August 24, 2007

That Muffled Noise

As a Non-Resident Bangladeshi with the media gagged and almost everyone living in fear, it's difficult to know what's going on. It's like living below a chronically fighting couple, an illegal gambling racket and a drug lord all rolled into one, except they use another entrance into the premises and I've never been upstairs. The only way I know what's going on is by trying to decipher the muffled noises that make their way down to your place.

So it's with great dread and sadness that I read blog posts that are desperately warning Dhaka University students to stay out of sight for fears of indiscriminate punishment. With fear reigning supreme among everyone including journalists and bloggers, a select few are giving us glimpses into what might be going on, out of courage or more likely, desperation.

I'd like to think that all this represents the sporadic fears of the few, and not representative of what is going on. But in the absence of a free media, how can I be sure? I'd like to think I'm misreading the muffled noises: that noise from upstairs isn't the casino owners chopping someone's fingers off for cheating, but a winner knocking over the chips in his excitement.... but until I'm allowed to actually go up and see, I'll always harbour suspicions that it's the former and not the latter.

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