Friday, April 19, 2013

Of De-Mock-Rat-Tick Demons, Fright Might and Hartal Hostages

Mac Haque

“Believing our politicians is equal to disbelieving God. If there is anything called ‘atheism’ in Bangladesh, this is it” - Author

“Desher obostha kemon bujhtesen” or what do you make of the situation in the country is a pertinent question that we have been asking ourselves quite frequently of late. The predictable reply “kharap, khubi kharap” or bad, very bad, has by now become a ritual in expressing our contempt to the ongoing crisis in Bangladesh. However even in the very best of times, the situation in the country has always been “kharap” and the word is used not because it is in the habit of the ever complaining and argumentative Bengali race, but stems more from dismay, despair and disgust that has been dovetailing us since the nineties, when ‘democracy’ or a semblance of it, was finally restored after years of brutal military dictatorship. 

The disappointments are for as much as it reflects the citizenries’ helplessness to the unending lawlessness and violence that constitutes politics; it stems from a sense of insecurity that has albeit been involuntarily thrust upon us. More so, we are powerless to do away with the de-mock-rat-tick demons and what makes our problem acute is, it is none but us citizens who are responsible for our own fate. It is none but us that backed and propelled these criminalized demons to power and glory, these rats and poisonous ticks to be our rulers, decision makers i.e. the very harbingers of our own continued misfortune. The world perhaps knows of no other country where politicians voted by its own people have ever made a bigger mockery of polity and propriety. 

In as much as there are no easy deliverance rescue mechanism or ideas in place, we are being led to believe, there are no easy options are available for us to extricate ourselves completely from the mess we are in. In our date with fate, our tryst with destiny and coping with the many shameless dynasties that have come and gone, our problems continue unabated, and worse; we do not have the faintest of clue as when, or  IF ever they are likely to end.  

Questions: is this going to be our permanent fate? Are we going to have continued and contentious repeat performance of what has come our way in the last forty-two years? Will our politicians continue to lie, cheat, kill and steal, or is there still hope that an apolitical uprising of citizens will render existing politics redundant, unpopular and unfashionable? Are there at all any alternative leaders anywhere that can bring in a difference to the status quo?  

Hello, do we have any answers there? 

Not at all, because the citizens of Bangladesh have been brain-numbed and paralyzed into inaction and the sore septicemia inflicted into our soul is been replaced by hideously gangrenous decay. It will not be before long that the stink of dying, death and rotting, will render our skies dark and heavy with vultures. Most of the scavengers will be unable to fly for their will not be no dearth of corpses to feast upon. 

Unfortunately, these realizations and soul searching in fact makes our uncertainties more profound for we have traditionally failed to control our leaders or even talk sense into their ‘beings’. Ironically, we ourselves are the victims of our own ‘success’, as history records we thought by voting them (our politicians), we and the nation in turn will have a ‘win win’ situation, and an end to what was ailing us in the immediate past. For Bangladesh tomorrow has perpetually been the day after the day before! The clock had jammed and stood still in milieus we have lost track of. 

The fault and battle lines are glaring. To even think that the leader of the Position and Opposition take different entry and exits at public functions, never see each other face-to-face, and when in an unlikely ‘accident’ they do see ‘eye-to-eye’ the simplest of greeting “may peace be with you” makes national headlines, gives us a clear indicators as to the pungent arrogance, impertinence and irresponsibility of those that we have voted to power. Thus what we have been ‘gifted’ with is nothing more than a roulette game, and to call these ‘humans’, politicians or whatever, in reality these preposterous elements share power ever five years at our peril, not their own. 

In fact in this business of politics, they ‘profit’, as do their sycophants, their families and friends, as also assorted shades of stake holders in the backdrop; everything from civil contractors to religious bigots, to stock exchange and bank loan looters, to scamsters to drug dealers to murder merchants, the list is disdainfully long. The hard reality, every five years we uncork a genie from a bottle, that in turn pays us punishingly back for what we did to them in the first place – a ‘favor’. 

So how does the equation work and what is the source of power and our politicians notoriously pandemic fright might? Do we readily have any options available to set ourselves free? Do we really think any suggestions will be up for the grab that just about any citizen/s of the country may have, to chase these demons to destruction, and in turn be spared ignominious abuses of being either ‘un-democratic’ or ‘autocratic’ or both? 

Let us take a look at the limited ‘weapons’ of our politicians and get a fix on their lethality, and disarm the hyperbolically overcharged and clinically sick  thought process of our politicians that are backed by these ‘weapons’ which in reality benefits no one. Citizens on the flip side, do have a right to self-defense, and in my estimation, the least we can do is share our precious thoughts with each other, and hope that things can then be brought to an ‘end-game’ conclusion. Clearly, I am not here to gun for ‘partisan positions’, nor am I one who thinks that men in khakis and camouflage are adequately qualified to turn the tide in favor of the citizens of Bangladesh.  

For instance, there is none who will disagree that hartals (general strikes) have devastated Bangladesh and I do not want to bore readers by writing one extra sentence on the same. Neither will it be prudent to compile data’s on how much we have lost and will continue to lose in the days ahead simply because by some act of providence hartal also happens to be our ‘constitutional right’. The citizens of Bangladesh have unfortunately to make a few unpopular decisions, some risky and conscious choices, and concede to give up some so-called ‘rights’ and the first one is call for a ban on crippling hartals. 

Each and every citizen is acutely aware of the losses not only in man hours, but also the cost in terms of arson, violence, destruction of public property and the cost in human lives, given this ‘right’ that is exercised not by the citizens of Bangladesh but are the domains of whims and caprices of villainous politicians.  Therefore how ‘unconstitutional and autocratic’ can it at all be, if we, the citizens were to demand a complete ban on hartals before Polls 2013? 

Really, what is the long and short of hartal games that our politicians love playing mercilessly, other than holding citizens hostage at home with threats of violence, threats of death? If hostage taking is a crime, if threatening anybody’s life is a crime in Bangladesh, I think it justifies that hartals also be termed a seditious crime - indeed a crime against humanity. 

To imagine that politicians hire a handful of professional agitators, arsonists and unleash murderers out on the street to ‘enforce’ hartals and call these acts ‘constitutional’ is pushing our imagination way off sensibility – and equals to calling psychopathic lunacy as perfectly admissible conducts in public. Since politicians know of nothing more ‘creative’ in terms of protest, have next to zero rate of tolerance, are as arrogant as jackasses, are opportunist par excellence, they have in turn set out on a vile agenda for years to constantly fool the people. This has to stop.

Take for instance the ‘shock’ felt by the Government in recent violence by Opposition protestors in league with religious bigots assaulting and seizing weapons from the police. The crocodile tears being shed shamelessly is ah….look how they don’t even spare innocent policemen out to protect citizens or the more sadistic charade, innocent children injured in bomb attacks, how inhuman, how cruelly insane, as if this is the first time in our history such outrages have occurred? Note the key punch word ‘innocent’ which is so innocently pulverized by our seemingly coochie coo ‘innocent’ politicians into descriptions that suits them. 

In addition, just because the police have to fire upon violent protestors to save lives and public property, it is termed ‘genocide’.  The hard reality is all political parties are guilty of the same crime, as much as the citizens are guilty of short-term memory losses. If one just cares to flip back at newspapers from the early nineties, the scenes are eerily familiar and repetitive. To attack police officers or other men in uniform has always been ‘heroism and bravery’ combined for political workers. Easily forgotten is attacks by non-state actors on state actors are never considered acts of civil disobedience or even terrorism, it is an act of WAR! 

Thus, to be fair to the memory of the hundreds upon thousands killed in propping these parasites to power in the last forty-two years, ‘genocide’ is not only a misnomer, it is nothing new – indeed, it has been around for as long as our memories can be stretched back. Unfortunately, it is the citizens, who are, were and will be the ultimate victims of ‘genocide’, the fodder for the murder canons, - not politics or politicians, so it is high time that we wake up. 

What are the strategies citizens can employ to overcome the crisis?  Here are a few pointers for public rumination. Together with a ban on hartals, let us make a clarion call to enact laws where summary capital punishment (death penalty) is meted in full view of the public for the following crimes: 

a.) Destruction of public property i.e. buses, cars, auto rickshaws and rickshaws, b.) Murder pogroms passing off as political programs, c.) Blocking of communication/traffic i.e. roads, railways, waterways and airports, d.) Attacks and destruction of public utility infrastructures i.e. gas, electricity and power plants, police stations, Internet and telecommunication, e.) Armed attacks on state actors – including use of IEDs, sticks and machetes, f.) Misuse of religious sites for politics or their destruction/desecration, g.) Attacks on listed minorities, whether they are religious or indigenous - and last if not the least f.) Proven cases of corruption whether they are in the public or private sector/s.

Indeed, it is point f.) Corruption, the creed of greed, which is the biggest enemy of Bangladesh. So how do we go about ‘enforcing’ citizen’s demands? 

Quite simply by calling upon the media to black out politicians, political news and views until our demands are accepted. It is after all the media, the fourth estate that has made politicians ever so ‘powerful’, as almost ninety percent of what we get to read, hear and see is ‘political’. I wonder where politicians have such opportunities to indulge in the kind of megalomaniac luxury as they do in Bangladesh. 

I can sense a lot of raised eyebrows and a lot of red flags going up among readers to the above points/suggestions, but let us remind ourselves that ‘draconian’ is not always a word that can be used only ‘against’ citizens. If citizen’s demands are not equally draconian, this nation will slide into further anarchy. 

The level of civility and decency we expect has clearly eluded our pathologically perverse politicians. These need not merely be ‘addressed’, but no-nonsense efforts ought to be in place, to guarantee that they either perform up to citizen’s expectation – or quite simply, perish! Therefore, the easiest way to handle issues is ask others to compile equally tough points but ones that are democratic and logically fair to citizens – the teaming millions. 

This is not a call from a voice in the wilderness, or a minority tit-for-tat, but a call by the majority – the citizens to oust a minority – our self-seeking politicians. This is not a time for any humiliating in-betweenie solutions for times are up, even if the game is not. Our hands are cruelly shackled against our will, and we have been flipped into and asked to swim a mighty river of despair for far too long.  We are barely breathing, we are gasping.

This is no time for an unequal or uneven fight. It is time to unshackle ourselves from fears of the ‘powerful’, the gluttony of the greedy, for there is nothing more powerful than the combined will of the citizens – the people, the majority.

New Age Op-Ed, Friday 19th April 2013


Friday, April 12, 2013

Hefajatul and lessons from 04/06

by Mac Haque

‘Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and He shall requite their deceit to them’(Al-Nisa, The Women: The Qur’an, 4.142)

I am glad 04/06 happened. Our theological radar was for years picking up ominous signals of an impending storm. In the many years, we had been talking with baited breath about how countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan had not acted on similar warnings, and instead of ‘weathering the storm’ – had capitulated and in the process have been left devastated. 

We blissfully thought about our misplaced invincibility, that emanates from our liberal demeanors, our robust yet cantankerous democracy, the inherent level of tolerance in our culture, the secular aspects of our society, as much as the reality that, adherents of most world religions, belief and faith systems have had solid groundings on our sacred soil for centuries. That would be ‘more than enough ammo’ to negate religious extremist adventurism or xenophobia of any kind, so we thought. 

We basked in complacency, for in our history of resistance to religious zealotry, we have a solid reference point: the watershed year that was 1971. We all know for certain that in nine months, the duration of the war, millions were killed, hundreds upon thousands of our mothers, sisters and daughters raped all in the name of Islam, by its many pretentious ‘defenders’? 

Although we live in a Muslim majority country, we failed to point out, that among the millions who perished in 1971; the majority of our martyrs were Muslims. If that be the case, Islamic history should have recorded 1971 as the first and worst ever case of carnage against Muslims – by Muslims, a fratricide of unbelievable dimension and devastating consequences. 

And the reason why we chose to overlook this crucial aspect post 1971 was because a much unexpected salvo was delivered to an unsuspecting nation. Western ‘secularism’was forced down our throats, when clearly the Liberation War was neither fought as a rejection to Islam, nor the millions who died or the heroes that went onto live, ever demanded that secularism be a pillar of the state. 

Since we failed to identify the secular possibilities within Islam, the inroads of the plural Sufis that was the catalyst for our ancestors to embrace the faith in the first place, ‘divine justice’ neatly packaged with the labels of Wahabism and the lure and bait of Saudi petro dollars, was the potent poison injected straight into our genes.

But what was it that triggered the genocide of 1971? Intolerance of the Pakistani state and their Bengali Mullah cohorts, their accusations that we are ‘Hindu converts’ every time we demanded freedom. And then the sustained ruse to misuse Islam, to malign what has been the most important component of our survival for centuries; cohesion, civility and equilibrium to be replaced by hate. This is a brand of Islam which was as much an alien concept for us to digest, as secularism, which many construed was no different than atheism. 

But I am glad 04/06 happened for its is perfectly legitimate within Islamic context, to stand up to and resist zalimeen or; ‘oppressors’, regardless of whether or not, the oppressor sports a cap and beard – or other regalia, that may or may not denote the so-called and implied ‘generic Muslim identity’. 

The rise of Islamic fanaticism in Bangladesh is not something that landed from heaven or evolved in isolation. Quite on the contrary this has been devilishly planned, nurtured,orchestrated and meticulously executed, so that what we are witnessing today is essentially the unfinished agenda of fanatics of 1971 unfolding in the millennium arena, with covert players and stakeholders who are not necessarily ‘Muslims’or ‘Islamic’ at any rate. The agenda then and the agenda now can be described and summed up in one sentence: agree with us or die! Hefajot has positioned itself as judge, jury and executioner all rolled in one.

I am glad 04/06 happened. With uncensored hate, misogynist and virulent messages, high pitched verbosity and abuse of so-called ‘atheist’, (and by default anybody that doesn’t agree with them is one) - percolating LIVE on TV broadcast, as much as social medias, 04/06 is not a ‘wake up call’. 

It is an affirmation that a monstrous tidal bore together with demons riding its crest sporting white skullcaps of ‘hateful peace’ has arrived at our doorsteps to deliver their final verdict; eviction from our cocoon of relative security, our sanctuary to breathe easy, the sanctity of our thoughts, the trust in God, that this is our motherland and no demon will ever rule the roost. 04/06 was a day of our worst nightmares playing up in front of our eyes. 

But I am glad 04/06 happened, for the purpose, attitude, appearance, and the intent of the enemy has never been clearer than now. 

What they have already spelt out implies a pledge to slide us back into the dark pits of medievalism, confine women to homes, perforce enforce the hijab, ban female and coeducation systems, ban music, ban fine arts, specially sculpture  and anything considered deviant or not in conformity of what in their perception is‘Islamic’. 

They made a ‘double edged sword statement’ on 04/06 by beating silly a female TV journalist. The first cut was to send a message that women cannot ‘cover’ an all-male event,and the second was to warn the Media that women presenters, journalists etc have to ‘cover up’ i.e. right away as incorporated in the thirteen male chauvinistic demands. 

Leads me to the questions; is the purdah/hijab in the Qur’an strictly a ‘female specific’commandment? Does ‘modesty in dressing’ mean merely forcing the covering of faces or vital parts of the female anatomy, and if so – is modesty not at all desirable in the conduct of the male, in his lecherous gaze, in the transgressions of his tongue? 

Have we forgotten that the Qur’an also commands believers to ‘see no evil, speak no evil, and commit no evil’?  This “Islam” that the Hefajotis speaks about is certainly NOT the Islam, we Bangladeshis believe in. The danger is therefore here, and it is for real.

They demanded an anti-blasphemy law or else they will unleash ‘hell fire’ apparently available with them. In the gripping fear that enveloped everybody when TV screens relayed LIVE the menacingly violent ‘long march’ of Hefajotis and the easy‘white-washed’ walkover to seize Dhaka, all okayed by an equally hypocritical Government, the grinding reality unfolding on TV, was hard to fathom. 

Those fears were not only limited to secularist, but even pious Muslims who found it hard to accept what the Mullahs were delivering in their speeches, as there was nothing‘Islamic’ in spirit in their patronisation of zero-centricity. It was a shock many times over, for their conducts was is in conflict with the words and teachings of the Qur’an. 

In essence the ultimate victim of the Hefajotis hate - is Islam, and the millions of its adherents in Bangladesh, for if this hungama was provoked due to alleged blasphemy by ‘atheist’, there is no clear mention in the Qur’an that capital punishment is to be meted as ‘justice’ for blasphemers or apostates. Similarly there are no records available anywhere to suggest that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)leave alone ordering anybody to be put to death, ever punished anyone that slandered him during his lifetime. 

Thus, regardless of the holy verses they misinterpret for their convenience, regardless of the henna they rub on their beards to appear holy, regardless of the pungent attar(oil perfume) they rub on their bodies to give us an aura of Heaven, the Hefajoti attempts to snatch away what has been sacred to us not just for the last 42 years, but for centuries, cannot be under any criteria of judgment be termed ‘Islamic’. 

The Qur’an repeatedly reminds us that it is Allah who will protect the holy book and Islam, as much as the reputation of the Prophet.  Therefore if it is atall true that Bangladesh is a Muslim majority nation, it has now become obligatory for all professing the Islamic faith, to resist these extremists with all our might.

We have been oblivious to the challenges and danger the likes of Hefajotul can inflict upon us. For far too long we had thought about the issue of fanaticism being an aberration, at most an irritant, maybe even the fantasised domain of ‘stupid and illiterate’ Mullahs. The reality today; fanaticism is a cancer, while stupidity is an inherent human response mechanism to both negative and positive stimuli of ignorance and how individuals act/react upon then. 

Since it was benign,the cancer was one we have been treating with chemotherapy. Now it has revealed itself as a malignant one, and thus we are left with no choice, but to surgically remove the same with precision.

Their hatred towards women, demonstrates an agenda of turning back the wheels of progress that has today placed Bangladesh at an enviable position in as a third world nation with a massive women presence in trade, commerce and a skilled labour force. This has guaranteed women’s empowerment which is a fundamental prerequisite in Islami. i.e. rizik or sustenance is an act of God, and resisting the legitimate sustenance of a fellow Muslim cannot be called Islamic. 

Therefore acceding to even one of their demands will result in Bangladesh being condemned to the dark streets and alleys of whatever is considered unjust in Islam.  

I am glad 04/06 happened, for in the excitement we have been able to witness firsthand the enemies embedded within our ranks, and how ‘holy money’ when dished out in surplus would make them do anything and everything to shift sides, to shed off their mask of ‘secularism’. It is a long list but one that today is ‘public and official’, thanks to our vibrant media, and has been faithfully recorded by patriots for future reference and positive actions.

I am glad 04/06 happened, for now is a time to engage the myopic Mullahs into public televised LIVE I (debates/discourses) to find out which among the 72 known firqas (sects) of Islam they represent, and why is murder and violence upon their own kind, seem to be the only available option open to them in their ‘defence’ of Islam?

New Age Xtra - Friday 12th April 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CLARIFICATION: President of BAMBA Hamin Ahmed's Facebook Status Update

Dear All, 

My attention has been drawn to this Facebook status update of Hamin Ahmed who  other than being the band leader of MILES is also the President of Bangladesh Musician Bands Association (BAMBA). 

I would like to categorically state here that Hamin's opinion expressed in the status update is entirely his personal opinion and does not reflect the hopes, aspirations and views of BAMBA members, nor is this the official position of BAMBA - a national organisation that is 24 years old, with millions of fans and admirers both at home and overseas. Nonethelss the status update has shocked and embarrased me personally as much as it has hurt and offended  many members of the band music fraternity, regardless of whether they are BAMBA members or not.

It should be noted, that more than 500 musicians marched under the banner of "Musicians Alliance" to Shahbag on 18th February 2010, and they included at least two members of MILES. Hamin had his personal reservations about the Projonmo Chottor Movement and did not join the march with us for her feared for his security> Since this was his legitimate concern we have shown our respect to the same. However this must be said quite clearly and unequivocally that the march on 18th February 2013 by "Musicians Alliance" was by no means hypocritical, opportunistic, nor one we had done to 'go with the flow'. 

Regardless of Hamin's status update that has resulted in an outcry all across Bangladesh, I want to state here that we have a lot of respect and regards for Shahbag Projonmo Chottor and the resistance they are engaged against the forces of communalism, misogynism, xenophobia, zero-centricity and hate. As much as the rest of the nation, WE are in full support for the demand of capital punishment of the War Criminals of 1971. 

At this crucial and critical moment of our struggle, history has done us a huge favor. For the first time in our life we have been exposed to state our clear ideological positions. I would like to say, that personally myself  and hundreds of others in the band music fraternity have expressed, decided, and sworn support and solidarity with  the Shahbag Projonmmo Chottor Movement - which by implication is reflection of the peoples will of the last 42 year. We will not back off come what may.

Thanking you, in Solidarity
Joy Bangla 

Maqsoodul (Mac) Haque
Band Leader - Maqsood O' dHAKA
Founder President - Bamba - 1987 - 1991
Member Executive Committee - BAMBA - 2005- Present 

Friday, April 05, 2013

Of "God Fearing Muslims" and dangerous dalliance

Mac Haque

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts" - Bertrand Russell

If one cares to reread the history of Bangladesh, it is very tragic that potent millstones have seen our national life being repeatedly derailed and consigned to abrasive and inconsequential debates whenever the issue in hand is religion, or our respective belief or faith systems.

Never in our history have we been able to stay away from religion becoming a dominant feature in our political life, and regardless of the party in power, mediaeval mindsets and monstrosities are its ultimate and inevitable outcome, and no voice of sanity or reason ever prevails.

What get’s over amplified in screaming matches are terms and dictions, which for all practical purpose has not helped us in any way. Take for example the sentence always rubbed-in raw into the national psyche by corrupt politicians and religious conmen in combi; “we Bangladeshis are God fearing Muslims”.

The connotation may be true on surface, but have we ever questioned ourselves as to what is all so “fearful” about God and what would be a standardized definition of a Muslim? Have we sincerely explored or enquired about other fundamental aspects that are very much a prerequisite in the construct and belief of God - the Supreme Being?

Do these hate filled so-called “defenders of Islam”, who in reality are Muslim pretenders, and are agents for murder mayhem, strife, disquiet and disorder in civic life; ever consider that attributes such as benevolence, forgiveness and mercy are also foundations of the Creators all encompassing omnipresence, in the course of human destiny?

The concept of “God fearing Muslims” is a construct of hate merchants backed by Free Masonic agents, disguised in robes of religiosity, to misguide the pious and ‘religion sensitized’ masses. That this mindset of division dates back to periods of Islamic history, post the death of Prophet Muhammad, is rarely, if ever acknowledged.

That the egalitarian, humane, democratic and secular dispensation of the Prophets teaching, encoded for posterity in the book of revelation and guidance for mankind, the Qur’an, were most cruelly usurped by feudal kingships, whose intentions may have been anything – but Islam of peace, is never discussed.

It is only for narrow political expediencies and no love for Islam, or the Prophet Muhammad or the Qur’an, that the religion of billions of marginalized, the poor, the down trodden has now been globally replaced by that of fear, and most repugnantly - a fear of death, which again is NOT delivered by God, but a handful of Pharaohnic individuals.

This is an unforgiving reality that we are faced with, and we seem paralyzed and helpless to extricate ourselves completely from the same. So great is our fear of murder merchants in religious garbs that average citizens in general shy off any discussion on religion given either their inadequacy on the subject matter, or because they are plain uninterested, as they don’t want to be exposed to any harm.

Under the circumstances, it is only threats of intolerance, threats of violence, and most importantly threats of death that is made out to be the Islam of Bangladesh. It is an equation that has been most devilishly conjured with calculative and unremitting frequency, and there are good reasons for the same. 

Public discussions on Islam and even those we witness in prime time TV, is limited and the exclusive forte of so-called Imams, Alems,  Ulemas and ‘thinkers’, which in totality defeats the lofty ideals of Islam, for the religion does not permit a class of clergy. It is the only religion known to mankind that ensures believers have direct communion with God, without any human intercession.

On the other hand there is no “one-glove fits all” standardized definition of a Muslim, nor are there any certification authority anywhere in the world to classify who a pukkah (pure) Muslim is, or isn’t! Thus insinuators, demigods and fake theologians have been calling the shots and will for a precipitously long time to come with galling ramifications.

Ironically, as a Muslim majority nation whose bloody birth in 1971 came with the rejection of the same stereotypical accusations that Bengalee Muslims are “Hindu converts” and the resultant fear psychosis injected of Islam being in “grave danger” by our former Pakistani rulers, it is most unfortunate that we have not come out looking any better in recent days.

The pre-1971 core seeds of discords which we thought we have been able to jettison and render obsolete by engagements in the intellectual and cultural front, supplemented by demands for our liberal space, have by all indicators been squeezed into constriction. That it cost the lives of millions of martyrs to attain this space for a nation’s intellectual stimulus in the first place, has for now, been selectively and most brutally sidelined.

Had the challenges thrown at us with unabashed regularity by the so-called “faithful” were subject to enquiry and discourses in the public domain, the results would have been impressively different? Those opportunities have however, always been denied to us, for the “faithful”  in collusion with the powers that be, has left us in a state of flux we see today, and not seen at any particular juncture of time, not even during the days leading on to the Liberation War of 1971.

Never ever in the history of this nation have we been exposed to more bigoted interpretations of Islam, and never ever have the threats, frights and fear of the “faithful” been more acute than now. Compounding to the problem is the Government handling of issues, and more than listening to tolerant voices out in the wilderness, in our grassroots culture, who we patronizingly term the “silent majority”; it has lent its ears and quality time to unsolicited opinions and views of a conceited bunch of people representing an illegitimate clergy class.

Clearly the ambitions of the clergy is no more than a lust for power, and that they will go to any extent, even misinterpreting Islam, the Prophet or the Qur’an to meet their blood thirsty goals.

The New Age report of 1st April 2013 that the Government in a meeting with “Islamic thinkers” conceded to their demands that it will bring bloggers responsible for an alleged smear campaign against Islam and Prophet Muhammad to face justice is a case in point. The other more bizarre issue raised is “hurting religious sentiments”.

The Governments subsequent over-exuberance in arresting and remanding several bloggers on the 2nd of April 2013, the shutting down of blogs and the overall ‘bending over backwards’ trends to accommodate and massage sore ego’s of the Islamist extremist, is not only worrying, it appears to be the beginning of a downward spiral, which can and will lead on to further nihilism in the public domain. 

The arrest of bloggers is a hand in glove ploy by Islamist and the Government to totally bypass the original demands from Shahbag – the trial and capital punishment of religious bigots and war criminals of 1971 who looks like are all set for a repeat performance in 2013.  Conversely, Shahbag is a movement which has no public record of ever inflaming religious sentiments, nor has it encouraged or resorted to any violence.

While the move to arrest the accused, may be overtly laudable and cause the AL Government to appear to be “in-charge and in-control” of public order, it has nonetheless opened up a can of worms and a plethora of questions which it will have to contend with uncomfortably , in the short haul.

In the long haul however, the issue will have proved succinctly that despite its oft repeated and pathological rhetoric’s about banning Jamaat e Islami (JeI) as an extremist party with links to militancy, and despite its (AL) positioning as an apparently “secular liberal centrist political entity”, the AL has evidently been in a covert and dangerous dalliance with traitors and national enemies. There is absolutely no doubt that the days ahead will see the continuity of the same charade.

Thus the War Crimes Trial which is the centripetal focal point in the disquiet in Bangladesh since early February 2013 will have fallen foul, if not already - and over time has all possibilities of being scuttled. That politics is no more than a “scamming business” will have become institutionalized in the process, and will no longer be a conjecture, but a hard reality. In the meantime rumors that liquid cash moved hands to influence the Qader Mollah verdict, awaits confirmation by evidence.

Necessity nonetheless begets that hard questions be asked and they must be answered, for posterity will not forgive us if dissenting voices of today are not recorded. The advent of the connectivity era means each individual can and does have a definite role to play in public and political life, without fear or favor. Yet on the same token millennium democracy and freedom of expression does not mean that hypocritical juggling acts of infinite precision can be permitted to be the order of the day.

While propriety demands decency in public life and human conduct, more so when we have such unrestrained modes of expressions; character assassinations and slanders regardless of whether they are of individuals or religious leaders, icon, Prophets, religions, holy books and sects are condemnable, and wherever laws are in place, effective actions to the hilt are only desirable.

That said, a society and a nation that prefers to remain mute spectators when a Government it has democratically voted to power, capitulates to whims of a miniscule minority of hated filled groups bordering on fringe lunacy, or individuals with no real social standing, and whose “religious sentiments” are very easily bruised and inflamed, is a Government that has proved beyond doubts it frailty and fragile vulnerability.

And that has exactly been the case in the Governments recent actions. What has not been questioned is really who are these “Islamic thinkers” and do they either have an iota of public acceptance, or are they any authority on Islam that citizens conform to?

On the other hand, there are no public records as of now; as to what transpired in those “objectionable blog post” and exactly on what specific corollary of the dreaded Section 54 of the Special Powers Act the arrested bloggers have “hurt religious sentiments”.

The lamentable excuse that the contents are “sensitive” and therefore not fit for public dissemination further reinforces the argument that neither “Islamic thinkers” nor the Government have any theological credibility or the moral authority to persecute anyone.

In the meantime, for the Court of law, the comrades of young arrested activists of the Shahbag Movement, who have been branded “atheist” several times over by the bigots, have asked legitimate and pertinent questions that will lie heavily on the Government to come up with convincing answer. Failing – it will further damage its already suspect credibility. It is just not votes that the AL will lose in the next election, but more specifically in its dalliance with traitors, it will do a huge disservice to people in general as also to Islam.

Specifically, the first salvo that should be awaited is how a murderous and zero-centric entity of Islamist who democratically constitutes less that 5 percent of votes, have branded two third of Muslim citizens of Bangladesh that voted the Awami League to power as “atheist and infidels”, which in turn constitutes “hurting religious sentiments” of the majority?

To sum up, while we may never know the contents of these “objectionable blog postings”, what we do know will and should stir up many a hornets’ nest.

First port of call is to identify innumerable amount of hate materials aimed at minorities or just about anyone that does not profess to the Islamic faith propounded by bigots, and available abundantly in the public domain. . There are perhaps thousands of other print and on-line publications available as proof of “hurting our religious sentiments” that we can collectively use to nail down these Muslim pretenders once and for all.

Since a theological war has been unleashed upon us, we ought to be prepared to launch an asymmetrical warfare of intellect. I am sure for pious Muslims of Bangladesh – it may not prove very difficult. The hour is up. The fangs of fanaticism have got to be uprooted for us to regain a semblance of sanity in these cruelly insane times

New Age Op-Ed, Friday 5th April 2013


Thursday, April 04, 2013

"আমি শত্রু চিনি মাগো তুমি ঘুমাও নির্ভয়ে" : ২০১৩ মুক্তি যুদ্ধের ৪টি বিশেষ অর্জন

১. জয় বাংলা স্লোগানটি অওয়ামী লীগের কাছ থেকে জনগণ ছিনিয়ে নিয়েছে |

২. মুক্তিযুদ্ধের চেতনা কেবলি অওয়ামী লিগ বা তাদের ঘরানার তথাকথিত কিছু মুক্তিযোদ্ধা, দেশপ্রেমিক, বুদ্ধিজীবী ও সাংস্কৃতিক কর্মীদের একতিয়ার থেকে, আজ জনগনের হাতে ফেরত এসেছে | 

৩. ৪২ বছরের বদমাইশ গুলোর মুখোশ টেনে খোলা হয়েছে | জনগণ আজ সবকটাকে ভালো দেখতে ও চিনতে পারছে | রাজাকারের জুজু যে অওয়ামী লিগ এতগুলো বছর দিয়ে এসেছে, তা যে কেবলি ভন্ডামি ও টাকা বানানোর কৌশিশ ছিল - আজ তাদের 'রুহানি সুরত' গুলোতে পরিষ্কার - মাশাল্লাহ!

৪. জামাত এ ইসলাম ও হেফাজোতুল ইসলাম - তাদের "ঈমানের চিরাচরিত শত্রু" মার্কিনি/ইহুদি/নাসারাদের খারিজ করে, আজ কাল্পনিক্ল 'নাস্তিকতার' বিরুদ্ধে যুদ্ধ ঘোষণার অর্থ হলো - তারা মার্কিনি/ইহুদি/নাসারাদের টাকায় ও ইন্ধনে বাংলাদেশে "ইসলাম হেফাজতের" আন্দোলনে নেমেছে - সবাই বলেন সুম্মা আমীন !

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

অওয়ামী লীগের কাছে প্রশ্ন

আপনারা ৩জন ব্লগারকে গ্রেপ্তার করেছেন কিছু তথাকথিত "মুসলিমদের" প্ররোচনায় | তাদের অপরাধ? "মুসলমানদের ধর্মীয় অনুভূতিতে আঘাত করেছে" | 

খুব ভালো কথা - তবে এই মোল্লা গং যাদের আগে কোনো ধরনের রাজনৈতিক, সামাজিক বা ধর্মীয় পরিচয় আমরা এই অব্দি পাইনি তারা আসলে কারা ? কোথা হতে এরা উড়ে এসে জুড়ে বসলো আপনাদের কাঁধে, এবং কাকের মত ত্যাগ করলো মল? 

কোথা থেকে তারা "মুসলিম" এর এত গুরুত্বপূর্ণ পরিচয়পত্র পেলো, যার কারণে তাদের সাথে আপনারা রুদ্ধদার বৈঠক করতে বাধ্য হলেন ? 

আপনাদেরকে, অর্থাৎ অওয়ামি লীগকে গণভোটে যারা ক্ষমতায় বসিয়েছেন তাদের ভেতরে মুসলমান কজন, সে হিসাব কি আপনারা করেছেন ? যদি বলা হয় যে ২/৩ শতাংশ ভোটে আপনারা ক্ষমতার মসনদ এ বসেছেন, তাদের ভেতরে যদি ৯০ শতাংশ ছিলো মুসলমান- এবং এই ৯০ শতাংশ কেবলি যুদ্ধঅপরাধীদের বিচার চেয়েছে এবং তা চেয়ে কোনো অপরাধ করেনি কারণ একই দাবির বাস্তবায়নের করার "কসম" আপনারা খেয়েছিলেন ভোটাভুটির আগে| 

আজ এই "অপরাধের" কারণে আপনাদের ধর্মপ্রাণ মুসলমান ভোটারদের উপরে যে "নাস্তিক, মুরতাদ" এর সিল মারলো এই শুকরের সন্তানগণ - গালিগালাজ করলো প্রকাশ্য - খুন রাহাজানি, মন্দির, মসজিদ ভাংচুর করছে - তাতে কি আপনাদের যারা ভোট দিয়েছেন সে সকল "মুসলমানদের ধর্মীয় অনুভূতিতে আঘাত" করা হয়নি? 

নাকি আপনাদের জন্য এক নতুন "প্রেসক্রিশন ইসলাম" নাজিল হয়েছে এই মোল্লাহ গং এর কল্যানে যা আমাদের আপনারা খুব শিগগিরই "পেশ এ খেদমত" করবেন?