Shabnam Nadiya: To BGMEA, How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps

© Daily Star
© Daily Star

To BGMEA: How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps
Guest Post by Shabnam Nadiya

1. Stop thinking that ‘compliance’ is a word to keep international buyers happy and begin to understand that it has to do with the safety of people. People like you and me. People whose labor creates that shining Bangladesh in the first place. People whose actual labor builds your fortunes.

2 Stop shielding your members when these RMG owners build or rent deathtraps for factories; when they create a working environment where workers can get fired whenever, get paid whenever, get pay docked whenever; when RMG owners’ negligence result in loss of lives. Take an active role in ensuring that your member RMG owners are compliant.

3. Stop thinking the workers are out to get the RMG owners. They’re not. They’re happy if RMG owners have good business because that way they have work. RMG owners should make sure that the workers are content because their profits depend on them. Not all protesters are ‘paid troublemakers.’ Learn to listen.

4. Stop shifting the blame when a tragedy happens.Learn to look at it in the face: instead of pointing fingers at the buyers, the media, the government, the workers (!),  say we, as the association for RMG owners,understand that this is why this tragedy happened, and this is how we’ll make sure this never ever happens again. To anyone. Not on our watch. And make sure you follow through.

5. Behave like human beings, with human decency. It isn’t that hard. It might cost you a little bit in profits initially. But you guys are good with money. You’ll still have enough. You’ll survive.

Shabnam Nadiya is a writer and translator. She has an MFA from Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she is currently a Schulze Fellow. She is working on her collection of linked stories titled Pariah Dog.


This post was written in response to the BGMEA’s statement yesterday that showing media images of the tragedy will “ruin country’s image.”
BGMEA Chairman Atiqul Islam says that the media is sullying the bhabmurti of the nation by their constant coverage of the Rana Plaza Collapse. PM’s Advisor on Public Administration, HT Imam agreed and opined that showing gory images had a negative impact on people and was not good.
BGMEA: If you keep showing this in media, our country’s image will be ruined

Tragedy exaggerated?: Garment-makers blame media

© Taslima Akhter /
© Taslima Akhter /