by Mac Haque
“You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil.” John Ruskin
|The youngest of Freedom Fighters in the Bangladesh Liberation War 2013, at Shahbag Projonmo Resistance - 18th February 2013|
We jumped post-haste into what we thought would be a peaceful, non-violent peoples war and other than harsh language and stretching of our vocal chords we have not engaged with the enemy in any skirmish or battle whatsoever. That is good news.
We thought non-stop slogan mongering, some abrasive reprimands, some off-key singing (without instruments), some poems recitation in our dulcet voice, some ‘mass protest’ should be enough to ‘scare and defang’ the enemy for good. That is the bad news. In fact ‘idiots’ will be a misnomer, and a very mild word in describing us ‘patriots’.
Personally, I made the following appeal on 18th February 2013 in a LIVE transmission directly from Shahbag courtesy of the state run BTV as also a similar one the evening of 17th February on the Deutsche Welle Bengali Service:
|The writer speaking to BTV Live from Shahbag on 18th February 2013|
“Comrades, there is no such thing as ‘our neighborhood or their neighborhood’, all neighborhoods in Bangladesh are our legitimate turf. Let us immediately occupy the so called ‘strongholds and fortresses’ of the enemy at Mughbazar rail crossing, Dainik Bangla crossing, the Chittagong and Rajshahi University campuses among others. Unless we strike fear deep within the heart of the enemy, we will never be able to neutralize them”.
There were unfortunately no takers, and more than ‘striking fear in the heart of the enemy’, I could vividly see the fear and bewilderment writ large on the eyes of my Comrades.
There were good reasons for this. We did not half bargain that in the Liberation War of 2013, the enemy will simply NOT be positioned on the ‘other bank of the river’, but will be embedded with impunity, arrogance and deceit within our own rank, files and flanks too. Some Freedom Fighters of 1971 in colorful cloaks of ‘culture vultures’ have turned Razakars in disguise. And why shouldn’t they? There is a lot at stake here. Fame, fortune, illicit wealth made out of people’s miseries in all these dreadful years of ‘peace’.
Razakarism has become so entrenched in our national psyche in 42 years, that regardless of ‘party affiliations’ no one is exempt. In the Projonmmo Resistance what was not bargained for was, this would be a ‘sit-in till we die strategy’, that common citizens would embrace, and one our political masters and their foot licking brigade of ‘intellectuals’, Media moguls and other social riff-raffs were left baffled and ill prepared to handle.
And that is not all.
We have been compelled by ‘remote control’ to move way outside the perimeters of our original one point demand, ‘hanging the war criminals’ and incorporated newer demands with which the people i.e. the hapless and helpless jonogon of Bangladesh do not readily identify. In battlefield language, what we did was to ‘open up’ one too many fronts, for which we neither had any contingency plan, manpower, strength, ammunition, mental preparedness OR even basic common sense to take the fight forward.
Add to that, although we live in a so-called democratic society, yet we have been loath to any criticism, even constructive criticisms about the Projonmmo Resistance Movement. We therefore resoundingly labeled such critics as ‘Razakars and Pakistani collaborators’ and we shall continue to do so! Fair enough. But have we per chance taken stock of what the enemy has done so far or is likely to do?
We may have ‘joined the system to beat the system’, but do we have an inkling of what the enemies’ real intentions are, and how far they are using the same system designed to protect us – to slaughter us?
For instance, the enemy threatened a ‘Civil War and bloodbath’ long before our movement began on the 5th February 2013 – and it won’t be unreasonable to say that on both counts they have been reasonably successful. Yet unlike our original one point charter which has perhaps leapt to a few dozen – they (the enemy) have stuck to their guns. With precisely three points, their resolve seems to be growing not by the days – but by the hours, and we, seem all the more happy to carry on in the manner that began in the first week of February?
They enemy says a) we are atheist b) we have insulted Prophet Muhammad c) we have disrespected the Holy Qur’an; apparently good enough reasons to get us hanged as well?
The real problem here is atheism happens to be a fashionable, elitists and segregated picnic of some of our ‘progressive Blogger Comrades’. Thus for a microscopic minority of Blog writers, it is a shame that all of us; old, young, children, women, men, Muslims and non-Muslims have been branded atheist and are very much on the enemies bull eye hit list from now.
But the core issue that has gone amiss is; less than 0.5% of the total population of Bangladesh has the time, patience, interest or taste to read Blogs. We have therefore made a monstrous mountain out of an inconsequential molehill.
Realizing the danger we have unwittingly exposed ourselves to, we hurriedly and almost overnight activated some ridiculous and quixotic ‘damage control’ retinue. We literally begged some Wahabi/Shariati alems, ulemas and mashayekhs to join our ranks; in effect to bail us out from our quandary. We added what we thought was heavy theological thunder on our side, good enough to silence the enemies heavy canons? We touted our glee with aplomb ……”Ah…aren’t we clever? Now we have the Huzur Mollahs on our side…so come get us!’
A huge Hi5 to that, but do we realize that thumbs are coming down faster Comrades?
Overnight we got into mindless exercises of proving or disproving what ‘great Muslims’ we are, or are pukka imandars (kosher believers) and engaged in other acid tests in weirder demonstrations as to the purity of our ‘faith’!
And what did not happen for weeks, was never ever intended or even planned, started in earnest, without any break of predictable regularity. All Jagoron Moncho programs are now peppered with recitation from verses of all ‘holy books’ which are again, tongue-in-cheek endorsed and approved by the ‘secular Government’! The enemy, one can easily surmise is surely bemused with the visible panic and fright down our rank and files.
The penultimate sore point in the war is over allegations and insinuations by the enemy of our alleged disrespect and slander of Prophet Muhammad and/or scurrilous ridicule of the Qur’an by some of our Blogger Comrades. Not all the allegations are UNTRUE, neither is it anything new or one that bolted out of the blue. The Internet is littered with hundreds upon thousands of such Blogs and websites, available in many world languages – including Arabic.
Merely banning a few ‘objectionable’ Bangla Blogs to placate the irate feelings of the enemy is NOT a solution, and the ‘damage control’ idea being played about by the State borders on utter stupidity. This will further compromise Shahbag if it has not already.
Conversely what is interesting in this war is the term ‘Bloggers’, and the manner it is used or misused by both the State and the enemy as well. It would appear as if this is an impossible, hard to understand, brand new ‘rocket science’ that we are faced with, and which only the ‘select techno-savvy’ understands?
It is at this precise point, it seemed that in a parochial land of untouchable Chondal serfs a ‘neo-Brahmin elite’ has made an awe inspiringly compassionate arrival and that too with suddenness and surprise – as ‘deliverers’ from Heaven to wash off our National woes of 42 years?
What has passed us by in the melee, is the fact that just about anybody can own a Blog, it is for most part free, and one can write whatever pleases them, without being subject to any censorship. Blogs are indeed the pinnacle of today’s world of connectivity and symbol of individual sovereignty……and that’s about it. However I have no records available with me to suggest that Blogs have been the cause of any national turmoil or catastrophe anywhere in the world, in the manner we are witnessing in Bangladesh today.
Also I am unaware of any citizens of any country in the world called ‘Bloggers’ who by default are also considered a distinct ‘revolutionary warrior’ class of citizens! And just as suddenly another eye-catching group of ‘neo-Brahmin elite’ appeared on the horizon to lead the enemies hate battalion.
Hefazotul (Jamaat E?) Islam, it is called and just like our Blogger Comrades their strategies and agitation methodology have more elements of similarity than dissimilarity! O
ur worries peaked when these ‘pure Huzurs’ stunned us with their ultimatum to the Government that our Blogger Comrades ought to be arrested, tried and hanged by the 6th of April 2013. Failing, they have threatened an occupation of Manik Mia Avenue, where they plan to erect an “Islamic Jagoron Moncho” with the ‘faithful’ from all over Bangladesh thronging and besieging Dhaka.
The possibility of that happening is not surreal.
One can be rest assured that hundreds upon thousands of white skull caps will ride the crest of an imminent tidal bore – for the precise three points ‘championed’ by the enemy, (rightly or wrongly is a separate matter) is good enough reason to excite the passions of millions of pious – if not fanatical or fundamentalist Bengali Muslims, to take to the streets. And why do I say so?
Public memory in Bangladesh is unfortunately very short. It was sometimes in 1996, when this ‘pro-Liberation’ Government was in power that we witnessed the first ever hartal by Islamist bigots. With slogans of ‘we are all Talibans, Bengal will become Afghanistan’ they not only besieged the streets and roads of Dhaka for a full day, they menacingly displayed gojari wood sticks and were ready to bash up anybody that tried to stop them. No one did, or even dared.
Memory fails me where us brave Freedom Fighters disappeared on the eventful day, or whether it was a picnic that we all went to!
6th April 2013, therefore looks like a day when there is likely to be massive bloodletting and quite the reverse may also happen. Some quarters within the ruling Alliance may look the other way as they did in 1996, give a thumb up green signal and allow a ‘clean walkover’ for Hefazotul Islam to capture Manik Mia Avenue.
And what will happen next is a cultural catastrophe of a kind not seen in hundreds of years. Our age old Choitro Songkranti and Nobo Borsho Festivals due on 13th/14th April 2013 has strong possibilities of getting scuttled. After all the bigots for years have termed these festivals as ‘Hindu’s, Maluans and atheist’ conspiracies.
There is no such thing as a ‘humane war’ and if our time tested culture of tolerance is taken for granted by our enemies, or fake revolutionaries, or ex-Freedom Fighters masquerading as Razakars or vice versa, please rest easy.
Us Bengali race have already positively identified them and they are well within our radars. History and posterity has already exposed them without their knowing in a manner hitherto unseen or even unknown.
The face, leadership and characteristic of the Resistance will see a huge dimensional shift in the days ahead. Striking fear into the enemy will NOT be a metaphor; it will be for REAL, only WHO the enemy is or have always been, will leave us very surprised. That is the greatest achievement of Liberation War 2013.
I really hope I am proven wrong and I hope I am not injecting my personal fear psychosis and thereby passing on a viral infection. Let us hope for the best, for one doesn’t have to expend money hoping. Cumulative hopes, essentially translates itself into ‘prayers’.
The robust stand of the Shahbag Projonmmo Resistance is a beacon for the fate and future of Bangladesh. Salutes!
With that Joy Bangla…and let our head never hang in shame, ever.
Dhaka 22nd March 2012