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Not all lives are equal

The pain of loss for Hassan and Hossain on Ashura, is replicated as we mourn the 124 workers burned to death in the tragic fire at Tazreen Fashions.

Bodies of children who died in a fire in a garment factory as the exits were locked. 1990. Azizur Rahim Peu

That was the fire in number 10 she told me.
What happened?
What’s there to say. The owner took the bodies and dumped them in the drain at night.
How do you know?
Everyone knows.
What happened to the owner?
Nothing ever happens to owners. If I had a camera, I’d take his picture and put that guy in jail.
She was ten and believed with a camera, she could right a wrong. This was 1991.
Twenty years later, there are few child workers in garment factories, but garment workers remain dispensable.
Firefighters battle the blaze at the Tazreen Fashions plant in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hasan Raza/AP

Charred worker at Tazreen Fashion garment factory. Savar. Dhaka. Bangladesh. 25th November 2012. Abir Abdullah

I didn’t know her name or didn’t have time to wait for the relatives to identity her so that I could get her name. But she may be a mother , may be a wife or daughter and to me a human being. Her body was laid down on the floor of a under-constructed mosque. Some army soldiers cordoned her body along with some others. It was difficult for me to take the photograph, disfigured still beautiful, with a small ornament visible on her destroyed nose. I felt sad to take the photo at the same time I felt grief and anger inside me to show the gruesome portrait to understand and make the world realize, how much importance they get when dead but nothing when alive.
Earlier incidents:
Feet of worker killed at Garib & Garib Sweater Factory in Bhogra, Gazipur. Dhaka, Bangladesh. February 26, 2010. ??Taslima Akhter

Police beating up a young garment worker. Police fired teargas and used water cannon to disperse workers. Dhaka, Bangladesh. June 30, 2010

Najma Akhter, 23, a garment worker , is sleeping with entire family – her children, her parents and her siblings. Altogether, 11 family members share this one room. Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Related link: Fire in Tazreen Fashions Ltd.
Please Retweet: #garments #bangladesh

Published inBangladeshdisasterseconomyGarmentsGovernanceHuman rightspoliticsSouth Asia


  1. […] that of the bodies of child garment workers being piled, that I showed them. That image, and the response it created have remained central to my understanding of […]

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