I Am Bangladesh, I Am Palestine
This is a repeat slaughter of Bengali workers — mostly young women aged 12 to 24 or so — at a Wal-Mart, Disney, Gap, H&M, Hanes or Tommy Hilfiger outsourced factory run by these corporations and their international and domestic agents. Even New York Times expressed their disapproval. Even CNN thought it was not pleasant to have so many sweatshop workers killed so often.
I wrote before about Trayvon Martin when they killed the seventeen-year-old, unarmed kid because somebody thought he was a criminal and could therefore be killed. I said Trayvon was my kid. I wrote about Troy Davis when they killed him strapped on an electric chair. They killed Troy because somebody thought he did not deserve justice.
I wrote about Sikhs in America after 9/11. They started killing and hurting Sikh men and women because somebody thought they looked like Osama Bin Laden and therefore deserved hate.
I wrote about Muslims in Brooklyn after Afghanistan and Iraq. They started killing and hurting Muslims because some people thought all Muslims were terrorists and therefore they deserved random arrests, imprisonment and mass deportation.
I wrote about Latino immigrants in Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft’s America. I wrote straight from the Arizona-Nogales border — straight from a van we took to cross through the Sonoran desert when it was 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I wrote from the morgue where they kept unidentified dead bodies of women and children who perished walking across the scorching desert into the U.S.
I wrote about my experience in Israel and Palestine when I had an opportunity to visit the Middle East as a journalism student from a prestigious journalism school here in New York. I saw how Palestinians lived and suffered at the hands of the powerful. I went to see Golan Heights at the Syrian border where the Six-day War back in 1967 permanently displaced Palestinians from their own land and international big brothers made sure they remained destitute forever.
I wrote about the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation Struggle when some people decided a British-pauperized, partitioned East Bengal and its millions of newly-impoverished people had no right to food, freedom, dignity or even their own language, and they decided to send a Kissinger-crafted CIA war into that land through Pakistan, and killed ten million people, raped half a million women, and evicted ten million more from their homes and lands — to repeat history in just twenty five years.
I went to work on the borders of India and Bangladesh to see the suffering of those refugees first hand. I wrote about them.
I am now writing again to express my feelings about the poor Bangladeshi garment workers who were burnt alive yesterday in a repeat inferno at a Wal-Mart, Disney, Gap, H&M or Tommy Hilfiger sweatshop at the outskirts of Dhaka.
Just a few days ago, I wrote about the barbaric killing of innocent Palestinian children in Gaza. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Obama’s drones that killed innocent children in Pakistan, Yemen and Mali.
I don’t know if my writing has any impact at all on the minds of the otherwise intelligent, educated and human rights-minded liberals in America and India — the two countries I know the best — or for that matter, anywhere else in the world. I have every doubt that such killings are now transient news blips that come on the surface, shake up a few minds for thirty seconds or less, shake up their conscience for an even smaller amount of time, and then disappear into oblivion.
Worse, these otherwise intelligent, educated, human rights-minded liberals in America and India — the two countries I know the best — or for that matter, anywhere else in the world keep supporting the Democratic Party and its leaders like Obama or Clinton, or the Congress Party and the Gandhi Dynasty in India…or…you put your favorite country and its political system and leaders…and by doing that, they sustain an inhumane, corrupt and cruel, exploitative socioeconomic system that is responsible for all these horrendous acts that are killing and torturing and maiming and starving and displacing and destroying millions of poor men, women and children — all over the world.
I have no hope that bringing up these horrendous acts of violence — political or economic — on the surface would make any long-term change within the status-quo minds of these intelligent, educated and human rights-minded people.
I have learned how not to hope anymore.
I just write about it because I have no other way to cleanse myself of my own sin — of being a part of this system.
Thank you for at least listening. (Now if you want, you can go back and do your Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart, Disney, Gap, H&M or Tommy Hilfiger.)
I would not mind at all.