Faith in Bangladeshis: Lost

Kelemvor's picture
Submitted by Lyonsbane [Guest] on Sat, 16/02/2013 - 12:56pm

As some of you may be aware, a prominent blogger of Bangladesh was murdered today. Ahmed Rajib, 35 -- better known by his online identity Thaba Baba (the claw) – was found dead near his home in Dhaka's Pallabi suburb, with his head hacked apart with a machete. Details here.

I followed his posts pretty much regularly, and am an admirer of his courage. As an expatriate Bangladeshi, I could never summon the courage to criticize Islam the way he did while I was in Bangladesh. His death heralds an unbelievable loss in the realm of Bangladeshi free-thinkers.

But what really hurt me the most about this is not his death per se (which, I reiterate, was a tragedy in itself), but the reactions from some of my Facebook “friends”. Let me elaborate.

I have been religiously (heh, irony) culling my friends list on Facebook of chhagus (i.e. supporters of Jamaat-Shibir who try to justify their actions in the name of Islam). During the Shahbag protest, I was pleasantly surprised at how united my friends were in calling for appropriate, capital punishment for rajakars. None of them turned out to be chhagus. I was feeling pretty good about myself and the company I kept. That all changed when Thaba Baba was murdered.

I had expected a unanimous reaction of shock and sadness from people on my friends list. Instead, some were of the opinion that his death was not to be mourned (!) because he had the audacity of criticizing Islam. One even stated that he felt sad at first, but not after he’d found out Thaba Baba’s posts on Islam (he has since recanted his position, but I will always know that this was his first reaction).

And that brings me to the title of this post.

The people who’re apathetic (or worse, applauding) of this murder, how are you any different from Jamaat-Shibir? Do you know why Jamaat-Shibir need to be banned? They need to be banned not only because of the high treason they committed in 1971, but also because of their ideologies, which calls for the suppression and ultimate purging of all dissenters. That’s exactly why the Nazi party is banned. That’s why ALL hate groups across the civilized world which preach extermination of non-believers are banned. You cannot, and you SHOULD NOT, take away someone else’s right to believe whatever they want.

And if you think Thaba Baba should’ve been killed because he preached against your religion, then take a good, hard look at yourself. You are no different from Shibir. You think you’re enlightened, but you’re only tolerant of views that don’t tread on your vaunted beliefs. You, yes you, are the exact same thing as the murderers that killed our greatest geniuses in 1971 – are killing them now.

And if the youth of Bangladesh think this way, then sadly, I don’t see a future for them – just never-ending recycling of the same saga. And that is why I have lost my faith in Bangladeshis.


এস এম মাহবুব মুর্শেদ's picture

I loved your writing style! I was not aware of an Bangali who writes so beautiful English! Hope to see more posts from you.

Kelemvor's picture

Thanks Mahbub Bhai. Felt really disheartened and pessimistic, which, I guess, showed.

রাতঃস্মরণীয়'s picture

And if you think Thaba Baba should’ve been killed because he preached against your religion, then take a good, hard look at yourself. You are no different from Shibir.

I do totally agree. Last night I was scanning through a facebook status of Ami Rahman Pial. He posted the conversation between a person and himself while the person requests Pial not to integrate Thaba Baba's death in the Shahbag movement. there have so many polymorphous been into the Shahbag- it really needs attention.

And if the youth of Bangladesh think this way, then sadly, I don’t see a future for them – just never-ending recycling of the same saga. And that is why I have lost my faith in Bangladeshis.

hope remains there, I would say, as long the movement remain under people's leadership. as I mentioned in my blog, people have no partisan interest over the national interest. let's stay with hope.

প্রেমিক তুমি হবা?
(আগে) চিনতে শেখো কোনটা গাঁদা, কোনটা রক্তজবা।
(আর) ঠিক করে নাও চুম্বন না দ্রোহের কথা কবা।
তুমি প্রেমিক তবেই হবা।

অতিথি লেখক's picture

fantastic observation and writing. hope to read more posts from you.

(why there's no 'share' or 'recommend' option? can't share it in the facebook).


Bangalimaye's picture

I have been as disturbed as you are by the comments about Rajib Haider's gruesome murder, & that's how I find myself here. Thank you for you heartfelt post. I can't say I was or am as understanding. I have always been skeptical of religions & finally came to accept the fact that there was no hedging my bets, I can proudly & with conviction say I am an atheist & for good reason too.
Sadly many of my friends on FB & otherwise are not very understanding or supportive of the movement, which truly is a people's protest, which threatens the status quo, & therefore them.
We need to change in so many ways, our mind sets first & foremost. We need to learn to question & rediscover our sense of who we are. There is hope, don't despair, I see it everyday in the voices & convictions of the people who gather at Shahbagh.
I won't deny I was cynical & not sure about the gathering when I first heard of it, I only ended up going there on the second day in the middle of the night on impulse, something drew me there, & I am glad I did. My hope for Bangladesh is rekindled. There is so much being discussed & shared with an open mind on the ground that people who only hear the cry for hanging the Rajakaars & judge the movement on that are failing to see the deeper context & meaning for all Bangladeshis. They too will reap the benefits of a just, secular & free Bangladesh, whether they join us or not.
Take heart.
Joi Bangla!

Rovmelek's picture

Choosing the words from dictionary is never enough to become a good writer. A good writer should have the quality to construct social and religious believes. Their prime duty is to awake good qualities, no great qualities which is dormant in every human nature. I don't know what went wrong with Kelemvor. Being an educated guy he should never support blasphemy. He should never mix the word free thinkers with atheism. Eventually every great free thinkers around the world has to admit the presence of God. There is an obvious reason why Rajib started to write cheap blogs attacking God. "Fame". He never had the quality to became a good writer. He had only two doors open in front of him. 1) Writing porn blogs or 2) Blasphemy. He choose the second one.
Whatever, I just don't understand how an educated emigrant like Kelemvor supports these notions. May be he left the country long time ago, he forgot everything about his beloved motherland, but how can he failed to recall his religion? Oh it happens. A person who betrayed everything, country, religion, siblings, I don't know? Some people likes to go against the culture, believe even nature. They just pretend that they are different. That is how blasphemy, Gay ism evolved. Congrats Mr Klimvor... for people like you there is a proverb....little learning is a dangerous learning.
Devils incarnate Rajib is no more, but his trust is still alive inside you.

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