Shahbag: From Movement to Revolution

অতিথি লেখক's picture
Submitted by guest_writer on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 9:06pm

Undoubtedly Bangladesh is at a critical juncture. What's going to happen in the next week or two will clearly determine where the country will be in the next 40 or 50 years. It's no longer just about the trial of war criminals, it's about our agility, our resilience, our strength and of course our identity. The next few weeks will determine whether we will build the foundation of a secular country, whether we will embrace the principles of religious tolerance, whether we will be able to stand strong against the fanatics and whether we will fight for what we believe in. There is a real opportunity at hand to transform this movement into a revolution. And as a result, there is no point in engaging into useless exchange of words with those who still have not understood the gravity of the situation. Let's remember one thing, years from now, when an historian or a social scientist will look into the shahbag movement s/he will judge what we have done today by analyzing our response to the call of history and yes, s/he will also judge how the so called confused portion of the youth tried to be on both side of the aisle. Let him or her judge whether any one can be truly neutral in a time of crisis, Let her judge whose hands these so called neutral people strengthen and let her judge the role of these people. Let's leave the judgment to him/her and let's get back to work.

First, any government if it wants to rule should have a control on the rule of law. That's the core of governability and that's what keeps the country moving. When the death toll keeps rising, it just raises question about the competence of the government. If a group of people is determined to bring about anarchy, if that group shows complete disregard to the rule of law, it is the responsibility of the government to intervene and protect the citizens from the mayhem. Failure to do so will jeopardize the legitimacy of the government. It must act, now! And let me be clear about something- resisting this group here and there and without a plan does not really help. The state is the only legitimate actor to use coercive power and it has to respond by identifying and taking action against the master minds.

Second, shahbag has to exert pressure on the government. There is no point in concluding that the government is made of saints. In fact, if saints were part of the political process, there would be no shahbag. The movement has already shown it's maturity in dealing with the government and this must go on. The demand for banning JIB should be a priority and pressure should be exerted to ensure a strong prosecution.

Third, let me be honest, there is actually very little reason to be completely satisfied with the Sayeedee verdict. It was a sigh of relief but the battle was not won let alone the war. Let us not forget that the war criminal was acquitted of 12 charges and the charge for genocide was not proven. There will be an appeal and there are more cases pending before the ICT. The government must ensure a strong prosecution and investigation team. There cannot be any loopholes to be exploited by the war criminals which had already spent well over million dollars to stop or hinder this trial.

Fourth, the revolution must go to the villages. Dhaka or the other divisional areas do not represent Bangladesh. There is an entire Bangladesh beyond that and we must connect it to Shahbag.

Fifth, the revolution must be tweeted. The international media is still not reflecting the true scenario and let's make sure that it does.

Every generation has its own revolution and we are indeed lucky that we are witnessing this entire movement unfolding in our lifetime. Let's make the best use of it and let's not forget one thing- when revolution comes, we can be either part of it or be crushed by it. Let's make sure we are on the right side.


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