The Massacre at Shapla Chottor, the Advancing Walls of Silencing and Peering Through Them

The 5th January 2014 elections in Bangladesh, are intimately tied to the violence that the state unleashed on protesters just 8 months earlier, the Massacre at Shapla Chottor. As a recently found comrade said to me 'democracy died that day'.

Such ultra violence could only be used because the state knew it would not be held to account.

Before censoring itself and descending into ultranationalist and fascistic wankersomeness, the AoD blog led with a post 'An end of an Era', which marked that the sad events made a peaceful change of government impossible.  Deshi censorship is an ongoing battle, but nondeshi and hybrid disinformation can tell us a lot about the lenses, prejudices and interests that have aligned to produce the Liararchy and MOronarchy of Bangladesh.

It is probably par for the coursehow 'reputable' but essentially White Power sources skirt around/ stay silent about/ obfuscate the Awami cadre and government violence on unarmed protesters on May 5th that culminated in massacre in Dhaka in the early hours of the 6th May, not to mention the many follow up killings as protesters tried to return to their homes all over the country.

Just Bricks in the Wall

Silencing in this digital age is easily done through lying, spreading fear and looking after your interests in the status quo. It has gone viral. Here is a short roll call.

Hasina Wajed said 'They wiped red dye on their chests'. The UK's token brownie Sayeeda Warsi mumbled something about 'freedom of belief' buying the lie that the protesters were calling out all atheists, not just those extremely insulting ones. Pola Uddin's mind was blank as always as Baroness "house swap" was friends with the PM and David Bergman offered a despicable 'I wouldn't call it a massacre'. Human Rights Wash took a strategically superficial view with 'Blood on the Streets', and generally regurgitated the Daily Star-think, who themselves pretended to have been there all the time but weren't. Sabir Mustafa at the BBC said 'we were there but found no evidence to suggest massacre' and ethnic mediocrity Shamim Choudhury at Al Jazeera preferred to cover the under resourcing of the fire services.

Meanwhile, too many people were busy worrying about there careers and fanning the flames of Bengali fascism to bear witness to this state crime. Odhikar's Adilur Rahman and Nasruddin Elan, part of the local inbred human rights industry themselves, have not expressed an interest in challenging the government loudly since their preliminary report landed them in hot water.

We can be restlessly assured that countless foreign diplomats are sitting on information, and that several will have been complicit in  the deed, and the clean up afterwards. The US State department's astonishing "special events" training provision for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, the prime executing agency, just days after they massacred their own people evidences this.

After all, who would want to upset their pet development industrialists doing all that 'good' work supporting upper-middle class 'human rights wallahs' turned Shahbagis turned Awami League propagandists like BRAC PR stuntman Asif Saleh (thanks Tacit), or call out Tahmima Anam for lying her pants off (actually RE: Anam somebody actually has). There is too much profit to be made in attacking hindu people and blaming the opposition, attacking Muslim people and blaming terrorism and then writing a proposal to donors to fix their 'backwardsness' afterwards.

As people of Bangladeshi relations, you have to admit that the only thing we market is our poverty of responsibility.
A prayer on a plaque at the graves of the victims
of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia

Many Serbs still live inside the communities they tormented during the Bosnian war, in full knowledge of mass grave sites and information, 20 years on. They locked away their knowledge along with their guilt.  We can expect similar attempts to withhold the truth from the perpetrators and allies of the massacre at Shapla Chottor and look for workarounds. It goes without saying that people with some social status, means and balls should work diligently to collect evidence for greater understanding and strong legal measures when the time is right.

The number who perished and are inshAllah granted Martyr status by The Almighty is likely to be in the hundreds. I wish the number were zero, and struggle with its unknowability. For many however it is a hoax, which I can understand but not accept. After all this is a nation that lies to itself in so many ways its doesnt know what the truth tastes like, it is led by scholars for dollars and BRACademics divorced from their own sacred sources.

This is also a nation whose brains and arms are anesthetised, unable to operate without donor interest of political patronage. The will and the skill to make sense of the multiple worms, meerkat and eagle eye views, BS detect and read the codes needs to be encouraged.


  1. How are the victims and family's of the victims faring? What material and non-material support do they require and how might we deliver it?
  2. Fear of recrimination is a key problem.   Remember ATN cameraman Shariful Islam? How can we reduce the costs and risks of qualitatively and quantitatively knowing more about this matter?
  3. Who was involved in the planning, and what were the roles of Hasina, Inu, Joy, Ret Gen Tareq Siddiq and Dhaka Metro Police Commissioner Benazir Ahmed in it?
  4. Evidence is mounting that the government has special killer squads and collaborates with elements of the Indian state to do its very dirty work. Who are these guys and what are their stories?
  5. One detailed report, presumably from Shibbir-JI people present at the protest, has the clean up operation at Shapla Chottor starting around 4 am, BGB and Police removing bodies and Dhaka City Corporation cleaners on blood stain duties. Where were the bodies taken? Were they buried, burned,  dissolved or thrown in the river?
  6. How have various parts of the Indian deep state penetrated Bangladeshi state apparatus, wittingly, unwittingly, officially and unofficially? What was the involvement of Britain, USA and Russia?
  7. How are what extent are editors Matiur Rahman, Zafar Sobhan, Mahfuz Anam and Sabir Mustafa complicit in this state crime, morally blinkered and incapable of handling desh's diversity?
  8. The atheist call out made a lot of people in the media, NGOworld and intelligentsia scared. Levels of atheism are high in these communities, which are quite influential and skillful at guiding the white gaze, but about whom we do not know an awful lot. 
  9. Human rights organisations, journalism and diplomacy have failed to protect people, or even tell their story. What's next?
  10. People who can't eat, and people who are stupid are probably excused from this one, which concerns the Culture of Crapademia that constitutes 'Bangladesh Studies'. How can the 'intellectual and cultural support' for the dehumanisation, killing and cover up be brought to understanding?
  11. Can we hope for a few helpful Wikileaks or Snowden snowballs to shed some light on whats obscured here?
  12. Although true colour satellite imagery in the dead of night is nearly impossible. what remote sensing data exists around and on the days of the incidents?
  13. Is what happened at Shapla Chottor just a raw image, and a reminder of what Bengali Nationalism is and has been from its origins?
  14. Spiritually, what are practical pathways for forgiveness and redemption here?

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