Pamelia Khaled: It has become imperative for us to sit down together and think how to stop killing in the name of religion and politics such as murder of Avijit Roy and the innocent public.
We all urge to all Bangladeshi social, political, religious institutions to lend their hands and hearts to be active how to stop killing and forced disappearance to uphold democracy and freedom of speech in Bangladesh. Killing of Avijit Roy’s incidents indicate that this mass killings of innocents and opponents is only pushing the voices of dissent to transform into fundamentalism. Have we not learned anything about radicalism from the past experiences in history of religious and political war?
Can we not respect other religion by saying “your religious dogma implies for yours and my religious or non- religious dogma imply only for myself”.
We acknowledge that Killing of non-believers, believers of other religion, or entire political oppositions in any country such as in Bangladesh and across the world, including the killing of political and religious extremists without proper justice is absolutely impractical.
“Banning any religious party and student wing will not prevent radicalization in Bangladesh”, we need to re-think about this suggestion that is delivered from all quarters, national and international voices.
However it could be mandatory for all parties to abolish student wing and teacher politics in all education sectors including universities to bring back educational environment in the country.
Avijit killing and many incidents of killing innocents across the country including ethnic people in the Chittagong Hill tracts areas indicate that government failed to uphold secularism and multiculturalism in the country. And recent public killings by petrol bomb clearly indicate that political parties lost their moral and ethics entirely. It is distinct that power greed moved the representative of these political parties becoming unjust, insane and inhuman.
Government’s ICT adviser advised that Dr Kamal Hossain and The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam and Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna should be arrested and tried for betrayal.
Government must be careful about this type of naive decision of arresting Dr. Kamal Hossain or Editor Mahfuz Anam for treachery, as none of them have political purpose besides expressing peoples’ right and democracy. Rather this sort of reckless speech delivery and declaration of arrest of Dr. Kamal Hossain or Editor Mahfuz Anam has consequences , it could turn government’s image into the pitfall.
If we critically think aren’t they voicing of all public and interpreting their opinions for the good of the Bangladesh social and political environment and its people.
However, it seems, sporadic killing will continue in Bangladesh and part of the world unabated until the opinion and views of opponents and believers of dissents of the living are throttled. We must ask question to our conscience, is that realistic to stop all the voices?
Questions and quandary arise: All politicians who are in power and oppositions must ask themselves: who are in power do they want to stay in power at all costs; who are not in power do they want to grab power at all costs, killing the innocents.
Likewise, all religious parties and its people who claim them as believers of Islam what they really want? Do they want to destroy the essence of Islamic thoughts, “ideas of co-existence”, or their self proclaiming thoughts of “radical notion of killing of non-believers”.
From the story of religious killing of Avijit and political killing of innocent public, what our common sense tell us to do. Only one sentence is enough to bring remedy of this problem. We can move forward again with a good spirit with the simple praxis- that is “love”: “let’s educate us about humanism and try hard to bring back “love” for each others to live in a nonviolent environment – for a “peaceful co-existence”?
We, the people, our hearts only urge you all to become conscientious: “let us work for freedom of speech and live together peacefully, forgetting our color, race, religious faith and political faith”.
The writer is Doctoral student in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
Research assistant, University of Toronto
Founder-President Volunteer Association for Bangladesh Canada