Broken Pact

Gaël Turine

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is on the verge of asphyxiation due to pollution. But it continues to swallow up rural populations in search of a better future. Gaël Turine and French writer Laurent Gaudé draw a portrait of a crowded, polluted metropolis and provide a glimpse of the working conditions of its inhabitants.

“Every city makes a pact with the place it chooses at the time of its foundation. Whether it’s on a fertile plain or clinging to mountains, every installation seals a common destiny between the city and nature. Dhaka was built in an immense network of rivers, canals and streams, in the heart of the world’s largest delta where the Ganges, the Meghna and the Brahmaputra rivers converge. Water reigns here and it is water that I expected to see everywhere. Yet, what struck me immediately was not the calm of the waters but the agitation of mankind.

On the shores of the Buriganga River, which cuts the city in two, there is incessant activity. Everyone is in a hurry, crossing, going up and down dhows, coming back, loading and unloading goods, getting agitated in all directions. Buriganga has been living for a long time with this heady noise.

Today, the pact between the river and the city is broken. (…)”

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