Notes: Last night (19th November 2016) at the Dhaka LiT Fest panel discussion #FightingWords_poetry_through_dissent it looks like I upset a lot of people by saying 'we are a hypocritical nation'. Friends thought since most of the audience has never read my English poems or heard any of my Bengalee songs - it would be better if I could explain myself. Thank to them - a 'poem' was born this morning !!
Of Hypocrisy, bideshis and the Mind Mafia
by Mac Haque
I didn't have to say we are a ‘corrupt nation’
- for the bideshis have proved the point many times over
and told that to us on our face
and we have shamelessly gulped it
- because it was the truth…..or am I wrong again ?
I didn't say we are a blood thirsty ‘jihadi nation’
- or accuse ourselves of closet fundamentalism
cause the bideshis again have proved that point
and made a signed sealed and delivered case
thanks to the unholy occurrence at holey artisan -
but never forget
it was our own 'English educated' kin that
slaughtered them and here we are
reciting 'our bideshi' poems?
Because you have lost your human identity
you indulge in the ‘politics of identity’
and all you are left with
is to gulp secularism forced down your throat
because that’s the essence of a hypocritical nation
where you willingly accept a hypocritical system
that votes your hypocritical leaders to power
and you and I shed hypocritical facebook tears
on the Santhals being shot, their land burnt and grabbed
about Sanatan Temples and Buddhist pagodas being desecrated
about Chakma women being raped
of my friend Ishrat Akhond preferring death over forced Muslim prayers!
Shockingly the villains aren’t always
our known or sworn enemies the mollahs
but the 'people of the people of the people of the people'
who you continue to vote for more power
as if there is no available option?
I’d rather not talk about nepotism but parochialism
for one way or the other your thought processes
are trapped in the time warp of your peasant ancestors
who today – you hate – because you think
you have moved on in life
thanks to your hypocrisy
of the 90 percent of ‘them’
as opposed to
the urbane pseudo sophisticated
that constitutes less than 10 percent of our population
and that’s ‘us’?
All I know is your living God is the Mind Mafia that remains ever so 'powerful'!
Back in nineteen ninety six
the hypocrite in us refused to listen to the improper pOET
when he first cried wolf (in a Bangla song)
about the impending 'mollah invasion'
Back in nineteen ninety six
there wasn't no Al Qaeda, ISIS or JMB
and all the pOET did was forecast (not 'predict')
the unfair weather that we are enveloped
since two thousand and thirteen
and the mess we are in now
- was a forecast - a loud warning was sent
.....but then the poet said things
your pretty hypocritical ears did not want to hear
I was termed a provocateur,
a 'no good' human being, a mad man -
because as hypocrites
we pretend in our so-called ‘sanity’
it is actually our un-sanity
that is our dominant nature?
Your hard souls neither listen to music nor have the time for poetry
Far from the point, hypocrisy for the nation
is now a genetic problem
We cannot easily shed off the coat of
fascism, communalism, xenophobia we wear
and all the hypocrisies in the name of religion.
I provoked by saying
‘the atheist debate isn’t new.
a belief in Bangladeshi politicians
equates to a disbelief in God.
......If there is atheism in Bangladesh this is it’
And I was told off in ‘propah Bangla’
By a bidesh born shodeshi patriot
how much I have belittled my nation
by saying ‘unpleasant things’
about our ‘own people’
in front of bideshis (foreigners)
How frail is patriotism
How frail are we as a nation
that a public exercise
to the democratic right of free speech
Is thwarted - not by the government
but by the Mind Mafia controlled people
Of this sorry nation?
I am staying away from stronger words like racism and fascism,
Breath easy folks.
We are at war with the Mind Mafia
The going isn’t going to be easy
If you are going to slumber or even sleep
It’s the job of the Improper pOeT to provoke
To wake you up
To make you think
Impropriety is in my genes
I am offering no apology!
Pallabi, 20th November 2016