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The boy who went back

  • Published at 06:50 pm July 1st, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:53 pm July 1st, 2017
The boy who went back

We need to tell the story of Faraaz Ayaz Hossain. We need for it to be told, and retold.

Do you remember that breathless, sleepless night at the end of the dreadful day when Rana Plaza collapsed? Do you remember staying up, hoping against hope that the woman they believed was still alive underneath all those tonnes of rubble would make it out okay? And do you remember your heart contracting inside your chest when we found out she would not?

We have had far too many of those heartbreaks.

Faraaz’s is our own salvation story: A tale so noble that it does not seem to belong to this graceless age. An event that, over the passage of time, will surely take on the semblance of a parable, a folk tale.

If it does, though, it will be a quintessentially Bangladeshi fable, for it ends in tragedy.

Because Faraaz was the boy who went back. Knowing he was courting death, he was the young man who would not leave his two female friends with people who meant them harm, even though he was free to go.

But for one brief shining moment there, Faraaz went back for Tarishi and Abinta, surely knowing the risk to his own young life, and all was glorious

Neither of his companions shared his nationality, and one was of a different religious persuasion, but all of that was immaterial to Faraaz. Because, you see, they were his friends.

Now, I know there are those who are saying all this is not true; that Faraaz was not a hero but a monster. To them I have this to say: I know you are lying, and I know why. And I pity the fact that you don’t have a soul.

Our land grieves the senseless massacre of too many people today by young men not much older than Faraaz and his companions Tarishi Jain and Abinta Kabir, people brutally cut down simply because the murderers did not approve of the way they lived. Our besieged, disconsolate land has seen way too many of these episodes of late.

But for one brief shining moment there, Faraaz went back for Tarishi and Abinta, surely knowing the risk to his own young life, and all was glorious.

So we need to tell their story. We need to repeat it till it feels like one of those stories that has been passed on for generations, until it becomes one of those stories.

Because, as implausible as it might seem to future generations, Faraaz went back for his companions. And died with them rather than letting them die alone.

And if there is one Faraaz Ayaz Hossain among us, surely there are many.