Social Justice Poetry

Time to Check the Labels on Our Shirts | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

Bangladesh is a land of money for clothing firms that pay very low
wages to workers in 400 garment factories near the capital of Dhaka.

Consumers in Western nations benefit from low retail prices for items of clothing these low wages produce.

Some Western consumers may remember that in 2013, 100,000 garment
workers in Bangladesh rioted in search of a monthly wage of $104, an increase they sought over the $39 a month many of them were being paid.

And it’s hard to forget that in 2013 a clothing factory in
Bangladesh collapsed. More than 1100 people died. And, of course,
there was that factory fire in 2012 that took the lives of 112

The latest news story from Bangladesh seems to indicate things
aren’t that much better in that country in 2015.

On July 10, 21 elderly women, three teen-agers and a five-year old
child died when a stampede of hundreds stormed the home of a
businessman expected to provide a handout of free clothing during
Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting and prayer. Thirty others
were rushed to a hospital.

The news story explained the businessman had been detained.

The story also pointed out that human stampedes are common during
charity handouts in South Asian countries.

The story failed to mention, however, that still common, too, are the low wages that make charity handouts in South Asian countries so attractive.

Perhaps it’s time to check the labels on shirts and other clothing
items before we Westerners buy them so we know who made them for us.

Visit Donal at

~ Your support keeps this site going.