Come home, now. Come home to a place where scores are dying each week because we are playing a farcical game of political chicken. (Farcical because the basic premise of using terrorism as a tool of political manipulation is that one side cares enough about the damage to cave to the other’s demands. In our case, not true.)
Come home to a place where men and women are buried alive in rubble of concrete and steel, because we value human bodies only as much as the labour that can be wrung out of them.
Come home to a place where our children graduate from primary school without being able to read or add, because we do not think our teachers deserve to be paid (or, for that matter trained) more than the factory workers. Come home to a nation that is deeply entangled in existential angst and the search for its soul. Come home, now, to a country that will break your heart, every day.
Before going further, let me apologise for the assumptions I have made about who you are and what/where you consider “home.” Bangladeshis – both in the country and outside of it – have complex, multi-faceted identities.
But if you thought for any brief moment that this letter was addressed to you, then it is. This letter is not even just for those who live physically abroad, but those who live metaphysically abroad as well.
So many of us in this country live lives so well-insulated that we might as well be somewhere else altogether. To us all, I entreat, come home, now.
Come home to a country which needs your skills, your experience, and most significantly, your voice. History and narrative in Bangladesh have been hijacked by corrupt megalomaniacs, their thugs and their sycophants – they are ours to reclaim.
Come home to a place which proves itself, time and again, shockingly resilient in the face of tragedy; to a nation held together by the kindness of strangers. Come home to a country where brilliant young people are starting incredible organisations and leading unprecedented movements, where hope and opportunity abound in unlikely places. Come home to a country that will inspire you, every day.
Come home; get your hands dirty. Leave Wall Street, become a teacher. Leave Capitol Hill, become an entrepreneur. Come home, but – and here’s the important part – come home because you want and choose to (and not because slums look cool on Instagram). Come home because you want to be personally and professionally challenged in a way you never have before. Come home because you choose to be a part of the solution.
Come home, then start something, build something, change something, say something.
Just come home. Now.