If the government is serious about tackling the terrorist threat that shattered the peace of July 1, leaving at least 22 people dead in its grim wake, the first thing it needs to do is to come out of its state of denial and get a grip on reality.
It cannot continue to blame its political opposition, either directly or indirectly, for the carnage that the militants have unleashed on society.
It cannot continue to bury its head in the sand about the clear and convincing evidence of transnational links to domestic terror groups and operations.
And it cannot continue to dismiss each new atrocity as an isolated incident and try to argue, with a futility that is apparent to all onlookers and should be to itself, that it has everything under control.
The first step to solving any problem is to admit that you have one.
The longer the government persists in its denial mode, the bigger the hit to its credibility, and the smaller the chance of it finding a resolution to its troubles.
The world and the people of Bangladesh are watching.
Even more than firm and
decisive action, what they are looking for is a sure sign that the government understands and accepts the magnitude of the threat that this nation faces and, more importantly, its true
What the government needs to do to win the confidence of the nation, and indeed, what it needs to do if it ever wishes to have any hope at all of winning its battle against terror is to admit its missteps of the past nine months and correct course.
That’s the first step.
The second step would be the recognition that in times such as these we must all come together as a nation.
We must stand united against the terrorist threat.
Now is not the time for partisan political bickering or the petty squabbling on marginal issues that typifies our depressing socio-political discourse.
The time has come for us all to stand shoulder to shoulder, AL and BNP, government and civil society, military and civilian, for it is only united that we will be strong enough to face down the existential threat of terrorist nihilism that gave such a chilling exhibition of its ferocity in Gulshan two nights ago.
The call of the hour is unity in the face of a common enemy and the leadership to recognize this and act accordingly. The time for incendiary and divisive rhetoric and policies is over.
Bangladesh can no longer afford it, if we ever could.
What July 1 should have taught us is that we need to come together and bury the hatchet for the good of the country.
For if we do not, the consequences for us all are unthinkable.