Metallic Tragedy

Nayeem Hossain

Nayeem Hossain

If you ask a child what is the color of Bangladesh’s flag, I think all of them can say Green and Red. Don’t ask the meaning of the colors. They might say, green is olive and red is, well the blood. Blood of innocence. I am a very optimistic person by nature, not cautiously optimist, an optimist. When something bothers me, I like to talk about it, so someone can correct me if I’m wrong; or will give a positive light or a solution to it. I have said many times in the past that Dhaka is becoming Gotham city. We are building an Arkham Asylum without even knowing. Now it seems the asylum is spreading its boundaries. Some recent incidents are just another evidence to that truth.

I started with the color of our flag. If green was to represent the natural beauty and red was to identify the sacrifice to protect that, I didn’t know we’ll have to regularly sacrifice to validate the symbolism. I can understand when the Mughals, the British came and butchered people from Bengal. They were here for the land, locals wanted to protect it from invaders and gave their lives. Pakistan is a bit different to me, we fought for our identity and we gave lives to establish that. But in an independent country when you have to give life to protect your land and belongings, at a micro level that individuals identity, that is kinda disturbing to me. And if that bullet came from a gun that was paid and bought by the people used against, then it’s not disturbing, it’s tragic. That tragedy has been written over and over again. I understand this is not the first time, but when will it end can anyone please tell me?

United States has some basic amendments that are considered the founding stone of the country’s rule of law. After free speech, which is the corner stone of any democracy, it’s right to bare arms. I asked once one of my professor, why would a free country need to give it’s citizens the right to have weapons. He looked and me and smiled, then said “When the person in front of you know his strength is not in having gun, he’ll listen to you.” What he meant was, if state becomes tyrant and uses force, citizens have the option to show force. States duty is to protect your life and property, but you have the ‘right’ to do so too. Now that might be the thinking of a country which is used to carry weapons for protection in the 1700s, but still many would want more gun control but will never ask to abolish the ‘right’. Why, I can realize when I see the reality in Bangladesh. When your system uses metal and you defend with flesh, I don’t know how many people actually listens. In no manner I want to see people in Bangladesh having the right to carry conceal weapon. Our mob mentality don’t approve that in any way, but I think state system has realized they’ll always have the upper hand. Because, they have metal, machine to suppress. I think it’s also a tragedy of the third world that we see protectors becoming predators, the meat silenced in butcher shops. Money and power talks, but so do metal. We are experts in using it.

I remember the streets of Dhaka. When ever we had traffic problem back in the days when it was at least manageable, in came men with arms. I wondered if controlling traffic was their primary job or not, and why the same rickshaw puller  who used to break signals to risk his life to drive from the wrong side all of a sudden became law abiding citizen. Now I know, it’s not the man it’s the machine he carries and the might he represents. Even to enforce law and order we have to use the machine. The story is always the same in the newspapers, but the names and places change. And all of a sudden crime rate drops and we think well not bad! We all thought not bad, until the machine came for one of us. Like everything man has a breaking point too, the stress point when he’ll also break. For an ordinary man it seems the maximum he can do to protest is to give his life and we are doing it in plenty. It’s not only an issue at a state or political level, the society has also realized that force prevails flesh.

Rise a Phoenix, a Phoenix of order...

From now on, if you have to protest against any wrong doing around you, make sure you do what most of us do-nothing. If you are a teacher trying to protect students, or mother trying to protect children remember one thing, chances are very high you might not live to see the result of the protest. We have learned now, the most that might happen is a few days of news lead, a few blog entries. Once you use enough force, there won’t be any protest after a while. The interesting thing is, the birds of same feather did flock together. One did it and others learned quickly. I guess we have to learn even quicker the inner message to keep quite, because it’s our lives that’s in risk.

Our mob mentality has made us beasts, and we learned a beast has to be shackled or put to rest. Sometimes we forget the ringmaster is also part of that systematic anarchy. I think we have all reached our breaking point. Now it really doesn’t matter. We have room full of cattle; we can effort to butcher one or two once in a while to keep the order! But I still hope for a silver lining. May be the fire of this anarchy will melt this metallic machine and the Phoenix of a new system will rise, where olives will stay olive, man will raise voice and the system will need no slaughter house 🙂