Friday, August 27, 2004

Tomorrow is only the yesterday of the day before

Re-Axe to New Age Editorial "Let foreign intelligence come in"

My attention has been drawn to Daily New Age's Editorial of Thursday the 26th August 2004. Titled "Let foreign intelligence come in", the piece appears to be in direct contradiction to the "Daring and Dynamic" stance of New Age to provide us a direction that is most wanting in other publications.

This is entirely my personal opinion, but the bomb attack on the Awami League rally on the 21st of August instance was sorely "predictable" only that this time, rightly or wrongly there was a twist attached for it came pretty close to annihilating those that have made tragic incidences of the past, matters of brutal catechism of playing to periphery of the "agency gallery" -- to further their limited and myopic political agenda.

It is albeit time for those that have played with fire for this long, to rethink the possibility of getting burnt; of those crying wolf, to be wary that they are about to be devoured from head to the tail, if serious, no-nonsense steps are not taken immediately. The shock and revulsion this time around is only because politicians, specially our "leaders" find themselves vulnerable, caught on the wrong foot of a game they thought they had "perfected" and the new "experience" would hopefully tilt the ante in the days ahead, unless we are going to be proven wrong again.

Those wrongs are perpetrated innocently and innocuously through the treatment of "news". For instance this time around, a suspect email to a Bengalee newspaper - entails huge publicity, without even verifying (when technologies exist and just about anybody with a bit of cyber talent can track them down) its source.

The hoaxes who sent it out from some cyber café for all practical purpose, were perhaps as blissfully surprised as we are, as how "Hikmatul Jihad" could in such a short span of time earn international (notoriety) recognition! Google search "Hikmatul Jihad" on the Internet and one will not fail to discover only one Bangladeshi newspaper (the English version of the Bengalee daily which circulated the original news) archived, the rest six are ofcourse Indian. The list will grow menacingly within the next 72 hours and don't be too surprised if "links" to al-Qaeda are also inferred.

The question that thus bedevils us is how on God's earth is "Hikmatul Jihad" more "convincing and credible" as perpetrators of the bomb attack, yet the so called al-Qaeda phone call that resulted in the evacuation of the Sena Kalyan Bhaban in Motijheel on 15th of August is NOT? Have we have allowed ourselves to be deluded by the fact that a building full of innocent people are expendable - while the Leader of the Opposition is not? That Ivy Rahman deserves a "state" burial only because she was a politician and the rest 23 "odd" do not because things would not cool down or "simmer out" otherwise?

The Daily New Age talks about "Soliciting the services of Interpol, Scotland Yard or other foreign police and intelligence agencies", which only proves how foggy your memories have become over the years.

What about the FBI team that arrived in Bangladesh for investigation and left Dhaka "without making any comments" after a "bomb" was discovered in Kotalipara, Gopalganj on 21st July 2000? Or more recently has the New Age bothered to find out what the Scotland Yard team that came in to investigate the Sylhet attack on the UK High Commissioner have successfully "dug up"?

Daily NewAge's Editorial "Let foreign intelligence come in" therefore would have made a much better read if you had said "Welcome RAW, ISI and CIA for we have failed" - ofcourse that would go very much against the oft harped notion heralded by your Daily that Bangladesh is not a "failed state"?

We also notice a strong tendency to benchmark bomb blast incidents as a phenomenon from 1996 onward; but is it really true?

For unknown reasons, there seems to be a pathetic apathy at proper chronicling of bomb blast incidents, and if memory has not failed all of us, the first major bomb blasts on key point installations were reported in the fag end of the agitation's against the Ershadian autocracy in 1990.

True we overthrew the dictator, true we ushered in our ramshackle "democracy", but let us not try to put a square peg into a round hole by saying those "acts of bravery" were needed only to end the military dictatorship, and assume that the bombers would retire into secluded hibernation afterwards as heroes?

Those were acts of terrorism and any investigation today into any bomb blast incidents ought to first narrow down on the perpetrators of the bomb blasts of 1990 inside the Secretariat or the toilet of the Zia International Airport, and find out who financed those terrorists, what where the motivations and importantly the "foreign intelligence agencies" that made their jobs and getaway all that easy.

Let us not also forget that circa 1990 the Awami League, BNP and Jammat-e-Islami were "allies"! Our tragic failure to trace out the bombers today indicates that they sit very, very close to the "powers that be", and it really doesn't matter if it is the Awami League or the BNP that is in power.

The crux of the fluid situation today, is there will be further and more dangerous escalations so let us mentally prepare for bombs powerful enough to bring buildings down while we sit and sip our cups of tea, for cars to explode in busy traffic causing mayhem and much.much more.

Events in the days ahead will certainly make us forget 1971 and a generation that has not seen the epochal year will only learn about the truths and half-truths being fed to them.

The days of the bombers have arrived and they do not belong to any party or the people. They are "powerful" accomplices of "foreign intelligence agencies" - and the New Age Editorial "welcoming" their mentors and masters with such unrestrained aplomb is indicative, that not all is well in the health of the "status quo".

We have decided to bask on our complacent invincibility as a nation and have thought all along that "such incidents" receives grudging acceptance over a period of time from the public at large, thanks again to the powerful status quo, which lurks in the background. Ironically the media in Bangladesh is very much a part of that status quo, and it is particularly hurtful for we have thought all along that New Age would have quite made a difference.

Tomorrow is only the yesterday of the day before.

First Published 26th August 2004