Bamboo Staves at ready
After a recent opportunity to probe minds and disarm highly charged media brain-washed thoughts, to upfront – ‘this is what you have read, and this is what you have seen’ – barreling in my ‘tell me what you THINK’ hypothesis – i.e. these were ‘attempted suicide bombings’ and NOT completed Suicide Attacks – I could albeit sense disappointment among some that the nightmare, the ‘real thing’ in the real sense as with the Hamas, Hizbollah in the Middle East or the LTTE in Sri Lanka, is still a long way away from the shores of Bangladesh.
To analyze the organisation JMB, precursors of the now defunct JMJB or Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (Awakened Muslim Mass) – and really how BIG or how strong and ideally (or idly!) how committed are they for ‘jihad’, a counter point could well be ‘why a jihad in Bangladesh – and why the JMB’?
We are not asking WHY NOW - not yet, but then who in his sanest mind could wish for an Islamic Jihad when 85% of your population however ‘moderate’ you may call them are Muslims anyway, is geographically 60% surrounded by ‘Hindu’ India, 10% by Buddhist Myanmar, least – and the water borders - the unsavory Bay of Bengal – where in Allah’s kind name, no mullah is prepared to be ‘buried without a trace’!!
The logic and standard media-driven conjecture being as twisted as –
“they hit the judiciary because 90% of the poor don’t get justice – because lawyers sell them out to the mONEY gOD - so hit they did in the name of Allah – Allahu Akbar”
-- is deceptive to a wild fault.
It is not as simple as if the Law of gOD is battling the Law of mAN in Bangladesh – in reality humanity is the ultimate casualty in the nations 34 years of existence. The only message that these baffling attacks have thus spelt out louder than imagined to the ruling establishment is: the poor for far too long have accepted injustice and perhaps this is how they are striking back.
Evidently there is also a silver lining: such attacks have a way of wearing off because the rich also know how it ought to be handled -- the poor if at all involved cannot sustain them, and will soon get back into the more serious business of putting a meal in the table for the family. They will of course continue to remain poor.
The phenomenon does however merit a deeper thought.
The precursor to the JMB in the JMJB was born a vigilante force only to tackle Naxalite (Maoist) guerrillas in Northern Bangladesh, but the agenda of the Islamists were never in conflict with the Maoists for both have a declared common class enemy, the RICH, and both were fighting injustice and inequality and both believe in violence.
It is thus extremely far-fetched to suggest that the JMJB, later the JMB, formed with Government and Intelligence services largesse, to curtail and create a buffer against the Maoist insurgency in just one region of Bangladesh alone, could have backfired and turned out to become an uncontrollable ‘national’ monster, which is also and more ridiculously, threatening peace of the world?
The patterns of recent ‘attacks’ by JMB for instance are not only confusing but imminently laughable and does not in any way suggest involvement of a serious terrorist (if at all) group:
1. Mostly low-tech threats by phone or hand-written letters about impending attacks either with bombs or, by assassination. Video or audio tapes have not been used and the Media ensures each and every threat gets due prominence. Insignia, logo or even letter heads of the JMB have not been seen.
2. No centralized leadership structure that speaks for the organisation neither a secondary tier leadership is evident. The Media ensures the ‘latest whereabouts’ of the leadership is reported, and the Government seemingly has no objection to let these stories circulate.
3. No direct or credible statement/s by the JMB that claims credits for the bomb attacks i.e. by fax or email to the media so far, other than handwritten bills abandoned at the site of the attack.
4. Nowhere else in the world may we take note, does any government claim credit for attacks carried out by a terrorist organisation except in Bangladesh where the Police is first to confirm and inform the waiting Media that ‘it was a JMB attack’ or it was a ‘JMB suicide bomber’.
5. No website in the Internet to claim credits or assume responsibility.
6. If the organisation was as large or powerful as is being claimed, there would be certainly need for more publicity, but there have been no reports of anybody sighting a JMB poster or even wall graffiti’s – the most powerful form of low-tech popular publicity available in Bangladesh.
7. Most explosives used are low-tech and in most cases have been tracked back to manufacturers in India as also timing devices.
8. No reports that JMB men are engaging security forces in gun-battles where firearms or automatic weapons were used.
9. Media and eye witness accounts about bomb attacks are unreliable as onus is not to report facts, but to advance colorfully convoluted theories aimed at convincing people at large, that this was a suicide bomb or bomber.
10. Usually suicide bombers are a motivated bunch who video-record their intentions on behalf of their organisation before an attack, which is later released after the attack is successful.
11. The ‘making of a martyr’ symbol for jihad is absent in Bangladesh for most ‘suicide bombers’ usually survive their attacks and are often too maimed for anybody to take their death bed ‘confessions’ seriously.
It is therefore highly improbable that a terrorist group with access only to explosives, and no firearms or fighters, no public profile, no publicity, no political agenda other than demands for ‘Allah’s Law’ can have the temerity to deliver a ‘jihad’ with such devastating force.
With no identified infrastructure other that ‘Intelligence’ and (un)‘reliable sources’ spin doctoring in the media, baffling is a realization that even without an inner core, Command or Control leadership apparently in charge of ‘8,000 cadres and 2,000 suicide bombers’ – JMB can actually survive without communicating?
Separately, serious re-juggling of propaganda campaigns are visibly shredding off at the seams simply because they are proving so unacceptable. It is lamentable to the extent the Government of the day or the powers-that-be would continue to play the ‘suicide bomber’ card, moves that would take Bangladesh, not through the process of a hara-kiri of power-hungry politicians that citizens have gotten used to, more sinister: the future and livelihood of a people who are proud as much as they are fiercely independent, regardless of what ‘religion’ they adhere to, have been ominously threatened.
A war not too far off in the horizon will decide the outcome. Resistance is inevitable, because the State has been attacked by a ‘unique invisible enemy’ that is apparently so ‘powerful’ that none seem to be able to match them. Whilst indications are rife, that the JMB is only a trivial brigand’s brigade and more than State’s anti-terrorism apparatchiks like the State Minister for Home Affairs dealing with them, a blanket authority to villagers to use bamboo staves to beat-to-death-at-sight, as has been the Bangladesh tradition even in recent days to deal with violence when all else fails, is thought to be good enough deterrent to rescue the nation from the JMB. No high-tech weaponry as such is required to deal with such illiterate, low-tech buffoons.
Not unsurprisingly, the existence of JMB being dependent on support from a ‘larger State nearby’ is gaining grounds and one does not need to ask which one! If Bangladesh has to tackle the new problem head-on, it has got to start marking time on quite a few areas that have for years been stamped SENSITIVE and thus SECRET.
Because Bangladesh does not have a Defense Policy, because none of us know what we are expected to do when an ‘enemy’ attacks us, it doesn’t mean we do not have an Enemy? The core problem is in identifying the enemy, which no Government in Bangladesh would hazard naming, for fears unbeknownst.
It also helps propaganda gaining currency of an imminent takeover of the political leadership of the country by Jamaat-E-Islami, a small time coalition partners of the ruling BNP. If we are to take it that the Taliban was a US invention against lawlessness post the anti-Soviet jihad, as much as it was painted villain to then bomb Afghanistan back to the medieval ages, a scenario of the same magnitude, of total militarization in the region is possibly about to commence – with Bangladesh as its epicenter.
If what is unfolding in Bangladesh today is as an outcome of a hidden class struggle over the years, then certainly the Islamists and not the secular Maoists have fired the first worthwhile salvo with attacks on the State. This is not terrorism that has a communal origin, they are apparently by Muslims against Muslims, and is essentially targeted to degrade and divide Bangladesh on sectarian lines, on theocratic philosophies of Sunni, Shiite and Wahabist Islam that are understood – but remains alien in its very strong Sufi and Buddhism influenced culture.
The region had better be careful for there will be no winner in this one.
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