An Islamic blogger (Dark Malekith) and an allegedly atheist blogger ( Washiqur Rahman AKA Kutshit Hasher Chhana) are attacked by assailants with machetes within days of each other in Bangladesh.
Which incident has gone global? and why?
Whether they are bloggers in the sense of having their own sites, or worked within a very Facebook based ecology is probably not a productive angle of enquiry. They were young men on journeys who communicated with audiences by pressing electronic keys. There lives are deemed expendable fuels for the flames of ignorance.
Inequality of representation
The inequality of the worth of human life and representation is essential to challenge here as it warps analysis and feeds the nonsense engine that haunts and taunts Sally and Sam Rahman and their quest to survive and thrive in Bangladesh.
To collide a Spivakism with a Fanonity, unless you are a well placed individual, you inhabit the zone of nonbeing.
The first attack is said to have occurred Lalmonirhat, a border district town in the north west, we don't know much about it yet. We won't from the corporate press as there is no money in the Muslim victims of apparent secular violence sector. I invite people to post any details/ here.
The second attack occurred in the capital. Washiqur Rahman was 27 and the usually useless Dhaka police say that have apprehended 2 of the 3 culprits, extracted confessions from them and have the name of the third. Late Washiqur Rahman's slashed body circulates the social media, slashing all those it comes into contact with, those who haven't been numbed already by the ultra violence of this society which nobody seems able to address.
Condolences to the families and justice for the victimised.
Difficulty Trusting the Police and the Awami League narratives
Luckily for the police, their two detainees come from the community madrassas that they committed massacre against on 5-6th May 2013. It is as if someone wants to open up and benefit from a new front in the war on terror.
As we speak, this same police force is regularly torturing and disappearing people as part of the government's general programme of not just ensuring its survival, but crushing even the possibility of something alternative growing.
Delivering results to political masters is very good for your career. The Dhaka Met Police is packed full of Awami League loyalists and people from the Prime Minister's home district Gopalganj. Exceptional performance is rewarded with promotion, as we saw from the Commissioner Benazir Ahmed's rise to directing the Rapid Action Battalion. He had command responsibility for the Motijheel Massacre that nobody has forgotten and that nobody speaks openly about.
The FBI are in town investigating the murder of another atheist blogger Avijit Roy who was an American citizen, and there is growing concern with the integrity of the story lines being pursued.
Berk: Cockney Rhyming slang for Berkshire Hunt
International reporting on this stuff has been atrocious. As we might expect, the Shahbag movement are calling for the hanging of the perpetrators and appearing all over the place and nobody else is getting a look in. All the usual Indian outlets have suspended their critical faculties and atheist / secular / journalist / free speech affinity groups are doing their thing.
Jason Burke's piece in the London-based Guardian was really awful and misleading. There is something systematically wrong in that institution on Bangladesh affairs. It quotes the pro-government Dhaka Tribune's analysis of the victim's Facebook preferences and the Prime Minister's advisor HT Imam (who Ajmal Masroor challenged successful on Al Jazeera after the 5th May Massacre, earning himself a ban on travel to Bangladesh). It doesn't include a single voice that challenges the 'Muslim fundamentalist perpetrator' explanation coming from officials. Given the Guardian's role in helping the Bangladesh government to stitch up Londoner Samiun Rahman as an ISIS recruiter, this is not surprising.
The Rentu Memoirs: A portrait of Sheikh Hasina and her party/family
The envelope of possibility and impunity is huge in Dhaka. I suspect that this horrible incident will turn out to be yet another sabotage attack from the Awami League. It follows the pattern of thought that I found in the Rentu Memoirs (English translation here) which were written by an ex-aide to Hasina, Motiur Rahman Rentu who blew the whistle on her and the Awami League about 15 years ago.
In the absence of a competent and honest investigatory team, or even the conditions to investigate, it is unsurprising that people shrug, switch off and struggle on with their lives. Bravery, like Rentu's but better is what Bangladesh needs now, between foolhardiness and courage. A creative bravery less bloody but in the ballpark of Col Farooq and Rashid's tank bluff in 1975.