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Secular protesters at a torch-lit vigil for Avijit Roy in Dhaka (photo)

Following the murder,Thursday, of Avijit Roy, US-based writer and a moral leader of secularist and freethought activists in Bangladesh, his elderly father Ajoy Roy commented on the “threatening” messages his son had received prior to the attacks. They came from extremists who complained his writing insulted Islam, Ajoy Roy explained, because “He was a secular humanist and has written about 10 books.” He lamented, “This Bangladesh which was built by the blood-sacrifice of the martyrs has now turned into a den of militants.”

Criticism of a “culture of impunity” and the apparent failure of authorities to act on strong, credible threats by known individuals in the past year alone has been a common feature of the international outcry over the killing, including our own commentary which named one of the hostile individuals Fellow humanist bloggers like Asif Mohiuddin have called for pressure to be piled on the Bangladesh government.

Roy’s daughter, Trisha Ahmed, a student in the United States, has also written about her father in tribute and calling for his story to be shared far and wider. Her words below, originally posted on Facebook, are re-published with permission.

Avijit Roy

Avijit Roy

“My dad was a prominent Bengali writer, most famous for his books about science and atheism. He and my mom went to Bangladesh last week to publicize his books at Bangladesh’s national book fair. 15 hours ago, Islamic fundamentalists stabbed my dad to death. My mom was severely wounded from the attack and is still in the hospital. His death is headline news in Bangladesh.

The reason I’m sharing this is less for me and more for my dad. He was a firm believer in voicing your opinion to better the world.
He and my mom started dating when I was six years old. In the twelve years that followed, he became my friend, my hero, my most trusted confidante, my dance partner (even though we’re both terrible dancers), and my father. Not once did he tell me to simmer down or be more polite; he taught me to be informed, bold, and unafraid.

To say that I’m furious or heartbroken would be an understatement. But as fucked up as the world is, there’s never a reason to stop fighting to make it better. I’ll carry the lessons he taught me and the love he gave me forever. I love you so much, Dad. Thank you for every single thing

What would help me the most right now is if everyone (even people I’ve never met) could share his story. His story should be heard in the US because Bangladesh is powerless; it’s corrupt, there is no law and order, and I highly doubt that any justice will come to the murderers. I want his story to be on US headline news, not only Bangladesh’s. If you could just do all you can to spread word of what’s happened, I would appreciate it so so much. Inform your schools, your communities, write all that you can. Please don’t allow my dad to die in vain.

Please use your influence to help bring some sort of justice to the atrocious acts that have been committed against my parents.

‪#‎WordsCannotBeKilled‬

Please, share.

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54 Responses to Avijit Roy, by his daughter: “everyone… share his story” #‎WordsCannotBeKilled

  1. Dave Watts says:

    You words made me cry but I can also see how you feel you were lucky to have such a wonderful Dad.
    Sometimes people like me forget how easy it is to be a humanist and secularist in places like the UK and how brave it is for others in other places.

  2. paid_media_morons says:

    I have seen your Dad pic. My heart has broken .Never thought that World will sink up to this level. Only God can save humanity on this Earth now.

    • Jeremy says:

      No, not God, it’s up to us human beings to sort it out. Mr Roy did his bit many times over, making the greatest sacrifice of all in the struggle against ignorance and fear – a martyr to a cause far greater than any religion.

      • Rumana says:

        I agree, we human are responsible, no invisible power can change or save us.

  3. dhee basu says:

    I’m doing the same before reading this and will continue to do so.avijit roy’s death won’t go in vain. May I be the next one but don’t give a shit

  4. Susmita Paul says:

    i can’t believe he is no more…..I want punishment of his murderer as soon as possible.

  5. So sorry for your loss. Without understanding, there can be no compassion. I hope your mother recovers from her injuries. So deeply sorry for your loss.

  6. Joydeep Roy says:

    I am deeply disturbed by the murder of your father. I am a father myself and would be proud to be one like yours. Your words would not die neither your father’s would.

  7. Bruce says:

    Dear Trisha,
    My thoughts and hopes for your future go out to you my brave girl. I am so sorry for your loss. I will place your father’s story on our local atheist billboard. There are millions of us in the civilized world who will remember your courageous and brilliant father. May his powerful words in the name of human rights, reason, and enlightenment forever outlive the barbaric criminality and theocratic fascism that so wrongfully took his life and so profoundly wounded both you and your mother. Peace.

  8. Beth says:

    I am so saddened by this news. Such a senseless and despicable act of inhumanity. I am ashamed to call myself part of the human race. May this honourable man RIP, may others learn from his sacrifice and may we all stand against tyranny. My thoughts are with you and your mum. I wish her a speedy recovery. You are both in my heart.

  9. This death was mine, as well yours
    This life was mine, as well yours…

  10. sumitra says:

    Surely dear Trisha. I’ll do my best
    I met your dad once…may be 10 years back. He struck me as soft spoken & balanced… Basically a science writer
    One who would write only after in depth study & deep conviction.. One who could never malign or hurt anyone. As some do ( Rationalists & fundamentalists alike). I still have his first book that he gave me…ALO HATE CHOLIYACHHE…. That’s what he was ALO
    And will always be. My salute to this fearless & loving person

  11. PETER GUSTAV KLUGE says:

    WE NEED THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE TO OPEN THE EYES OF THE WORLD.

  12. Surya Dasgupta says:

    We are there with you Trisha. Carry on with the fight for which your father gave his life.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how it feels to lose your father but the atrocities that have been committed against your parents were beyond words. The world is going no where . I will share your story from my end and I really hope that the culprits behind this could be soon brought to justice. Cause its the same brutal crime the ISIS are committing. Law & order needs to be moralized soon otherwise its going to be a dead end. RIP Avijit Roy. #WordsCannotBeKilled

  14. Chowdhury Golam Kibria says:

    I have no consolation for you; only my prayers are for you. But I need to say that I resent attacks on your parents in the same way I resent attack against any religion of this world. May God replace your wounds with his endless blessings and protection.

  15. Sarthak says:

    Your father’s sacrifice wont go in vain. I can see it’s motivating people to wake up, take notice and take action against religious fundamentalism. His works have already brought the voice of reason and sight of clear thinking to many people in Bangladesh and elsewhere and it will continue is full stead. My Respect to Dr. Ajoy Roy, the physicist, secularist father of the extraordinary Avijit Roy.

  16. Sree Sreenath says:

    Dear Trisha:
    I offer my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. We all hope that your mother recovers soon. Your father was a brave man who stood up for his beliefs and ideals of which he was prolific. The best reply to the attackers is for you to grow up and live up his ideals in your own way.

  17. nishant says:

    As a father of two little girls i can understand the equation and warmth you would be having with your dad. Having seen BD through a freinds eye from the past ten years all i can say is that Bangladesh has lost its way. Don’t know where its heading to but certainly not on a growth path and a humane civilisation.
    All i can say is be brave and face the situation in pieces.

  18. Iqbal Latif says:

    In memory of a friend and a fellow blogger Avijit Roy

    Man’s inhumanity to man
    Makes countless thousands mourn!

    Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American who was attacked and hacked to death as he walked through Dhaka. He and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Avijit Roy was promoter of secularism and was known for speaking out against religious extremism. The inhumanity of man toward man is our supreme offence, it comes from inside due to deficient cardinal virtues.

    I am persistently astonished by man’s brutality towards fellow man, from time immemorial men has used deity to authenticate the indefensible i.e. The liquidation of fellow beings in the name of defending virtue of their divinity and lamentably Gods always have come in helpful, the unrestrained blaze of inhumanity in these extremists is inconceivable.

    Brutality is the significant absurdity of man taken to new extremes. This heartlessness and insensitivity is the hallmark and feature of widespread diabolical extremism, they validate almost everything. We can minimally oppose man’s callousness to man by demonstrating man’s empathy towards fellow man. I condemn this cold blooded murder of my friend.

    Any cabal or ruthless group that has wanted to commit genocide has not failed from a shortage of executioners. Man should speak up when atrocities happen.

    Iqbal Latif
    Paris

  19. samapika says:

    If i say its your loss will be small n shallow its a loss of the world n humanity. The power of truth will never be die, somewhere somehow it, ll be always there to remind us we not alone but courageous. Love n light.

  20. Atheist in the 3rd generation says:

    All atheists of the world unite! The world is degenerating. Beaware.

  21. Prasanta Bhattacharya says:

    DEMOCRATIC WRITERS’ AND ARTISTS’ ASSOCIATION KHARAGPUR HAS PROTESTED AGAINST THE BRUTAL KILLING OF DR. AVIJIT ROY.

  22. Ramesh Chander says:

    Salute to the advocate of better world. ‘ll share his contribution to humanity.

  23. Neel says:

    Dear Trisha,
    I am writing to you from Kolkata. The news of this horrific incident shocked our city. No amount of sympathies or condolences can ever make sense. The world is a greedy & violent place. ” But as fucked up as the world is, there’s never a reason to stop fighting to make it better.” You couldn’t have put it better. Your father is one of those who will continue to inspire people not to feel afraid no matter how bad the situation is. It’s important to be fearless. That’s what Mr. Avijit Roy’s story is. That’s what he has passed onto you. We are with you.

    regards ,

    Neel

  24. prakash BHAMU says:

    Sister, I m sorry.
    Its a heartbroken incident . Historically Bengal was a pride land. When britishers divided bengal on religious lines,people fought against this like anything. Blood of Bengal delta is so brave,literate n caring historically. Now radicalism is suffocating this great land. Blood bath is common sight nowadays.
    Your beloved pa is a warrior. A martyr for the words’ sake. We cant bring the physical self. But I urge you to rise above the hirizons by virtue of love n power of humane words.
    Love u.God bless u angel. Prakash,India

  25. Rajib says:

    We will keep him alive , we will keep his word alive ..As said by one of his avid reader.” কিন্তু যেটা কাল থেকে শুধু নাড়িয়ে যাচ্ছে, ঐ সাহসটুকু। হুমকি, আঘাত আর প্রবল বিরুদ্ধতার সামনে দাঁড়িয়ে নিজের কথাগুলো বলে যাওয়া, লোককে সেটা নিয়ে ভাবতে বাধ্য করার দম। নিজের বিচারবুদ্ধি অনুযায়ী কথা বলতে গেলে, এদিকে বলছি বা ওদিকে বলছি, সবসময়ই কোনও একদলের অপ্রিয় হওয়ার জায়গায় আমরা নিজেকে নিয়ে যাই। সেই অপ্রীতি যখন প্রাণঘাতী হতে পারে, চোখের সামনে হুমায়ুন আজাদ, রাজীব হায়দারের দৃষ্টান্ত দেখার পরও- বলে যেতে পারা-র দমটা- এইটাকে শেষ নিঃশ্বাস পর্যন্ত স্যালুট জানাতে পারি যেন, অভিজিৎ রায়ের নামে কসম খেয়ে।
    আমি নাস্তিক না হলেও মৃত্যু-উত্তর কিছুতে বিশ্বাস করিনা। মনে হয় অভিজিৎও করতেন না। তাই তাঁকে ভালো থাকতে আর বলবনা। আমাদের অস্বস্তিগুলো যেন আমাদের ‘ভালো’ না থাকতে দ্যায়, এইটুকু কামনা করছি শুধু। “

  26. Deep Ghosh says:

    I am an American. My dad was born in Bangladesh. I wanted to visit the country but after this incident I will think again.

  27. #‎Bangladesh‬ ‪#‎Humanity‬ ‪#‎humanrights‬ ‪#‎freespeech‬
    To My People,
    We have lost many: some known, some unknown. In the name of religion, political differences and to curtail free speech, blood is spilled at our streets and across the Nation. It is this debacle that our nation has endured since long but for what purpose?
    Where is our collective conscious? Is this the societal decay we aspire to have? Is this the facade of Nation we like to portray? Is this the state of dismay and dejection we like to bequeath to our people and the society?
    Fear and intimidation have subjugated us coercing to a mere subsistence. We are in a state of denial that only will prolong our agony. It is an irony that our acceptance, our denial and our apathy rendered the nation to a standstill depriving her from what best our collective cognizance and faculties could offer.
    Avijit, Humayun Azad and the likes have done their part; they will live through their deeds, their writings and their epitomes of humanity. They have paid the price for seeking a “just society”. Now, onus is on us. How we respond to the shameless acts of cruelties that cut short many lives will determine our conscience.
    For those who delight from the agony of our people, I would say, “you may break our heart but not the resolve”. Our fervor for the humanity will be everlasting and the quest for a “just society” will prevail.
    My people, if this appeal touches your heart, come out of your husk only to stand up for what is yours, the “rights to humanity” to be precise.
    Let us live, let give humanity a chance and love our country…

    In hope of a “Just Society”,
    Dhiman Deb Chowdhury

  28. Ali Ahasan Habib says:

    There are no words to console you. But you know, this country has one of the very rare event. Progressive people like us, meetings, rallies to scream, still does not work. Our silent tears, our vision is blurred.
    Your father was a progressive. Today, as we’re crying, I will not judge.
    Because of investigative journalism, the first light, kalerakantha, ABC Radio, television, despite working at Thursday 4, radicals have been a victim of assault. Radical addition, the police, the ruling party, opposition to all I’ve been attacked. Some have said it. Trial was held. Do you think, true crime writing, Emdadul Haque Milon people like progressive demanding job I had to escape from.
    I will ask the High Court of Justice, did not. We take pride in our country and people. For humanity is always movement. But in the many pleasures of this progressive work.
    You are not a country, you have to appeal to the American government, the International Court of Justice shall ask, it will ensure that your father’s murder trial.
    You will not forgive us, this country has to protect your father.

  29. Nibedita Nath says:

    Trisha I am very shocked. But I believe this loss will give you more strength to make yourself like your dad. God bless you.

  30. Kendo says:

    My deepest sympathies for you, dear child, in this difficult time of your life.
    Remain strong and demand justice of your father’s killers.

    But if you start believing that your father was stabbed to death by ‘Islamic Fundamentalists’ (which the killers would like everyone to believe, and that too without any specific proof) then it would be a dead case soon and your father will never get justice…. only rhetoric and loud talk about what a great ‘free thinker’ Avijit Roy was, and how the fundamentalist forces had brought an end to his life.

    You are young and yet to know life’s complications; and how scapegoats are made who pay unreasonably by paying with their lives; and in turn how the blame is shifted on a particular person/group (which would mean end of the case).

    Demand for a PROPER and UNBIASED investigation to nab the ‘actual’ killers (whoever they may be)… and how the killers had escaped scot-free committing the gruesome crime in a crowded public place, with a 3-tier tight security area.

  31. JOYNATH NANDY says:

    Nothing to say , i just send you a poem of Rabindranath Tegor—“ Where The Mind Is Without Fear“

    Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
    Where knowledge is free
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
    By narrow domestic walls
    Where words come out from the depth of truth
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
    Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
    Where the mind is led forward by thee
    Into ever-widening thought and action
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

  32. Rahul Ganguli says:

    No writing or no writers cant be resisted this way, the radical thought did not stop. Dear Trisha, do not cry, your father was real cultural activist, we should always move in front with his memories, through our writing, speaking or our activity.

  33. Bruce says:

    Dear Trisha,
    I share your sorrow. I wish your mother a full recovery. You can both be very proud of Avijit. Yet we need to do much more.
    I hope the International Community will raise an annual prize in his memory for a person who does the most to promote Freedom of Expression in this world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this could lead to every country in the world becoming secular? Where no law would be based on religion, but only on human compassion?
    I believe Bangladesh was born secular, so Bangladesh would be a good place to start. May all the Charlie Hebdo’s of this world make that their aim.
    Bruce

  34. Arijit says:

    I am speechless in the face of this atrocity and arrogance. It is so sad to see that in our desire to be religious we are losing our humanity. I feel for you and apologize on behalf of us so called humans for robbing you and the world of such a David!

  35. Raghad says:

    Dear Trisha,
    I was born in a very religious family. My family started to raise me as Muslim since my birth. So I never got a choice. Many customs of this religion kept me thinking about its authenticity for a long time. But questioning about (let alone against) religion is not welcomed, sometimes strongly prohibited. So I was literally lost. Then I learned about ‘muto-mona’. Your dad’s creation freed me from my chain. Now I’m a free thinker too. I’m eternally grateful to your dad and all other great free thinkers for the rest of my life. I promised myself that I’ll walk on their path too. Their blood will not go to vain.

  36. GAUTAM says:

    my dear girl TrisHa,

    WORDS WON’T BE ABLE TO COMPENSATE YOUR LOSS BUT WORDS WOULD BE ABLE RAISE OUR THOUGHTS AS MUCH YOUR DAD DID.

    NO ONE NEEDS TO BELIEVE WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD WITHOUT A SCRUTINY A BASIC SCRUTINY.

    I HAVE NOT SEEN GOD , NEVER FELT HIM AND I BELIEVE WE HAVE OUR RIGHTS VTO BELIEVE OR NOT VELIEVE..

    YOU CAN’T KILL ME FOR I DON’T BELIEVE.

    HAVE FAITH AND COURRAGE IN HIS DEPARTED SOUL. WE ARE WITH YOU.

  37. Harish Babu says:

    Hi Trisha,

    No words of mine will reduce your pain, but still my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I wish your mother a speedy recovery. I earnestly hope that you and your mother will be able to come out of this emotional trauma. Always stay the way your great father wanted you to be, dear child. I am ashamed to be called a human being, when I think of the atrocities done against your parents. At the same time, I am also proud to be a human being, when I think of your father, such a great man. My profound obeisances to your father, Avijit Roy. May his soul rest in peace. I wish you all the very best in life

  38. Sanjay Singh says:

    Shocking,,, condemn-able… Your father’s sacrifice wouldn’t go waste,,,

  39. Tim says:

    So sorry Trish. Sorry about your Dad. I hope your mum makes a complete recovery soon. We will share your message around the world. Avijit Roy … His name will live forever in our hearts. We also have lunatics in our society who are prepared to kill for the love of the god that only exists in their tiny minds. We are resolved to continue the struggle to eliminate religion from the world. It is a source of evil.

  40. Scott says:

    I am very sorry for your loss Trisha.

  41. Veronica says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your father and am saying prayers for your mother, and your family, for healing and strength. Your father sounds like a great man who had taught you well. Be his voice. He’ll be with you and your family in spirit. Blessings for you all. From an aunt of one of your friends.

  42. Dr. Prabhakar Mandal. says:

    moulabader dharmiya goundami nipat jak.

  43. Saleha Barlasker says:

    I am so shocked by this killing I was unable to sleep . The criminals brutally killed a genius . He already contributed a great deal and if he would be alive he could contribute more . They are worse than Pakistanis who killed all our budhijibi’s . It’s shocking that criminals killed their own country’s genius . In the face book I uploaded two long and three short poems about this . Because of this shameful incident I feel ashamed of being a Bangladeshi Muslim .

  44. Motiur says:

    I never cried for my relatives death, But i cried for Avijit Roy. I think this is high time to raise our voice against religious fundamentalist.
    #WordsCannotbeKilled

  45. Younes M SHEIKH says:

    I am in a deep sorrow and grief on the murder of the renowned Dr. Avijit Roy, a illustrious Bangladeshi-American humanist. I wish peace for the family and friends. May his memory be a guide to us.

    Younes M SHEIKH
    Humanist international
    Switzerland

  46. ASIS RANJAN SENGUPTA says:

    The fight of the Basngladesh people against Bigotry , obscurantism , and Fanaticism , is still a long way to go .It is not clear to me as yet why no proper security arrangements were there , and what prompted Mr Roy to venture out in that unprotected zone . Martyrdom is one thing , but useless self sacrifice to the wolves is meaningless .

  47. A Rahman says:

    My write-up on ‘Brutality of religious fanatics’ in your dad’s website, mukto-mona as well as in Bangladesh’s widest circulation online newspaper, bdnews24.com and my Face Book has received a very wide publicity. People from all parts of the world replied. We are doing everything we can to make sure nothing like this can ever happen again.

  48. JDE says:

    I’m so terribly sorry for your loss.

  49. Ananda says:

    It is not only a blogger’s death, it’s a death of an engineer and a researcher and a great writer. Moreover, he should be called “Dr. Avijit Roy”. I truly condemn media to portray him just as a blogger. Dr. Avijit Roy was the son of Ajoy Roy, a retired professor of physics at Dhaka University and an “Ekushey Padak” recipient. His father Ajay roy, a highly esteemed scientist(http://www.rationalistinternational.net/associates/a_roy.htm) has been invited twice by the Nobel committee to nominate candidates for Nobel prize in 1998 and in 2001. Avijit Roy graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, the best institution of Bangladesh, and worked as a lecturer of the same university before leaving Bangladesh for higher education. He earned a master’s and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from National University of Singapore. He was the owner of two US patents. In 2000, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia and had been working as an engineer there until his return to Bangladesh. So, I request media to give him the proper respect by calling him “Dr. Avijit Roy”. Avijit Roy, who is a hero in the eyes of numerous youths, should be identified as one of the pioneers of freethinking movement, one of the most influential science writers in Bangladesh, a doctor and a researcher, not just only a blogger. Please draw attention to his credentials, especially journalists, writers and activists!!
    For the readers, please also read http://www.centerforinquiry.net/news/statement_on_the_murder_of_dr._avijit_roy_bangladeshi_ally_and_friend/
    “I cannot overstate how great a loss this is,” said Michael De Dora, CFI(Center For Inquiry)’s chief UN representative and friend of Dr. Roy. “Avijit was brilliant, yes, and a devoted advocate of free expression and secularism, but also just a very good person. Avijit was an inspiration to countless other freethinkers, in Bangladesh and around the world, and he was an inspiration to me. I valued our friendship deeply, as I valued his contributions to our shared mission. I will miss him, and the global freethought community will feel the impact of his loss. His example will no doubt continue to shine.”
    This post was inspired by https://www.facebook.com/Arif1415/posts/958249957531085

  50. Read your blog & felt very bad. Following the sad incident in newspapers & feeling disgusted. It is not only about your Dad;s murder. So many murders are going around. It is against humanity. These cruelty , barbarism against one another, against other religion, other political party, other country is getting too high. I don’t understand why one country need to take another country’s freedom? Why people are not happy with what they have, why interfere with other’s religion? We all want peace.

  51. david says:

    Weak gods who cannot withstand ‘insults’ and need humans to do dirty defensive deeds. Shut down the opposition is the act of all dictators. My sincere sympathy with family – terrible sacrifice for a free thinker.

  52. Arzu says:

    Dr. Avijit Roy’s writings were the inspiration of me to become a free thinker. I am so grateful to him. It is so sad for me to know that I will never come across his writings, concepts, ideas any more. This loss is unacceptable.

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