Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Who will speak for the dead? Demand an end to violence

Update : 21 Apr 2013, 03:28 PM

For all our pride and arrogance-filled daily bedroom rants against those who have destroyed our nation, we forget that we are part of the problem.

Our tacit acceptance of tragic events and our short-term memory is absolutely unforgivable.

This is a democracy. We are as much to blame for the state of our nation as any other actor in the demise of civility as a whole. We no longer value life or truth in any real sense of the words. Both of which must be held as a sacred standard for any developed society to flourish.

Why are we not disgusted to the point of doing something, at the death of our brothers, rape of our sisters, murders of officers on duty, killings of innocent citizens and those lost in countless accidents every day?

We must re-tune ourselves to the reality that surrounds us and not be as detached as we seem to be at this point in time. We must fight the gamification of violence that pervades every sphere of life in Bangladesh.

We can get thousands to demonstrate in Lungis for rickshawallahs in Baridhara, but we can’t gather numbers for people dying every day as a result of political violence?

A man dying in Fatikchhari or Fatulla should be as disturbing to us as a neighbour or family member falling victim to a crime.

Who will speak for the dead and maimed if we all stay in agreed silence, or pick sides?

I have been asked before of what anyone could possibly do in a country like ours, citing countless examples of failed attempts and my response is to keep trying. It is important to not stop until you get a response.

We must demand an end to violence. That should be a primary social priority now.

Write to your MP and the prime minister. Stage a demonstration truly devoid of political lineage. Take a little bit of time out to open a blog and gather support.

Make your voice heard on Twitter. Call your nearest television channel and newspaper and demand they cover your concerns.

Make yourself heard on Facebook. Tell ten people you are friends with to voice their concerns daily in some public forum. Call out anyone who directly or indirectly defends violence.

Seek nothing but the truth to be recognised, and justice for those who have passed away, and an end to confrontational politics! Seek constitutional reforms that ban such confrontations.

Simplify your arguments; ask for an end to the violence, is it really that hard for us to do as a society?That should be a simple enough one point demand. Be a sincere activist; it’s easier now than ever before in our history as a species.

Ask yourself why are we a nation that finds it so easy to utilise these matters as a momentary talking point and nothing beyond? At what point, does it all become too much to do something about? Why do we end up politicising the dead?

Why, when we gather in historical numbers to demand justice, as we did in Shahbagh, is it that we don’t do so to end the violence in politics, corruption and other substantive matters? You have a choice.

Do something about it.


Do not let a vocal minority highjack your voice for their own agenda and cite you as an active example of their support base.

Remember that as long as we ignore the truth, devalue the dead as a statistic, and do not take an affront to the depreciation of civility, we will carry on blowing out the candles that give our society light. 

Mattew Islam is CEO of Profusion Textiles and is a Barrister-at-Law by education. He blogs at matthewislam.com and tweets as @matthewislam

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