Friday, July 29, 2011

Of Generational Revolt and the Sins in our Eyes, Filth in our Soul

Maqsoodul Haque - Mac

"No one reads if the headlines don't bleed" – Sharon Chadha

  • The last weeks have been traumatic for those who have had the time and/or luxury to flip through daily newspapers or watch TV. Rapes, murders, assault, Madrasa children sodomized by Mullahs, and road accidents leading to death of school children. Ganja smoking students out on Shab-e-Berat night lynched by villagers apparently mistaking them for robbers as police stood watching in Gladiator sports like glee…….it goes on.
  • Female students of the premier Viqarunnissa Noon School are on a hell hath no fury campaign to bring a rapist teacher to justice. While the accused is behind bars, the defiant girls in the process have not been spared. Labeled with hackneyed Awami-BNP-Jamaati political shade they neither understand nor have any interest, the Governments subsequent menacing tactics in positioning the death squad RAB outside schools is the final seal to the coffin. 'Will we be on the cross-fire list?' wonders a sixteen year old on Facebook.
  • The list of our national woes gets ever longer and knuckles are bare. Is our next punch-up going to be with our children? After all they have legitimate grievances. Their teachers, the guardian angels who we thought were defacto parents in schools have defiled them. Rape is too simplistic and generic a word. What we have in hand is institutionalized INCEST and while the Nation remains mute spectator, the Government and Education Minister complicit in their impunity and arrogance have not come out looking any prettier. The wrath of God hangs heavy on our shoulders. We will be judged for the Sins in our eyes, the filth in our Soul.
  • The public mood at the moment cannot be gauged as quite characteristically the Bengali race has a unique quality: resilience. That said, the worry really is our psyche and sensibility too have gone wayward and is de-sensitizing us. We are shutting ourselves from reality, compartmentalizing our thoughts. Like it or not, our mentality has taken on the facade that all injustice is condemnable as long as it is not happening to me personally.
  • Condemn and hold photo-op human chain demonstrations and you have done your job and its over..…wah? Core values that our parents generation held holy and worthy of respect and taught us to emulate, have all been blown to smithereens. The Nation has been bludgeoned into numb disbelief and despair. On surface no one seems to care, so who could be the real beneficiaries in the chaos? Your guesstimate is as guessable as mine!
  • On Facebook we have an entirely different story and set of rules – i.e. no stories, no rules just stark naked reality! Its worthwhile reading angry status updates on friend's walls and groups, and then the unending Punch and Jody comments that follow sometime in jest, others dead serious. But surely these reactions have more insight than the boring, predictably boxed-in and politicized space of our newspapers, or time in TV or Radio cumulatively.
  • The caustic hatred is not limited to the Government or political parties. By looks of things it is the status quo per se that is on a trial of the conscience, the accusation spree are unrelenting and unforgiving. On the flip side, for a fossilized, myopic and impotent generation warped by sheer poverty of fresh thoughts and not prepared to believe the unbelievable, from seeing the un-seeable the truth is a hard swallow. Warning - the first shots have been fired; the howitzer salvos are on the way.
  • Targeted are public, private and tutorial institutions, teachers, policemen, press, Principals and Ministers as also parents, indeed anyone who by pretension or default has decided to be somebody in authority is in bull's eye. Verbal non-lethal brick batting has become the order of the day, yet no one in or out of Government seems to be pushed. Worse, we have already made up our mind that these are things that have happened in the past, lot of noise made and as quickly brushed under the carpet. We couldn't me more wrong.
  • If Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda Zia or Ershad had genuine Facebook profiles, they would have needed entire Ministries to save themselves from the onslaught! The President himself has been made mincemeat after his pardon of a death-row killer. Ahommok (nincompoop) be a man and free the killers of your wife Ivy Rahman and we will applaud are among the better swear comments used in condemning him and his actions. Referring to the Prime Minister another comment screamed only killers of my father cannot be pardoned. Our diabolical deceit has not gone unnoticed, unmarked or unchallenged. Are we prepared to see or listen?
  • If we are talking about Democracy and freedom of expression, the onus is on the Media to play the all important role of a catalyst for a mass upsurge. Amplifying voices that are saying important things out there but do not have the space or platform to be heard in the mainstream, the real world as such should be the first order of business. If we are serious about foreseeable changes to our fate on global terms, the only available option out from our dizzy-taal morol-ocracy is to make peace with our young citizenry.
  • Sadly whenever there are issues with the 'now' generation, insinuations are first made about their age….Shob Polaa Paan, ki bojhey – or 'these underage imbeciles, what do they really understand?' Then there are snide remarks of how scantily they dress, hug or hold hands in public, drug addicts, loose morals and the forever vilest of abuse – Beyadob or Impertinent! It is this bestiality in our mindset, the vulgarities of our thought and vision, the sins of our eyes, the filth in our soul, the incessant domineering and pulverizing of our young's aspirations, which leads to the creations of monsters like Porimol. Who knows how many more are lurking in the shadows ready to pounce?
  • We are guiltier than those rapists, for we have over generations, never listened to our young, never given a thought to their opinions. Mother of all crimes, we never discuss sexuality with our children because our culture even in this enlightened millennium considers it inappropriate, nongra or filthy? We love our children but do not respect them. They in turn respect us, but do they trust us? Never discussing things of crucial importance because of so-called social stigma or taboo means we not only lie to them, but teach them how to lie. In turn lying has become our national pastime with politicians doing it every time they open their mouth, and we expect change?
  • We have a 'youth' Ministry that is alien to our youth. We have an Education Ministry who decide policies for educational institutes, without ever seeking student's consent, without taking cognizance of their views that will ultimately affect their lives. In a round about way, while we may pat our own backs and pay glowing tributes to our vibrant Democracy, in our dealing with the young who constitute nearly 60 percent of our population, we are murderous and patently Hitler-istic. A Generational revolt is therefore not only inevitable, I will be more astute and say it has become OBLIGATORY.
  • And as we merrily sin with our eyes we also have premeditated eyewashes with the Media an overt accomplice. For instance the week long hartal (general strike) holidays had nothing to do with Constitutional amendments or whether or not the words of Allah preceded the preamble to our soiled national doctrine. The assault of a BNP lawmaker half stripped by police outside Parliament was not denounced by the silent citizenry. They understand well that this was a charade to divert attention from the ongoing loot and plunder of our national resource, gas - by corrupt Government officials and the US Company ConocoPhillips.
  • Not surprisingly on this one, there is a quiet alliance. I am sure the bribe-line pipeline is all encompassing, lining pockets of Ministers to politicians from position and Opposition, from corporatized criminals to street thugs, not to forget NGO's and newspaper Editors. The only voices of reason and patriotism seen and heard were committed left leaning parties and individuals. Yet street protests have met unimagined brutality. An article by Rahnuma Ahmed in New Age on 11th July carried a photo of a female demonstrator being kicked in her groin by a male policeman! No, despite the graphic evidence the policeman has not been arrested. And no, our uncivil Civil Society hasn't made a BIG Noise. Why?
  • Clearly as far as the establishment is concerned, leftist live in a utopian paradise and best they could do was to make a foreign agent (read spy) with an agenda out of Professor Anu Muhammad. With the Government and the establishment out-and-out bartering their orifices to ConocoPhillips and the US, no one under pain of arrest, torture or even crossfire dare tilt the ante, dare question the usurpation of our national wealth. Therefore if there is one issue that will determine the fate and future of Bangladesh, lead to violent revolt and conflict, it is GAS.
  • Problem is when they erupt as I am sure it will, our eyes will not only be targeting the Government or establishment, indeed all our known and sworn enemies and many friends will be collateral casualty. A cauldron of a magnitude unimaginable will envelop us. Our restless and agitated young will no longer be on Facebook talking about revolution. A New Year (or years), new days and new Martyrs will be etched into our His-story, Her-story, making it finally OUR STORY. From Surreal, Reel to REAL the Revolution will be LIVE!

New Age Xtra – Print Edition

Friday 29th July 201

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