Photo: Shafiuddin Bitu 

Who is this man?

He was photographed yesterday in Dhaka. May be he is a drug addict, may be he is a mentally or physically retarded person, may be he is a poor father unable to feed himself after exhausting all the food for the children at home or may be he is all of the above. Basic food of poor Bangladeshis is rice and the rice price has skyrocketed beyond the reach of the poor over the last year.  In such situation the people in the extreme edge of the society are usually the first victims. The vulnerable groups are usually the homeless, the poorest of the poors of the society. And among them the first to fall through the safety net are the mentally-physically disabled persons, drug addicts, the elderly and the children.  It has been many years I last saw a skeleton image of a Bangladeshi citizen. I was getting used to the fact this sort images may only come out of Bosnia concentration camps or Somalia or else.  This skeleton image of the man comes to me as a rude awakening.

News reports of hunger death started appearing scattered in our print media. This report confirms several hunger deaths.

Since 1990, I always thought that two things will never return to Bangladesh, one is military rule and the other is famine. Well, since 11 January 2007, Bangladesh is under de facto military rule and a famine, as well, may have been knocking at the door now.

My readers would know that I have been an uninhibited critic of this government. I have decided not to give military government a free pass on any issue and that has been my protest against this illegitimate military-elite rule. This kind of photo and news will be fuel for my blog posts. But I do not want this kind of fuel. I do not want any more opportunity to write about death from hunger in Bangladesh. I do not want to see even a single skeletonized body of a poor Bangladeshi. I hope this is my first and last post on this issue. I hope at least hunger is taken care of by our government.