Writer Rafida Ahmed Bonya (hereafter Bonya), the wife of the founder of Mukto-Mona, famous freethinking Bengali writer Avijit Roy (1972-2015; hereafter Avijit), has arrived in London to deliver this year’s prestigious Voltaire Lecture organized by British Humanist Association (BHA). The lecture will be held in Hilton London Metropole Hotel on July 2. BHA is organizing this lecture every year. Last year the lecture was given by Jim Al-Khalili, the president of BHA, and the year before that famous cognitive scientist Steven Pinker was the speaker.
This year’s lecture is titled “Fighting machetes with pens”, and after an almost half-an-hour speech Bonya will participate in a conversation with Jim followed by answering questions from the audience. Bonya will talk about Avijit and her views and activism for which Avijit had to pay a price with his life. Avijit and Bonya went to Bangladesh in February 2015 to attend the annual book fair in Dhaka, and they were attacked by several machete-wielding assailants on 26 February while returning from the fair; Avijit died in the attack and Bonya was severely injured. Al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent affiliated Islamic terrorist organization Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility of the attack.
Mukto-Mona community is proud of the works of Avijit Roy, and just as Bonya gained her inspiration and confidence to go on with her life, writing and acitvism from this community created by Avijit, so we, the members of Mukto-Mona, are being reminded constantly that if Bonya can go on, nothing can stop us from going on upholding science, reason and humanism as candles in the dark.
MANY THANKS FOR ALL YOU DID FOR US, BONYA, AND BEST WISHES FOR YOUR SPEECH.