Sohel Rana is Now the Most Hated Man in Bangladesh

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The New York Times reports today on Sohel Rana, owner of the factory building that collapsed last week and now the most hated man in Bangladesh:

To build Rana Plaza, Mr. Rana and his father bullied adjacent landowners, the landowners themselves say, and ultimately took their property by force. His political allies gave him a construction permit, despite his dubious claims of title to the land, and a second permit later to add upper floors that may have destabilized the building.

….Then on April 23, a problem arose. Workers on the third floor were stitching clothing when they were startled by a noise that sounded like an explosion. Cracks had appeared in the building. Workers rushed outside in terror.

By late morning, Mr. Rana’s representatives had brought in Abdur Razzaque Khan, an engineer. Taken to the third floor, Mr. Khan examined three support pillars, and became horrified at the cracks he found. “I became scared,” Mr. Khan said. “It was not safe to stay inside this building.”

He rushed downstairs and told one of Mr. Rana’s administrators that the building needed to be closed immediately. But Mr. Rana was apparently not impressed; he was holding court with about a dozen local journalists. “This is not a crack,” he said, according to Shamim Hossain, a local newspaper reporter. “The plaster on the wall is broken, nothing more. It is not a problem.”

Will this become the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of Bangladesh? Possibly, though it’s worth remembering just how long and how hard the battle for safer working conditions was even after the Triangle disaster. To get a sense of just how difficult it’s going to be to change things in Bangladesh, click the link and read the whole sordid story.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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