an open letter to all bangladeshis

dear fuckers,

please. stop it.

stop blaming the government. stop blaming the opposition. stop blaming the police and the intelligence agencies and the home ministry. stop blaming the devout, and especially stop blaming the atheists. stop blaming the cia and any other international intelligence agency you can think of. stop concocting random stories of who could be behind the bombs and the grenades and the terrorism and the shittiness of life in your matribhumi. stop spouting crap to international news agencies about how bad your quality of life is, even though you are holed up in your high and mighty palatial apartment, and hardly ever venture out, unless, of course, you are accompanied by your own special security detail.

just stop, for a moment, and think.

a terrorist attack that involves the explosion of over 500 bombs is an endeavor that requires the involvement of at least 2000 people. chances are, you know someone who was involved in the planning and implementation of this attack. wife, brother, sister, husband, son or cousin – you definitely know someone who had a role to play. the question is not why they did it, but rather why they did it.

before you start throwing brickbats at each other and start pelting each other with stones, try and think about who exactly had something to gain from this attack. i’ve already come up with some guidelines for thought.

the government: stop hinting that the opposition did it. you have no proof of it, and until and unless such proof exists, you should not embark on mud-slinging. i realize you are worried about the upcoming elections, but now is too soon to throw all your cards on the table. if you really believe they did it, gather your evidence, and throw it in front of the people before the election, when you have a strong case. for pointers, watch any season of 24.

the opposition:over the past 15 years, every opposition party has become whinier than the one before them. you’ve blamed the government for everything over the past four years – something even they didn’t do when you were in power. stop blaming the government for every single hair of yours that falls out, and instead try and remove the terrorists that you shelter in your ranks. stop fucking walking out of parliament every time you don’t get a chance to speak. try your best to be less of an opposition and less of a party, and maybe that way you’ll actually have a bigger impact in parliament.

the islamists: clearly, there are some severe problems if, every time a bomb goes off, everyone suspects you first. the world has slowly begun to hate fundamentalism, and you should too. you’ve been up in arms about being primary suspects, but did you really think anyone else was going to be suspected, in the aftermath of the london attacks and 9/11? instead, try and get rid of the fundamentalism in your ranks, and make bangladesh proud to be the moderate muslim country we keep claiming we are.

the police: you’ve had roadblocks in the gulshan area for the past two years, but they’ve been manned by guys who spend their time sleeping, smoking or being invisible. once these incidents happen, you suddenly swing in to action and start doing random checks and arrests. stop bolting the gate after the horses have galloped miles away. instead, here’s an idea: how about actually trying to prevent such things from happening? i know, it’s a great idea, and i deserve a nobel prize for it. but all i would like, in exchange for this idea, is to be able to feel safe again. to be able to travel from one place to another without thinking that every shabbily dressed person is a mugger, and every bearded man is a terrorist. is that too much to ask from you?

the media: on august 17, we had no idea what was going on. only in the late afternoons did we find out about the scale of the attack, and what had happened. two days on, it seems like it isn’t news anymore. get your heads out of your asses, for once, and let us know what, if anything, is being done. we need to know that something’s happening so that we can feel safe, and ignoring the topic altogether doesn’t help much.

the public: stop pretending that your life was ever at risk. it wasn’t. if it had been, you’d probably be dead by now. instead, stop pointing fingers and together let’s attack the causes of our problems. bad traffic? teach your driver to drive. bad law and order situation? do something to help alleviate poverty. corruption? tell the authorities. fundamentalism? help stamp it out. there’s an easy way for us to solve our own problems, instead of complaining about it until a magical power in the form of some donor country comes along and tries to solve it, in which case you tell the donors that their ideas would never work. we need to work together, all of us, to make bangladesh the place we want and need it to be. or do you enjoy getting strange glances at airport immigration counters around the world the minute they see your bottle green passport?

so, please, stop. and ask yourselves: what do you want bangladesh to be? a country you can be proud of, or just another country that you live in until the green card or canadian immigration comes through?

this brief introspective interlude is dedicated to all the countless and nameless victims of bombings in bangladesh.

update: apparently i’m not the only one who thought in the above way. the daily star has an editorial (via rezwanul) that says pretty much the same thing.


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