<%-- Page Title--%> Chintito <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 139 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 23, 2004

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Time to talk with


The most important thing in life is not to feel intimidated. And I am not! Submitting this write-up 24 hours in advance of my 'usual' time has nothing to do with last week's printed rebuttal from the hallowed desk of SWM (sarcastic women and men). The primary reason is that I have skipped my usual dose of a round of game x and thereby saved some time.

It was my honourable intention to respond word for word to their kind okkhors, particularly about me going on like a 'Japanese monorail' (imagine their chutzpah when it is I who hardly get a chance to say anything in their midst, that is why I started writing in the first place) and I being 'abnormal' (Oh! It hurts in the wrong places, and don't even try to find out where). But, I have to draw in my claws as our attention is drawn to graver matters.

Simply describing the downing of yet another journalist, this time the acclaimed fearless Manik Chandra Saha in Khulna, as barbaric, despicable, etc. borders on being abusive to what such individuals lived for. The utterances by the high and low in politics and government and opposition are an all-too-human ploy to wash all liability from the difficult but necessary task of bringing the perpetrators to justice and to find an end to this meaningless violence. The progress of lawsuits in the murder of eleven journalists who have lost their lives to anonymous killers in the south west is pedestrian. Somebody unidentified somewhere unknown has a grudge against the society and is not in our wavelength; that is indeed a dangerous situation under which to conduct the affairs of a country.

Those buoyant in cloud-cuckoo-land in Dhaka, believing that Khulna and the events are far removed from their pitha mela, shava seminars, opening ceremonies and release functions (no reference to the bailing of the non-bailable by the CMM -- DS 17 January 2003) simply have no idea how deep into mainland the salinity of Bay of Bengal has penetrated over the past few years.

No time is more ripe than now for someone to take the noble initiative to save our people and to rescue what Manik Chandra Saha, Harunar Rasheed, Shamsur Rahman and others thrived for by opening a dialogue, even if over telephone initially, with those believed to be responsible for the heinous acts. Until then we may even be blaming the wrong parties and letting the real executors off the hook. Condemning a nameless factor in the media must be condemned even by the condemned as frivolous and inconsequential.

The Koreans are talking with each other, the British had to negotiate with the Sinn Fein, India and Pakistan are exchanging the olive branch, the Tamil Tigers are at the same table with the Sri Lankans, the Bangladesh government had to recognise the grievances of the Hill people, a Palestine-Israel meeting is considered the only viable card in the pack to resolve the ME crisis... Let us therefore surrender our stubbornness and start to seek a meaningful discussion with those suspected clandestine forces such that we may even begin to understand what it is they really want. It may even boil to down to them believing that what they want is not even on sale in our shop.

If per chance any one involved with the bombing at the Udichi function, or on Pahela Baisakh, or in the Mymensingh cinema halls, or at Sylhet Dargah, or with the spate of violence against journalists, or with any killings, is reading this piece, we appeal to you to please offer yourself for a dialogue, even if initially over telephone, directly or via a media, with the government. We cannot afford not to listen.

By ignoring the killings, be it of a journalist or a policeman, of a schoolboy or a businessman, of a bystander or even a terrorist, as only yet another terrorist attack, we are essaying a tomb, brick by brick, of our hard earned independence and democracy. It is desirable for our future that these values should outlive us all.



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