The Norman Transcript


May 4, 2013

Bangladesh factory collapse: beyond mourning and money



The question is — is it just an issue of remittance or job market or women’s emancipation? Are the garment factory owners the only culprits responsible for our mourning? We have to think beyond emotional and economic concerns.

Firstly, I think, safety of the citizens is the real concern whether it is a garment factory or the secretariat. So we have to ensure the safety of the homes and workplaces. Not only the Rana Plaza, hundreds of buildings have been built and improvised without proper design and safety measures. Many of our roofs are at optimum tenure, especially in Old Dhaka. We have to identify and restructure those buildings immediately. And proper rescue equipment has become most essential. We should not forget that Bangladesh is near an earthquake zone, let alone the accidents like Rana Plaza.

Secondly, witch hunting for garments owners exclusively will not help to ensure a safe and secure garment industry. The collapsed Rana Plaza of Savar has shown how the nexus of politicians, land grabbers and city development officials built a tower of death. Well, garment owners should have been careful while renting the floors for factories, but isn’t it the city authority’s task as well to stop the illegal building work going on? Isn’t it really the building owner who put hundreds of lives, millions in investments, foreign markets and our hearts and honor at stake? If we just blame the garment factory owner, the real culprits will be smiling, sitting in a safe corner.

Sheikh Rokon is a Bangladeshi journalist and researcher visiting Norman under an exchange program from the U.S. State Department and Gaylord College of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Oklahoma. Contact him at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Matt Lauer is so last century

    How about we rename “The Today Show” the “Yesterday Show” since host Matt Lauer asks questions from 1953? Isn’t what Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra about whether she’ll do “well” at being simultaneously an executive and a mom about, oh, 30 ...

    July 14, 2014

  • Religion’s role shrinking

    Surveying the response to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision, I was struck by a comment from progressive Massachusetts senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren....

    July 12, 2014