Featured

Saturday’s factory fire in New Delhi was a planned massacre of women workers

The fire that killed three workers

A factory fire broke out Saturday, July 13, in a hardware factory in the Jhilmil industrial area, in New Delhi. Three workers were killed: Manju Devi, 50 years old, mother of five; Sangeeta Devi, 46 years old, mother of three; Shoaib Ali, 19 years old, one of two children. The Jhilmil industrial area is 20 some miles from the Bawana Industrial Area, where a fire broke out January 2018 in a firecracker factory. An hour by car, more or less, separates the two factory zones. A year and a half separate the two fires. In that year and a half, absolutely nothing has been done to ameliorate the conditions of factory workers in New Delhi. As was the case in Bawana, Saturday’s factory fine in New Delhi was a planned massacre of workers, the majority of whom were women.

For a couple days there was news coverage. The two brothers who owned the factory have been arrested. The factory license had expired and so the factory had no license. The factory had no “firefighting measures.” The fire was massive, the brothers were negligent. The stories of each of the three murdered workers are plaintive and heart rending. In other words, this “tragedy” is precisely like the earlier “tragedies”. Add the Jhilmil industrial area to the list of factory fire “tragedies”: Bawana Industrial Area,India: Tangerang, Indonesia;  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, United States; Kader Toy Factory, Thailand; Zhili Handicraft Factory, China; Tazreen Fashions Factory, Bangladesh; Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, Philippines; House Technologies Industries, Philippines. The sacrificial pyre built of women’s bodies continues to grow and light up the night sky of global economic development. 

The Jhilmil factory had no license because it didn’t have to have a license: “The factory was operating in the area of 110 sq metres and a fire NoC [No objection Certificate] is not required for the area below 250 sq metre as per norms.” According to some estimates, “around 90% of units in industrial areas of Delhi lack fire safety norms.” Some of those factories are in violation of the law, but the vast majority aren’t. They are “per norms”. That is, respectively, they comprise individual areas of less than 250 square meters, and so don’t need any license. The majority of factories in New Delhi’s industrial zones are less than 250 square meters in area. Per norms. That’s the law. That’s how it is. Saturday’s factory fire in New Delhi was a planned massacre of workers, the majority of whom were women, and the planners of that massacre are factory owners, the State, and all who looked the other way, or better, see and construct a world “per norms” in which people who work in larger factories have some value, are collectively worth the cost of a fire extinguisher and an alarm, and those, the majority, who work in the smaller factories, the `informal’ factories, they are less than dirt, less than the ash that fills the air and covers the earth after a massive fire. Saturday’s factory fire in New Delhi was a planned massacre of workers, the majority of whom were women. It won’t be the last such massacre.

(Photo Credit: The Hindu / R. V. Moorthy)

In France, women demand an end to femicide now, without delay!

On Saturday, the French women’s organization Féminicides par compagnons ou ex reported a woman in Perpignan had been killed by her partner on Friday, July 5. That murder raised the number of women killed by partners this year in France to 74. Thanks to the work of various women’s organizations, for the past few days French […]

Today is July 4, 2019: There is nothing to celebrate here

Yesterday, July 3, 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics released the drawings below, done by children who had been held, caged, in immigrant detention centers on the U.S. Southern Border. The AAP said, simply, “The American Academy of Pediatrics believes no time in detention is healthy or safe for children.” Today is July 4, 2019. There is […]

In Sudan, “this revolution is women’s revolution!”

In Sudan, on December 19, 2018, people took to the streets to protest a precipitous rise in bread prices. Since then, protests have persisted and grown. As so often in food uprisings, the price of food was the visible spark that revealed an undergrowth of fire, and, as so often, women of Sudan set and sustained […]

My freshman year at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, or UNN, a guy almost raped me

Busola Dakolo My freshman year at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, or UNN, a guy almost raped me. He threatened to bring out a gun, he slapped me, he said I could scream as loudly as I wanted, no one would come to help me. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, he had a reputation for being a […]

What happened to Robin Arraj? Cuyahoga County “Justice”

The Cuyahoga County Jail, located in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is a bad place. It’s “problem-plagued” and marked by “inmate deaths and inhumane conditions”. Today, people protested the “inhumane” conditions as well as Cuyahoga County’s failure to do anything about those conditions. It was the U.S. Marshals who described the conditions […]

How do heartless leaders win elections? Part 2: India and beyond

In India, although Modi failed to deliver on election promises of economic growth, he drew public through hypocritical arguments about the importance of protecting the Hindu nation against Pakistan. The elections came at a crucial time when two Indian Army pilots captured by the Pakistani military were released back into India. The fanfare around their […]

From February 2018 to May 2019, four women have died at HMP Styal. Who cares?

“In the United Kingdom, forty per cent of sentenced women serve three months or less, and yet somehow manage to `harm themselves’ at a rate of three incidents per inmate. Women prisoners’ self harm is neither epidemic nor outbreak. It’s life. It’s part of the harm of being a woman in a neoliberal political economy. The […]

Welcome at last to the 21st century

Welcome at last to the 21st century so wrote a colleague-pastat my reportage of nowhaving one of those devicesyou see folks walking into stationary poles with is it any goodI enquireas it seemsI have not been I hear there isrunning waterelectricity evenand plentiful(so politicians say) Welcome at last to the 21st centurywhere you can seehunger on […]

How do heartless leaders win elections? Part 1: In Europe

In the past month, around the world, heartless populist leaders have had successes in numerous elections. The Indian election occurred over 6 weeks, with 900 million registered voters, and 63 percent actively voting. The European elections were organized in 28 countries to renew the European Parliament where European laws are discussed and passed or not. […]

What happened to Tanya Day? Nothing. Just another Aboriginal woman died in police custody

Tanya Day and her granddaughter In Australia, for Aboriginal women and their families, the wheels of justice do not turn at all, but they do try to grind the people into dust. On December 22, 2017, Tanya Day, a 55-year-old Yorta Yorta grandmother, “died of traumatic brain injuries” in police custody, in the Castlemaine Police Station, […]

Older posts