November 06, 2007

La Femme Nikita

She might be a drug-peddler. But she is still a lady. What should I then call the men who made a spectacle of her spectacular fall? I have no sympathy for drug-peddlers, but if this continues, I will have no sympathy for law-enforcers.

And what should I call the media who helped in creating this spectacle?

Justice should not be downgraded to drama. I can mention a certain popular facebook group on the Bangladesh network in this regard - a group whose goals I share, but whose members make me ashamed to be party to a virtual public lynching - but lets save that for another day.

As far as the media's moral bankruptcy is concerned, I can mention the rumours flying around a former PM's younger son (and indeed herself), which again should have remained private but was made into another media spectacle. I can mention the death of a poet, another private affair made into yet another media spectacle. But let's save those for another day too.

And I can mention a certain tenancy dispute yet to be covered.

But for now let's all ogle la femme Nikita because we've been told she is more important than everyone else in the country right now. Luc Besson should have been a journalist in Bangladesh. At least his films are less surreal.


Saif said...

Thanks, AsifY bhai. I was going to post on the disgracefulness of the news reports and police commentary about this.

DhakaShohor said...

I look forward to reading it Saif. I've been too angry and digusted to read up too much on this sordid drama.

Farhad Mahmud said...

Glad somebody spoke.

Anonymous said...

Justice Must Be Seen To Be Done.

Fariha said...

"I can mention a certain popular facebook group on the Bangladesh network in this regard - a group whose goals I share, but whose members make me ashamed to be party to a virtual public lynching - but lets save that for another day."

As one of the most 'opinionated' members of the group, I would like to apologize for the strange situatin you may find yourself in. The group administrators and certain members have stressed again and again how violence is not the answer to anything. That, I believe, is one of the founding princples of the group.

We, however, had no control over members venting out their anger/outrage on this public forum. We have asked members again and again to respect the boundaries of propriety, to no avail.

That being said, one of the bigger obstacle we faced, was the smear campaign launched by the alleged perpetrator (who is currently in hiding and poses a threat to all of us). Not only has this group harassed the victim and her friends on this facebook group (which btw is a violation of a restraining order and tantamount to vilification), the members admins of the group have received personal threats. Mind you, I am not trying to validate anything you may have read on the group wall, but just sharing some experience with you.

The reason I wrote to you, in this particular post, is because what really really bothers me is how we stereotype women in our society. If you have been a regular follower of the group, you may have noticed how whenever the role of a woman is questioned in a crime case, her past, her relationships and her morality are questioned far more than a man's (I have been called a militant feminist for making this statement, but I stand by it). Be it a victim of domestic violence/rape or drugg peddling, people derive some sort of pleasure out of digging out her past or probing into her personal life. This violates all norms of propriety.But sadly, this is what sells.

I'm writing to you, with the hope of restoring your faith in our cause. We have taken down the wall for this precise reason. We do not want the private lives of the concerned people to be disected under public scrutiny. All the words in the group page now are relevant information we aquire and member thoughts on those. We have little control over public opinion. But that shouldn't be a reason for you to loose faith in us, as a group.

DhakaShohor said...


Thank you for posting this.

Full disclosure: as you may see from the sidebar, I have linked a group blog where the accused used to write. I have also had personal correspondence with him now and then on issues of mutual interest. I also confess that I have not been a "regular" follower of the group precisely because of what I saw.

Having got that out of the way, I should begin by saying that my faith in your cause was never shaken. You want justice. So do I. You want justice for the victim, so do I. And without giving too much away, let me say that my sympathies are with the lady. It's hard for them not to be.

The theme of this post is:

1) our misconceptions about justice

2) our dim view of womanhood.

There is a difference between what I see as justice and an election. Justice is more than a collective vote on who we think is guilty or innocent. Many of your members seem to have very little notion of justice, and decided that sheer numbers separate the guilty from the innocent. That is hardly how society functions.

The essence of justice is that it cannot be simple barbaric retribution. The key to justice is to ensure the maxim, "Innocent until proven guilty". Now while some might be personally sure of the guilt of one party or another, we have an obligation to wait for a free and fair trial and reserve our judgement and punishment till then.

Might sound harsh and I know its excruciating when a loved one is involved, but the moment you start making exceptions for ANYone, you get what we have in Bangladesh today: trial by media, and the possible return of people like SaQa Chy and Falu as martyrs on the grounds of their unfair trials. What happens to justice in the long run then?

What I saw within the group was the opposite of justice. A person had been condemned guilty without trial. Verbally abusing his picture hardly qualifies as just punishment. Commenting on his looks, race or any other attribute when his behaviour has little to do with those attributes hardly qualifies as just punishment.

I do hope you can see where the parallels I drew with the Nikita phenomenon run. And I'm pretty sure Nikita was a drug dealer, but that does not justify barbarity and boorishness in the name of justice.

What I saw was the same mob mentality one notices around public lynchings or Roman circuses. Call it what you may, that was not justice.

I understand that the moderators had very little control. Trust me I do. Once again, if you are involved as a moderator, I'd like to applaud you for doing a good deed and a sensible job in clearing up the nonsense.

Now for the other theme of the post, one you've mentioned, how we stereotype women in our society. Women labour under them, and I despair that we shall ever grow past them.

The last thing I'd like is for justice to be denied someone because she is "merely a woman" and thus her trangressions are, therefore, "7 times less forgivable" and all that bullshit.
The fact that you've been called a "militant feminist" for stating the painfully bleeding obvious about our society just shows how far we need to work on that.

Correcting this imbalance and standing up for the weaker side is what I thought your cause was to begin with, and I have always been for that unequivocally. I would urge you to go through the archives to ascertain that. I would also urge you to read my comment on "Shabash New Age" to understand the depth of revulsion I feel towards those who degrade women simply to cover their own crimes or just because they can. Those who are posting from "the other side" on your group are no exceptions.

Lastly, may I urge that you share this link with your members discreetly if at all. I hope you don't. I have seen a number of blogs that have been flooded with ad hominem attacks because the writer appears to be taking one side over another. I hope I have been as neutral as I can be regarding two strangers I have met in cyberspace only. I write mostly about politics and the media. Last thing I want to do is start a blogging argument with someone who doesn't understand the nuances of my arguments and simply sees this as a "us vs. them" sort of deal. This post has little to do with the matter at hand, and I'd like to have it remain that way. I reiterate once again, my quest too is justice.

Apologies for the long-winded comment. I hope I haven't said anything too wrongheaded.

Fariha said...

Thanks again for your note. I'm glad someone realizes that woman are degraded far more than men in a case of crime (if not in all instance, the militant feminist in me chips in). Furthermore, we have a tendency to distrust the woman (thanks to the fabled Eve and her deception, the usual excuse for doubting women's integrity) be she the alleged victim or perpetrator. With respect to Nikita, what bothers me most, is not just her past being dredged up but also the context being attached to it. Nikita is not the first Bangladeshi mofoshhol shohor residence who tried to make it big in DhakaShohor and in the process ended up in a pickle. She isn't the first drug peddler. She is by no means the only ambitious person trying to live a better life than her situation would normally afforded. But she's a female, she lived beyond the accepted boundaries of convention and most importantly, she had no fancy elite status or education or background to hide behind. I'm now actually concerned about how she is being 'handled' by the authorities.

Viagra Online said...

what a terrible crime, definitely this women deserve this name, with this there's the one of the most women that I know to commet this crime.

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