Forty-four years are not enough to wash away the scars of war. Today, however, is a day that epitomises the spirit of resilience and the unwavering commitment to justice and equality that Bangladeshis have had since before they had a land to call their own.
Watching the state of our nation, one cannot help but feel that forty-four years have, sadly, been enough to extinguish that light that led the way, preceding the nine months of horror.
Mine is the first generation that cannot lay any claims to the bold proclamations and the most difficult of labours that birthed our country. Cut adrift by those who lived those dark days, surging forward with the hope of having something to proudly call their own, we can only feign a passionate nationalism.
The intravenous drip feeds us mangled remains of our proud heritage, corrupted by those who lived through those dark days, but now diminish their essence, destroy their meaning.
The catheter that leads out of us, thus, regurgitates that same bile. Patriotism is dead, the meaning of independence is lost. Yet, today we take to the burning streets and paint them green and red. The green browning as the rot sets in, the red is borrowed from the darkening dried stains on the land across the country for the past two and a half months.
Two and a half months of violence, idiocy, moral and ideological bankruptcy, passing for politics -- absurdity is the new normality. The small fraction who write on these pages for a larger subset of an insignificant percentage of the population that is being held hostage to this unconscionable absurdity will do what it has been doing for those two and a half months and continue to pontificate, to proffer, to pronounce. There will be eulogies and paeans aplenty flowing from scribes such as myself.
We should be thrown on the same pyre the real average Bangladeshi has been burning on since the year began -- at least then we can truly represent the average citizen of this land for whom we have failed miserably to speak as our leaders have abjectly failed to serve them.
I take pride in the reality of my country, I celebrate that. Set aside the bureaucratic nonsense that showers us with statistics about a pitiful middle-income dream, peel away the comforts afforded by being privileged -- and make no mistake, if you have the ability to read this, you are privileged by Bangladeshi standards, perhaps with aspirations of becoming one of the elite.
Behold the grandeur of being complicit in dysfunction becoming acceptable to the ruling class, the burden forced on the rest of our Golden Bangladesh whom we care very little about.
Mine is yet another generation that fails to feel the pulse of the country, chasing evermore the selfish goals of material gains, quenching increasingly self-centred delectable desires.
Speaking for the nation, lamenting it, joining in the partisan celebrations within it, serve those personal objectives. We do not understand the country and its people. We do not wish to, hence we do not ask them. We simply seek to announce that we know best. The pride we take in celebrating the March 26 serves the dual purpose of glossing over our miserable failures -- again, make no mistake, the failure is not the country’s or the majority of its citizens’, it is ours, the privileged, and the more culpable elite -- that have created our present reality in this nightmarish cul-de-sac, and of promoting us. Worthless cretins see themselves as demigods. In Bangladesh, that delusion is forced upon the masses.
Mine is the generation who make up the majority of the population celebrating independence today. Not knowing the pains at which it was obtained has made us take that precious word for granted rather than treasuring it.
The phenomenon can be seen across Europe. Countries that colonised do not know the true horrors of being colonised, and the sweet taste of usurping the coloniser at too high a cost. We stand by and see freedoms being taken away from the citizens -- the elite negotiate a settlement that gives members of the class conditional freedoms that, like the riches they continue to amass by remorselessly pillaging, do not trickle down to those they oppress and plunder -- because we did not have to fight to obtain them, and, therefore, know not that we need to fight to protect them.
We have meekly surrendered the independence that our parents and grandparents fought for and won, and we did not even wait for their bones to begin to turn to dust in the soil that they willingly and valiantly bled on so that we could have somewhere to call home. We are the hopelessly lost souls who celebrate intangibles without knowing their meaning or value.