Saturday, September 19, 2020
Bangla blogger’s widow

Three years is a long, long-term. Or perhaps, it isn’t considering the fact that some wounds are perpetually uncooked. The compulsion to transport on simplest forces the scars to be hidden underneath the carapaces of scabbed-over sensibilities.
Avijit Roy – an outstanding secularist and atheist – had earned his percentage of buddies and enemies in view that 2001 after he set up the Mukto-Mona internet site. It changed into the first platform of its type for Bengali atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and secular writers. His spouse, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, turned into one of its members.

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On February 26, 2015, the couple has become the goal of their enemies while machete-wielding attackers attempted to silence them for all time out of doors the Dhaka Ekushey Book Fair. Brutally attacked, the duo lay in a pool of blood outside the book fair premises. Alone photojournalist, Jibon Ahmed, got here forward to assist.
Roy hadn’t survived. His spouse did. That despite the four large machete stabs in her head, every round seven inches lengthy. Doctors had later stated that if the machete had sunk into her higher neck via just some other millimeter, “that might have been it”.
After the latest assault on Bangladeshi science fiction author and educationist Prof Muhammad Zafar Iqbal in Sylhet, it once more brought on an upsurge of feelings in her. As she started out sharing her issues with TOI, Ahmed questioned if it’s miles best about religion this is leading to such attacks.
Perhaps, it isn’t accurate to analyze the incidents thru this prism on my own.
Ahmed, a most cancers survivor, doesn’t have an awesome memory of her personal assault as her mind had then drifted through varying tiers of attention after being targeted. Recollections of the photojournalist and the blood-stained snapshots assist her to stitch the flip of events. Ahmed presumes she had tried to put up a combat towards the attacker and had perhaps grabbed the machete. That’s how her palms had been cut and the thumb had got sliced off.
Many had presumed that Roy had bled to demise instantaneous. But in a recent YouTube interview with atheist blogger Arifur Rahman, Ahmed discovered that Roy changed into alive even after being taken to the hospital. As he lay on the stretcher subsequent to her, she ought to pay attention he groans. Those recollections maintain haunting her even these days while she wakes up from sleep. Little did she then recognize that she might in no way get to peer her ‘Avi’ once more. By her own admission, if she had, Ahmed would have attempted to arise from her stretcher and be near him.
She has memories of her palms being bandaged. Her wounds hadn’t yet been stitched. Ahmed had only pleaded with every person to shop him… if required, airlift him to Singapore… she could endure all the value… But, Roy hadn’t survived.

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Ahmed did. Her sliced-off left thumb isn’t the most effective scar she now lives with as a visiting studies pupil at the University of Texas at Austin. Ever due to the fact that then, everything in her lifestyles, along with her mind, has were given “scattered”. Dealing with the overpowering loss and taking up the assignment of rebuilding herself isn’t smooth. On April 20, Ahmed will speak about how she fared on these counts at her TED talk. She agreed to share her concerns about other problems in this interview:
What was your immediate reaction while you heard approximately the assault on acclaimed Bangladeshi author Muhammed Zafar Iqbal?
I initially felt unhappy and helpless as I did with all the other assaults. I could not find words to explicit my frustration. All I wrote on Facebook that day became: ‘get nicely quickly, team spirit and love’.
But because it stepped forward thru the day, I started out questioning that it changed into no longer only approximately religion. It isn’t about offending Islam anymore either. The authorities, one the one hand, needs us to believe that these are all remoted incidents (don’t neglect that they blame the bloggers for his or her personal deaths). On the opposite hand, these Islamic militants say this is approximately Islam. Professor Zafar Iqbal by no means ‘offended’ any faith. He has shown his religiosity on various occasions. Then, what is it sincerely?
I think what we are seeing is the intense intolerance to any idea. If you do no longer like something, you need to hack it through force. Might is right. That’s the only language we have reverted to as a society. If you look closely, Islamic militants aren’t the simplest ones who’re illiberal – we are experiencing it in every stroll of existence.
The Awami League government has systematically bumped off the opposition forces (proper or terrible does not count number). Don’t get me incorrect. I am now not announcing that our opposition political forces are any better than Awami League! Governments kill human beings in crossfire all the time. Even one of the main suspects of our attack, Sharif, was killed in a crossfire beneath police protection. It makes your query, what are they afraid of?
I know people will not want to listen to this… I saw that the scholars beating up the attacker who stabbed Professor Iqbal so badly that he changed into nearly useless. The police reputedly locked him up in a room. Nobody cared to take him to the health facility for hours until a physician pleaded that he could die if he wasn’t taken to the sanatorium right now. I have visible posts after posts on social media applauding this beating. I understand that is the spontaneous reaction of the mob, now not a consciously planned attack like the attacker did. But in case you reflect consideration on it, this is also another kind of intolerance.

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They are also the usage of ‘would possibly’ without even considering the situation or the effects nearly. Nobody idea that this man had to be protected because he needed to be interrogated about his links, funding, influences and the real mastermind behind the attack.
I assume this may show up whilst human beings have lost their self-assurance in the whole device. Nobody trusts the gadget. Nobody had any hope that the government or the police will dig deep, get to the root of the hassle or convey human beings to justice. On the only hand, impunity is so excessive that offenders recognize they can escape committing any crime in the event that they have cash and/or political have an impact on. On the opposite hand, you recognize that you may in no way get justice. If you’re a sufferer or a bystander, either you live away because you are afraid otherwise you beat the perpetrator to demise whilst you get an opportunity to achieve this.
If your appearance carefully, we see the same trend not most effective in case of thoughts. We see this everywhere. You use your might to advantage something you need if you have the strength at any stage. We see oppression at the minorities starting from the Hindus, Ahmadis to the human beings inside the Hill Tracts. A mere thief gets overwhelmed to dying, a rickshawala gets slapped for the smallest mistake, home employees are abused all the time or even teenage college girls get dragged interior marches and meetings and get sexually assaulted in public.