When a moral authority buckles at the prospect of seductive instruments such as money, the system automatically rearranges itself to be in favour of the ones holding the bone. Of course, nobody can ever have enough in the 21st century. And it is this void, that is egregiously exploited. That, right there, is the utter horror and shamelessness of late capitalism.
Meanwhile, a similar wave of ultra-conservative, reactionary attitudes sweeps through the rest of the country, and the world as well; and caught in the cross hairs of this chaos are the millennials.
It’s 2018 now. Things are very different from 2013, the glory days of the Shahbag protests, when my generation first began to grow conscious of politics. It was perhaps the first time I had seen my generation rise up for a cause.
It’s not that this generation is completely detached from politics, though. But is mainstream millennial politics really going anywhere? More often than not, millennials find themselves crossing swords with each other, defending their improvised incarnations of different ideologies. On one hand, you have the alt-right who wants to sail onwards in their course by antagonizing an entire race and religion; while jumpy revisionists on the left and masked anarchists lose touch with ordinary people by grossly misinterpreting Marx and criminalizing all forms of worship and business.
When a moral authority buckles at the prospect of seductive instruments such as money, the system automatically rearranges itself to be in favour of the ones holding the bone
The only place, perhaps, where the two ends of the spectrum intersect is in their mutual features of a subtle craving for what we know as fascism, and the irresponsible loopholes within their system that could end up facilitating its establishment. In the end, it’s the authorities who benefit from these growing divisions. Like in chemical equilibriums, the two sides rise and fall to balance any abnormal change in the system, while the authorities gleefully watch. This allows it to further its own interests without drawing any attention or opposition from the people.
Returning to the matter at hand, we therefore see the necessity of probing why there’s such a rise of regressive mindset, as illustrated recently in the craze over an obnoxious video that made the rounds throughout social media.
Even though we grew up cheering the protagonist in the Meena cartoon for fighting against dowry, we now look away when news like a housewife being lashed in Thakurgaon arises. In 2011, the country’s highest court overturned the 2001 ban on fatwas. We should have known by then what we were inviting into our lives. In December 2017, we heard of the fatwa issued by a cleric in Kumarkhali, banning women from working in the fields. It brings us back to the talk about selective dissent, and the implications that the ordinary people in the role of spectators may draw from that. Would they not wonder if this is the only thing that Bangladeshi feminism stands for? It was only a matter of time before alt-right “men’s right activists” and our very own fundamentalist propagandists found a spokesperson in young people to give their beliefs the branding that they needed to have a place in the 21st century. If the progressives do not stand up against the atrocities that don’t concern them, then victory for their opposition is almost certain, aided by the lack of support from the common man who’ll fail to see its relevance and importance.
It’s surreal how there seems to be only two kinds of people left - two kinds of conversations, two kinds of gatherings. As a people, we seem to have grown totally immune to all violations of our rights. We have grown accustomed to trauma and tragedy. We accept the reality that “speaking out gets you killed; and if you get killed, well, you were asking for it.”
All of this boils down to the simplest of things, yet somehow the hardest for people to grasp. Bangladeshis didn’t become such void, hollow beings overnight. None of this happened accidentally. Blame whoever you want - the bourgeoisie, the patriarchy, the left, the right, your government, a foreign state, the Illuminati, whoever. When a strong, free generation of people loses the ability to articulate itself and establish itself without selling out to serve the lucrative structures promoted on the bright screens, it becomes, certainly and immediately, cows for slaughter. The most divided society is the least difficult to control.
It’s surreal how there seems to be only two kinds of people left - two kinds of conversations, two kinds of gatherings
The scenario stands such, that the realization of our common struggles, the deception to thwart the growth of that consciousness, learning and practicing solidarity are more vital than ever. Perhaps the most important measure that can be taken, despite how naive it may seem, is asking people to learn to love again, for love, perhaps, is the only thing left in this dystopia that cannot possibly be harnessed, capitalised, and made use of by any singular entity to serve itself.