A Startling Awakening
As clearly visible from the Star's photo feature published on 15 February 2013, the ongoing protest in Projonmo Chottor (Generation Roundabout) is an explosion of the abilities of today's young generation. I haven't witnessed 1952, nor was I there in 1971. I wasn't even born in 1990. But I have seen the rage and disgrace in the eyes of the young generation against the rajakars (war criminals) in 2013. After a long time the youth have raised their voice against all injustice. Shahbag has now become the centre for all, irrespective of age, religion, race and culture. The common people have showed their hatred towards the rajakars of 1971.
We have to remember that it took us nine long months to achieve independence and if necessary, this demonstration in Projonmo Chottor could continue for more than nine months to achieve our goals. When the people raise their voices for justice, no power in this world can stop them. We will not leave the streets without our demands being met. The whole nation is burning in the fire of hatred towards these rajakars.
The peaceful, energetic, lively protests will surely meet its goal. But we have to remember that it will take time. The conspirators will continue to conspire against the liberators. We have come to a point in this demonstration where looking back now is no longer an option. It had been 42 years since the '71 war and now it's time for justice, it's time to raise your voice against all the evils. The wait is over.
Abu Mohammad Mahdin
Photo: Prabir Das
I loved 15 February's Postscript titled “The Roar of the Youth”. When the question is about our traditional ethos, it has been proved many times since 1947. We protected our culture, identity and democratic rights. Now we are up for justice for the atrocities committed 42 years ago, when 3 million people lost their lives and 200,000 women were raped. Shahbag protesters are calling for the collaborators of the then West Pakistan to be tried properly but those opposed to this want to intercept us. Women have been assaulted and dubbed prostitutes! With the murder of a protester, our spirit to move forward is only rekindled and strengthened.
What I liked most in the article is the explanation of the insidious disease, fear. The writer described it as penetrating and that we have to over come it. I remember a sentence I have read somewhere, “Bravery is a contagious disease.” The truth is we have caught this disease and Shahbag started with a few and has ended up with a huge turnout. I loved her opinions about the bigotry of religion in Bangladesh and how she mercilessly answered some questions of those against this country-wide protest for justice. The youth has kept the demonstration politics-free; some government representatives tried to rally us for their own political gain but strong voices within the protesters have stopped them from trying to bluff us.
We have waited a long 42 years and justice cannot be elusive any more – the war criminals must be tried. The nation's disaffected youth is shaping Bangladesh to become oppression and injustice free with new hopes. A great Bangladesh is upon us and we don't want to lose this chance.
Photo: Star File
Say No to It All!
I was flicking through the Star magazine's issue published 8 February 2012 when I came across a one page 'Perceptions' written by staff writers. It was about how we have put up with the nonsense that are hartals, allowed them to control our lives and movements, and that it was time to say 'Enough!'. I imagine the magazine goes to print a few days before it is actually available to readers, making me wonder if it was written at the same time as the seeds of our Shahbag Mass Movement were planted. If so, I feel that this was quite the call of solidarity at a time when various forces are bringing people together to fight for our nation's wellbeing and preservation. Shahbag is mainly about ensuring justice is served for the war crimes committed at the hands of Bangladesh's traitorous citizens. But why can't it also call for an end to the way partisan sides threaten our daily lives, distort the truth, takes what is not theirs and think they are entitled to stay in power for decades. It is time for a real revolution where we look at everything about us from the poverty to the protest to the politics. Real solutions need to be on offer, whether it be new a political makeover or a societal effort to take responsibility. Now is the time to say 'no' to a lot of injustices.
More to Fix in Tourism
I am an Italian-Canadian and I visited Bangladesh for 10 days last month. It has been one of my most memorable trips and I would like to share my thoughts after reading the Star's cover story on 8 February 2013 on Cox's Bazar and how it is trying to become an international tourist destination.
I appreciated the richness of the country's historical, cultural and natural resources as well as the smiles, kindness and readiness to help of people. There is only one thing I regret and I am writing about it because I believe there is still time to address this. I'm talking about the bad habit of children who ask foreigners for money, especially in tourist places such as Cox's Bazar. They all know one sentence in English: “Hello, how are you, one dollar please!” and while I don't condemn them for asking, it is their insistence that is bad. They stick to you and may even follow you for 1km. This leaves visitors uneasy and gives the wrong image of Bangladesh. Some elderly and crippled people also seek charity but politely and they don't demand more from foreigners than their own countrymen.
I know that Bangladeshis are generous and often give but letting children beg like this or encouraging them to do so is bad for their education – they will grow up thinking everything is due to them. I hope this can be addressed as places such as Cox's Bazar grow into international holiday destinations and I will share the positive aspects of my trip with my friends. I hope your country continues to develop quickly, harmoniously and peacefully.
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