Enough is enough!
It is a great shame for us, as a nation, to see how hundreds of our minority siblings fled with terror their homes in post-poll violence. News agencies report, more than a couple hundred houses were burnt to ashes by the anti-liberation forces. Why do we have to see such a tormenting scenario even after 42 years of our Liberation War?
Simply blaming the anti-liberation forces for such anarchy is nothing but one of the best ways of rejection and withdrawal. It is principally the responsibility of the Government to ensure the safety and security of the citizens, without any discrimination, with a special emphasis on the vulnerable groups, however. And to be specific, the Government largely failed to do so, especially over the last few months.
Minority violence has shamefully become an integral part of the history of Bangladesh over the last few decades. As Napoleon is famously quoted to have said, “I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate…and I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself”, the anti-liberation thugs burn the minorities only when they win, to celebrate, or only when they lose, to console themselves. And it becomes epidemic during episodic polls, and endemic blockades.
This vicious cycle is never-ending. These evils get official support from the Government when their allies are the majority in the parliament. Disgracefully, they are allowed to continue doing so when their opposition, i.e., pro-liberation forces are in power. Well, so it is “natural” to have the minority people brutally burnt and tortured no matter who wins the race!
I hear people surrounding me, both on- and off-line, saying in terrifying voice that the opposition calls for another blockade, and so there must be another episode of minority violence; the war criminals’ verdict is due some Monday or Tuesday, and there must be minority violence, no matter what the verdict is! If the war criminal is given a capital punishment, the Pak quislings would burn the minorities alive to take revenge; if not, they would do the other way around, this time they would instead burn them to death!
So, the minority violence has seemingly become an inevitable consequence of all their political agenda! And, alas, it has become so ‘natural’ that we, unlike the Economists and Weather Forecasters, can forecast with almost pure certainty!
This is the worst possible outcome the social psyche may experience ever. This is what is academically termed as ‘normalisation’. For example, smoking, despite its proven potential of causing cancer, has become so much natural in Bangladesh, especially in public places. Bribery, corruption, domestic violence…you name it! However, if these are comfortably allowed to thrive and grow, they would not only spread like a cancer, they would become immune to any possible treatment options. The superbugs are often manmade!
It is already long overdue to bring an end to such impunity. The Prime Minister declared that she had already ordered the law enforcing agencies to take appropriate actions against it. However such actions are yet to be implemented! Dear Prime Minister, you are lauded for standing strong in bringing the war criminals under justice amid all sorts of international pressure. However, scoring really high in one subject does in no way permit you the right to score adequately poor in another notably major subject.
The only solution to such anarchy is to denormalise it. It has to be addressed with sufficient rigor, and there should be zero tolerance to any such activities. An exemplary punishment of these scoundrels is immediately mandated, as a short-term treatment. However, there should be a long-term social initiative to make sure not a single event ever happens. Such a heinous act should be abolished altogether the way Satidaha Protha was.
While it is arguably plausible, and historically implied, who the masterminds of these atrocities are, attributing such activities blindly to Jamaat/Shibir leaves the loophole that allows other miscreants to take the chance, or at least provides the so-called “Neutralists” with a point to be pointed to! The bottom line is that bring these criminals under justice with immediate priority, no matter who they are.
The so-called “Neutralists” a.k.a. Talk-Showers need to keep arguing while people are being killed since this has become a very fertile source of income without much effort. Since they are professional (should I say commercial) Neutralists, clients are their Gods; they became commodities! They have to present themselves to be acceptable to seemingly opposite parties (you see how difficult job they are doing, successfully)!
While we specifically condemn that this is a clear failure of the current Government, there is extensive supposition/rumour from other school of thought that the Government is not taking stern actions against them to show the countrymen what cannibal these thugs are. If this is the case, trust us, we know better than anybody else how infernal they can be, and we assure you that we do not need any further lessons on this. There have been widespread assumptions and hypotheses of conspiracy around the War Crimes Trial, but you proved them wrong. Prove them wrong yet another time, not for the sake of proving it, but for the sake of humanity and fundamental justice.
You literally have lost almost all your family members. You also have lost your so-called ‘neutrality’ with regard to War Crimes Tribunal. This is what was expected! You cannot remain ‘neutral’ when you are expected to raise your voice for justice. Such neutrality only goes against those who are oppressed as Desmond Tutu boldly pointed out, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Well, the so-called Neutralists/Talk-showers have the fear of losing yet another fresh cheque, what do you have to lose, Madam Prime Minister?
Nazrul Islam is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia.