This is Bangladesh of 2013. This is Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh. In this Bangladesh, even if you chop a local government elected leader Sanaullah Babu to death in broad daylight under rolling TV cameras you will not be brought to justice, you will keep terrorizing people – as long as you are a supporter of prime Ministers party. In this Bangladesh you can commit dozens of most brutal horrific murders, you can cut your opposition politician Nurul Islam into pieces before dumping in river Meghna, you will special presidential pardon to get out of jail – as long as you have the blessings of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In this Bangladesh in front of live news TV camera, a poor Biswajit may be stabbed hundreds of times to death – but the known perpetrators will remain out of reach of any law enforcement – only because the the killers reportedly are followers of Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina’s ideology.
And this is the same country University teacher and blogger Wahiduzzaman will not get a bail on a silly false case and will land in jail – only because he dared speak up in social media against injustices of the government – only because he dared point out the irreparable harm Rampal power plant will bring upon Bangladesh – only because through his writings, he dared expose the extreme injustice imposed the people of Bangladesh by the tyrannical regime of Sheikh Hasina.
Wahiduzzaman is a great geography teacher. He is an environmental activist as well. And more importantly – he is a very popular social media activist and blogger. He is a Bangladeshi nationalist. Through his writings – he brings forward the concerns of the silent and voiceless majority of Bangladesh.
In the past when bloggers representing less than 5% peoples’ views, bloggers disparaging popular faiths, religions were subject to state persecution – the loud progressive class, rightly so, exploded in a chorus of protest. That is the way it should be. Even in farther past when media activist came under the ire of the military regime that preceded this regime, all media and online activists protested in unison. Ideology, party affiliation, faith gaps did not stand in the course of the protests.
But today when Wahiduzzaman spends his first night on the dirty concrete floor of Dhaka central jail, the world is very silent. Painfully silent.
Our progressive class is now dominated by a bunch of Talibans without AK 47. While these so called progressive Talibans can be most lethal, linguistically violent and abusive towards anyone working or writing in favor of any ideology outside of their narrow and petty political standing – when it comes to the writings and commentaries of others – these so called progressive are more intolerant than even the Talibans. That’s why, when Wahiduzzaman lands in in jail, there is hardly any chatter of protests in the social media world.
While the whole world can remain silent about the state oppression and unlawful incarceration of Wahiduzzaman, we cannot keep silent about it.
Wahiduzzaman is one of our own. He is one of the core Nuraldeen bloggers. He is our friend. We demand, in the strongest terms, immediate and unconditional release of Wahiduzzaman.
Because Wahiduzzaman speaks for the oppressed and voiceless silent majority, he is the lonely warrior today. Hardly there is any strong voice out there to speak for him. All the voices who should have spoken out are silenced with state imposed fear tactic, red eye a new draconian law to reign on free cyber activism.
But people fail to recognize one simple fact that if Wahiduzzaman has to land in jail today because he chose not to remain silent and dared criticize anti-people policies of the government – what is the future of a social media activist or blogger under a future government? Where is our constitutionally mandated space for free speech? Or in this new political order all we only have is our right to remain silent?