Share →

We are Bangladeshi atheist bloggersWashiqur Rahamn Babu was killed on Monday.

Two of his three killers — allegedly students from two different madrassa — say they had never read his blogs themselves, but were instructed to kill Rahman for his “anti-Islamic” writing and were trained by someone called “Masum” at a known address. However, no one else has yet been arrested, including the third killer who escaped on foot. Coming a month after the near-identical killing of Mukto-Mona blogger Avijit Roy, the killings are designed to send “a chilling message to the country’s secular bloggers” as the New York Times pointed out. The murders have been widely condemned, including by the European Union. The IHEU joined protests in the week.

Further to some of Washiqur’s writing we republishedon Monday, the following article was posted 20 November 2014 by Washiqur to his personal Facebook page. The text has been translated from the Bangla by Riasat Ahsan. Following the murder of Ahmed Rajib Haider and others, as well as massive pressure and threats from various militant Islamist groups, the piece is ostensibly about giving up on writing, but is really a cry of defiance against the culture of violent “offence” and the pressure to self-censor.

“No, I will not write about war crimes, Islamic extremism, the country or politics anymore

by Washiqur Rahman Babu

Washiqur Rahman Babu

Washiqur Rahman

No, I will not write about war crimes, Islamic extremism, the country or politics anymore. Writing does not change anything anyways; it only serves to appease the rage in my heart. Even then, writing is said to hurt people’s feelings, ruin the “peace”, and impede progress. Therefore I should write only about topics that nobody would take any offence with.

I suppose I could write about plants. Our country has far fewer plants than it needs. Deforestation is occurring routinely for various reasons. Last year Hefazothe and Shibir cut down many trees in the name of protests. Their hatred towards trees could stem from the fact that they love deserts. On top of that, the proposed Rampal Power Station poses a threat to the Sundarbans.

Oh no, what am I writing?! No this kind of writing will not be tolerated. It will destroy the peace and impede progress. I need to write about something else.

Hmm… I could write about education. Education is the backbone of a nation after all. Every year, the number of graduates is increasing, but what about the quality of education! The leaking of exam questions is widespread. Priority is being given to passing exams by all means rather than the assessment of intellect.

No, I cannot write about this either. The rate of education is increasing rapidly. A piece of writing like this will be a blow to education.

Let me instead write about the story of a journey. A few years ago, I went to Sitakunda. One can see the hills of the mountainous region of Chittagong from there. A significant portion of the country’s indigenous population lives there. However, they are in danger of attack from the settlers and the military. Besides this, a long time ago during the construction of the Kaptai hydroelectric dam, a huge area of the region was flooded.

Oops! Only despicable traitors of the nation would write such things! Lets not be bothered with the issues of the indigenous people. Let me write about something safe…

I found it. Cinema. Our film industry is very obsolete, but a small number of individuals are trying to revive it. The most notable among them was Tareque Masud. It is unfortunate that we could not save his life. A particular group of people in the country does not like him. This is because his films featured religious fundamentalist militants. Even though the film “Matir Moina” (The Clay Bird), which he directed, won an award at the “Cannes Film Festival”, the BNP-Jamaat alliance party which was in power at the time did not want to release the film at first, due to a plea of protecting religious sentiments. Later…

…Impossible! Who am I to write about religious fundamentalism? Rather…

Love. Yes love and relationships are the safest topics. Who hasn’t been in a romantic relationship at least once in their lives! There are many guys who have several relationships, one after the other. But each time, they make promises of marriage to the girl, only to break the relationship off after having sex. Some even make videos of their intimate moments and release them on the Internet. In all of these instances, it is only the girls who have to bear the blame. The guys still go on to look for virgins for marriage. But the girls rarely go on to lead normal lives…

… Nope! The issues of the rights and independence of women cannot even be touched. Writing about such things will ruin society, spoil the young generation. Let society be, me…

…Let me just write something about myself. I was born in a middle class family. I have all the traditions, features, opportunistic nature, instability and selfishness of the middle class in me. At least I wasn’t born in the lower class of farmers and laborers. Farmers do not receive fair prices for their crops and laborers do not get fair wages. Even the workers of the largest industry, that of garments manufacture, do not have the assurance of a natural death. They die in large numbers, sometimes in building collapses, sometimes in fires. Then comes the charade of rescue expeditions, incompetent investigation committees, false assurances of compensations, protecting the suspect under the guise of a trail. These…

…No, I do not think writing is possible for me. The country is progressing beautifully. I am just interrupting that! Only conspirators who wish to destroy the country’s industries, foil the development of agriculture would write such things. Instead of reality lets…

…Write a story. There once was a king. The present day is not the era of kings. The last independent Nawab, Siraj ud-Daulah, was betrayed by Mir Jafar, defeated, and brutally murdered. Of course, Mir Jafar suffered the punishment for his misdeeds soon afterwards. But war criminals, much worse than Mir Jafar, have been living in the country for many years. They have even tasted being in power. Although they are on trail now, the slowly paced tribunal, announcement of verdicts on random dates, accusations of influence by the government, Shahbagh protests…

…No way! Writing about these will obstruct the trail of the war criminals. I will be branded as an opponent of sovereignty, a secret war criminal.

Then what will I write about! Can someone tell me which topic I should chose to keep the government, the political parties, the Islamists, the general public, the groups in favor and in disfavor of independence happy?

Is there anybody with any ideas?

Hello…   !?


More News from IHEU

5 Responses to “No, I will not write about war crimes, Islamic extremism, the country or politics anymore”

  1. Unmad says:

    He was my facebook friend. More ever i think about him, he was believe our freedom and the power to say no the
    jamat.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Please find a way to send this article and the following article by Avijit Roy’s wife directly to Bangladesh Govt (if not possible, at least to Bangladesh Embassies, High Commissions, UN and so on). We need to pursue as much as possible to bring it to Bangladesh Govt notice that the whole world is observing their inactiveness (to me it is partly due to fear of madrasha backlash and partly due to not being up to the mark of being able comprehend humanity without religion). They would only take some action if pressure comes form various important countries/quarters of the world community. Otherwise all our cries will not be heard by them. The most important anticipated action would be to redesign education system by abolishing the current two-tare system (madrasha + general) to move to a single general system. Currently the petro-dollar patronised madrasas are mushrooming with a high speed which are creating a two distinct mind-sets of citizens – rational vs fundamentalists – leaning more towards the latter. This is the root of all evils in Bamgladesh society. Unless this is addressed, the ultimate elimination of jihadists would be a dream only. Washiqur Rahman/ Avijit Roy / Bonnya Ahmed type personalities will never be able to rise or express any kind of thoughts – they all would be silenced from the very moment of any such attempt. Unfortunate indeed. Some people may hard to believe my rationale, but this is the fact – I have objectively observed the transformation of the country for the last 50 years – blind faith has been deep-rooted so profoundly – 30/40 years back nobody could think of.

    Bonnya Ahmed (Avijit Roy’s wife) expressed her silent anger against Bangladesh Govt:
    https://mukto-mona.com/bangla_blog/?p=45541

  3. So sad. Please stop these activities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *