Shahidul Alam: The Tide Will Turn
Edited by Vijay Prashad
Texts by Shahidul Alam and Arundhati Roy
To my fellow prisoners in Keraniganj Jail, and the youth of Bangladesh who continue to resist, and to Abrar Farhad who was murdered by fellow students for his defiance.
Book design by Shahidul Alam and Holger Feroudj / Steidl Design
7.3 x 9.3 in. / 18.5 x 23.5 cm
37 black-and-white and 74 colour photographs Four-colour process
€ 28.00 / £ 25.00 / US$ 30.00
“On the night of 5 August, I did not know if I was going to live or die,” writes Shahidul Alam, one of Bangladesh’s most respected photo- journalists, essayists and social activists, remembering his arrest, torture and eventual 101-day incarceration in Keraniganj Jail in 2018. Just a few hours before, he had given a television interview criticising the government’s brutal handling of the student protests of that year which had called for improved road safety and an end to wider social injustice—in his words, “the years of misrule, the corruption, the wanton killing, the wealth amassed by the ruling coterie.” Combining Alam’s photos and texts with those of a range of collaborators, including artwork by Sofia Karim and fellow inmates, The Tide Will Turn documents his experiences, the global support for his release, and the ongoing fight for secularism and democracy in Bangladesh and beyond.
Described by its editor Vijay Prashad as about “the beauty and tragedy of our world, about how to photograph that dialectic,
and about how to write about it,”
the book comprises four parts:
a record of Alam’s time in jail; a chapter each on art and politics, exploring their inevitable interconnectedness; and an exchange of letters between the imprisoned Alam and writer Arundhati Roy, proof of creativity’s endurance even when the state attempts to stifle it. Together, these form a layered critique of autocracy, one underpinned by Alam’s unyielding hope, his conviction that “the tide will turn, and the nameless, faceless people will rise…”
Your work, your photographs and your words, has, over decades, inscribed a vivid map of humankind in our part of the world—its pain, its joy, its violence, its sorrow and desolation, its stupidity, its cruelty, its sheer, crazy complicatedness—onto our consciousness. Your
work is lit up, made luminous, as much by love as it is by a probing, questioning anger born of witnessing at first hand the things that you have witnessed. Arundhati Roy