Death of A Thousand Dreams
On that day, early in the morning many garment workers walked into the factories of Rana Plaza, their working place. Within an hour everything was shattered. Nobody knows how many workers were running to save his or her lives at the end moment. Workers’ scream echoed on the walls of Rana Plaza. Many of their voices could not reach out passing through the heavy concrete walls. Over a thousand workers lost their lives in the deathtrap. They are the cheapest labors of the world. They are not only numbers; they are human beings. Who could imagine the collapse that caused the most unacceptable fate for the cheapest labors from Bangladesh?
24th April 2013, 9am. Becoming a brutal incident of history, a nine-story commercial building Rana Plaza collapsed at Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh and left more than 1134 workers dead, more than hundred missing and many other wounded. Around a thousand families have found dead bodies of their beloved family members. Many families moved from police stations to morgues in search of theirs relatives. Many people are still missing. They are even missing in the DNA test list of the unidentified bodies. After 8 months of collapse, street boys have found some bones and skulls in the debris. But the families of missing workers do not know if they would find any trace from those. Still a mother of missing worker waits in front of the collapse site barricade with a hope to find any trace. Horrible memory of 24th April haunts them even in their sleep.
Workers of the Rana Plaza are a part of the 4 million garment workers from Bangladesh; among them 80% are women. They are the cheapest labor in the world and they toil from dawn to dusk for a minimum wage of BDT3000 taka a month (less than 37 $) till 2013. Government declared a new gross minimum wage BDT 5300 (near about $66), which is not sufficient for them to survive.
They represent workers who produce clothes for Europe, America, international markets and international brands. By the tag ‘Made by Bangladesh’ on the products they earn a lot of foreign currency for national economy. With a dream of living a better life, people from villages come to the workers barracks at cities. With the collapse of Rana Plaza all of their dreams have been ruined.
‘Rana Plaza Collapse: Death of a thousand dreams’ is a documentary photo essay, a part of my continuous work. As a witness of history, an activist and as a photographer I have been documenting the lives and struggle of garment workers in Bangladesh since 2008. Rana plaza collapse raises question to national-international owners, brands and government about their role to secure working condition. It also raises question about all citizens and consumers responsibility. With this documentary photo story I have tried to portray the narrative of the death of thousand dreams.