Recently designer Sujeet Sennik wrote an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail newspaper in which he confessed complicity in the deaths of garment workers in a factory fire in Bangladesh. In the article he says that he lit the fire and that he is guilty of murder.
It is a very dramatic attempt at connecting our desire for cheap fashion items and consumer goods with the pathetic and dangerous conditions in which many of those who prduce them labour. He was not physically present when this fire took place, and he is not an arsonist. Sennik does speak from experience. He was actually in an Asian garment factory when a fire broke out. And as a designer he knows the pressure of producing clothing that can be sold at competitive prices in a market where people can afford more.
I have to confess that while I say I believe in justice for all, I don't check the labels of my clothing to see where it is produced. I think my biggest sin is that the availibility of cheap goods means that I buy more whether I need it or not. I could buy less and choose companies which pay workers a fair wage and create reasonable working environments. Maybe the labourers who produce my stuff are treated fairly, but I honestly don't know.
Sennik may overstate the case, but I appreciated getting the jolt to make me think about simplicity, and fairness and justice. Isn't that the call to Christians?
Do you take the time to discover the source of the stuff you are buying? What about the article? Too much guilt or a wake-up call?