“We don’t want to be seen as atheists.” So says Sajeeb Wajed, the son and special advisor of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Free-thinker Ananta Bijoy Das is brutally murdered. Professor Jafor Iqbal is persona non grata in Sylhet, so says Awami League. Malaysia and Thailand turn away desperate boat people at sea; and most of those people are Bangladeshis. Saudi Arabia is to hire 30,000 women from Bangladesh. Libya bans Bangladeshi workers.
What is behind these news items that came out of Bangladesh recently? There is actually a common reason behind all these seemingly diverse news pieces. Let us look at them one by one.
What was Mr. Wajed talking about? He was justifying the fact that his government did not show any sympathy to the family of Dr. Avijit Roy who was savagely murdered by suspected Islamic extremists on February 26, 2015. Among others, the family includes his elderly, sick and bedridden mother, his elderly father who is the nation’s top award winning professor, Dr. Ajoy Roy, and Bonya Ahmed, Avijit’s wife, who was seriously injured in the attack that killed him. Avijit was a popular science writer, a scientist, an engineer, an information technology expert, a rational thinker and a humanist. Obviously, with all these virtues, he was an atheist.
The question is did Mr. Wajed and his government have to be atheists, or to appear to be atheists, in order to have the decency and responsibility of condemning a brutal murder or of trying their best to bring the criminals to justice? Whatever the reason for his government’s negligence in bringing the criminals to justice, or whatever his reason for the unnecessary declaration of not being atheists, how would the religious criminals look at it? Wouldn’t they find it supportive of them to commit more of their barbaric acts of protecting their religion?
Thus, it is not surprising that the Islamic hate-criminals brutally murdered Washikur Rahman Babu on March 30, 2015, and Ananta Bijoy Das on May 12, 2015. Washiqur was a 26 years old blogger and Ananta was a 30 years old highly talented writer and blogger. Like Avijit, they both were humanists, who wished everything good for all people, including the followers of Islam.
So, what was the problem with Professor Jafor Iqbal? He criticized Sajeeb Wajed for his comments in a recent Reuters report, including the comment that has been included earlier in this article. Before that, he demanded justice for Ananta Bijoy Das, who was a student of the university where he taught. The demonstration or the declaration of persona non grata by Awami League, the current government party of Bangladesh, was actually a minor humiliation involving Professor Iqbal. The major humiliation was when an Awami League MP expressed his audacity of lashing this highly respected senior professor for a foolish allegation that is not worth dignifying by mentioning in this article. That was before the murder of Ananta, who protested against the MP’s arrogance.
The desperate people on sea-boats that are trying to find refuge in the Southeast Asian countries are mostly from Bangladesh. Reportedly, due to fights for food on a boat, almost a hundred people died. What it shows is that Bangladesh has too many poor people who feel so helpless in their own country that they would take such horrible risks to find a living elsewhere in the world.
Are the Saudi’s in love with Bangladeshi women? Not at all. In fact they recently banned their people from marrying Bangladeshi women. What are these 30,000 women up to in the Saudi Arabia? They will be house maids, with practically no dignity. They could be physically and sexually abused by their masters with impunity. There goes the protection of women by burqa, which has been an increasingly popular attire for the regressing Bangladeshi womenfolk!
Libya is not a place where anyone wishes to be in right now. So, why are Bangladeshis eager to go to that country? Their purpose is evidently to migrate from there to Western Europe by taking a very dangerous and illegal boat ride across the Mediterranean Sea.
So, in Bangladesh, the sense of honesty, honor, justice, dignity and self-respect is on a sharp decline; and it is showing up in many different ways. At the same time Islamization of the population and the state, which has been like a chronic disease that occasionally flares up to the acute phase, is now growing sharply. Is there a correlation between these two factors? Who is going to analyze that honestly and rationally? The non-violent humanists are so helpless in Bangladesh.