Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I love to read good things people say about Bangladesh.

I was reading Prof. Justine Cassell's interview, who is the director of CMU HCI research. She traveled 40 countries, yet when asked about them she mentioned wonderful things about Bangladesh.

This is what she said:

What countries have you traveled to?

Well, I’ve probably traveled to forty countries… In 2002-2003, I was on sabbatical, and I had a grant to study young people and the Internet. In one year, I went to twenty-one countries. That was the best year of my life. I spent two weeks in each country. It was so great. As you can tell, I don’t mind being uprooted. I love foreign countries and places I haven’t been before.

I was in really exotic places. I was in a country that was the smallest self-governing country in the world, called Niue. It’s a tiny little island near New Zealand. They only have 562 families in the country. They actually have a lot of people outside the country who are Niuean. But it was so tiny. There was one store in the capital of the country. Well, there was one grocery store. I love that place. I kept extending my stay. First I was supposed to stay only four days, then I stayed seven days, then I stayed ten days. I would’ve stayed longer if I could. It was just so different.

I also love going to Bangladesh. I’ve been there three or four times now. I’ve really enjoyed it each time. Once again, it’s really different from anywhere I’ve lived. I’ve been very warmly welcomed, with a tremendous amount of generosity, by people who don’t have a lot of material possessions. I was privileged to hang out with a group of young people who had grown up in the slums of Dhaka and through the innovative thinking of a Bangladeshi photographer had become photographers themselves. Those young people had so much to say about being the subject vs. the object of their own experience – being behind or in front of the camera. It’s a country that floods severely every year, and yet a significant segment of the population is too poor to move from the flooding areas – and so they take their stuff and move to the top of the hill. The young photographers I spent time with – who call themselves “Out of Focus” – took me around the country to see the effects of the floods, and talked to me about the ways in which Bangladesh gets used in the world press as what they called “poverty porn”. And I’m upset when the 7-Eleven doesn’t have whatever I want. It just really gives you a perspective on things.

Read Full Interview

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