vanitas vanitate

 and so, carrying a $9.99 throwaway phone, texts and calls prepaid but still moaning abut my iPhone,  I came back to comfy hotel room, stuffed with music and dinner, to read this. I'm sharing it because it made me think, even in my overstuffed, overprivileged condition, and I hope it will make more of us think twice. Or three times. And thank you to the lovely and caring Rosalind, of Clothes, Cameras and Coffee, who put it out there.

Dhaka, April 24th
Buildings fall in other places,
Visible but out of sight.
Look away from dusted faces,
Fingers grey with rubble's graces, 
Fill your bags with cheap delight.

Primark earnings up a quarter:
Queue for t-shirts - two pounds each!
Never mind the ruptured mortar,
Families that lost a daughter.
Listen to the profit preach.

"Love a bargain," "Special prices, 
"Summer bags are hot, hot, hot!"
In Tasreen people burned; such crisis 
Commonplace where need entices,
 Those with names are fast forgot.

"One time order", "Random audit," 
These the words of Western gain. 
Broken lives? They can afford it, 
Mending where they once ignored it, 
Aid to bind the splintered pain.

Our flagship stores should stand half-mast: 
Commemorate the hands that sewed, 
The lives now crushed, left in the past, 
Five hundred lost to sate the fast 
Tempo fashion thinks we're owed.

But we are cracked who do not care 
To hear the price of what we wear.

Rosalind Jana 2013


  1. I can't see or read it... Not sure what it is.
    On an iPad so perhaps that's why?

  2. Can't see it either (on a phone)...

  3. Thank you, ruth and Ema, I tried again after coffee and hope this time it worked!

    1. Thanks WFF, can read it now. Very poignant and moving. It's hard finding out under what conditions things are made. Most items here in Aus seem to be made in China, but who knows how the workers are treated.

  4. Thank you. How chillingly true. I am reminded of a time 25 years a ago when I was in Bloomingdales with my father and I picked up and admired a gorgeous hand crocheted fine thread lace sweater. As I was about to but it, he said- look made in China- probably from a Chinese prison. This was before all of the garment companies were doing business in China. It was an image that has always stuck with me. The sweater was expertly made, and I am amazed at the the hand work, and cherish it still. I can only hope that some of the laborers know we admire their incredible skill, and pray for their better living conditions. I was on the fence about buying the sweater, because his proclamation made me uneasy. In the end I bought it, because I knew that I would appreciate and respect the provenance of the sweater forever. TO this day, if I teach a class in crochet, I bring it as an example of the highest standards of craftsmanship, because I feel that people should be educated about the vast amount of labor that goes into a garment we purchase relatively cheaply. I recall that the sweater was extremely costly back then. But, it certainly was not commensurate with what a western worker- who would never make something that time consuming-would get paid. Although WFF, not to open a whole new can of worms, generally speaking, it is mostly women who still toil under those ghastly conditions. So, I feel that it is not just an econic issue, it is really a women's rights issue. Recetly, a friend came to our house, and fixed something for us. We offered to pay, and he refused. He laughed and said jokingly- you could knit me a sweater. Well, what idly went through my mind, was that for an hour of labor, he could easily charge hundreds of dollars, but for the 50-70 hours it would take me to make him a sweater , it would still be viewed as an even trade.

    1. OMG- I really should edit before I hit send.

    2. I appreciated reading your comment.

  5. Sadly true, Knityarns , that women's work is undervalued. I have a wonderful book, nearly 20 yrs old now, called"Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years" abt cloth and women(Eliz Wayland Barber). We should remember when we dress, another PERSON made this.

  6. WFF, thanks for the post, very thought provoking.


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