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Tolerating Death in a Culture of Intolerance

Another blogger. Ananta Bijoy Das, murdered today. Police too busy beating up students to notice:
Anonto blogger killed with text———————————————————————————————————-
Tolerating Death in a Culture of Intolerance | Economic and Political Weekly.
COMMENTARY Economic & Political Weekly EPW MARCH 21, 2015 vol l no 12 11 by?Shahidul Alam
The daylight murder of Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy in Dhaka on 26 February reflects the culture of fear and intolerance that has built up in the country over the last few decades. As a result, the middle ground between the extremes has disappeared.
Returning home with your wife, from a book fair where you have been signing autographs, seems a peaceful enough activity. It was in the heart of the university area, and it was not late. The footpath next to Ramna Park, where the 1971 surrender document had been signed, was full of people. Shahbagh Police Thana was nearby, and a police barricade designed to keep visitors to the mela safe, was only a few yards away. Hardly the scene crime stories are made of.
Location of murder of Dr. Avijit Roy near Dhaka University Teachers Students Centre (TSC) roundabout. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Interview of Rafiur Rabbi by Shahidul Alam

Interview: Shahidul Alam and Rahnuma Ahmed
Transcript: Saydia Gulrukh Kamal
Translation: Hana Shams Ahmed



Interview of Rafiur Rabbi, father of murdered teenager Tanvir Mohammad Toki of Narayanganj. from Shahidul Alam on Vimeo.
Transcript of interview of cultural activist Rafiur Rabbi of Narayanganj. The body of Rabbi’s teenage son, a brilliant student from Narayanganj, was found in the river. He had been tortured. It is generally felt in Narayanganj (as Rabbi himself feels), that this was done by Shameem Osman, considered the godfather of Narayanganj, to stop Rabbi from impeding his (Shameem’s) business.
The murder of Toki follows a similar pattern where over the years, people who have resisted activities by Shameem Osman’s family have been murdered.

Tanvir Mohammad Toki, wgi was murdered in Narayanganj. The family blame the godfather of Narayanganj, Shameem Osman.
Tanvir Mohammad Toki, wgi was murdered in Narayanganj. The family blame the godfather of Narayanganj, Shameem Osman.

Shahidul Alam: Rabbi bhai. A father who has lost his child, it is very difficult to question but I am questioning you because, you are a special person, your role is different, we do not see Towki as your child only, we see him as our child too, we see him as Bangladesh?s child, and that is why we need to find out. If you could tell us a few things about Towki at first.
Fazle Rabbi, cultural activist from Narayanganj, father of murdered teenager Tanvir Mohammad Toki. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Rafiur Rabbi, cultural activist from Narayanganj, father of murdered teenager Tanvir Mohammad Toki. Photo: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Rafiur Rabbi: His mother will be able to say more about Toki than I will be able to, what I can say from my position is that, Toki was different from 8/10 other boys. His thoughts and concerns were completely different. ?

An ode to Biswajit

Freedom fighter at Suhrwardy Uddyan. 26th March 2012. Dhaka. Bangladesh. Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

He stopped at every print. Getting close to scrutinise every character, pausing more at some that perhaps stirred a memory. He smiled broadly when I approached him. ?eto amar chobi tulsen? (it is me you?ve photographed) he said. This was his war. He remembered the pain the terror, the joy. He had never applied for registration. No card, no land, no perks. He had never been asked to speak at a dais extolling his glory. Victory being won, he had drifted out the way he had drifted in.

He was a Baul singer, living off the alms given by visitors to Suhrwardy Uddayan, where the deed of surrender had been signed on the 16th December 1971. He had no regrets for his lack of wealth, or for not having had his share of the spoils of war. It was our departure from the values that had driven him and his fellow muktijodhdhas (freedom fighters) that saddened him. He had a great love for Mujib, and felt we had let him down.

An Assassination?s Long Shadow

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By Adam Hochschild

Published: January 16, 2011 in the New York Times

TODAY, millions of people on another continent are observing the 50th anniversary of an event few Americans remember, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. A slight, goateed man with black, half-framed glasses, the 35-year-old Lumumba was the first democratically chosen leader of the vast country, nearly as large as the United States east of the Mississippi, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This treasure house of natural resources had been a colony of Belgium, which for decades had made no plans for independence. But after clashes with Congolese nationalists, the Belgians hastily arranged the first national election in 1960, and in June of that year King Baudouin arrived to formally give the territory its freedom.
?It is now up to you, gentlemen,? he arrogantly told Congolese dignitaries, ?to show that you are worthy of our confidence.?
The Belgians, and their European and American fellow investors, expected to continue collecting profits from Congo?s factories, plantations and lucrative mines, which produced diamonds, gold, uranium, copper and more. But they had not planned on Lumumba.

Lumumba. The first democratically chosen leader of Congo. Illustration: Riccardo Vecchio

A dramatic, angry speech he gave in reply to Baudouin brought Congolese legislators to their feet cheering, left the king startled and frowning and caught the world?s attention. Lumumba spoke forcefully of the violence and humiliations of colonialism, from the ruthless theft of African land to the way that French-speaking colonists talked to Africans as adults do to children, using the familiar ?tu? instead of the formal ?vous.? Political independence was not enough, he said; Africans had to also benefit from the great wealth in their soil.