I recently read an Op-ed by Mr. Mahfuz Anam in Dailystar, " "The Third View. Challenges before Khaleda Zia. Old issues, old tactics and old allies are no longer assets but burdens" (January 24th, Dailystar. http://www.thedailystar.net/challenges-before-khaleda-zia-8137), where he attempted to make it acceptable to work with Jamat Shibir. I guess my emotion got the better of me and wrote the following in the Dailystar Forum.
Dear Mr. Mahfuz Anam, I recently read your column, "The Third View. Challenges before Khaleda Zia. Old issues, old tactics and old allies are no longer assets but burdens" (January 24th, Dailystar). I know you present yourself as one of the prominent "Budhijibi" of Bangladesh and often go on TV to lecture us regarding right, wrong, ethics, morality etc. So I was appalled when in your column you stated, " She (Khaleda Zia) showed unforgivable disrespect -- to the memory of our Liberation War and its martyrs -- when she appointed Matiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Md. Mojahid (both accused of war crimes and are facing trial), cabinet ministers in her 2001 cabinet. It is one thing to support or take support from Jamaat but quite another to make them occupy cabinet post of the country that they fought tooth and nail, killed, raped and participated in genocide to prevent from being born ". Let's digest this statement for a second. Mr. Anam do you think, disrespect to the martyrs memories only occurs when Jamatis are made ministers, but as long as BNP merely takes support or gives support to the Jamati, who, according to your own words ", killed, raped and participated in genocide", somehow that is acceptable, that is palatable?. But can it ever be acceptable to those whose loved ones were killed, raped, brutalized to take or give support to Jamat?. Can it ever be acceptable to any Bangladeshi, who takes pride in our country?. Can it ever be acceptable to any normal human being to take or support to those who, " killed, raped and participated in genocide" ?.
So I ask you, Mr. Anam, if taking or giving support to those who " killed, raped and participated in genocide", is palatable for you, what else is acceptable when it comes to killers and rapist . Is it acceptable to socialize with them, it is acceptable to invite them for dinners, acceptable to be friends with them?. And if you think it is acceptable to give or take support from Jamat, does it not lend indirect approval of their killings, raping and genocide?. Why draw the arbitrary line of disgust only at, “making ministers”?
I ask you, will your daughter be proud to know that her father thinks sometime it is okay support rapists as long as they are not made into cabinet ministers. My parents and teachers have taught me that it is NEVER, EVER okay to support or take support from those who “killed, raped and participated in genocide ". But then again my parents are not sophisticated, educated, erudite, editor of the most prominent English news paper of Bangladesh, so probably I have been misinformed. Since Mr. Anam you often lecture us on TV about what is right and wrong, I hope you can answer me, based on what morality and ethic, do you think that it is ever acceptable to give support or take support from those who, " killed, raped and participated in genocide".
Problem with many members of our "Sushil Somaj" is that they lack any moral conviction, despite amount of frothing they do in the mouth. They keep drawing an ever shifting line in the sand and feign outrage when that line gets crossed over and over again. And that’s how we end up with nuggets of wisdom like, it is okay to support or take support from those who, “killed, raped and participated in genocide”. First these "sushil somaj" say do not forgive the war criminals, Zia does it. Then they say, well, it is one thing to forgive the war criminals, but do not dare let the head war criminal, Golum Azam into Bangladesh. Zia does it. Then they say, it is one thing to let him in, but do not think about giving him Bangladeshi citizenship, after all he did all he could to destroy Bangladesh. Khaleda Zia does it. Then sushil somaj say, fine, it is one thing to give him citizenship but do not you even think about working with the rapist/killer/genocidal party that is Jamat. Khaleda Zia does that. Then they said, I suppose, it is one thing to take support or give support to Jamat, but you must not make them ministers. And Khaleda Zia does it yet. Now all of a sudden they act surprised and outraged, apparently BNP has finally crossed the proverbial Rubicon. But these sushil somaj conveniently ignore the fact that this is just a natural progression of the same process and it is the "sushil somaj" itself that has been actively encouraging this process all along, first by legitimizing Jamat, then making it somewhat acceptable to give/take support from then, and then finally creating the moral space needed to empower/make them into minister. I hope Mr. Mahfuz Anam, you are surely not part of this "Sushil Somaj".
As Bangladeshis, now we must have the conviction and courage to say that, NO, it is NEVER, EVER acceptable to give or take support from Jamat, who killed, raped and participated in genocide and any political party who patronizes them, in any shape or form, has no place in Bangladeshi political landscape and those party will be categorically REJECTED. And we must question their loyalty and motive who tries to propagate that it is acceptable to support Jamat/Shibir. Do you not agree Mr. Anam?. Until we can learn to say NO to Jamat, the process of empowering Jamat will continue, and then one fine morning we may wake up with a Jamati President (or prime minister) and then some editor probably will say, " it is one thing to make Jamati ministers, but quite another to make them president, I am really, really outraged now". If such misfortunes ever occurs, I will be sad that day, but at least I will be clear to my conscience that I have tried to do my part to prevent the desecration of those who gave their lives for us, made the greatest sacrifice one can make. But I ask you, Mr. Mahfuz Anam, how will you feel? Will you be sad too? Or will you be proud? because after all, could it have happened without your contribution?.
Finally, once again I would like to request Mr. Mahfuz Anam, if you have any integrity sir, please apologies for your vile statement and retract it. Until you do that, please spare us any lecture about right and wrong. Because any person who thinks it is acceptable to give or take support from those who, " killed, raped and participated in genocide", no longer has any moral authority.
I had posted this to the Daily Star online forum, and requested that he retract his statement and apologize for making such offensive and egregious statement. My post was neither posted nor he retracted his statement, instead banned me from posting in the Dailystar discussion section. So much for the vanguard of freedom of speech. But I should not say that I was surprised, because what else can one expect from those who has no courage.
So why am I posting this in Sachal and wasting your time?. I need your help. I want to find out if you guys think this is worthy cause to launch a netroot effort to make Mahfuz Anam retract his statement. I think it is. It is important to to make people that it is NOT acceptable. And if we can make Mahfuz Anam admit it surely that will have some effect. He may retract or may not, but I will never know until I try. If any one can help or advise me how to go forward I will be thankful. Can anyone connect me to the Gonomoncho organizers. I am not talking empty rhetoric, I am serious and am willing put my money where my mouth is to start this campaign. PS. I am not in BD (in the US), so I can not contact any one in person.