“Rana Plaza Massacre: An Anthology” is a website based on a book, “Chobbishe April: Hazar Praner Chitkar’’ (24th April: Outcries of a thousand souls), published in Bangla by Bangladesh Garment Sromik Samhoti (Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity) on 24th December, 2014.
April 24, 2013. The cruelest of days in industrial history when a thousand young workers lost their lives and dreams. People who, to the state and owners, were simply numbers, or tools for profit-making. People whose deaths -- structural murders -- were reimagined as “accidents”.
Rana Plaza is a symbol of the inhumanity that belies the promise of progress and the untold possibilities of the garments industry. It brought to the fore the everyday outcries of workers, the reality of their status -- or lack thereof -- as citizens, and the apathy of the owning class, state apparatuses and international buyers. The collapse was also a wakeup call. But were we really ready to respond to this call? It appears instead that efforts are well underway to erase Rana Plaza killing from our minds and memories.
We would like to think of this collection as a struggle of preserving memory against forgetting. We couldn’t accept that so many lives (and deaths) would simply disappear into nothingness. We wanted to keep the political significance and memories of the cruelty of April 24 alive in everyone’s minds.
The website contains stories of a number of dead and missing persons – what happened on April 24, why they left their villages, their migration to Dhaka, why and how they got involved in garments work, how they lost their lives, what their dreams were and so on.
The website also chronicles the experiences of some workers who are still alive and/or who have lost their limbs in Rana Plaza, as well as the stories of rescuers. In addition, it contains essays by activists, writers and intellectuals, Facebook posts, Tazreen and Rana Plaza related plays, poems, songs, cartoons, maps etc. It also features news of struggles and protests of activists-organisers-artists from different platforms who have raised their voices against the atrocities of Rana Plaza.
One of the most important works of this anthology is a list of dead and missing workers, created by Bangladesh Garment Sromik Samhoti through their continuous efforts to communicate with workers and their families and collecting information to the best of their abilities. A total of 1175 workers’ names are on this list.