August 19, 2008

Killing Bangladeshis

(This post is rated R for violence and strong language)

If, like most Bangladeshis of all political hues, you are completely invested in the worldview of Indians and Pakistanis, you will not be able to follow the line I am about to draw. If you are too busy licking up the ideological crumbs from the tables at Delhi, Islamabad or Riyadh, then you will deplore my “tasteless comments”. On the other hand, if you are a self-respecting Bangladeshi, whose first priority is the preservation of Bangladeshi lives, you might still be offended but you will see where I’m coming from.

Two things happened the past few weeks. Firstly, a freedom fighter was humiliated at a Jamaat-sponsored “Freedom Fighter’s” convention. Secondly, around 4-5 Bangladeshis were killed by the Indian border guards, who carry the very deceptive title of “Border Security Force”(BSF).

These two events are not unrelated.

The first event underscores once again our complete, callous lack of willingness to try those who killed Bangladeshi citizens – rich, poor, Hindus, Muslims, civilians and armed forces personnel – between 25th March 1971 and January 10th 1972. This sends a signal to the rest of the world that Bangladeshi life is cheap, that killing Bangladeshis is an action without consequences. As a result, when they need to or feel like it, the rest of the world indulges in this murderous little exercise. Thus our migrant workers are fucked with on a regular basis by foreign governments everywhere. But more relevant to the matter at hand, the BSF guns down Bangladeshis at will, knowing full well that the only consequence they have to face is some hot air. Lip service without action. Hot air is the only thing Bangladeshis know how to dish out.

We need to ensure that killing Bangladeshis – at the centre, the border or outside – by anyone becomes a very, very, very costly venture.

And what better way to start than by trying the murderers and rapists of 1971? I have one very bloody, absolutely essential and absolutely un-Islamic suggestion: execute all collaborators found guilty of murder, take their dead bodies to the most volatile border areas and leave them hanging there with a small note (in all 23 official languages of India) stating precisely what their crime was and why their dead bodies are hanging there.

No, I don’t think that is going to stop the BSF shooting, but it will let those fuckers know exactly what we do to those who kill our people.

Whew. Enough about that. On the margins of each event are little points of interest I wish to touch upon.

Among the participants at the Jamaat-sponsored “Freedom Fighters” Convention were one Mr. Mahmudur Rahman and Mr. Rezwan Siddiky, both columnists for Naya Diganta. That speaks volumes. (Mr. Mahmudur Rahman, should you choose to sue me, please note I am implying that you are a piece of shit who does not understand the very meaning of the word “sovereignty” that he uses in every other op-ed piece, not a Rajakar.)

But my focus is more on Rezwan Siddiky. Last time I was in the country, I read an article on foreign policy by Mr. Siddiky, and almost threw up. He was bemoaning the current government’s perceived alignment with India (which I myself am not too fond of). But what induced vomit was his criticism of the current government for not completing the sale of Rupali Bank to a Saudi prince (which I consider a security risk).

According to Mr. Siddiky, “Saudi Arabia has always been our friend through thick and thin. They have been for a long time.” Even if this wasn’t written 3 days before March 26th, it would beg the question, “Where were the Saudis during 1971”? Unless of course Mr. Siddiky doesn’t think that 1971 fits his definition of “বিপদ-আপদ”.

Sometimes, spotting a Jamaati from a mile away is as easy as smelling piss at the stadium during lunch on day 4 of a test match.

All I wish to do by way of this little dot-connecting exercise is illustrate where Jamaat’s clout comes from. Maybe this gives us an inkling as to what keeps these lovely, “furry” people out of jail. Also, a clue as to why Jamaatis are ready to denounce “Western” ways of capitalism, liberalism, over-consumption etc. but never the environmental degradation that comes from fossil fuel over-use. Just something to think about.

I’ll conclude by taking a moment to remind myself and readers that all those killed that week were people like you and me: they had parents, they had loved ones, moments in their lives filled with unexplainable joy, moments spent just staring at space over tea and moments when they despaired of doing anything with life. They lived far away from the glittering lights of Dhaka city, all of them trying to put food on (perhaps non-existent) tables, some in the uniform of the Bangladesh Rifles and some without. They were all born in this green land, and born with Hope, which this land quickly snuffs out.

Is it then too much to ask the government, the media and Dhakabashis to make as much noise for those of its fallen citizens out of uniform as it does for those who wear the armed forces’ clothing? The reaction and coverage of the death of civilians and armed forces personnel deserve equal force. Note: equal.

Daily Star Coverage of the BDR personnel killing:

Front page day 1

Editorial

1 of 3 articles on 20th July

Daily Star Coverage of a cattle trader’s killing

Gulf Times recap of the week says 4 civilians

BSF gunning down their own

10 comments:

Fariha said...

I liked the piece. But mone hocchilo for part of it you were perhaps ektu 'raag e ondho'.

The Jamaat conundrum cannot be simplied into collaborator-past-anti-bangladesh-friends-with-saudis. There are far bigger players involved and a lot more at stake.

With reference to the BDR killing: Now that Chaal er daam is nearing 50/kg, and the BDR stores have stopped selling it, why are our jawans leaving our borders unprotected and still selling vegetables? Desh e ki ei shot kaaj korar moton ar kono working group nai?

BDR shobji beche. BSF BDR mare. Advisor ra waaj koren. Mid-east tader kaaj furnor por e labor jhataye bidai kore. Notun coal policy draft hocche which might totally insult our phulbaria revolt. Jamaati ra (the ones with the collaborator past) shob diplomatic party te dawat pai. Op-ed lekha hoi je diplomatic interferece is a 'moral right'. Shangbadik ra kichui ghotlei age diplomat der motamot nei, karon tader motamot er daam beshi ei desh e. Romjan mash e manush k sehri kore roja bhangte hobe karon drobbomullo aro briddhi pabe.

Desh ki eto shosta hoye gelo?

As I said, there are bigger things at play here. Ami nijeo ekhono purata bujhe uthte parchi na. Majhe majhe chinta kori, raag ta k kemon kore productively channel kora jai.

AND check your email. Apnake mail pathate pathate amra khanto!

Tacit said...

But DS, treating Bangladeshi lives the same way sailors treat money when on break is a very common event in our history. You want to go back to the Razakars? I want to go back even further. What about our leaders in 1971, who should have prepared us fo a war and instead left us utterly defenseless to a marauding, pillaging, looting, raping army?

In the Second World War, the Soviets used the trading space for time strategy. But in our liberation war, the strategy seemed to be trading lives for time. The lives of three million Bangladeshis, taken. Countless other lives, sullied and truamatized forever.

Where is the accounting for the failure of leadership that wasted so many lives? Where is the analysis, dissection, and evaluation of the mistakes of 197, so that we are never left that defenseless again?

It is nonexistent. But the Bangladeshi state will not be complete until that task is done.

FUAD HASAN said...

Our government is quite liable for that.
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Not Responding said...

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ঈদ সংখ্যা said...

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