Bangladesh in the News

You may or may not have seen news headlines lately, pertaining to riots and protests in Bangladesh, and in Dhaka specifically. There have been a few disturbances lately, although I’m not sure how often such things occur. And I have only found out about them through the media, both national and international.

The first protest last Friday occurred outside the city’s National Mosque and involved several hundred people, and injured many. The protest broke out on following prayers at the mosque. A radical Islamist group is opposed to the National Women Development Policy, which gives equal rights to women in inheritance. In other words, should the policy become law, women would have an equal right to inherit property as men, which goes against the Quran. Bangladesh is not an Islamic Republic, like Pakistan for instance, it is a secular state, which means the church and state are separate.

Saturday there was another, larger protest, outside the city in a garment manufacturing district. There, 10,000 textile workers clashed with police and dozens were injured in a protest triggered by rising food prices. As is the case in many poor countries at the moment, food prices are becoming such that many people can no longer afford their daily staples, especially rice. The textile workers were demanding higher salaries to compensate for the increased cost of food. In less than a year, on the world markets the price of wheat has risen 130%, soya by 87% and rice by 74%. The food crisis is evident here, with line ups for government subsidized food at distribution points all over the city. For a person who lives on $1 a day, about 70% of that income is spent on food. So you can see how critical increased food prices are to people in developing countries all over the world.

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Posted in Bangladesh | travel | work Submitted by Meg on Sun, 2008-04-13 12:01

Food crisis

Submitted by Kim (not verified) on Tue, 2008-04-15 20:33.

Stories like this make me take a step back and realize how lucky we are to live in Canada. It's unconceivable that some people have to spend 70% of their income on food when countries in the Western world waste so much of it every day.

There was a story in the Globe today about a Government of Canada response to the food crisis, but they don't have a plan in place at the moment. It seems like they're trying to meet the UN World Food Program's deadline of May 1.

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