Why History is not Just About the Past

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A fire blazes through a garment factory. The building has too few exits and not enough fire escapes. Fire equipment cannot reach the fire. More than 100 people—many of them young women—die. Bodies, burnt beyond recognition, line the floor of a government building, awaiting identification.

If you’re thinking, “I know that story—it happened at New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1911,” think again. Though the details fit the Triangle tragedy, the scene I’ve just described is the deadly fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, this past Saturday night.

The Triangle fire has been seared into our national memory not only because of the horrific (and unnecessary) loss of life but also because it reminds us that change is possible. The experience of the Triangle fire inspired a generation of activists who fought tirelessly for government safety regulations that transformed American industry.

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Posted by on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012. Filed under Jewish Blogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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