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     Volume 8 Issue 90 | October 16, 2009 |

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The Child and Her Hand


The other day a photo in a newspaper shook my entirety. Watch it because you will seldom weep seeing a picture.

It was of some former BDR men being escorted in a group to a Chapai-nawabganj court on charge of sedition for the brutal depravity that was the BDR massacre of 25 February and perhaps beyond.

The picture also showed a little girl, six years, or less, dressed in red or am I imagining; for we somehow always attach red with a six or seven. Ask any child starting from three what colour would be his or her Eid dress, or birthday cycle, or lozenge, the answer is almost without fail 'laal'. Strange, how such innocent appreciation of a colour can come to represent danger at a later age, and murder.

The girl was striding along with the group of under-trial men; her mom was also possibly with her too.

There I saw her little left hand stretched ever so gently in the clasp of one of the men. I assume it was her beloved father. She had a few seconds of 'time' with her nearest one.

What does she know about the BDR? What do the children of those who died in that cowardly massacre know about the BDR? What difference does it make to them whether we change the uniform, rename the outfit, observe the day every coming year? They only want their father to hold their hand.

The little girl in the picture was almost doubling in happiness to keep up with the posse, or so it seemed. She does not know then that her father will soon have to release her hand as he enters the courtroom. He could be gone forever. She does not know that.

She seemed to be content that it was her father, and that is all that mattered. She does not understand why her father was there along with the others. Was he chained? Why was he chained? It must not have been clear to the six-year old.

She will not understand if he is proven innocent, and returns home to hold her hand, or was it her that was holding his hand?

Neither will she understand if she sees him no more. She will not understand how a father can be guilty, her father? Now she does not even know what guilty means. When she knows she will not believe her dad could have had anything to do with anything that dark, hated and detested, that there must have been some serious mistake.

The rule of law is that much just, and seemingly cruel to the punished. In meting out justice to the perpetrator of a heinous crime, the hand of the law can separate families, keep a six-year old away from his or her precious ones.

The picture teaches us a lesson. Let no father partake in any incident that can snatch away his child from him. The child in the red dress or green or yellow deserves better.

Then there is another picture of another day, of the child whimpering in unexplainable pain because his or her father (or mother) has been a victim of a barbaric killing spree. I saw the son of a slain officer crying uncontrollably at his father's funeral at the Tejgaon National Parade Ground. That too teaches us a lesson.

Let no one get involved in any gruesome conspiracy and murder that can snatch away forever a parent from a surviving child. The same fate awaits the killer.

The children on both sides are guiltless. Yet, they both suffer the fate of their parents.

Let us look at our children and refrain from evil doings, any evil.

P.S. I rummaged through a pile of old newspapers the morning after writing this, and found the picture (DS, 2 October 2009). I was wrong, it was her right hand.