Dhaka Burns

Well I’m finally stumped for words. A party affiliated president, now
has the triple roles of president, head of the military and head of
the ‘neutral’ caretaker government. While rumours of a military
takeover abound, and the prime minister’s son threatens that they will
not go to the streets ’empty handed’, the news that the leader of the
opposition has not threatened immediate protests, but has rather opted
to see how the new head of the caretaker government conducts himself,
is a healthy sign. Too many lives have already been lost.
A lot of changes need to take place to erase the mistrust created. A
genuinely non partisan group of advisers need to be selected, the
election commission and the voters list, both clearly not neutral,
need to be changed, and he has to clearly demonstrate that he is no
longer a puppet. Unlikely based on his track record, but one can hope.
Given the current mood, another sham election will surely light the
Shahidul Alam
29th October. Dhaka
Clashes between opposition and Jamaat due to demand for neutral head of caretaker government. (upload incomplete)
Above photographs taken on 28th October 2006 by Shahidul Alam.
And today 29th October 2006, a party affiliated president, makes himself president, head of military and head of ‘neutral’ caretaker government. Today’s photographs taken by Shehab Uddin. No unauthorised copying of any kind. To publish these or high res images, contact library@drik.net. More pictures and text to follow.

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.”

7 thoughts on “Dhaka Burns”

  1. I hope things will get back to some form of normalcy as soon as possible. The people’s voice must prevail to ensure a just democratic system is established with a sizeable opposition to provide a check and balance…. without any more spill of blood.

  2. I forwaded your report to a relative in Dhaka – he had this to say:
    We have passed some horrific days in Dhaka for the last few days. Just after Eid Dhaka was virtually cut up from from all areas of Bangladesh as opposition “Awami League” called for Hartal on the Last day of the ruling “BNP”. On that day Dhaka was like a battle ground and small riots were taking place everywhere between the two major political parties. In that Night whole city was turned into ghost city as nobody came out from their homes due to fear. Next two days remained same. Now situation improved but any time things may turn out different. So far we are all right but things may rapidly deteriorate as election days are approaching.

  3. Such a sad turn of events. Your photos and story are about all that reaches us here, as the Western media has no interest in it apparently. Now if they had oil, it might be different. Keep up the excellent work.
    Ya Haqq!

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