The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 4, 2013

Bangladesh factory collapse: beyond mourning and money

NORMAN — Last Thursday, I went to the weekly meeting of Norman Rotary Club with Andy Rieger, the executive editor of the Norman Transcript. He introduced me and Rotarians responded with a waving hands and lovely applause. Just moments after I sat down, the lady sitting beside me asked the distance between the collapsed building of garment factories in Savar, Dhaka and my home.

In fact, we are facing such sympathetic questions almost everywhere here in Norman, Oklahoma. The CNN news scrolled across the digital screen on Gaylord Hall at the University of Oklahoma. We have been noticing ‘Bangladesh’ here everyday. And we are answering as much as we know. Beyond that we have little to do, standing thousands of miles away, but weep silently for the tragic demise of hundreds of lives. What could we meaningfully do even if we were there?

We saw the lack of proper equipment to rescue people from the hall turned hell. It’s true that hundreds of people tried their best to help the trapped and injured. But those acts of big heart are really small in the scale of the catastrophe. So the grief of fallen lives and failed capacity lies over the nation. Reactions on social or mainstream media are saddening. One is the concern about our garment buyers based in Europe and America especially. The second target is the garment owners.

It is absolute that if the garment factory owners don’t improve the wage structure and working environment, instability in production channels and lives risked on thousands of our cheap labor force will prevail. As a result we may have to face more and bigger tragic incidents in the future. And eventually we will lose our garment market abroad, the second remittance earner sector. The thousands of youths, especially females from lower income groups or rural areas, many of whom got the “freedom of choice” due to cash in hand, who are trying to stand on their own feet and ignore some social discriminations, will lose their jobs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • Nutritional article should be accurate

    I read with interest the July 13 article “Are low-carb diets really healthy?” by Cassidie Day. Unfortunately, a number of statements in this article were incorrect. The first problematic statement was, “Carbs are an essential nutrient ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Hospital story headline was too sensationalized

    Editor, The Transcript: On July 18, The Transcript ran a front page article with the headline “Lawsuit filed against Norman Regional — Civil suit alleges improper billing practices by NRH and contracted physicians groups.” As a first page ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Stick to the sports

    Editor, The Transcript: Why must we, especially us nice conservatives, be subjected to political commentary in a sports column? I hear/view Fox News routinely and find their coverage quite acceptable. I also hear/view CNN and MSNBC. I ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Corporation Commission should should evaluate quakes, fracturing

    Editor, The Transcript: Is your house at risk of being damaged in an earthquake because of fracking? Maybe. We’ve seen more earthquakes and tremors in Oklahoma seven months into 2014 than in the two previous years combined. At the same ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Norman can stop fracking before it escalates

    Editor, The Transcript: There are 163 fracked wells within Norman city limits. With growing attention to health and safety concerns, the city is considering changes to the existing oil and gas ordinance....

    July 27, 2014