Last week marked a mourniversary of the biggest catastrophe, that of the Dhaka Massacre where scores (confirmed) or even hundreds (fearfully likely) lost their lives to government brutality unleashed on protesters from the 5th May into the 6th and beyond the confines of the city as the protesters made their way home.
A recently released eyewitness interview aside, information is difficult to come by, because Bangladesh is full of liars, lying for their lives.
Al Jazeera did feature the incident for a short while, calling out the government's number for the dead. One witness was a deaf, mute gravedigger pictured below. We thought him the bravest man in all of Dhaka when we saw him, innocent of the shit that those endowed with greater 'intellects' were spouting. But we had failed to realise how cowered the people of Dhaka are and how incompetent Al Jazeera is proving over Bangladesh.
Later, a government aligned TV station Ekattur screened a Fox-news style Shomikoron documentary fronted by Farzana Rupa challenging claims of government wrongdoing. This heartless, manipulative work, had full social media promotion from the UK-based ICSF and Swadinota Trust, not to mention much of the Shahbag International. It spent a lot of effort trying to discredit the Aljazeera and Odhikar reports and featured Police Commissioner Benazir Ahmed congratulating himself on avoiding a stampede and his zero casualty strategy.
Willful mistranslations of the protest aside, I was surprised that they got away with pulling out a Luqman Hujur from Odhikar's report, then setting off on an elaborate mission to find him still alive. If you try and search for any spelling of the name in the document (CNTRL + F), you come up with nothing. The repeated refrain to the audience to trust the TV crew because they were journalists was sickening, and I really do hope nobody was foolish enough to get caught by it.
I write this post to highlight their visit to the graveyard where the brother above worked, and the sight of him on crutches.Knowing what we do of the brutality of the Awami League directed cadres and security forces, a lynching is highly likely to have occurred here. Knowing what we do about how easy it is to buy people's voices Ekattur TV, Shomikoron and Farzana Rupa will be remembered here.
May the martyrs of Motijheel
Be granted high station
And spared the indignity
Of being whitened up
For the anglo-liberal gaze
Only to shift
When someone strips.
May they be spared
Political exploitation from home and abroad
From the frames of foolish friends and enemies.
Selling “Talibanisation or Secularization”
“We are the bulwarks against fundamentalism”, or
Some teenager’s notion of “Bangla Spring”
May the terrified
And witness the facts
If they wish
Without intimidation, or
Fear of recrimination
As for those
Who cover up or dismiss
There is a word, in Arabic
Whose literal meaning
Has you down to a kaaf