One of the many issues in Bangladesh…

I have lived at an International House college for 3 years now. I am surrounded by people from all around the globe. I have met people from the US, South America, Spain, India, China, Japan and Malta to name a few. Over these years I have learnt so much from these people by sitting down and having proper in depth conversations with them. From these conversations I have grown so much more and become more open. These conversations have inspired me to do more independent research and further understand other cultures, practices and traditions.

For this autoethnographic study, this conversation began not so long ago…

I’d been on the grind for 2 weeks, working the same job, doing the same thing. On the final day, I went on break with a fellow worker and friend. On our burger break we got talking about the world. I have always admired my friend for his immense knowledge on everything. We got talking about upcoming things in our lives. For him, it was the police force and for me it was my final semester. He asked about my subjects and I mentioned that I was doing a Digital Asia subject which involved a research project. After whinging about how overwhelming it was to find a topic when you are fascinated by everything about Asia, he started listing off topics he had read about. When I thought Asia, I was usually thinking Japan, China and Korea. I completely forgot about all the other amazing countries in Asia.

That’s when he brought up Bangladesh and India; and the power struggles occurring between these two nations. For years now there had been water supply problems and they had never been resolved. Now with the pressing affects of climate change, it was creating a power struggle between Bangladesh and India. These countries haven’t got the best relationship at the best of times, so it had been easy to avoid addressing the issue when other more significant issues of corruption and massacre were on the mind. But the environmental issues can’t wait any longer.

I took this information home with me and mulled it over. The more I thought about this topic, the more I wanted to learn. There wasn’t much coverage on mainstream media. I found it difficult to find articles. And if I did find articles on it, they all said similar things.

But then I remembered, I live at an International college with friends from all around the planet and a high percentage of them are from Asia. At the start of 2016, I met my friend Nabil from none-other than Bangladesh. At the time, I remember thinking where the hell is Bangladesh. I had heard of it but was never able to locate it. I later found out that it was next to India, in ASIA.

I got talking to my friend Nabil and learnt so much more. I asked him about the power struggle over the water supplies between Bangladesh and India. He opened the floodgates (if you’d pardon the pun), and told me everything he knew from the perspective of someone who was born and raised in Bangladesh. To say the least, I was overwhelmed to find out about the amount of corruption in Asia. The violence and the crime caused by people with power. Everything is run with money. Corruption was clearly a huge issue. Following corruption he then addressed the issue of violence. Nabil mentioned the ethnic cleansing that occurred in Mynamur (Burma) the other bordering country of Bangladesh. He informed me that over 1 million Muslims had been killed off as a part of a “cleanse” implemented by the government. I was horrified. I hadn’t heard about any of this and felt so stupid for not knowing what was going on in the world.

Nabil then talked about the water issue. He explained to me that the faraka barrage had been built in response to the Ganges that flow through India and Bangladesh. India built this barrage to help keep water available for there use. However, every year the barrage fills up and needs to be emptied. When it is emptied, Bangladesh gets flooded and cities go under. So much so that rural areas lose their homes and farmland; city streets get flooded.

Nabil explained to me that this is normal for him. It is a time of year that just happens. There is nothing done about it. It just happens. How terrible to think that people have become accustomed to being annually flooded when their has been no effort to reach another solution.

From here, I aim to find out more about the history and situation of this water problem. For my final digital artefact, I plan to create a podcast with Nabil where we will discuss what the water issue is and what could possibly happen in the future for these two nations.

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