Culture & Critique – Danwatch undersøgende journalistik Tue, 19 Feb 2019 10:09:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Culture & Critique – Danwatch 32 32 Coffee workers must sign blank documents Wed, 02 Mar 2016 12:44:48 +0000 ]]> 0 Guide: 7 Enlightening TED Talks Tue, 25 Aug 2015 13:09:17 +0000

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong

According to the AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta we have learned that charity is only valuable if the cost for administration is kept at a minimum. But what if administration and investments are what makes the money grow and thus raising even more money for the good cause?

Charmian Gooch: Meet the global corruption’s hidden players

The former Turkmen all-powerful leader Niyazov had a 40-foot-high gold-plated statue of himself build, which rotated to follow the sun. This is the kind of cliché we know from the world of corruption but we rarely hear how the large international banks and shell companies enables these interesting buys. Global Witness found Charmian Gooch elaborates.

Hans og Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world

Guess along when Hans Rosling quizzes the audience about the state of the planet. With wit and data, the Swedish professor of international health Hans Rosling and his son Ola display how the media provides us with an overly pessimistic world view. Moreover, he makes a lot of jokes about Swedes.

Dame Ellen McArthur: The Surprising thing I learned sailing solo around the world

Dame Ellen McArthur tells her captivating story about her she set sails around the world and how it suddenly made her aware of the limited resources of nature. The talk is both entertaining and informative.

Kevin Bales: How to combat modern slavery

Did you know that in 2010 there were 27 million slaves in the world? And that the price of a human goes all the way down to five dollars? Kevin Bales is the co-founder of the organisation Free the slaves and here presents a proposal for how we fight modern slavery.

Leslie T. Chang: The voices of China’s workers

Do you also feel a Western guilt when you glance at your iPhone that a hard working Chinese built but does not have the money to buy? Stop and listen to what the workers have to say.

Michael Norton: How to buy happiness

Any self-help book will tell you that you cannot buy happiness. But that is only because they do not know what to buy. Michael Norton is a professor of business administration and marketing at Harvard Business School and unfolds his research that shows how people who spend money on charity are happier than those who do not.

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New film: Dignified documentary on the battle of the textile workers Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:54:13 +0000 Angry men and women under red flags and powerful protests open the film ‘Udita’. A women says:“In one factory I succeeded with getting 530 workers organised in a union and we opened an office at the factory. There are four million workers in the textile factories in Bangladesh and we are not stopping until they are all organised in a union”.There are no passive victims. Only men and women who fight for their rights and unsentimental scenes from their everyday lives.

The directors Hannan Majid and Richard York from Rainbow Collective have filmed in Bangladesh for years and have earlier produced two documentaries: ‘The Machinist’ (2010) and ‘Tears in fabric’ (2013). Their newest documentary ‘Udita’ weaves together recordings from the past two films with new shootings and succeeds in drawing a neat portrait of how the battle for better conditions in the textile industry from 2010 to 2015 is slowly paying off.
Udita, which translates to ‘arise’, is also the story of dawning self-awareness and collective identity in an industry that only really caught the World’s attention after the disaster at Rana Plaza and the fatal fire at the factory Tazreen.

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More than just victims

We meet Razia Begum who lost her two daughters and a son-in-law when Rana Plaza collapsed and Shohibita Rani who tells us about being caught in the flames at Tazreen. These are stories that stick to your mind but ‘Udita’ does not decay to the victim clichés that unfortunately often shape the documentaries and the journalism on the textile industry in Bangladesh.

All too often female workers are portrayed only as helpless victims that the Western consumers should sympathize with and rescue.

‘Udita’ is not about the guilt of the Western consumer and the directors have left out the voice over, experts and observers who traditionally tell us what must be done. There are not just close ups of sad faces in dimmed lighting telling stories of abuse and broken dreams.

What is left is female workers as active players who tell their own stories. And we follow them in their everyday lives at home, in the streets and at the union office. They are not waiting for their rescuers.

At glance from within

The five-year-course of the documentary makes it possible to portray the increased professional organisation among the textile workers that peaked in 2013 when violent protests led to the first increase in the minimum wage.

The film is first of all an important counterweight to the conventional portrayals of the textile industry in Bangladesh where workers are often reduced to passive extras in a show where the leading roles belong to international fashion corporations, factory owners and Western consumers.

There is a chance this positive portrayal of the laborers’ organisation and the self-awareness of the seamstresses will leave you with an image that is a little too optimistic. ‘Udita’ is not the film that makes you wiser on how small a part of the workers that are actually organised, the problems with fake unions or the state’s missing protection of the unions. ‘Udita’ offers a good insight into the lives of the seamstresses and the construction of a collective identity as workers. However, it is of course also a limited insight that does not educate you on the systemic issues under which the industry suffers.

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