Low Prices can still cost people a lot…

While digging through the rubble of a collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh, one that workers had previously tried to refuse to go into because of large cracks in the walls, recovery personnel came across this couple.

Graphic photo follows beneath the fold:


I have been asked many questions about the photograph of the couple embracing in the aftermath of the collapse. I have tried desperately, but have yet to find any clues about them. I don’t know who they are or what their relationship is with each other.

I spent the entire day the building collapsed on the scene, watching as injured garment workers were being rescued from the rubble. I remember the frightened eyes of relatives — I was exhausted both mentally and physically. Around 2 a.m., I found a couple embracing each other in the rubble. The lower parts of their bodies were buried under the concrete. The blood from the eyes of the man ran like a tear. When I saw the couple, I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I knew them — they felt very close to me. I looked at who they were in their last moments as they stood together and tried to save each other — to save their beloved lives.

Every time I look back to this photo, I feel uncomfortable — it haunts me. It’s as if they are saying to me, we are not a number — not only cheap labor and cheap lives. We are human beings like you. Our life is precious like yours, and our dreams are precious too.

They are witnesses in this cruel history of workers being killed. The death toll is now more than 750. What a harsh situation we are in, where human beings are treated only as numbers.

Corporations will typically outsource work overseas because of the cheaper labor conditions, lack of unions, governments willing to bend over backwards for them, and little to no environmental laws.

All in the name of cheaper costs and more profit.

This photo, I hope, reminds us that while the cost in dollars is relatively small, the cost in human lives and our own moral conscience is high.

I would encourage you to avoid purchasing from retailers who utilize and continue to support these types of working conditions and contact them to let them know why you’re making a choice to shop elsewhere.

We as a society have to decide whether profit, money, and efficiency are the only values we care about or if we care about something more, something like human beings. And we should demand the same from our corporate leaders.

People, families, and communities should come before higher profits.

No one’s saying you should run losses, but if staying in business really means having a quite literally disposable workforce, then maybe it wouldn’t be such a tragedy to close up shop.

To my more conservative friends, once again, I’d like to point out that the culture of death I hear so much about extends far beyond abortion into areas of our lives that should now, upon seeing the tragic toll, make you feel as uncomfortable as I do.


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