Bloggers pay for freedom of speech through their lives
The Heroes who upheld free speech with their blood
As you read this blog and enjoy reading its free-wheeling contents, diehard bloggers in Bangladesh are being felled at the hands of some fanatical Islamists, who find the bloggers’ views as abhorrent. Instead of staging peaceful protests, going to courts or airing their indignation through the media, these zealots go to the extreme – they stifle the bloggers by eliminating them altogether.
The most victim of such murderous mindset was Ananta Bijoy Das of Sylhet province. He is not alone to be the subject of the fundamentalis’ fury. Some days ago, another passionate blogger by the name of Avijit Roy was also smothered by the fundamentalists, who can not tolerate any mildly atheistic or secular views. Aviji Roy midwife the blog ‘Mukto Mona’ to give a platform to air their views with no fear of retribution. Internet was the vehicle they used to deflect any risk of attracting hostile attention of the fundamentalists. But, in due course, they ruffled the feathers of the fringe groups who simply can not countenance expression of views that are not morbidly orthodox, and not in conformity with their interpretation of Islam.
For decades, Bangladesh’s society has seen the fault-lines between the liberal mainstream opinion and the jealous adversaries widening. Like in Pakistan, Bangladesh’s birth was celebrated with a declaration to imbibe secularism as the ethos. But, gradually, the orthodox and intolerant elements made inroads to the public space through pungent and insidious propaganda. The country’s poverty and backwardness provided the right environment for the merchants of hate to gain ground.
The bloggers tried to hold aloft the flag of secularism, tolerance and liberalism, despite the threat and intimidation by the tiny but extremely dangerous Islamist groups. Among these groups were people who had actively collaborated with the Pakistani army in their savage brutal campaign to stifle the freedom struggle.
The fast-tracking of the pending court cases against the ‘collaborators’ by the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government in 2010 provided a cause for the fundamentalists to turn on their liberal brethren. The punishment meted out to the volunteers of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders has triggered the violent onslaughts on the ‘free and secular’ thinkers. Abdul Quader Mollah, a leading figure of Jammat-e-Islami was convicted, and soon his supporters unleashed their anger against the courts and the government. As a backlash, widespread protests erupted demanding death penalty for all those who had collaborated with the Pakistanis. The climax of these agitations was the Shahbag protests of 2013.
Thus, the anger against the citizens who connived with Pakistanis continues to simmer accentuating the fractious nature of Bangladesh politics. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party has begun to fish in troubled waters by extending tacit support for the fringe groups who proclaim their solidarity with the ‘collaborators’.
Secular and progressive citizens that included crusaders like Roy and other bloggers took a stand adversarial to that of Jammat-e-Islami and the groups who sang the same song. The government has tried to placate the people who want strict punishment for those who betrayed the freedom movement by aiding the Pakistani army men to engage in grotesque brutality against innocent civilians. But, it has somewhat stepped back from its duty to bring the murders of the bloggers to book through coercive means. The government, obviously, is treading a fine line. Sadly, the threat against other bloggers looms, imperiling the country’s adherence to the spirit of free speech.
Hone your English skills ….
If you love English and want to leverage your language skill to stay ahead in class, competition and job, we are ready to help you.
Model answers from text book lessons from Class 8th to M.A kevel, vocabulary building exercises, grammar exercises, précis, essay and letter writing help, sentence correction exercises, and help for answering comprehension exercises
Who will benefit
School and college students, teachers, CAT, GMAT, and Civil Service aspirants and those facing difficulty in jobs due to inadequate English.
Nature of assistance
Internet-based, purely on one-to-one basis
Rs.6000 for three months