I personally try to avoid discussing certain issues on my blog section. I do that willingly, not because I am afraid of something but I just don’t feel comfortable writing about them. Religion and Politics are some of those topic that I tend not to talk about.
Back in 2004 when Dr. Humayun Azad, a well known Bangladeshi Poet & Scholar got attacked by Religious fanatics. I was shocked but I condemned that heinous and barbaric act like any other ordinary person of the society. I knew the motive behind the attack but what I didn’t understand is that why someone have to be attacked physically for writing something? No matter how bad the idea or the argument is, nothing justifies attacking or killing a person.
If anyone or any group of individual oppose any idea, they should produce their own argument to counter the original one. Indeed, one must be smart & educated enough to reply back with logical arguments. I assume most Religious Fanatics doesn’t posses that kind of intellectual capacity by default. However, out of curiosity I read the so called “Controversial” book “Pak Sar Jamin Saad Baad” by Dr. Azad. Frankly, I couldn’t find anything interesting about it. Did I like the book? Not at all. Do I think he has the right to write? Absolutely. Whether me or anyone for that matter likes his ideas or not his right to express himself can’t be denied at any circumstances. Then again, one must also be ready to accept the possible consequences.
Since then, things were pretty calm and no major attack took place on any intellectuals in Bangladesh. But now it seems like our nightmares are back to haunt us again. With the Killing of Blogger and Journalist Couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi in 2012. Killing of atheist Blogger Rajib Haider in 2013, Avijit Roy & Oyasiqur Rahman in 2015, Bangladesh once again becoming a safe heaven for Religious Fundamentalists. I couldn’t manage to read all of their writings but what difference does it make anyway? Killing someone is simply not acceptable.
Generally speaking, people of Bangladesh are peace loving, simple and mostly secular. I have no doubt in my mind that most Bangladeshis don’t agree with these fanatics despite the fact that Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim nation. We are talking about a country where 80% of the total population are Muslim yet co-existing with Hindus, Christians, Buddhists for hundreds if not thousands of years. Every time when such brutality took place against secular ideas, I saw people are taking the street and condemning them. Bangladeshis’s distaste of killing intellectuals can be traced back in History. On December 14, 1971, Pakistani military killed thousands of Bengali intellectuals as they realized their defeat. Bangladeshis didn’t forget those brave souls, they honor them every year on the Martyred Intellectuals Day.
Martyred Intellectuals Monument in Bangladesh. Photo: Irazz / Flickr.
One of the fundamental idea behind Democracy is to ensure the basic Human Rights. Freedom of Speech is one such powerful right that we enjoy and cherish over here in America. We have differences in our opinion, thoughts, ideas but our law protects us from getting prosecuted just because someone/some people didn’t like our views. This is exactly where Bangladesh fails and failed so many times over and over. At least recent history supports my argument.
At any given time there was, there is and there will be different and opposite views on any specific topic, there is nothing new about it. Perhaps this is the very building block of Human Civilization. We share ideas, alternative thoughts and then one can pick the idea that sounds more reasonable and justified to him or her. If we don’t like something, we simply reject it. That’s the simple idea and that’s exactly how we develop and enrich our thoughts.
I want to finish this post quoting Voltaire’s famous statement:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.
My heart goes to those families who lost their loved ones, may they all rest in peace. I hope Bangladesh Government and Bangladeshis at large will serve the justice. End of the day it’s the people who needs to ensure their right through checks and balances. Thank you.