An Event That Never Happened
For so long in our lives whenever we have seen atrocity like war, murders, famine, genocide, we tend to draw lines of separation between us and the tragedy with factors like privilege, time, geographical distance, political regime, and religion(or lack of). This is how we could tell ourselves that none of this would ever happen in a scenario where we would be involved. It would just not be realistic. Just like that, we are unencumbered.
If you are not aware of what has happened in Bangladesh recently, here’s a rather diplomatic abstract: The unfortunate deaths of students by racing buses entailed peaceful student-powered protests to demand road safety. The kids have managed road traffic and checked the legality of all modes of road transportation, public and private, better than the traffic police whose job it was to do so. None were unperturbed in even finding several law enforcement vehicles with outdated paperwork. It was debated that the protests went on for too long, but it was also said that the way it was handled by the state was not proper. The protests came to a wretched halt on the 5th of August when unknown helmet-wearing-stick-weilding-men(from here on referred to as unicorns) and riot-gear-using-tax-fueled-men(from here on referred as dogs. I love dogs but this is a Fullmetal Alchemist reference)went on a full frontal assault on the students. Deaths, abductions, molestation, mutilation — you name it. Why did they keep on protesting with the demands being accepted? Well according to the students, credibility is only measured by what someone or something has done in the past(hi quota reform how are you doing). The protest also being decentralised could be another factor for a lack of streamlined communication. This was now followed by protests by university students in several campuses, but that too came to a stop by the unicorns and dogs by a classic move of divide and conquer. Molestation, unprovoked battery, brain haemorrhage — you name it. By whom you ask? Who knows! Who are these unicorns? A lot of private university students along with a very popular photographer had been arrested after the rendezvous with causes of supposed spread of rumours and defamation of the government. Slowly, everything died out.
Now if you are like me, you had your blood boiling during the entirety of the situation. We’ve felt egregiously powerless, angry, felt that our limbs were phantasmal, felt both laconic and wanted to fulminate, felt a hole in our hearts, and after the furious onslaught we’ve felt that this country has an entrenched resistance to change. This time it was happening in our backyard. Somehow, once again, some of those aforementioned distinguishing factors like profession and privilege came up. “This is a student led protest. What can an investment banker do here?”. Everyone wants change, everyone thinks about fighting, but no one wants to be anywhere close to the front line; live to see the change, you know? Some of you have taken food and water to the student protesters, and some of you even helped control traffic with them. But if we have done our part, why do we still feel guilty? Why do we feel like we haven’t gone the extra mile? Was it only their fight? Were the students alone to begin with? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this was not just about road safety. It was so much more and it involved the core tenets of the country. Then why were the students the only ones shedding blood, I wonder.
Perhaps one of the saddest things in the entire situation was how most of the events that occurred in open daylight were so blatantly denied with disregard. So where do we go now? We have the casus belli, but is anyone going to act on it? Up next on the election, we have either the status quo or a party that enables extremism. Who do we pick? Can we hope to see a new party? We can change ourselves but what influence does the urban middle class in Bangladesh hold? Children can go to become government officials but will their minds stay unadulterated? Might you also think there should be sectors of power where the national defence may not be influenced by politics?
I am one of those weird citizens of the world but I do not want to see a place I was born and brought up in that’s filled with people I love being stripped off of its right to free speech and safety. This blog post is mostly about me ranting and it wasn’t intended otherwise. However I do want to know what you think is now the best course of action. I am bad at writing and this is my first blogpost so forgive me for mistakes. Thanks and don’t arrest me.