February 2011

Exactly one year ago today, a group of violent soldiers belonging to Bangladesh border security force called BDR revolted, started murdering their officers, occupied a part of capital Dhaka and held hundreds of militray officers, general soldiers and civilians hostage. During this time of occupation of nearly two days, the marauding soldiers committed one of the worst massacres in the history of Bangladesh. During these two days, they searched and killed 57 senior officers of Bangladesh Armed forces trapped inside the compound.

During this occupation, rather than a bold decisive response against the soldiers involved in the killing spree, the one-month old government of Awami League opted to negotiate with the mutineers, thus indirectly giving those soldiers enough time to hunt and kill all the military officers trapped inside occupied Pilkhana campus and commit an array of other crimes including loot, arson, rape etc.

Immediately after the incident, considering the sensitivity of the issue or out of political indecisiveness, while the main opposition party refrained from being overtly critical of governments stand, the media gave the government a free ride by not critically discussing government handling of the mutiny.

The media spin that was most widely used during the immediate aftermath was that by sacrificing 57 senior army officers, government prevented an even bigger civilian casualty in the heart of Dhaka. This logic is based on a hypothetical scenario that a group of paramilitary soldiers without heavy weapons will fight a fierce artillery gunfight and war with a combined force of the army, Navy and the air force and thus would endanger the safety of residents living in nearby areas.

Although government’s decision got a free ride at the time of the incidence, it is imperative that we discuss the decision in a critical point of view. This kind of discussion is very important in formulating a national strategy for any such problem in the future.

First basic flaw in the civilian casualty spin is the hypothetical nature of the consequences. It is very difficult to believe that a group of BDR soldiers will be able to fight such a fierce war with armed forces. This sort of situation is not unprecedented in Bangladesh. Since independence there are instances where similar occupation/ hostage situation in the heart of Dhaka or other parts of the country were dealt with decisive military counter offensives. Examples can be cited are 1977 occupation of Dhaka Airport at Tejgaon, 1994 occupation of Ansar HQ in Khilgaon, 1977 revolt in Bogra cantonment.


Stopped looking at the score board. Shehwag, Tendulkar and Kohli are blasting Bangladesh bowlers.

Public is angry. Lot of conspiracy theory flying around to explain fielding first decision.

I am block B, second floor , row E, seat 20.

Entering stadium was fairly easy and swift.

Three layer security check. Public are not following seat assignment. That caused very mild hassle.

Walk from Mirpur 13 to stadium gate was fun. Pohala boishakh botomul type festive environment. Many dressed and face painted. Very young audience. Rowdy types are absent.

So far highest point of the game: Singing national anthem along with whole stadium.


The outs were too little and too late.

Flood lights are really bright.
Darkness looms outside.

Public looks like regained strength of voice. Again shouting with every ball.


There is strong wifi network all over in the stadium. But you gotta have accrediting ID number to log in . Food outlets are far too less and there are long lines for food.


There are a few Indian supporter dancing here and there.

Next to me a daughter consoling her father, “erokom korteso keno? Matha thanda kore doa koro.”

Flood lights are getting bright and brighter.

Asif Saleh is somewhere in the crowd. Did not see him yet.


For some reason public again cheered up. Photo guys are running to get Kohli’s century shot.


Indian innings finally ends at 370/4.

How big will be the loss?


Stadium is electrifying. Boys can’t stop jumping. Boy behind me just got berserk …. Dekhaia de dekhaia de mar mar ….

Jyoti sends me SMS from Australia. He along with a big group of desi folks watching the game in university big screen. His brother in law almost got into fight with an Indian.

A young man giving a lap across the gallery with a score board on his head. India 370/4. Bangladesh 373/6. Tamim 160, Sakib 120.

Jyoti SMS me: ” Kayes… Stop him if you can—India. This boys are not afraid of anything. That’s for sure. ”


Folks rest their hope on Sakib. Some folks asks the question although they know the answer. ” Ashraful is not in the team, isn’t it?”


People start leaving. Most energized crowd was on east gallery, sitting below the score board. They did not have shade over them and they faced The Sun all the afternoon. Ironically these are the folks who waited in line all nights twice to get the tickets. Rest if us in better placed shaded galleries got tickets sitting at home.


I leave. The young men in east gallery has to find buses. I have a car waiting for me in Mirpur 10.

The loss was big but it could not dampen the festive mood outside the stadium. While walking his way back,  a little boys asks his dad, ” amra to next game e jitbo, tai na baba? “

লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে

ফরহাদ মজহার

(১৯৮৩ সালের ১৪ই ফেব্রুয়ারী সামরিক জান্তা স্বৈরাচারী এরশাদ এর বাহিনীর গুলিতে নিহত জাফর, জয়নাল, কাঞ্চন, দিপালী সাহা সহ সকল নিহতদের স্বরণে লিখিত

এই কবিতা লিখার অপরাধে প্রথমে ফেরার হয়ে পরে গ্রেফতার হন ফরহাদ মজহার )

গুম হয়ে যাওয়া লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে—
বীভত্স কফিনহীন মৃতদেহ রাস্তায় রাস্তায়
মোড়ে মোড়ে
অলিতে গলিতে
অন্ধিতে সন্ধিতে
তোমাদের শান্তিশৃঙ্খলা স্থিতিশীলতার গালে
থাপ্পড় মেরে
অট্টহাসি হেসে উঠবে।

দাঁতের মাজন হাতে ঢুকবে বাথরুমে—
সেখানে লাশ
তোমাদের প্রাতঃরাশে রুটি-মাখনের মধ্যে লাশের দুর্গন্ধ
তোমাদের ভোর সাড়ে সাতটার ডিমের অমলেটে লাশের দুর্গন্ধ
তোমাদের পানির গ্লাসে লাশের দুর্গন্ধ
তোমাদের চায়ের কাপে গলিত নষ্ট মৃতদেহের রক্ত;
লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে
লাশসকল হত্যার বদলা চায়।

রিকশায় তোমাদের পাশে যে বসে থাকবে
দেখবে সে একজন লাশ
টেম্পোবাসে তোমাদের গা ঘেঁষে যে বসে পড়বে
দেখবে সে একজন লাশ
ফুটপাতে তোমাদের কাঁধে কাঁধ মিলিয়ে যে হাঁটছে
দেখবে সে একজন লাশ

অলিতে গলিতে
অন্ধিতে সন্ধিতে
চড়াও হয়ে
লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ নেবে।

প্রতিটি লাশের গায়ে ৩৬৫টি গুলির দাগ
(দিনে একবার করে বাংলাদেশকে বছরে ৩৬৫ বার হত্যা করা হয়)
জবাই করে দেওয়ার ফলে অনেক লাশের কণ্ঠনালী ছেঁড়া
অনেকের চোখ হাত পা বাঁধা
অনেককে পিটিয়ে হত্যা করা হয়েছে—
অনেককে হাড়মাংসসুদ্ধ কিমা বানানো হয়েছে প্রথমে
পরে থেঁতলে থেঁতলে পিণ্ডাকার দলা থেকে
তৈরি করা হয়েছে কাতারবদ্ধ সেনাবাহিনী
ওদের মধ্যে অনেককে দেওয়া হয়েছে মেজর জেনারেল পদ
একজনকে নিয়োগ করা হয়েছে
প্রধান সামরিক আইন প্রশাসক হিসেবে
তাদের সবার চেহারাসুরত বরফের মতোই ঠাণ্ডা ও নিষ্পলক
এই হচ্ছে লাশসকলের সুরতহাল রিপোর্ট

তারা সামরিক কায়দায় উঠে দাঁড়ায়
অভিবাদন দেয়
অভিবাদন নেয়
অভিবাদন গ্রহণ করে
এবং সর্বক্ষণ ছাত্র সংগ্রাম পরিষদের
পরবর্তী বিক্ষোভ মিছিলকে
মেশিনগান মেরে উড়িয়ে দেবার পরিকল্পনা আঁটতে থাকে—
তোমরা আতংকিত হলে লাশসকল অট্টহাস্য করে ওঠে
তারা তোমাদের সেনাবাহিনীর মতোই
নিজেদের সেনাবাহিনী গঠন করে নিয়েছে—

লাশসকল প্রতিশোধ চায়।

লাশসকল তোমাদের অফিস করিডোরে ফাইলপত্রে
হাজির থাকবে
তারা সংবাদপত্র অফিসে নিখোঁজ সংবাদের রিপোর্টার হয়ে
বসে থাকবে
তারা রেস্তোরাঁয় হোটেলে হোটেলে
মরা মানুষের কঙ্কাল হয়ে ঝুলে থাকবে।

বিকেলে পার্কে সিনেমাহলে ঘরের সামনে
ফুলবাগানে লাশ
লাশসকল অভিনয় জানে
তারা মহিলা সমিতি মঞ্চে অভিনয় করতে চায়
তারা জীবিতদের মতো কথা বলবে
সংলাপ উচ্চারিত হবে নির্ভুল
লাশসকল তোমাদের অনুসরণ করবে।

লাশসকল মনে করিয়ে দিতে চায়—
বুট ও খাকির নীচে বাংলাদেশের মৃতদেহ থেকে
পচনের আওয়াজ বেরুচ্ছে
তারা বুঝিয়ে দিতে চায়—
পাছায় রাইফেলের বাঁট মেরে শুয়োরের বাচ্চার মতো
তোমাদের খোঁয়াড়ে রাখা হয়েছে।

রাত্রিবেলা তোমাদের স্ত্রীদের ওপর
তোমাদের মেয়েমানুষদের ওপর
চড়াও হয়ে
লাশসকল ঝুলিয়ে দেবে

জেনারেলদের মাথার খুলি লক্ষ্য করে
সমস্ত লাশ একযোগে
দ্রিম দ্রিম
ক্রাট ক্রাট
৩৬৫ বার
প্রতিদিন একবার করে বাংলাদেশকে হত্যার প্রতিশোধে
লাশসকল অট্টহাস্য করে উঠবে—

লা শ স ক ল প্র তি শো ধ চা য়
গু ম হ য়ে যা ও য়া লা শ স ক ল
প্র তি শো ধ নে বে।

… if:

1. Meherjaan was made by Srabanti Huda (daughter of BNP’s Communications Minister Nazmul Huda).

2. Giyasuddin Al Mamoon made crores from the DSE, leaving 3.5 million people broke.

3. Khaleda Zia said fatwa is okay as long as learned mullahs issue it.

4. BNP decided to build a major infrastructure without any feasibility study or consultation.

5. Lutfuzzaman Babar or Altaf Hossain Chowdhury said human rights activists are criminal-lovers. 

Can you imagine what would have transpired by now if the above actually took place?

Few weeks ago, when Tunisa’s Ben Ali boarded a flight to uncertainty and when my twitter page was abuzz with minute by minute Triumphant messages from Tunisia, I tweeeted, ” Last revolution in middle east gave us Iran, what awaits in the future for Tunisian revolution? And how about an Algerian revolution?”

Last few days, it has become impossible to tune into any US news media without listening to 24/7 coverage of Egypt — What the protesters are doing, What will hapeen to Israel, How Israelis are seeing this, What if Muslim brotherhood comes– is Israel safe, what US should do now, —- etc etc etc
It is very obvious that US mainstream media including liberal outlets are more concerned about the ramification on Israel in case of fall of Mubarak than the effect of it on Egyptian people or future of US-Egypt relationship.
The verdict from the analysts over last week was that Mubarak’s days were numbers — fall of Mubarak was inevitable by the end of the week. This verdict made me cringe everytime time I heard desi bidesi analysts making it boldly. I may soon be proven wrong, but I feel Mubarak’s fate is still up in the air. I want to give him the benefit of doubt in suspecting that Mubarak may survive this crisis. However I’ll be happy to be proven wrong.
And I also feel that survival of a shaken, weakened Mubarak is the best possible case scenerio at this time.
Why do I feel this way? Being an active foot soldier of anti-Ershad movement of late 80s, I see an eerie similarity of current anti Mubarak movement with our anti-Ershad movement. Good and bad, post Ershad, we got what we have now. And we got this crippled post 91 democracy of two ladies despite having several advantages,

1. We had a a very powerful two party grassroots political system. They were ready to take over.
2. We did not yet have Islamic militancy issue.
3. We had at least two widely revered leaders in Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.
4. We had fairly organized professional bodies, trade unions and student organizations.

Compared to this, Egypt has nothing to fill in post Mubarak vacuum. No political platform was allowed to set forth from Egyptian soil over a period of at least haf a century. A much diluted of it’s 50’s self, confused, haphazard outfit called Muslim Brotherhood is banned officially but allowed to function only to be played as a fear card to be played by Mubarak. This is Mubarak’s card to the west, if it is not me, you will have to deal with Muslim Brotherhood. On the other hand, to show the Egyptians who is the real boss, Mubarak allows Brotherhood candidates to win 88 seat as independent in one poll and gives them zero seats in the following election.
Although our Prime Minister thought BNP is destroyed and she only had two enemies to deal with, one dead – Late President Ziaur Rahman and one alive — Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, Mubarak’s Yunus, El Baradei is absolutely incapable of rising to the occassion. Since El Baradei moved to Egypt last year, he showed how out of touch non resident Egyptian he is. Rather that walking through the dirt of Egyptian ground politics, he preferred to spend most of his last year writing his memoir in an Alpine cottage north of Vienna.
I see post Saddam iraq in post Mubarak Egypt. Can the world handle another Iraq?
So don’t I wish success to those young protesters in Egypt as vividly protrayed in a photo few posts down in this blog?

I don’t see it as an Egyptian uprising anymore. It is Arab youth uprising. Last few weeks, in my facebook page, I have been watching how a hjab clad young Sudanese female is charged up with the unfolding of events in Tunisia and Egypt. Hour by hour status update, hope-resove-dispair, comment-optimism- anger against the old cotery, hope against hope for democracy. The hope against hope for democracy vividly brought me back to our days of 80s. We had similar anger- hope-resolve.

Let this hope and resolve do not end up is hopelessness and perpetual dispair or generation suffered in Bangladesh. Like the way anti Saddam anger turned into a lethal self mutilating force in Iraq, I don’t want this protesting Arab youths’ endless energy get diverted into harming each other.
Egypt is a third world country like Bangladesh. Anyone in power, be it El baradei, be it Sulaman, will be very unpopular in the shortest time. Even if it can’t unseat Mubarak, let this uprising help form an Arab youth coalition as a permanent pressure group in the Arab World. Let this movement be the beginning of the formation a strong opposition and more accountale government which knows what people power is and is definitely afraid of that.
The latest chatter from USA is that of a military supported interim government in Egypt. Don’t I know enough of that in Bangladesh? Should Egyptians be fooled by that ” Bring a derailed train back to track” cannabis? By the way, the role of Military throughout this current uprising clearly reminds one of Bangladesh Army’s role in Anti- Ershad urrising. Like it is in Egypt now, Army then used to be a universally respected body. But do Bangladesh army command that level respect anymore? After the ” Military ( And west) Supported Interim Government’ ” of Moeen Uddin and Fakhruddin and ISPR acts over Khaleda Zia home incident , do our Army command that universal respect anymore?

These photos taken from national dailies ‘The Daily Star’ and ‘Daily prothom Alo’ show how a big chunk of Bangladesh erupted against the government.

Man- women, young-old all came out on the street with whatever weapon they may have had…

In front of collective people power, the powerful government machinery looked totally helpless, powerless.

These people, rural farmers and fishermen came out protesting to protect their ancestral households, farm lands and fishing fields from being taken away by the government to build an massive airport to commemorate Prime Minister’s father.

While everyone in this country starting from the prime minister to the intellectual laureate to the street sweeper advise the opposition to save Bangladesh by joining parliament, a discussion of the above mayhem was not allowed to be discussed in the parliament. Even an independent MPs attempts to raise the issue was expunged by the speaker at government’s behest citing that the issue was irrelevant.