“Why look sad, man? Cheer up!” said a Hispanic customer to a Bangladeshi candy shop owner near a Queens Subway station while buying some nuts. The owner replied in a broken voice, “Me feel no good today, Amigo. Enemies harmed my country. They made my people kill each other. No good, you know!” I stopped by the store to buy some gums and overheard the conversation. It was obvious what the shop owner was referring to. It’s not just him, in fact, every expatriate Bangladeshi that I came across in last few days was upset for the painful experience that their beloved motherland has gone through lately—the systematic and pre-planned murder of several dozens of country’s well trained army officers and civilians in the hands a few misguided member of the country’s border security forces.
It’s already an established likelihood that the tragic crime in the name of so called ‘mutiny’ has been the result of a long and organized planning. There may have been dissatisfaction and complaint on the part of the BDR jawans for issues such as low salary, limited benefits, yet considering the magnitude of the event, it is likely that the immediate killers were instigated and used by forces and elements that were off the spot. Although there have been floating myriad hypothesis’ about real identity of the criminals—not an unusual phenomenon in the aftermath of such a tragic incident—preposterous assumptions and rumors must not divert our attention from the crucial objective of finding out the truth. As for the ongoing debate whether the government could have acted more efficiently to save the loss of lives, almost all Bangladeshis that I have spoken to in last few days hold this view that the government’s approach may not have been the best, but the immediate military intervention could have made it even worse. For now, we should let the investigation committee to come up with their findings about the culprits in long distance and their actual motives. The last things our nation need now are shallow rhetoric, blame games and politicians pointing fingers at each others as usual. True that we do not yet know who the mastermind is behind the killings but we learned that a friend would not do such harm to us. Isn’t it enough as a reason for us to unite and cooperate with each other so that such heinous crime could be averted in future?
“Amigo, we are no weak nation. We fought for our land, for our language.” The expatriate Bangladeshi that I quoted in the beginning told his customer before ending the conversation. Like him, we, the patriotic people of Bangladesh, must make this assertion clear that Bangladesh was born, not to perish, but to prevail. The tragic loss of lives in the recent incident has made us sad for sure, but certainly not weak.
To see us weak, must have been the enemy’s target; it’s, certainly, not ours.
March 03, 2009
About the writer: Jahed Ahmed is employed in the New York State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets. He is involved with www.mukto-mona.com, a South Asian network of humanists and freethinkers, and the Muktanwesha, a science and reason based magazine published from Dhaka. E-mail: [email protected]