Bangladesh: We have not come here to cry, but with the lasso of gibbet

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We were made shattered; a ruined soul now exists where a whole person once was. I break plates and glasses, smashing them for release; the fractured pieces litter the floor and we can’t help but relate to each broken fragment.


by Anwar Khan

( October 8, 2018, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 of Dhaka fixes October 10, 2018 to deliver the verdict of the 21 August 2004 grenade attack cases. We hope the perps responsible for the heinous act would get due punishment.

The state shopped role under the past Begum Zia government and its confederates in the bloodletting by grenade attack on that day has been described as a final solution and mow down. The assault launched on at an anti-terrorism rally organised by Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka on the afternoon of 21 August 2004 dissenting bangs against its party’s workers in Sylhet. As Hasina terminated her speech, 13 virile grenades were blasted into the crowd from the rooftops of nearby buildings. The splurge left 24 dead and more than 300 bruised. It was actioned after Sheikh Hasina, the-then leader of opposition which ended up accosting a brobdingnagian assemblage of citizenry from the dorsum of a motor-truck.

In March 2012, the son of opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, Tarique Rahman, and 28 others were adjudicated in absentia for their swanned affaire in the attacks. The charge sheets also charged Huji, authoritative leaders of the BNP and the Jamaat, including former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, former member of parliament Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad and some officials of police department of the Home Ministry, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), National Security Intelligence (NSI) and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with amour in the contriving of this grenade blasting.

The list of the 19 fugitive accused has been forwarded to the Interpol seeking help to capture them as they are believed to be obliterating in different countries, according to the news agencies. Of the 19 fleers criminated, Tarique Rahman is now staying in London, Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad is believed to be in Saudi Arabia, owner of Hanif Enterprise Mohammad Hanif is in Kolkata, Maj Gen (retd) ATM Amin in America, Lt Col (retd) Saiful Islam Joarder in Canada, Babu alias Ratul Babu is in India, Anisul Morsalin and his brother Mohibul Muttakin in an Indian jail and Maulana Tajul Islam in South Africa, intelligence sources have said. Jamal Ahmed, also known as Joj Mia was hauled into giving a fictive penitence by security forces during the-then BNP reign.

This horrific attack prompted international outrage and a groundswell of support for the capture of those vile perps. It is strongly believed the whole thing was a screwed-up bumble, a long-drawn-out confederacy of camarilla by the state shopped whined by Khaleda Zia regime and her cronies. The AL protestation rally met with brutal repressions. It was one of the darkest periods in Bangladesh’s history. A number of bodies were found piled in the mass gathering place and literally blown up. It was basically…a breakdown in the political regime ran by the-then PM Khaleda Zia and her paisanos.

Bangladesh was just then made about a banana republic. The dumbest thing they ever did. As for the Bengali nation, it needs charity neither from arrant like politicians nor from any other rogue politicos. It wants only its rights! It will secure for itself this right to life even if thousands of mendacious and fusty hoi pollois conspire against it.

But 14 years are on and we are still waiting. We fight, we cry, we scream and we are waiting. We wake up afraid to open our eyes being afraid to start our day; afraid who or what will trigger it; afraid every minute; we are waiting. We are afraid to walk out the door; afraid of who is out there; afraid of what will happen; afraid that we may not escape; but we are waiting. We are afraid to close our eyes; afraid of what we will see, hear; afraid of what we will dream; afraid of screaming; afraid we won’t wake up in time, but we are waiting. We are afraid to start a new day; and we are waiting.

Those are pieces of dead bodies of our near and dear ones but they are not our whole. We are more than this flesh and blood. Our skin does not portray who or what lies beneath. Our expressions do not necessarily show how we really feel and our eyes do not allow us to see the depths of our souls. We are no longer an object of someone else’s will. We are not prisoners of our minds or bodies. While a simple smell, touch or sight may trigger a memory, we no longer allow our senses to control the us that we have become.

While all of these pieces are built together may seem disjointed, they are the us we were always meant to be; the us we deserve to be. We are a collage of many pieces. Separately the picture alone has no meaning or significant worth, but together it forms a beautiful and distinct representation of something bigger and better than its original piece.
The puzzle is finally to be finished. It took more than 14 long years in the making. It is an eclectic montage of who we are and all that we aspire to be. A survivour, a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a mother, a teacher, a pacifist, a perfectionist, a romantic, and a bleeding heart liberal! We are the us we are meant to be. The pieces have slowly come together to create a gruesome picture of who we were. The pieces cannot be reconfigured to change the ultimate image; and our picture of our past will always be the same. The difference now lies in how we view ourselves and our future.

We were made shattered; a ruined soul now exists where a whole person once was. I break plates and glasses, smashing them for release; the fractured pieces litter the floor and we can’t help but relate to each broken fragment. We are the broken vase that lies on the floor, the spilled water decorating the tile with the tattered roses begging for life. The body is soft and supple able to absorb blows. Identities are fragile and difficult to repair. We are destroyed. We have put the pieces back together with glue-that’s progress- but the glue is still curing and the pieces don’t fit together quite right. We are not okay. We work with available light to mend the fractured soul like plates we are the product of human efforts. They made us shattered on that late afternoon.

Wounded and broken, Sheikh Hasina has raised hands clenched, her face pointed up toward the sky; tears sting her eyes but she willed them away resolving once more she would not see us cry. She looked in the eyes of our own people, knowing her pain had become part of them with soft words to offer them comfort; she gives of herself as she was almost dying within. Swiftly she put things in order, washed the blood and got on with her day. But each time is worse than the last time, and it’s getting much harder to mask how she feels; some make-up would fix up the outside, but inside it seems like the wound never heals. We promise you that we were frightened. We swear to our people that she never asked for this pain.

Sometimes when you get dragged down too far, it just gets so hard to get back up again. Let us show her the kindness of strangers as strangers so often turn out to be friends, then, as friends we can guide her to freedom; and rejoice in the person she becomes – when the pain finally ends. Today is the day where we will let you go like ashes into the wind. Today we will set the past on fire and all things that remind us all. We want you to know that we are not mad at you for moving on with your life. Time will not stand still. We understand you are not the same as you used to be. Today there might be in tears, but we would never wish you, PM Hasina, harm because that would mean we still care, but we will never forget our past.

Today we will let you go with looking back. The grenade attack on that day has been one of the heinous crimes in our history. The massacre is unpardonable. Coward is the word for those who attack the country’s peaceful rally and tranquility. We stared dumfounded at our TVs as appalling scenes of …Bangladesh was being attacked by a known enemy. All we could do was to watch then with a horrific mind. Bangladesh’s people, all of us share in the sorrow of this hideous massacre of innocent people. In one way or another, this tragedy affected all civilised people across the country. A tribute must go to the innocent victims and the heroes of 21st August 2004. We Remember! It was a repugnant and cowardly act of terrorism against innocuous civilians.

We shall never pardon the brutal gang violence busted by those keratoscleritis. As I look back, I am filled with foreboding…I seem to see the River Padma foaming with much blood. After 14 years of grenade barbarity, the families of victims and I still have as many questions as we did when we first learnt of the tragic loss of so many lives. We will not rest until our questions have been satisfactorily answered and unless and until, those perpetrators are hanged to death.

The grenade assault carried through was manifestly aimed at ingeminating carnage of 1975. Sheikh Hasina has urged all to remain alert so that killers and anti-liberation force can never come to power again. And at a time that the country is trying to develop…, the perpetrators must be dealt with firmly to send a strong message to would-be perpetrators of violence. Campaign rallies should be platforms of preaching peace rather than inflicting violence, yet scores of innocent people were needlessly murdered and injured in the fracas. It is also important that as a country, we strengthen the culture of peace and dialogue as a way of resolving our differences than resort to cowardly acts of violence. But the dialogue must not be with anti-Bangladesh liberation force and their mango-twigs. This message must be sent loud and clear.

-The End-

The writer is a senior citizen of Bangladesh, writes about politics, political and human-centred figures and international affairs.

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