Stretching the Deadline

An extra day! Not unusual in itself, but considering that a deadline had been announced so long ago, it seems a strange thing to ask for. What could happen in that extra day that could not have happened before? This extra day brings fresh violence, and while the advisers give us hope of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, it is unfortunate that yet more loss of life continues while the politicians do their tap dance. If the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) is to step down, he should do so soon. The presence of a party appointee as head of state, head of military and head of government is bad enough. An appointee Chief Election Commissioner armed with a rigged voter list simply cannot be the basis of a fair and free election.
If there be a genuine belief in a multiparty system, the process must involve, putting in place a caretaker government with backbone, and accepting a free and fair election regardless of the outcome.
Providing electricity, ensuring wage increase for garment workers, eliminating rampant corruption and ensuring freedom from extortion and ?crossfire? are far better means of ensuring support, than empty rhetoric, paid goons and spineless sycophants in key positions. There is more blood on the streets today. It is time politicians were made accountable.
It was Nasreen’s birthday on the 18th, but though friends gathered in their Dhanmondi home and sang songs, and Jamila stayed her chirpy self, gloom pervaded the air. The article in the Daily Star brought up renewed doubts about corruption, cover-ups and selling out the country.
Pathshala alumni Monirul Alam is on vigil outside President House. The expectation is that the CEC will be bringing his resignation letter. Drik photographer Shehab Uddin is in Nepal following the peace agreement. Perhaps we too can hope for peace.
Burning car at Russel Square, close to Pathshala earlier in the afternoon.
Singing in Mirpur Road
Protesting lawyers coming out of the Supreme Court
Open air concert at Russel Square last night.
Friends singing on Nasreen’s birthday
Chobi Mela IV continues despite it all. Rashid Talukder opened the splendid exhibition resulting from Morten Krogvold’s workshop, at Shilpakala Academy.
Despite my scraggly beard, Torsten thought I was Father Christmas when I went to drop off the Chobi Mela gift packs at the Goethe Institut, insisting that he teach me the German song that Santa Claus would have sung.
Two and a half years after the opening of the gallery, the airconditioners had still not been installed, but the viewers were not to be deterred, nor were the rag pickers outside Drik, Shanta and her friends, who decided the cool open space of Drik’s new gallery was the best place to try out their break dancing routine.
I am sure my pictures on the walls enjoyed their dance. I know I did.

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

3 thoughts on “Stretching the Deadline”

  1. I have been following the story in the news, worried and frightened for the people, but also for the democratic process itself and all who have died for it. Again, we take so much for granted in the US. While many here are working to preserve rights that we feel are being eroded, no one is dying in the streets. Yet it seems to me that the whole world is being high-jacked by the interests of big business. People are like fodder for this machine. Our young men in Iraq ARE dying. I feel they are dying for profiteers and strategic economic positioning. But I digress… Prayers for you and your compatriots in this terrible struggle.
    Thank you for showing us, and for continuing with Chobi Mela IV despite all.

  2. Lasst uns froh und munter sein
    Lasst uns froh und munter sein
    und uns recht von Herzen freun!
    Lustig, lustig, trallerallera !
    Bald ist Nikolausabend da,
    bald ist Nikolausabend da!
    Dann stell ich den Teller auf,
    Nikolaus legt gewi? was drauf.
    Lustig, lustig, trallerallera,
    bald ist Nikolausabend da!
    Wenn ich schlaf, dann tr?ume ich,
    jetzt bringt Nikolaus was f?r mich.
    Lustig, lustig, trallerallera,
    nun war Nikolausabend da!
    Wenn ich aufgestanden bin,
    lauf ich schnell zum Teller hin.
    Lustig, lustig, trallerallera,
    nun war Nikolausabend da!
    Nikolaus ist ein braver Mann,
    dem man nicht genug danken kann.
    Lustig, lustig trallerallera,
    heut war Nikolausabend da!

Leave a Reply