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Bangladesh: The extremists are actually killing freedom of speech and freedom of expression | Meghna Guhathakurta

18 November 2015

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The Daily Star - November 02, 2015

"Terming these as ‘isolated incidents’ will only embolden the terrorists"

Meghna Guhathakurta

One after another, our citizens are being killed, but we are yet to see a proactive approach from the government. Maybe they don’t realise that the blogger killings are damaging the country’s stability. What the government must understand is that by killing the bloggers and publishers, the extremists are actually killing freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The question is: why is the government unable to look at this in a broader perspective? They should be looking at it in a much more strategic way.

Terming these as "isolated incidents" is one way of depoliticising them. Such statements will only embolden the terrorists to carry out more attacks. This government was involved in the Liberation War, so they must know how guerrilla tactics work. Terrorist attacks are always isolated incidents. The main point is whether or not the government is willing to take anti-terrorist strategies.

They have now targeted the publishers because publishers are free thinkers who believe in freedom of opinions. If the government now trivialises these incidents, there may come a time when they, too, will be obstructed from giving their free opinions. I don’t understand why the government is failing to see the impending danger.

The government seems to have accepted this anti-blogger stance to maintain their own interest. We have observed an anti-blogger, anti-atheist discourse, equating bloggers with atheists, since the time of Hefazat-e-Islam, a discourse which was not there at the time of the Shahbagh movement.

Those who are carrying out such brutal attacks thought that they had a control over the youth of the country, which seems to not be the case. Our young generation believes in secularism, so the other side, which believes in religion-based politics, feels threatened. One can only assume that they are attacking the free-thinkers to retain their control.

On our part what we can do is make people understand that such attacks will not be limited only on the bloggers and that eventually, we all are going to be affected by this. Those who are fighting against these extremists and terrorists have not been able to spread this message among the masses, whereas the terrorists understand the message quite well. Our middle class has always been complacent. We have to break this complacency.


The above article from The Daily Star is reproduced here for educational and non commercial use