May first is often referred to as International Workers' Day. On May 4, 1886 in Chicago the Haymarket Riot took place in an effort for workers to establish an eight hour work day. When the days become difficult in Dhaka, I find comfort in remembering that the United States also overcame tremendous barriers which we now take for granted. This is how I know there is hope that change can happen in Bangladesh in regard to working conditions.
The building collapse has received an extensive amount of international press. The awareness it's bringing to those who otherwise may not hear about these types of events is encouraging. The amount of stories that are untold both of loss and incredible strength are infinite. Each person here either was directly effected by the building collapse or knew someone who was. At this point, we need to work hard to ensure this event doesn't just become the news for the week but continues to bring about more conversations that will lead to the change necessary. As a human being I feel we all have an obligation to stop injustice. By not talking about these problems or pretending that they don't exist, we become just as accountable as those directly at fault.
When I first explained to people the reasons why I wanted to come to Dhaka I surprised at the mixed reactions. Some people were very excited and supportive. Others were weary and spoke about the cautions I should take. Some people flat out told me that they didn't agree with me "trying to save the world" as my efforts will not be enough or that I'm being selfish for causing others to worry by the jeopardy I'm putting myself into. Although I understand the concerns I also feel a responsibility to those who may not have a voice. In life there is ALWAYS choice, and I have chosen to be here. In fact, I'm honored to work in Dhaka and continue to feel that way.
Just to clarify, I'm not "trying to save the world" and don't even know what that exactly means. I'm here to do my part in showing that there is hope. I hope that my presence no matter how insignificant can show that people do care and those living with next to nothing have not been forgotten. If I have made a difference in just one person's life, then I will feel content. Namaste.
Below is a picture of a headline from a local newspaper that shows the people in Bangladesh doing their part as well...