In Memory – Rana Plaza one year later

Today is the anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka killing 1,136 workers – most of them women.

I remember being there in Dhaka when the news broke and agonizing over whether to get on a CNG and go over to the disaster site straight away. I battled inside seeing political dignitaries being sat in ‘VIP’ seats nearby to watch the work being done to rescue the trapped rather than getting their hands dirty and actually helping. I knew if I went, as a white guy, I’d be shunted to the side and ‘looked after’ and thanked profusely but hardly allowed to get involved.

Even then, I had no idea of the scale even though I caught the full horror. I knew it would take at least an hour maybe longer to get to the Savar region on the outskirts of the city and foolishly thought most of the rescuing would be done by then thinking there could be just a couple of hundred trapped in there. I felt my heart tearing day by day as they continued to dig out people out – mostly dead as time went on.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so useless and so failed as a human being as I did that day. Even now I well up with tears as I write this post. Partly for the victims and their families; mostly for my own shame.

In fact, I can’t say any more. I’d rather let those for whom it is more appropriate to say all that should be said. Below is a link to The Dhaka Tribune‘s tribute listing the names of all those who died who were identified. Sadly, many bodies were beyond identification. I urge you to read it and play the one minute video which accompanies – it doesn’t make for pleasant viewing but I think is essential to see.

And if you are someone who shares a faith in a power above, pray. I think it’s beyond any of us to understand how this could be for a ‘greater good’. Personally, I have to just believe and hope that it is.

Dhaka Tribune: In Memoriam

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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8 Responses to In Memory – Rana Plaza one year later

  1. Pingback: Sonali – it’s here! | kenthinksaloud

  2. Norah says:

    They’re showing a talk show discussing the Rana Plaza incident right now… at least it means something that they’re still thinking about it and haven’t simply moved on…

    Like

  3. Addie says:

    I can’t believe one year has already passed. 😦 I share your grief, Ken. They will be in my prayers.

    Like

  4. You have rightly said that it’s beyond any of us to understand how this could be for a ‘greater good’.

    There have been a few similar tragedies in India in the recent past, though non on the same scale as the Rana Plaza tragedy.

    Since the powers that be are involved, directly or indirectly, no action is taken against the real perpetrators. Some insignificant persons are made scapegoats to satisfy the public’s bloodthirst. After the public is distracted by something else (maybe some international cricket circus), the perpetrators get into the act once again somewhere else.

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    • I couldn’t agree more. As we see again and again ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. I would love to believe that will change one day but I see no evidence of it in any country yet.

      Like

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