One of the things I’ve learned from this project is that some of the most vile, intolerant, and hideous comments I have received have been left by local Bangladeshis who are privileged enough to have the resources to access (and be hateful) on YouTube.
The thing to keep in mind is that, with over 80% of the country earning less than $2 a day, those within Bangladesh who are able to comment and critique my videos come from a very narrow (and very privileged) position in society. I guess sometimes the hardest people to get through to are those living right in the middle of it all.
More after jump. Discretion advised.
One of the common themes is anti-Americanism or anti-Western attitudes. Ironically enough, many of these comments are from those who were wealthy enough to emigrate to the developed world to pursue a job or an education.
Shortly after posting my video where I teamed up with Rick Davis to help kids in the Chittagong Hill-Tracts, a South Asian living in the UK writes:
what a fucking great job, giving $100 doller to a kid and making name for yourself maagir bacha shawn. dont bring those fithy american pigs to our land thats including you.
Often accusations of fame-seeking and or an “American agenda” are often the main criticisms I get. Shortly after posting “The Hard Lessons of Aid Work” another UK-based South Asian accuses me of being an American trying to overtake the Bangladeshi political system:
Any American pretend to be or dreaming to take leadership of complex bangladesh u my kid this an impossible task for you and never dream it.we are whachin you.
A very sensitive spot for many of the Bangladeshi haters is anything that portrays Bangladesh in a bad light. For example, shortly after posting video of the cockroach infestation in the home I was staying in Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi wrote:
whoever took this video should visit New york which is worse then this
Often Bangladeshi haters usually have their own explanation why poverty exists. And – unfortunately more often than not – it’s plain-old game of blaming the United States and being intolerant towards other religions. In reply, to my Christmas in Dhaka video one 20-year Bangladeshi in Canada writes:
This video is shit… It is absolutely shit. I was born and brought up in Dhaka, and I came to Toronto to study. There is a goverment holiday for christmas, or any religious celebreation. But that doesnt mean people do christmas. That’s absolutely crap. People barely care about christmas. And talking about USA helping Bangladesh. Mr Idiot, whoever you are, if you had studied economics, you would know one of the reasons our country is so poor is because of our slavery towards USA.
For the record, here is a photo of the Bangladeshis that “barely care about Christmas”:
Sometimes, many Bangladesh haters can get so vile and hateful that I am left with no choice but to delete their comment and block them. A few months back, I had to block a user who posted this:
u are not an inspiration ! ur a chor ! dallal er pola khaia khaia mota hoisos chudnar pola ! and now fuckin extortin money u MADERCHOD ! KUTTA of bangladesh ! pls dot donate any kindof money ! he steals ppls money ! dont trst this motherfucker !!!! he is CHOR !!
Roughly translated (some of the worst language I am not familiar with) but basically he says “you are a thief! you eat and eat and got fat [expletive]” followed by that I am “extortin” money and am a [expletive] and a dog of Bangladesh (I cleaned that up a bit) . This is followed with a plea for everyone to stop donating with the accusation that I’m stealing…
Ending poverty once and for all requires an honest commitment by the well-to-do from those within developing (or “third world”) countries. That means reducing the anti-American rhetoric (often, hypocritically, voiced by those enjoying the comforts of America), ending racial and religious intolerance, and not vilifying those who are trying to help the poor.
Even though haters are everywhere, the kind of comments left by some rich Bangladeshis shows there is much progress left to be made.