Holding the Economy to Ransom

by Firoz Ahmed, translated from Bengali

Bangladesh has not seen this type of ferocious attack and killing of innocent people before. We express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims, although no amount of consolation can soothe them. Our thoughts are also for the injured and terrified. Everyone in the country is feeling the anxiety and uncertainty. Continue reading “Holding the Economy to Ransom”

Reflections on “Unprecedented Changes” in the Garments Sector of Bangladesh

Garments workers
The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights’ report Unprecedented Changes.

by Farida Khan for AlalODulal.org

The Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse has made many Western consumers shudder at the thought of their complicity with sub-human conditions in the Third World factories where their clothes are sewn. While consumers are often careful to avoid purchasing soccer balls sewn by child labor Continue reading “Reflections on “Unprecedented Changes” in the Garments Sector of Bangladesh”

আনু মুহাম্মদ: আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি

আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি
আনু মুহাম্মদ for Alal O Dulal

দেশের ভবিষ্যৎকে বিপদাপন্ন করে আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি করলো সরকার। যুক্তরাষ্ট্র, ভারত, চীন খুশি, কিন্তু বিপদাপন্ন বাংলাদেশ। গত ১৭ ফেব্রুয়ারি সংশোধিত ‘পিএসসি ২০১২’ অনুযায়ি সরকার ভারতের অয়েল এ্যান্ড ন্যাচারাল গ্যাস কর্পোরেশন (ওএনজিসি বিদেশ) এবং অয়েল ইন্ডিয়ার সাথে বঙ্গোপসাগরের এস এস ৪ ও এসএস ৯ নামে চিহ্নিত ২টি গ্যাসব্লকের চুক্তি সম্পাদন করেছে। Continue reading “আনু মুহাম্মদ: আরেকটি সর্বনাশা চুক্তি”

The state of the Bangladesh economy

by Abdullah Shibli for AlaloDulal.org

Bangladesh, the country and its economy, is full of contradictions. To list a couple, while it is one of the world’s fastest growing nations, it has pockets of extreme poverty and malnutrition in urban and rural areas. Another paradox: for the last two decades it has been ruled by two political parties, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by two head-strong leaders, who never can seem to agree on anything, but ran the gauntlet and survived many potentially dangerous threats, including religious fundamentalism, military takeovers, and internal revolt, to its fledgling democracy. Continue reading “The state of the Bangladesh economy”

Where have all the negotiating tables gone?

By Nadine S Murshid and Awrup Sanyal for AlalODulal.org

 “Economic growth cannot sensibly be treated as an end in itself. Development has to be more concerned with enhancing lives we lead and the freedoms we enjoy,” posits Amartya Sen in his book Development as Freedom (1999). Yet, Bangladesh has grown – developed at a decent rate of 6.7% over the last year – without enhancing the lives of workers, without the freedoms that Sen would like workers to enjoy, as exemplified, perhaps, by the recurrent protests by garment factory workers in Dhaka, protests that have a history of turning violent.

Continue reading “Where have all the negotiating tables gone?”

India sneezes, will we catch the cold?

India sneezes, will we catch the cold?

By Jyoti Rahman   for AlaloDulal.org

Just a year or so ago, the Indian economy was expected to be growing at a 8-9% pace, and people were talking about double digit growth into the 2020s.  Within a year, growth has slowed to 4.4%, without there being any major shock —no financial crisis, no balance of payments crisis, no major natural disaster, nor any particular political tension.  India just slowed, sharply.  It’s now expected to grow only at around 4-5% a year, at least in the near term.  Reflecting the slowdown, and the changed perception of India, the Indian rupee has taken a beating in recent weeks.

Continue reading “India sneezes, will we catch the cold?”

Making Dhaka Livable

Making Dhaka Livable 

by Humayun Kabir for AlalODulal.org

Dhaka has been once again deemed by the Economist as the second least livable city in the world.  Damascus came in last only because of the civil war that is tearing the city apart.  If the civil war were to stop today, Damascus would become imminently more livable than Dhaka tomorrow.  Regardless of our opinion of the Economist or its survey, I don’t think any of us would disagree that living conditions of Dhaka are horrid and are in dire need of improvement.  In this article I will try to suggest a few ways to improve Dhaka’s livability.  However, before doing so let me say a few words in defense of Dhaka and about the dangers of drawing up schemes for improvement. Continue reading “Making Dhaka Livable”

The Road to Court 21

The Road to Court 21
by Seema Amin for AlalODulal.org

“O bleating without wool! O Wound!” Lorca
Prologue: the incidental messenger
‘Now you say the income of the Adamjis, Dauds and Isphanis have increased by 40 % and the income of the s have decreased by 5 %, then you make an average and you get Per Capita Income and you say Honey and Money and Milk is Flowing in the Economy. What happens to Coliuddin, Soliuddin and Rohiuddin?‘ Continue reading “The Road to Court 21”

Anu Muhammad: Who’s prospering on whose labor?

“Cutting hills, building brick kilns or shrimp hatcheries by destroying agricultural land, and high rises by filling in water bodies, setting up business by filling up rivers, making furniture at the cost of forests and hills as well as the commodification of education and medical services, and the price hike of electricity and gas can all point to an increase in the growth of the GDP.” – Anu Muhammad

Continue reading “Anu Muhammad: Who’s prospering on whose labor?”

Faruk Wasif: The Sahibs of Begum Para and the turtles that sell the country

“’Second Home’: The Sahibs of Begam Para and the Turtles that Sell the Country”
by Faruk Wasif for Prothom Alo, translated for AlalODulal.org by Nusrat Chowdhury [please do not reproduce w/o permission]

If one asked which animal carries its own home on its back, the answers would be, 1. a turtle; 2. a Chinese farmer; and, 3. a few thousand wealthy Bangladeshis. Continue reading “Faruk Wasif: The Sahibs of Begum Para and the turtles that sell the country”

Capitalism Exposed, Part 1: Politics-Administration-Media evil nexus

Captalism Exposed, Savar Tragedy Part 1 (Politics-Administration-Media evil nexus)
by Zia Hassan, Translated from Bengali by Adnan R Amin for AlalODulal.Org
The reason capitalism succeeds worldwide is because it promotes human greed. It sees greed as an essential force and accepts it as internal and core. Continue reading “Capitalism Exposed, Part 1: Politics-Administration-Media evil nexus”

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

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. Continue reading “Shabnam Nadiya: To BGMEA, How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps”

Fariha Sarawat: Buyers are also culpable

Who Will Bell the Cat?
Guest Post by Fariha Sarawat

Much has been said about who’s to blame for the story state of garments workers’ rights, safety and working conditions in Bangladesh.

Some people, including some local manufacturers, would like us to buy in to the narrative of exploitative buyers whose predatory negotiations force our manufacturers to cut costs (because they are afraid they would lose the order otherwise to China or others) in order to stay competitive and that leaves the latter with little (once costs of inputs, overheads etc have been deducted) to pay to the workers. Continue reading “Fariha Sarawat: Buyers are also culpable”

Vijay Prashad: The Terror of Capitalism

Made in Bangladesh: The Terror of Capitalism

“In the Atlantic world, meanwhile, self-absorption over the wars on terror and on the downturn in the economy prevent any genuine introspection over the mode of life that relies upon debt-fueled consumerism at the expense of workers in Dhaka. Those who died in the Rana building are victims not only of the malfeasance of the sub-contractors, but also of twenty-first century globalisation.”

Continue reading “Vijay Prashad: The Terror of Capitalism”

Anu Muhammad: While Our Eyes Are Elsewhere

While Our Eyes Are Elsewhere
by Anu Muhammad, Translated by Tibra Ali for AlalODulal.org

Despite putting people from all walks of life at risk, the recent violence and uncertainty in our country seem to have inconvenienced the local and foreign plunderers and invaders very little. On the contrary, in many instances because of the shifted attention it has even helped them. For many this time of uncertainty has been a blessing!

Continue reading “Anu Muhammad: While Our Eyes Are Elsewhere”

Why is Ananta Rickshawala?

Why is father a servant? Why is Ananta a rickshawallah? An epic kechal about class status
বাবা কেন চাকর, অনন্ত কেন রিকশাওয়ালা ? আমাদের ক্লাস স্ট্যাটাস নিয়ে একটি বিষদ ক্যাচাল
by Zia Hassan

For almost two years I was thinking of writing about our class distribution. But I could not find time to write it. But recently when even a proper “bourgeois” like Ananta Jalil got slanged as “rickshawalla class” I thought the time had come to write the piece.

Continue reading “Why is Ananta Rickshawala?”

Human Rights Watch: Toxic Tanneries

In the decade since 2002, the value of leather exports in Bangladesh has grown by an average of $41 million per year. From June 2011 to July 2012 Bangladesh exported around $663 million of leather and leather goods, including footwear. This leather is exported to some 70 countries throughout the world, but principally China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

Continue reading “Human Rights Watch: Toxic Tanneries”

Dhaka moves to #1 in Least Liveable City Index

Dhaka is ranked least liveable among 140 surveyed cities. Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Survey ranked Dhaka 139 in 2011, and 140 in 2012.

DOWNLOAD: EIU Liveability Report 2012

DOWNLOAD: Spatially Adjusted Index Report [Dhaka ranks 2 better on this]

Least livable cities: 2012
131. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
132. Tehran, Iran
133. Douala, Cameroon
134. Tripoli, Libya
135. Karachi, Pakistan
136. Algiers, Algeria
137. Harare, Zimbabwe
138. Lagos, Nigeria
139. Port Moresby, Papua New Guineau
140. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Least livable cities: 2011
131. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
132. Tehran, Iran
133. Douala, Cameroon
134. Karachi, Pakistan
135. Tripoli, Libya
136. Algiers, Algeria
137. Lagos, Nigeria
138. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
139. Dhaka, Bangladesh
140. Harare, Zimbabwe
Continue reading “Dhaka moves to #1 in Least Liveable City Index”