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When the sky falls

  • Published at 06:11 pm August 7th, 2018
This is not how are supposed to solve our problems
This is not how are supposed to solve our problems Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Desperate times call for desperate measures

My home country, Bangladesh, is in distress today.

The government has all but declared war on peaceful protesters, which has led to many minors, journalists, activists, adolescents, and adults getting gravely injured. Internationally renowned photojournalist Shahidul Alam was also recently picked up for speaking his mind to international media, and those with less international clout are faring much worse.

I wrote one of the earliest evidence-based opinion pieces on this topic on my recently launched website against authoritarianism. 48 hours later, this has been read over 17,000 times all over the world and has been trending on Reddit. This has invited many cyber attacks on my websites and personal injury threats to my person.

Under these circumstances, I am genuinely worried about the safety of myself and my family. But even more, I am worried about the health of the republic I hail from and the future of the people living there. I am worried about the daring brown eyes of a young student of mine who I could never stop from going to dangerous places, I am worried about the bohemian face of a friend who just smokes to keep his bohemian farce up, I am worried about the daunting journalists I never met but have been sharing an online life with for longer than I can remember. 

I am worried for my people.

Although I am left impaired by geography, I am still trying to do whatever I can. I am voicing my concerns in as many ways as possible, through my personal Facebook profile, page, platform, and nationally published columns, both in Bangla and English. This has made the flood of cyber and personal threats even stronger.

But I do not wish to stop any time soon. The time would not allow me to. But sitting thousands of miles away, I cannot do much more to break my body in order to get a torrent of garbled words out there.

Those on my streets are doing much more. They have put their bodies on the line for change, for hope, and for the demand of peace and justice. What could have been a simpler demand? What could have been a more rational one? Why is the state failing to see this easy truth? 

Under these circumstances, I want to ask you, the reader, this question: Can you do anything to support any part of my work and/or help provide me with any sort of means to voice myself against a government now gone wild?

There is no way for you to answer this, as you all are so far dispersed and so diverse, but to translate your answer into actions. I will wait for that answer to take form.

Until then, let me ask you this: What if you were walking down your favourite street one fine afternoon, and the sky started falling? What would you do? What do you do when the sky falls? 

If this happened to me, I would go desperate and wild. I would take extraordinary measures. I would compromise a lot of my values to save what I love. I would act erratically. I would act promptly. And I would take risks, terrible risks, and think about them later.

This is not how are supposed to solve our problems in a perfect world, yes. But our skies are not supposed to fall either. 

Anupam Debashis Roy is the Editor of Muktiforum.