[J @ Shada Kalo, USA]
You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind – Gandhi
Father of a bouncing baby boy
Journalist Tasneem Khalil endured brutal torture by DGFI, and that is the centerpiece of a report published by Human Rights Watch. [Warning: the report is not for the faint of heart]
Bangladesh Military has a publicly acknowledged intelligence operation, the Military Intelligence Directorate. DGFI is different from that branch, and they operate with impunity–with tentacles spread into every aspect of life in Bangladesh.
Tasneem’s alleged crime? He wrote an article about the death of Chalesh Ritchil after torture by the armed forces, and another article detailing how fundamentalist parties were being fed and nurtured by DGFI.
So this young man was dragged out of his apartment in handcuffs, not knowing if he will see his 6-month old son again.
When I was coming out of my house I hugged Shuchi and Tiyash and whispered, “If I don’t come back, then you must know that I love you. And tell Tiyash that his father died for a cause.”
We heard a Dhaka University professor, Dr. Anwar Hossain, tell a court that he was taken to a room that his DGFI interrogators called a “Black hole”–and the interrogator took the time to explain to Dr. Hossain that like its cosmic namesake, even light could not escape from the DGFI blackhole.
Tasneem is alive to tell us his story today because CNN, Human Rights Watch and foreign diplomats knew about his abduction, and got involved before it was too late. And Tasneem, instead of dumb heroics, did the right thing by doing what was asked so he could come out alive.
Tasneem and his family are fortunate. Tasneem’s wife was spared the pain of explaining to their son after he grew up why his father only existed on photos. When Tiyash learns to talk, he will not make his mother cry when he will ask “আব্বু কোথায়?” (where is dad?) Shuchi will probably shake her head and say “কাজে” (at work) instead of thinking about her husband who will never come home, brutally tortured and murdered by some thugs in uniform. Fortunately, a baby will grow up with the love of both parents instead of just the stories about a father he does not remember.
There are countless others who will not be so lucky.
Why? We have countless experts in the USA testifying that torture does not work. Tasneem’s own testimony holds that up: he told his tormentors what they wanted to hear to spare himself the pain and to get out alive.
If the DGFI was really doing its job, it would know what the real story was. After all, Tasneem’s stories were published by CNN–they were not exactly secret. Surely they can read? Tasneem’s story indicates there are human beings in the ranks of DGFI. So who are the others–who are the sadists?
Will the government do anything against them?
Highly unlikely. We know what will happen next. The wire services are carrying this story, and there will be some spoiled dinners in Bangladesh tonight. The powers-that-be that allowed Tasneem to leave the country will be questioned. A few careers will probably be trashed. And Tasneem’s so-called confessions will be brought out to “prove” that he was a spy working against Bangladesh’s interest.
But you know the truth. Speak up for human rights, speak up against torture, and speak up for democracy.
J @ Shada Kalo [http://shadakalo.blogspot.com] writes using a pseudonym and is best known for exposing government, military, corporate foul plays through whistle-blowing investigative reports.