A Target Dilemma

Today, I have a confession to make:

I splurged at a department store.

Sucked into the women’s clothing department, I found myself engrossed in a sea of blouses, cardigans, skirts and sundresses. Fabrics of red, blue, black and white slipped through my fingers. I drew out the black one, pondering its size. I flipped the tag and was immediately confronted with the following: “Made in Indonesia.”

The dress faded in my hands. I no longer saw its stripes of white against black. I saw faces. Dead, dying, bleeding, covered in dust and rubble. I saw the death and destruction of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh all over again.

Rana Plaza

The body of a young female, crushed under the rubble in the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, April 26, 2013. Abir Abdullah/Alexia Foundation

My heart leapt to my throat. I felt conspicuous and guilty, stranded in the women’s department, stranded in a moral dilemma. How could I possibly purchase these goods in good conscience, bought with the blood and lives of whole peoples turned into imperialist colonies by corporate interests?

I looked into their unseeing eyes. I pleaded with them as I held this scrap of fabric in my hands. What can I do? What can I possibly do against such atrocities? A single woman, held within this capitalist’s dream which enslaves millions?

(Which brings to mind Théoden… Orcs and Wal-Mart are not quite equal, but the sentiment is the same.)

If only I, too, could ride out on a shining stallion and right such wrongs. If only I could also ride out and quell the greed, the suffering, the exploitation of entire lives.

What can one do against such reckless hate?

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