his face. “Where we live, is a short distance from the factory,” he added impassively.

Saydia and I had heard of the fire at Smart Exports soon after it broke out, but we weren’t sure whether there had been any casualties. We’d planned to go to Dr Christopher Pinney’s lecture, “Archiving project in India” at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, part of Chobimela-VII, the international festival of photography. But as we raced down the stairs of our flat, already late for the lecture, text messages kept pouring in.  Unsure about their accuracy, but more than anything else, having gone to Nischintapur a day earlier (January 25, 2013) to demonstrate against deaths and missing workers, to mark the second month of the Tazreen Fashions’ fire, we found it incredulous that yet another blaze, yet more deaths could have occurred. It couldn’t be true, it was impossible, it meant nothing had changed, not in the slightest.

We decided to stick to our lecture plan, but I thought it wise to text activist friends at large, “Fire at Smart Fashions in Mohammadpur Beribadh, 2-5 workers dead. Pls  inquire, go there if you can. Saydia and I can’t at this moment” (in the first rush, Smart Exports had been reported as “Smart Fashions”).

But at 4:42, only a few minutes after we had finally managed to seat ourselves in the auditorium, when my eyes had barely adjusted to the darkness and I could make out the lectern and professor Pinney, both Saydia and I received a text message simultaneously. It was from Baki Billah, a CPB activist: “One died a few minutes ago at DMCH, 5 dead bodies at Sikder Medical Hospital” (transl).

We decided to leave. It would be impossible to concentrate. Our own project of archiving deaths caused by limitless greed in the here-and-now, seemed far more urgent.

Josna, isn’t Josna feeling cold?

The dead, we know, do not feel anything, neither hot nor cold, nor fear nor pain but how long does it take for a mother to learn that? To accept that her child is truly beyond everything, beyond this material world as we know of feelings, emotions, thoughts, acts, working, toiling, earning, eating, smiling, laughing, caring, thinking, dreaming… How long does it take for a mother to accept it?

Feelings never die, an actress friend had remarked many years ago. While another friend had related stories of how her mother, who’d lost one of her daughters, a science student, in a high-school laboratory accident, would often, even many years later, walk out of the house suddenly, oblivious of the fact that it was only hours away from midnight, oblivious of whether she had sandals on her feet, of the fact that her sari was crumpled after a hard day’s housework. She would go out into the darkness searching for her daughter. Where are you?

Thoughts flitting in and out as I hear Josna’s mother call out, “Jadu” (magic), where are you?Are you cold?

I shivered. Josna was beyond shivering.

Sitting on the curb, rocking gently, Josna’s mother wailed,

Kemon koria, kemon koria/Paimu amar shontan phiraiyare/O garmentsre/Kemne khaili amar shontanre/O amar garmentsre/Kemne khaibore/O amar babare/O amar ma/O amar ma/Kemne gelore Josnare/Ore bhat-o khaiya gese /Ami kot[h]a koi/o-o bhaiera-re ki camera korte aiso…?/Amare amar Josnare kemne phiraya dibore/O amar Josna/Ke phiraiya dibore/Porantare khali koira diya gelore

How can I
How can I get back my child
O you garments
How could you eat up my child
O my garments
How it does eat up!
O my father
O my mother
O my mother
How could Josna go away
She had eaten rice
I speak
O, o, you brothers have you come to do camera…?
How can my Josna be returned to me
O my Josna
Who will return her to me
She has emptied my heart and left…

Eating up children in development-oriented present day Bangladesh is very one-sided. It is garment factory-owners who “eat up” the children of working class families. Poor people don’t “eat up” the children of the ruling business elite. They leave them alone —  to be educated in universities abroad, to return and set up private universities here, to berate about the “culture of impunity” prevalent in Bangladesh which stokes “grievances” among garment factory workers who “riot”, “smash vehicles,” and “attack police” even though the “minimum wage [has been raised] by 80%” (K. Anis Ahmed, “Bolshie Bangladesh,” The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2010).

No mention of factory fires, of closed factory exits, of deaths caused by stampede and asphyxiation.

Of sunflowers, killed as a result of criminal negligence.

From DMCH, I returned home with Kanon, my mobile set, overloaded, had crashed, I needed to get it working again. Saydia went off to Sikder Women’s Medical College and Hospital in Western Dhanmondi.

Kohinoor, Razia, Nasima, Hasina, Nasima Akhter, Laizu, six more sunflowers dead. Equally young, aged from fifteen to eighteen.

Saydia has been looking unusually pale for the last few days, we had been busy with the demo outside the BGMEA (January 28) and it was only last night that I got the opportunity to catch up with her. She sat shivering in our flat, possibly flu, and I piled warm clothes on her.

I don’t know, I don’t have much of an appetite since Sikder. Four of the bodies were lying on the floor, wrapped in blue hospital bedsheets, they had to be put in the body bags, right at that moment, one of the guys present, I think he was a government official, no, no they weren’t kept in the morgue, it wasn’t like the DMCH, nor in any room either, it was right beside this shop at the hospital, on an empty floor space, anyway he says, por-purush (men who are strangers) shouldn’t touch these bodies, it’s against Islam, most of the people were then shooed away, relatives as well, except for Kohinoor’s sister who refused to leave, she’d been sitting cradling Kohinoor’s head in her lap, and another female relative of a dead worker, we together put their bodies in the bags,  Lima (short for Taslima Akhter, photographer, left activist) came forward and helped us as well.

Weren’t there any female nurses?

Uh, I don’t know. I didn’t see any.

I’ve lost my appetite. I can still feel the weight of these young women. I’d held them by their waist to lift them up. I can still smell the fire, the soot. It refuses to go away.

Saydia held up her palm, her wrist, I can still feel their weight, Rahnuma.

The mopping-up operation of Tazreen Fashions, in other words, “damage control” was conducted by top officials of the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) — its president, vice-president, former presidents, were to be seen day in and day out on TV talk shows. Impeccably dressed and well groomed, they blamed the rush, the panic, mid-level management, the fire brigade for having issued safety licences and so on.

They have been successful, for the owner of Tazreen fashions has not yet been arrested; not surprising since the BGMEA, being immensely powerful, has all who matter, socially and politically, in their pockets. These bit actors played their part well.

Soon after, the home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said, arresting the owner would be fruitless (bdnews24, January 29, 2013). The Tazreen fire may have been a “scandal” for the international fashion industry (“The fire in Bangladesh is a fashion scandal,” The Guardian, December 5, 2012) but for the burgeoning Bangladesh fashion industry, hell no, soon after the fire, I watched on TV news a very well-attended programme organised by the BGMEA at a five star hotel, more damage limitation, the camera lovingly lingered on internationally acclaimed fashion designer Bibi Russell, and a host of other strikingly dressed beautiful looking soft skinned bejewelled women — fashion designers, beauticians, models, TV celebrities, loadful.

It’s known as the soft side of capitalism, to make us forget by their allure , their commodified charm, the fires, the screams, the charred bodies. To make us deaf to a mother’s wail, Porantare khali koira diya gelore

There were other bit actors as well. For, how can one forget ATN News, a private TV channel, and its reputed anchor Munni Saha who kindly obliged by being the first among the media to dig out and interview Delwar Hossain, owner Tazreen Fashions, providing him thereby the opportunity to cry bucketsful in front of the TV camera? A well-informed journalist told me about fifty plus journalists who had been wined and dined at Dhaka’s top Westin Hotel by the BGMEA. One of its officials had generously extended the invitation to her but she politely declined.

To seal matters (pun-wise, nailing the coffin would be abhorrable here), the BGMEA has produced a probe report on the Tazreen fire which lets the owner off the hook by declaring it to be a “sabotage.”

Those in charge of damage control at Smart Exports, not a BGMEA member, seem to have been less successful. As I write, news breaks out of the arrest of Smart’s chairman, Mohd Sharif, and managing director, Zakir Ahmed. This, despite the presence of Begum Monnojan Sufian, state minister for labour, the highly-influential Jahangir Kabir Nanak, state minister for local government, rural development and cooperatives, at Sikder Medical when the bodies of the six sunflower girls Kohinoor, Razia, Nasima, Hasina, Nasima Akhter, Laizu — were handed over to their family members. The hospital’s emergency department, said Saydia, had been cordoned off by hundreds of RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) and police personnel.

It would seem that ruling party leaders enjoy far less damage control ability than the BGMEA, which reportedly lavishly contributes to the election coffers of both the ruling Awami League and the opposition BNP (Bangladesh National Party).

An eighth worker of Smart Export was transferred to the better-equipped Apollo Hospital on Monday. This sunflower is fighting for her life. If she fails, will Apollo, which is rumored to keep patients on life support to up their bill, keep her on life support as well for several days, until public anger has subsided? Buying time is an essential part of damage control exercises.

But, so what, if Smart Export, which had no trade license, no fire extinguishers, no fire safety exit, is not a BGMEA member? According to press reports, seven members of BGMEA had subcontracted to Smart Export the production of clothes for western buyers: Centex, MHC Apparels, Mac-Tex Industries, EnergyPac Fashions, Fashion Store, Mrinmoy Fashion, Concorde Creation Ltd (The Daily Star, January 30, 2013). “Bershka” and “Lefties” labels owned by the Spanish apparel giant Inditex, “Sol”s label owned by the French company Solo Invest, “Fox & Scott” label registered to Sylvain Scemama in Paris have been discovered on the burnt-out floors of Smart Export.

Is that why the BGMEA is compensating the families of Smart’s deceased workers? The BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association) as well, for, its president has promised to give a month’s salary and 1 lakh taka each to the seven families.

Josna’s mother, her father as well, had dignity. Despite their hearts having been emptied, they did not curse the garment owners or all others for “eating up” their children. They did not wish that they too, have to huddle miserably in the cold for hours — outside morgues, hospital buildings, emergency departments and police cordons, for receiving  jadu no more. That they too, be treated like shit by all those they encounter in the process.

They did not wish that their children too, die of fires, stampedes, asphyxiation.

Out of respect for them, and for our sunflower daughters, neither will I.

Published in New Age, Thursday, January 31, 2013.

"Her Words: Storytelling with Saris"

Monica Jahan Bose and the women of Katakhali 
Photo ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Photo Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

“Her Words: Storytelling with Saris” is a collaborative printmaking and story project celebrating the achievement of literacy by women in the remote island community of Katakhali, Bangladesh, which is my ancestral village and part of an eco-project coordinated by Samhati, an organization of Bangladeshi women. These women all lost their homes in recent cyclones and have been working with Samhati to rebuild their lives. I will collaborate with 12 women to: create 24 woodblock prints on sari fabric using words the women have learned along with designs and images; have them write their own stories; record their oral histories and take portrait photos of them wearing the saris; and document the project through photo and video. Each woman will keep one sari to wear as a statement of her achievement, and the remaining folio of 12 sari prints will be brought back to the US to be exhibited.
Photo ? Shahidul Alam
Photo Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Continue reading “"Her Words: Storytelling with Saris"”

Lokkhi Terra and The Che Guevara's Rickshaw Diaries

2012 began with Lokkhi Terra performing at Drik. The group has performed all around the world at venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the House of Commons, Glastonbury and at Womad.? They were one of the critics? choices at this year?s Womad festival in the UK, and was the band chosen to perform at the closing ceremony of the South Asian Games 2010.
Lokkhi Terra?s two albums?No Visa Required,?and?Che Guevara?s Rickshaw Diaries, received much critical acclaim around the world.

Photo Of Lokkhi Terra

From?Bangladesh,?Cuba,?Turkey,?United Kingdom
Open-eared and well-travelled world/jazz fusion
The music of Lokkhi Terra isn’t for those who don’t travel well, while those with strong wanderlust in their bones are advised to strap themselves in. The sound of this London-based, multi-membered collective zigzags all over the map. Their point of departure appears to be jazz fusion, but from here they touch down in the streets of Bangladesh, the Afrobeat clubs of Nigeria, the cantinas of Cuba and the beaches of Brazil. Such eclecticism might suggest a disjointed jumble, a sound dreamed up by committee. But in Lokkhi Terra’s care, it all makes utter and perfect sense, a seamless collage of some of the best noises this planet’s ever made. And they’re a bunch keen on album titles that sum up their modus operandi. Last year’s No Visa Required emphasised their border-busting sound, while their forthcoming record also gives a hint of their influences and inspirations: it’s called Che Guevara’s Rickshaw Diaries.
(Biography written by Nige Tassell 2011)
They have all performed around the world at venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the House of Commons, Glastonbury and at Womad.? They were one of the critics? choices at this year?s Womad festival in the UK, and was the band chosen to perform at the closing ceremony of the South Asian Games 2010.
Lokkhi Terra?s two albums?No Visa Required,?and?Che Guevara?s Rickshaw Diaries, received much critical acclaim around the world.
The combined sonic forces usually transform a quiet room into one which has people clapping and swaying within minutes and Khan is hoping for a similar reaction in India. Times of India.
Lokkhi Terra will be playing?23rd of January at Blue Frog Delhi and on the 24th January at Blue Frog Mumbai.
Lokkhi Terra is led by the Bangladeshi Kishon Khan

Kisho Khan
Kisho Khan?Pianist/Composer/Arranger/Producer

Here is what people have said about him:
?Kishon Khan leant back from his keyboards with the glee of a man driving a super-car, and played as if distilling the entire 1970s work of Herbie Hancock into a high-octane drive in the country, as congas bounced and brass slid around him…? FT.com
?A formidable jazz pianist? Simon Broughton, Evening Standard
? Highly innovative, a key figure in the British Bangla-Afro-Cuban-Jazz circle? Agogo Records
?Exceptional? ? Movimientos
Kishon Khan is a classically trained pianist, born in Bangladesh, and brought up and living in London. He is widely regarded as one of the most versatile players on the scene today ? sessioning across the genres whilst also being at the heart of some of London?s most critically acclaimed bands. He has lived, studied and worked in countries a far afield as Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, and of course Bangladesh, and this is reflected in the diversity of his musical works/collaborations.
Lokkhi Terra is developing the theme music for Chobi Mela VII, the international festival of photography, held in Dhaka.
———
The year sadly ended with the attack at Ramu, the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions and the brutal assassination in broad daylight of Biswajit Das. While both parties wax lyrical on their successes at the talk shows, the real heroes of Bangladesh continue to be the farmer in the field, the migrant workers and the garment workers who pay for the lavish lifestyles of the Tri State residents of Gulshan, Baridhara and Banani. Let’s take time to remember some of the other Bangladeshis who have made us proud. Some of them young like the choreographer Akram Khan and the writer Tahmima Anam the cricketer Shakib Al Hasan, the educationist Salman Khan and others more senior like the elephant in the room whom we are not allowed to mention, Muhammad Yunus.
Please Retweet #bangladesh #muhammadyunus #tahminaanam #akramkhan #shakibalhasan #salm

Bangladeshi pride

While the real heroes of Bangladesh have consistently been our farmers, our migrant workers and our garment workers, they are rarely celebrated. There have been significant other achievements in 2012. Bangladeshi photographers continue to excel and I have not singled out any individual achievement.

Please feel free to provide links to other achivements which I have surely missed out.

 

Photo ? Palash Khan / www.palashkhan.com
Photo ? Palash Khan /?http://www.palashkhan.com
Dhaka 03 June 2012. Bangladeshi mountaineer Nishat Majumder poses after arriving at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on June 3, 2012, following her successful ascent of Mount Everest. Majumder became the first Bangladeshi woman to climb the highest peak of the world. Photo by Palash Khan
——–

Role Models in Science & Engineering Achievement: Fazlur R. Khan ? Bangladeshi structural engineer and architect?

Frazlur R. Khan
One of the most influential structural engineers of the 20th Century
You may readily recognize some his most famous works as a structural design engineer: the John Hancock Center building in Chicago; Chicago?s Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower); the Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. In his short lifetime, Fazlur Khan, perhaps more than any other individual, combined his love for structural engineering, architecture and art to usher in a revolution in skyscraper construction during the second half of the twentieth century, making it possible for people to live and work in ?cities in the sky.?
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“Rehman Sobhan receives ‘BDI Lifetime Achievement Award”
Lovlu Ansar from New York
Professor Rehman Sobhan

New York, Dec 24 (bdnews24.com)?The Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a New York-based research and advocacy group based, on Monday named Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), for the ‘2012 BDI Lifetime Achievement Award’.
The award is designed to ‘honour outstanding individuals who, through their scholarly and/or policy and civic engagements, have contributed significantly to understanding the challenges, and pursuing the ideals that would lead to the development of Bangladesh and improving the quality of life for its citizens’.
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Bangladesh wins the Earth Care Award 2012 for LDCF adaptation project
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) of Bangladesh won the Earth Care Award 2012 (sponsored by the Times of India) for spearheading the??Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)??(LDCF) project ?Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change through Coastal Afforestation in Bangladesh?. This year?s Earth Care Awards category was “Community-based adaptation and mitigation”.
The LDCF- funded project has a strong community-based adaptation component and has benefited 18,269 households by involving them in afforestation, agriculture, livestock, and fishery-based livelihood adaptation.
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Wasfia Nazreen, a Bangladeshi lady scaled Mt. Everest

Wasfia Nazreen
Wasfia Nazreen?from Bangladesh and our 2 climbing Sherpa (Ngima Grimen Sherpa?and?Da Kusang Sherpa) had successfully summit Mt. Everest at 6:26 AM on 26 May 2012. This Expedition was organized by Expedition Himalaya. We express our congratulation to all the summit members and crew.

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Bangladesh’s leaders set an example

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have led by example in the absence of Bangladesh’s most vital player, Shakib Al Hasan
Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim lead Gangnam Style celebrations, Bangladesh v West Indies, 5th ODI, Mirpur, December 8, 2012
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah played important roles in Bangladesh’s win in the deciding ODI in Mirpur?? AFP
Bangladesh captain?Mushfiqur Rahim?and his deputyMahmudullah?have taken the long overdue steps from being occasional match-winners to players who can regularly do so. Their performance in the 3-2 victory in the ODI series against West Indies has been the biggest gain for Bangladesh in the last four weeks of international cricket.
In the deciding match in Mirpur, Bangladesh had stumbled to 30 for 3 in pursuit of 217, when Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah counterattacked and put on 91 runs. They only made 40s, but their contributions prevented a susceptible line-up from collapsing.
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Flash protest at five star hotel by Rokeya Bahini

In memory of Tazreen Fashion’s workers
Monday, December 24, 2012

Rokeya Bahini organised a flash protest at Sonargaon Hotel at midday today.  Members of the Bahini flashed open a banner, “Justice for Tazreen’s Workers” in the lobby of the five star hotel. The hotel authority illegally detained members of the Bahini, subjected them to questioning and took away their banner.

Rokeya Bahini at Sonargaon Hotel

The protest was in rememberance of the workers who were burnt to death at Tazreen Fashions in Nischintapur a month ago, on November 24th.  The government and the BGMEA put the death toll at 112 but family members of missing workers, left labour organisations and independent activists insist the figure is much higher. Both the government and the BGMEA are colluding in suppressing the exact number of workers who died and we are furious at the fact that the factory owner has not yet been arrested.  Continue reading “Flash protest at five star hotel by Rokeya Bahini”

NISHCHINTAPUR TRAGEDY: Letter from an unborn child

by Saydia Gulrukh

Honourable prime minister,
I AM an unborn citizen of Bangladesh. I was killed before I was born. My mother was twenty-two weeks and three days pregnant with me when fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions in Nischintapur.
I was killed before I was born.

Ultrasonic images of pregnant Mimi (pseudonym) taken less than a fortnight before fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions on November 24, 2012 burning to death 112 workers, according to the government and the BGMEA; the actual death toll, according to family members of missing workers, labour organisations and activists, is much higher.

Honourable prime minister,
My mother, Mimi (pseudonym) worked as an operator in the sewing section of Tazreen Fashions. My father, Rakibul (pseudonym), works as a helper in a local bus company. They had met and fallen in love in Nischintapur?s factory surroundings, they got married at a nearby Kazi office (marriage registrar?s office). These days, say neighbours, they had been very happy, their joy radiated as does that of expectant parents. But it was short-lived.
I was killed before I was born. Continue reading “NISHCHINTAPUR TRAGEDY: Letter from an unborn child”