Never come between a bat-toting Bangladeshi and his World Cup football. Even though the Bangladeshis themselves are not particularly good at football—they’re ranked 157th by FIFA and didn’t qualify for the Finals currently underway in South Africa—the tiny Asian nation’s zealous fanatics still manage to put certifiably football-crazed countries to shame in terms of passion (read: destruction and rioting) whenever the cup rolls around. And it’s affecting those Made-in-Bangladesh garments sold at the likes of H&M and Walmart.
See, you can pay the lowest wages on the whole of planet Earth and put people to work in subhuman conditions making those dandy H&M tees. You can even cleverly avoid paying taxes on the whole thing and make a website touting your humanitarian work, but you can’t, under any circumstances, fuck with a man’s football watching. Every South American girlfriend/wife/populist president know this basic rule.
This week, students shut down the country’s top University of Engineering and Technology in Dhaka after riots broke out when foolhardy school authorities refused to shift classes so students could watch the Cup. Earlier in the tournament, hundreds of Argentina supporters bearing iron rods destroyed power stations to avenge a pre game outage that disrupted the Nigeria-Argentina match. The country’s 150 million fanatics are split between fervent allegiance to Brazil or Argentina.
To avoid further violence and take the pressure off the country’s feeble electric grid, the government this week shuttered 5,000 factories and pleaded with residents not to use appliances other than televisions during World Cup matches so match broadcasts can proceed uninterrupted. The government’s strategy seems to have worked for now, but if Argentina and Brazil advance to the Championship game on July 11th, you can pretty much forget about copping that new Jimmy Choo for H&M for a while. Here’s to hoping that happens!