Open Letter from Bangladeshi families of Vancouver and University of British Columbia about Rumana Manzur

E-Bangladesh

E-Bangladesh

E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.

We are Bangladeshi families from Vancouver and University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. We are deeply shocked and mourning the brutal attack on our sister Rumana Manzur. We are writing this letter out of grave concern observing the attempts made to establish a baseless extramarital story by Rumana’s husband. The Bangladeshi community in the University of British Columbia is a very small community. It is simply impossible for anyone to have an extramarital affair without being noticed by the community members.

When we met Rumana for the first time, she appeared to be an extremely nice, polite and a brilliant Bangladeshi student. We found her to be a very serious student and at the same time dedicated to her family. At numerous occasions she expressed her concern to finish her Degree as soon as possible and return to her family in Bangladesh.  As families living abroad we understood her anxiety and tried to extend our support. Rumana has been living thousands of miles away from her family. Both Bangladeshi and other international students extended their support. She always used to reciprocate with her friendly behaviour, kind words and her excellent cooking.

We were also very impressed with her regular practice of saying prayers five times a day in spite of her busy schedule. Every time we visited her place we found her opening the door with her head covered. In last Ramadan, she tried to attend masjid programs as much as possible. Muslim students here helped her especially to get halal foods. This is normal here that a Muslim is helping his/her brothers or sisters. We don’t think existence of any immoral or extra marital relationship in this generosity. We would have surely noticed that.

She never mentioned any bad things about her husband’s profession rather in many occasions she asked us what could be the possible business opportunities for her husband to run here in Canada. We always found her putting priority on her daughter’s well being. Her heart and soul effort was to bring her family here in Canada.

She had a childlike simplicity and innocence. She was extremely friendly with our children in the community. Wherever she went, she was children’s friend. She could communicate with children very easily and we are very grateful to her for the remarkable manners and courtesy she maintained which became examples to follow for our children.

All through her days for last 9 months, she never diverted from her study (which is why she was here for) and her love towards her daughter and husband. She used to miss them every single moment. The cell phone she used didn’t have signal within her building. So she always had to come outside of the building and spent long hours to talk with her daughter and husband irrespective of harsh winter condition, study load etc. Later she started using Skype for constant communication regarding the well being of her daughter and husband. She even used to teach her daughter, helping her with homework, and many other things for example how to draw flowers through Skype. We watched her regular attempts to buy expensive toys for her daughter with her very limited funding.

She was supposed to finish her thesis writing here in Canada. She could have stayed here with this perfect excuse if she had other motive or interest. But she virtually struggled to go back home and write her thesis from Bangladesh. It was too risky to be away from her supervisor at this stage and also expensive as she needs to come back to defend her thesis. Still she opted to do so just to be with her daughter and husband. We forbade her to go back for good reasons but she plainly said she can’t endure any more distance from her family. She said it’s enough for her to be away for eight months but no more. For the same reason she deferred her PhD for one more year. In normal course, she is supposed to start her PhD from next September, but she said she wants to compensate her absence from her family by being with them next year and she only would come back for her PhD if she can bring her daughter and husband and afford to stay together. As an international student, it is very hard to afford financially if she doesn’t get good funding. So she took one year to source a good funding option.

We are simply speechless, appalled, and deeply hurt in the incident of the false accusation of Rumana’s extramarital affair.

It is such a pain to observe that Rumana only went back to her family to lose the most precious gift from The Almighty, her eyesight. We feel that it is our duty to take a very strong stance against any kind of accusation that may come on our dear friend Rumana.  It is our ardent request not to put this unfortunate woman, a brilliant Bangladeshi scholar, on the guillotine of character assassination.

On behalf of the Bangladeshi families in Vancouver and at the University of British Columbia who know Rumana Manzur.

Saif Islam [saif.vancouver@gmail.com ] is a guest writer. He is a Research Manager at University of British Columbia, studied at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

profilepic

E-Bangladesh is a News/Headlines service and a group blog aimed at bringing the news and analysis from Bangladesh to its readers.


390 Responses to “Open Letter from Bangladeshi families of Vancouver and University of British Columbia about Rumana Manzur”

  1. Shalauddin Ahmed

    I am a Bangladeshi, live in the Caribbean, married with 2 children. There is no word how deeply I am saddened by her situation. May Allah make it easy for her and help her to regain her sight back, ameen.

  2. Saif Islam

    Voices in the letter were originally compiled by Shahin Aktar after a meeting among people who know Rumana very well and then was edited by several of us including Sanzida Habib and Fareeza Karimushan. I thank you all.

  3. Oahidul Islam

    I am Bangladeshi. I live in Bangladesh and study at Patiya Govt. College. I lost my word after reading this letter. I pray for her. May Allah give her sight back again.

  4. archie

    i am speechless…hanging the devil till death will be a very little conviction…may Allah give Rumana mam the strength to bear the pain…

  5. Ruba

    The brutal Hasan must be gone under brutal punishment. But ……Rumana mam might not get back her vision……the precious gift from Allah. How wud heartless Hasan answer to our Almighty for destroying Allah’s lovely gift to His insan. Please Allah help Rumana mam to regain her sight back.

  6. Weeper

    I am really shocked and appalled by this brutal attack. Hopefully her family will find a suitable donor to replace her eyes.

    I do have couple quick comments about the bulletin still on front page of UBC website about Ms. Rumana by honorable UBC president Stephen J. Toope. Mr. Toope remarked “The allegations that her commitment to her studies was a factor in the attack are of grave concern.” But we later found that the feud wasn’t for her pursuing higher education but her husband’s insecurity of her having relationship with a guy at the UBC campus. I would personally urge Mr. Toope(and those who have similar view) to see this as an isolated event just like the York university student, Qian Liu murdered few months ago on Canadian soil. Bangladesh has one of the best female literacy policy in the world (as reported by recent Globe and Mail article). Several Canadian media were quick to portray their statistical data how much percentage of Bangladeshi women regularly beaten by their husband however we all more or less aware about the plight of aboriginal women and the negative stereotypes for visible minorities in Canada.

    I’d finally request everyone to see this as a personal family feud which Ms. Rumana could resist if took action against him earlier. Rather than bashing Bangladeshi men we can voice against violence against women, negative stereotypes and so on.

  7. farjana .a

    when i first saw the news ,i could not sleep the whole night.it was like a nightmare for me .i was thinking about many other highly educated women here in bangladesh who might not have lost their eyes but is dying psychologically everyday and is being tortured .the severe attack on rumana is an example of many of them.like rumana the others can not disclose their husband’s attack on them.even rumana’s news cam out in the media after 10 or 15 days.an exemplery punishment is required.It is an easy way to blame a women to have an extamarital affair by their husband who goes to study abroad .I really feel very small now.May Allah recover Rumana.

  8. Md. Helal Uddin

    Pu! for brutal Hasan. Have you seen Rajaker? Look at Hasan. I wish best of luck of my sister Rumana & would like to pray to Allah for her recovery.

  9. Esha

    I would like to voice my opinion through this letter. What happened to My Rumana Madam is beyond my imagination. This incident proved that violence against women, either physical or mental, is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh. I am not saying that all men are like Rumana’s husband, but majority of the families have a person like him. Poor people beat their wives openly, rich men torture secretly. I demand exemplary justice to Rumana Madam and I hope culture, social norms and the traditions never become the weapon to torture women in my country.

  10. sultana afia

    thank you Md.Helal Uddin vai.obviously hasan is a rajaker!!!!!!!!!!! but how?????????? bcoz he has spoiled our one asset of our country to make blind of Rumnana mam,the professor of DU.

  11. George

    Do we see how cruel our society is? Paying her visions Rumana showing that we need to be change. Will this enough to change our mentality towards prevent domestic violence? Would justice do judge for Rumana?

  12. Angkya

    I think, Syed is not human being. He has some kinds of animal behavior. As far I know educated person never doing that barbaric work. Everybody never accept that accident (Ruman’s accident) When one person going abroad for higher study we are very proud for that person. But according to this accident, Syed has some misconception to his wife.It’s completely wrong. Actually he is name of student in BUET. Practically he is not educated person.

    Praying for Rumana madam to recovery her eyes as soon.

  13. Md. Uddin

    Its really shocking.I like to request all the politician and other none should inter fare about this case.So Romana will get proper judgement.Lets all of us pray to Allah for her & her daughter.

  14. Khujeci Tomai

    Should we then conclude that the Canadian-Bangla community is stating any Bangladeshi woman who studies abroad but does NOT say prayers five times a day, is not particularly soft-spoken (that’s what I read between the lines of this letter), and isn’t completely part of the community, deserves a beating from her husband?

    What about the woman who the community doesn’t consider “our sister” (for whatever reason– too westernized, too independent, too [insert adjective here[?

    What if tomorrow there is another case where someone has an “affair”? Would the community say that person deserved a little beating (as long as you don’t leave marks or evidence??).

    The “virtue” card is enforcing it’s own deeply problematic layer of misogyny.

    The problem is male violence, not female behavior.

  15. Rajesh Khanna

    I am a Bangladeshi living in Europe, and I have a couple of things to say. First, I have read several comments from Bangladeshi males on other websites that indirectly blame Rumana. Whether she is guilty of the purported activities or not is irrelevant, the fact remains that civilized people do not rip each others eyes out, barbarians do. This is the 21st century, where civilized people who do not get along with their spouse get a divorce rather than inflict violence on another human being.

    This is what happens when we continued to entertain and promote archaic ideas like arranged marriage buttressed by sexism. When you marry someone based on their status, salary or the like, it only goes to follow that a couple would not get along. Likewise, because we tacitly do not condone divorce initiated by women, we end up with situations like this one. The patriarchal ideology inherent to our country encourages men to see women as a possesion in such a way that when she wants to break free of an unhappy situation, men lash out in violence to prevent her from obtaining happiness without him.

    Maturity means letting others live the way they want to live rather than block others actions with outmoded religious ideas or violence.

  16. Mahbubur Rahman Bhuiyan

    I read as much as I could on recent heinous attack by inhuman Syeed on Mrs Rumana Manzur. I read the news printed in most national newspaper in the country. Also I read the comments posted in regards to the issue. However it is pertinent that no human being can perform as inhumane like her husband regardless what had been said by her husband as defence. Some people are looking an issue behind the attack whether adultery is involved! How strange that would be! How pathetic human being are we if we think that this kind of deadly attack was demonstered by her husband as a revenge or vengeance! Where is our humanity? Education in this 21st century, Digital country we are dreaming for!
    I am deeply saddened! I am totally devastated in mind and soul. Mute in action, but still angry of being born as a male man who could do this crime!
    I think we should not only raise a voice collectively against this, just imagine, Mrs Rumana is a brilliant woman with excellent academic background, but how about everyday torture and abuse being made to those women in the city and village area where justice and humanity do not prevail!
    My best gratitude and kindest regards to Mrs Rumana, and I hate to show the sympathy, because that is shown to the week people who would not fight or timid to fight back, and I am 100% confident that our sister Rumana and her parents, peers and friends would not bow their heads rather give exemplary treatments against this barbaric crime.
    May Allah , give her strength and tranquility to endure and quick recovery to the normal life.

  17. Rashed

    This asshole doesn’t represent general bangladeshi people. He needed to be punished as an example. I see lot of people are talking about Rumana’s affair, bit confused about it…………. Do not disgrace the her, Remember she is the victim.

  18. Alejandro Hernandez

    I agree with the post above. I don’t like this open letter, because it seems to imply that she did not deserve to be beaten because she never had an affair, prayed 5 times per day and keep her head covered. I think that the brutal attack would have been exactly as shocking if this woman was not “virtous” by Islam standards. I do belive what is written in this letter, but that is not the point. Hitting and blinding a woman is unexcusable, regardless of her behabiour.

  19. Monira

    I pray to Allah the cruel guy gets punishment as soon as possible.

  20. Khujeci Tomai

    Any form of domestic violence is unacceptable. Not even one slap. It should not take a blinding for it to cross the “inexcusable” bar.

  21. Mahmood

    Rumana’s husband must to be brought to justice regardless of Rumana’s life style in Canada. It’s not the point whether Rumana pray 5 times or not, it’s not the point whether she mixed up with another guy or not. The point is her husband beat her. He has no right to beat Rumana, not in a civil society, nor according to the Islamic norms nor according to the Holy Quran.

  22. Pavel Chowdhury

    My deep sympathy for the victim and her family.

    Under no circumstances we can accept such violent behavior. She will get proper justice, no doubt about it. However, we can’t probably give her eyes back. I hope someone will take proper initiative for her advance treatment, even if she needs to be in Canada too.

    Hopefully there will be no Sayed born again in Bangladesh ever again.

  23. anondi

    when first time when i read the news …really i wasnt surprised..do u know why?i live in a joint family with my husbands house.i know what kind mental and phisical torture a girl can tolerate..they cant talk or move unless they loose anything like rumana or others who lost their face which burn by acid or something more dangerous…Before that if any girl react or want get to be separated,none suppot her.

    i m not illiterate..i have completed my BBA,MBA and now doing job in alarge group of industry as auditor.but i have to fight for my basic needs like food,sleep.my husband,mother-in-law,father-in-law all torture me together.sometimes i feel so helpless though i have a job..though i m educated..cause i hav a 11 months son…where i wll go with him…my famaily know all these but they tell me to adjust…i eagarly wait that my parents wll say”come back my daughter..come with ur son” my father is a lawyer …he isnt that poor but he scared about my future..he always tell me to adjust…
    Really i feel so helpless ..i don believe that girls should be educated to fight against this cruel peoples..society…moreover education stops to shought..i m now just waiting for a miracle

  24. Val

    I’m relieved to hear the voices of the people both women and men who realize that there is never a reason to treat another human being this way, not ever.

    When we are experiencing self-doubts, insecurity we need to deal with these constructively, get help, counsel, support. In this way we show responsibility for ourselves. We are respectful, strong and loving, we are acting in good faith and if we believe in spiritual guidance then we are reflecting that through our actions of respect and dignity for ourselves, our partner and families. In this way we show our humanity.

    As many of the other posters have indicated above only in the way of true love and compassion for all people do we find the dignity and self-respect to act according to good judgement and self-respect.

    Thank-you for all of your posts as they show a great deal of integrity. The problem of treating women as second class citizens is not just a Bangladeshi problem although it is very much a Bangladeshi problem they are not alone.

    All people of the world we must walk together as one. We must see that we are people of one spirit. Stop accepting violence to women as a solution to our unhappiness. You will still be miserable inside and you will now feel more apart from Allah then before. Allah loves all the people not just the people who walk a certain way. Allah loves the women. If you are believing in Allah then you treat women with the dignity, love and respect that you give to your male relatives, everywhere in the world.

  25. 21st Century Bengali Man

    this is to ANONDI …

    violence against women has been practiced from Dhanmondi to Dhamrai regardless of socio-economic class. you are indirectly implying that wealthy & educated women should somehow be immune from this cultural blight. i understand you are in a terrible situation, but you would better serve the women of Bangladesh by recognizing that this happens to everyone. as such, it would be wise start looking at the causes of such behaviour. foremost, we must understand female family members play as large a role as male family members in encouraging violence & emotional abuse against their daughters-in-law, in fact, it is often started by the women (mother, sisters) of the family themselves.

    generation after generation, this behaviour is passed on. this means that, even you could be guilty someday as a mother-in-law of either allowing or encouraging violence against your daughter-in-law. the only way to stop it, is if we all wake up and recognize this problem from this forward.

    none of these positive changes can occur before we as a society make the commitment to break free of archaic religious ideologies of any faith bent upon the oppression of women and suppression political freedom.

  26. Richard Brennan

    If anyone who knows Rumana Manzur well I would very much like to speak to them. Richard Brennan, National Affairs Writer for the Toronto Star. 416-869-4669

  27. Waleed Morshed

    Sad that in an educated family a person can act like an animal. This is simply not tolerable because through education we try to elevate ourselves by becoming more cultured but what was done to Rumana Manzur is simply the doing of a caveman !!!!!

  28. Dr. Rabiul Alam

    It will be our duty to establish a healthy environment for the female scholar who are going abroad for higher degree. It is the time to raise our voice. Canadian Bangladeshi community should send a representative to the court to protest the statement of sayed, this only can raise the dignity of Rumana and give a big slap to yellow journalists who r making fake gossip. Would anybody come please?

  29. Aynul

    I have seen Rumana’s pain in the Hospital in my own eyes, she is in doubt whether her husband will be brought into the court trail…her entire family is insecure, she has been pleading support from Media to ensure justice…you can easily imagine, this guy is heavily backed by a ‘political leader’….to ensure justice, why not someone File a Case in Vancouver? …

    Ayul, UMass, USA

  30. Highway

    No doubt, sayed will get punishment through court and mentally at least he has a child!! To safe our society public need to catch this brutal event’s origin otherwise our society will be seen or felt same event repeated. We need to cut this type of brutal event’s root. We can guess this event has come from imbalance either it is Rumana’s thinking or Sayed’s thinking.

  31. Caro

    Women are suppressed even in developed countries. Bangladesh is just the flavor of the moment.
    It’s time for the world to raise it’s voice against patriarchal doctrine and violence against women
    under the guise of religious beliefs.

  32. Naila

    I’ve just read the letter and the commentary. I have a few things I would like to voice.
    Firstly, this is not an issue specific to Bangladesh, granted, domestic violence exists and is becoming a growing problem not only within Bangladesh, but within the migrated community living in North America. This begs the question, how do you address the issue without stereotyping and perpetuating negative stereotypes of this South Asian community? It’s a concept I struggle with as a community worker looking into issues such as harassment of women in particularly “ghetto-isez” areas with a large SA population.
    On another note, I found it most interesting that throughout the letter, the actions themselves were not deplored based on the fact they they were violent and unwarranted IN GENERAL. They were instead condemned, as was the perpetrator based on the argument that Rumana, did not in fact have an extramarital affair. What does this say about domestic violence? Would it have been warranted had Rumana been with another man while away from her own husband? Would the community have shown this support in that case? Who would stand with her, in solidarity, against the violence perpetrated against her, but also against violence perpetrated against women on a larger scale?

  33. pathik

    after the attack almost all the electroni and print media tryied so nudely to established the reason of this brutality that is extra -merital affairs with other guy which has wide acceptence in our bangladeshi traditionality. they tried to justify the ground of the assault. usually bangladeshi media is biased to pick provocative something about women issue use lavish language to ignite sexual feelings in men to promote sales.after heavy criticism from civic mind and socities about dirty stand of media, they started to collect and provide information to certify her and present her as a nice traditional Banglee lady, saying prayers, toleraing her husbands tortures silently, wearing veil and so on. i get fierced why all these stupid stuffs are getting consideration in assessing the brutality done by criminal sayed.personal life and character must not be blended with other things. ok i think she had some sort of affairs with other, i should kill myself thinking that i failed to win her or to make her love me. when it is not possible to continue i should dissolve the relationship. but bangladeshi traditional culture socialize boys to encroach the mind of the girls and force them for love like land grabber encroach river, hills, green fields, forests,and sea. they don’t get the sense of respecting girls. some are different from these stained culture but they are very minor. if sayeed thought it was impossible to continue he should go anyewhere. he had no right to hurt her anyway. he did much beyond the imagination of a human being. now to me he should not hanged though many are demanding so. his eyes should be demolished and he should be kept life-time imprisonment to suffer the curse of lossing vision. so many love and respect for Rumana Madam. we are here in bangladesh to support you in all ways. we will do whatever we can for you. we want to see your comeback with vision.

  34. Nasreen Ali

    Hello, my name is Nasreen Ali and I live in Missouri (US). Rumana has suffered at the hands of an animal. To call her abuser educated is to insult the world of education. I agree wholeheartedly with a previous comment. Riksha-allas engage domestic violent openly, while so-called educated men do so in the privacy of their homes because of their social status. They are no less barbaric than those who engage violence in the streets.

    If I may suggest a punishment, it would be to offer Syed the exact same kindness he bestowed upon his wife. Remove his eyes in the same manner Rumana’s were, have a dog (another animal like him) bite off his nose, strip him and take him manhood and set him free in the streets of Dhaka. This will show society that such atrocities will not be tolerated.

    Unfortunately, Rumana is just one of us. How many Rumanas exist in our society? The range of abuse may be different, but everyone suffers. I have lived in many cultures in my lifetime and no where have I seen men who are so vindictive, egotistical, manipulative and barbaric. Women are brainwashed through generations past that we must accept what men do and that mentality has to change.

    If anyone is interested in banding together to ensure that justice is served here, contact me. Without pursuing Syed’s punishment, we will continue to see crimes like this in society. In the meantime, I will contribute monetarily within my means.

    Nasreen Ali

  35. Damn my brain...

    I am pained by the above declaration…don’t know if its just me or anyone else will agree but why should a woman need to give clarification to the whole world about how good her character is/was….? This implies some people are still holding her character to be a judging point for whether the crime committed was justifiable or not.
    I am sure this has been written with very good intentions and a lot of love…but why is every act of a woman measured, judged, scrutinized and implicated whereas no one talks about the man.
    A man can be brutal, cruel, polygamist, rapist, cheater, liar…and get away with all that with one mere sentence and a sigh…’ohh well, men will be men!’
    Since when and who created this mindset that women weren’t normal, that they were endowed with higher, superior qualities than men and were born to be displayed as a trophy (and then were justified as the weaker sex!!?

Comments are closed.