To hear such a personal story from the front lines of a disaster like Rana Plaza, is more than eye opening, it’s heart wrenching. Shakor Ahmed and his friends (as well as anyone who is willing to put their life at risk to help another person), are hero’s in my eyes.
Even after learning the personal tribulations endured by those who were involved in the incident, I still cannot fathom the emotional toll from the time that the disaster happened and thereafter. This man is fighting with all his might for those who are still victimized by the industry that does not care to ensure that it’s workers, who paid dearly with their lives and bodies, for a fair and just future. But he cannot do it without your help. After learning that these garment industry victims have been blatantly ignored, I can’t help but feel obligated to do my part to help. If you have a passion for life, please help. Educate yourself and others about this situation, make the voices of the victims heard by speaking up.
Here is Shakor’s personal account of his time as a volunteer life-saver during the Rana Plaza incident, and the reason why he still fights for the victims today:
The idea for this film, “Life nor Germ” came to me while I got to know the many untold stories of the victims of Rana Plaza. My friends and I were part of a rescue team, we gruellingly came to know how the tasks were accomplished. First on scene were all local people who came to help, and then the army came in to lend their helping hand. After the main tragedy had occurred, while we faced all the dead bodies; the relatives of the people who were lost started crying and we were unsure of what to do. All of the dead bodies were collected and laid in a nearby field. As a community, we never faced this kind of incident before so, we took time to try to understand. We became accustomed to the situation, it seemed that we were born to rescue people and it appeared to us as a daily task. The task of rescuing people took place for 17 days. At the end of this time, many relatives were desperately seeking their sons and daughters, there were many children who could not find their parent’s dead body. The authorities ‘finished’ the job without making sure all of the workers were found.
One month after the incident, we talked with many lucky people who had second chance at life. Some of them were in hospital for 3-4 months. In this time, they could not earn money for their families nor could they find another job though many factories came forward and offered jobs. But whoever lost their hands, legs or both faced the most miserable situation ever. We got to know that they had been forced to do work like a slave. After the Rana Plaza accident, many serious injured people still did not get their announced insurance or fund.
Here, we found much negligence of management and sketchy deals from buyers. The buyer never insures labour safety, but the paper work always goes as smooth as if they had done their part. These companies still profit, while a labourer loses his/her valuable life with no remuneration or compensation for the tragedy they have endured. In our film, we show you what happened through the eyes of a labourer who was in Rana Plaza on that day, for 4 days.
The tragedy of Rana Plaza made us realize a horrible truth, that the labourers of our country, whose hard work upholds our country in an international economy, are not protected by the industry. The owners of the garment factories, for their own personal profit, are responsible for this type of mass destruction. This is not the first time that a major accident occurred because of the unsafe environment of garment factories. Even after three years of the Rana Plaza incident, the situation has not changed. The labourers are still getting low wages and working in an unsafe environment. The saddest part is that we have forgotten the horror of the time. The amount of death we have seen is unforgettable. And yet we do not remember. It should have been a lesson for us.
Luckily, we [you and I] got a lucky chance to born in an educated and nice family; what if we were in that collapsed building? What if we lost one of our brothers or sisters, mothers or fathers? These are the kinds of questions that come to mind on a daily basis. If we stick to a plan to share the untold & unspoken words of the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster to the rest world, the possibilities are palpable. For recognition, we are trying to do this project with the help of crowd funding at Kickstarter. We are almost done with our project for Kickstarter and if everything goes well, then we will start our task. Though we did not get our project authorized from crowd funding source, but we are hoping that we will succeed. We hope to educate those who wish to do something about the standards in the textile and garment industry, to help protect our precious garment workers, especially in Bangladesh.