An Islamist attack on a cafe in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, in early July – and the subsequent siege – ended with 20 people, mostly foreigners, dead. How has this affected the mood in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries?” – BBC


On the 1st of July we woke to the news of yet another terrorist attack. Most of us really struggle to understand how any human being can kill another let alone in such a calculated way. Done using methods designed to be so cruel, impact on so many innocent people, just out doing normal things and the random nature of how these attacks play out.

For many of us in NZ we have a new take on our isolation from the rest of the world and it starts to take on a more positive spin.

And yet this attack hit home for us for many reasons.

Having lived in the Gulshan part of Dhaka where the attack took place it became very real and personal. We had visited places within a stone’s throw of the café and my husband had been taken there by friends on a recent visit last February.

Following it live on TV from the safety of our living room we were very relieved to hear from close friends that they (and their loved ones) were all safe.

However, in the past few days, we have been touching base with other new friends we made during our time living there.

I was very sad to hear that three students from the international school they teach at and friends of their’s were amongst the 20 lives lost.

And then yesterday I woke to a very sad email from the CEO of the Fair Trade organisation She Made This partners with in Bangladesh.

The day before the attack, they had meetings with their Italian partner (who resided in Dhaka with her husband, Claudia D’Antonna) and her team – Nadia & Simona. Kohinoor (the CEO) was invited to a dinner with them at Holey Cafe & Restaurant on that fateful night. She had to decline, due to work commitments.

Sadly, those three ladies lost their lives. Claudia’s husband survived as he went outside to take a phone call.

Their colleagues including the CEO of our partner are in shock and suffering from the “survivor guilt” that is not uncommon for those who have had such a terrifying near miss.

This is just a couple of personal connections and accounts of the people behind the statistics we hear constantly on the news.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest countries which makes the impact of this attack even more cruel.

Not only were many precious lives lost but the result of this despicable attack is impacting on the livelihoods of many too, with cafes and restaurants reporting business is very slow. Those who, have a choice, are choosing to leave the country others are not coming to the country to do business. All this is likely to herald the end for already vulnerable struggling businesses. This article from the BBC sums it up.

We can let it wash over us along with other tragic stories where even more lives were lost like in Nice or Turkey or we can pause for thought and consider how we, as individuals can do something positive. There are plenty of options and it’s not good enough to just ignore the unpleasantness without trying to do something to help make a difference.

At the very least we can ask where things we are considering buying, were made. Were the makers paid fairly? The current standard of NZ$3/day is not a living wage. Were any children working in the factories with their parents to help the family make ends meet?

Not a hard thing to do. At the very least it is educating our community to consider the impact of our western “free trade” business model where everything revolves around the $ and shareholders profits. People are an important component in the process and that there ARE other business models that consider this aspect. The bottom line is if we buy something that’s very cheap then someone somewhere will be paying for that cheap price we are receiving.