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.