Today is 5 years since Al Qaeda attacked my parents with machetes and killed my dad Avijit Roy for being an atheist writer. 5 years.
Since I was little, I’ve felt that time doesn’t move fast enough. But there were moments in the last 5 years where it felt like time wasn’t moving at all.
There were days that felt like weeks. Nights that felt like years. There was the FBI telling me I could be targeted and attacked, too. There were officials telling me to watch my back, to not go anywhere alone, to never return to Bangladesh.
The past few days have been really hard — my body decided to recreate the first few months after the attack with PTSD flashes, horrible sleep, constant fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.
But living through that again made me realize how far I’ve come. That isn’t my daily reality anymore.
So here’s a friendly, unsolicited reminder to anyone who’s still reading that even the biggest tragedies come with silver linings. Ones that make you re-evaluate everything and live passionately and realize how resilient humans are.
Today, I am pleasantly surprised to still be alive. I am proud of not only my mom (Bonya Ahmed) but also myself for all the kickass things we’ve done in the past 5 years. Thank you to everyone who helped — in big and little ways — since the attack. I’m more grateful for you than I have the words to say.
Avijit Roy was a well-known writer, blogger, and activist who founded Mukto-mona, an online platform for freethinkers. Bonya Ahmed is a humanist activist, blogger and author who continues to work towards their shared goals. Roy was an advocate of free expression in Bangladesh, coordinating international protests against government censorship and imprisonment of atheist bloggers. He was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 26 February 2015; Islamic militant organization Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility for the attack