We shall overcome

Posted in disaster by jrahman on November 17, 2007

A very powerful cyclone, named Sidr, hit Bangladesh Thursday night. 

I could write about how this compares in terms of death and destruction with previous storms that ravaged the country.  But I won’t.  The official death toll stands at 1,200 or so when I write this.  But almost certainly this will rise.  

The country’s utilities infrastructure has been severely disrupted.  I could collate the news of the damage as it comes through. But I’ll direct the reader to the excellent efforts of Rezwan and Zafa

I won’t even try to write about what I, and many others like me who are cut off from home, are feeling.  Instead, I’ll direct the reader to this Dhaka-bashi.

The cyclone is likely to have severely damaged the country’s autumn crop.  Beyond the immediate relief and rehabilitation, this means an aggravation of an already spiralling food price inflation.  But on that, perhaps some other time. 

And beyond that, perhaps this is a sign of the future.  Perhaps global warming means we have to brace for more of these happening at a greater frequency.  Perhaps. 

But I won’t despair.  I won’t despair because this is not the first time that this has happened to Bangladesh.  And, global warming or not, this won’t be the last.  We did overcome this, in 1991, and before that in 1970, and countless times before that.  And we shall overcome, this time, and the next one, and the one after that.


As the old leader said, ‘amader dabaye rakhte parba na’.


5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Rezwan said, on November 17, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    I just made an appeal to the international community. Since the aid money is flowing in we would like to see them invested in infrastructures like more cyclone shelters, better early warning system, sophisticated equipments in met office.

    And I pledged the International community to buy a Bangladeshi product, namely cloth. It will in turn boost Bangladesh economy to sustain this loss in the economy.

    More here.

  2. DhakaShohor said, on November 18, 2007 at 8:58 am

    I wanted to use that Mujib quote as part of my reaction as well. Then I realised that it would lead to accusations of “politicisation”. I thought, should I quote then quote Tagore or Nazrul? Each came with socio-political baggage as well. Should I quote the Quran? The non-religious might suspect a “fundamentalist” and the religious might just hang me for some sort of “heresy”.

    At that point, I felt even lower than when I had begun writing and decided to simply go with no words, just the most helpless looking picture I could find.

  3. jrahman said, on November 18, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Rezwan, that’s a great initiative. In the coming weeks and months, however, food shortages are likely to prove the biggest challenge. Does anyone know what the food stocks are like?

    DhakaShohor, that quote describes the indomitable spirit of the people who face storms like this several times in their life, and still live on. If someone sees ‘politicisation’ in this, then that really is too bad, don’t you think?

  4. Mash said, on November 19, 2007 at 7:21 am

    Amader dabaye rakhte parba na!

    Let’s help our people.

  5. DhakaShohor said, on November 19, 2007 at 8:51 am

    “If someone sees ‘politicisation’ in this, then that really is too bad, don’t you think?”

    It is, which is why I felt even lower once I thought about the absurdity of it all and decided not to use it myself. Full credit to you for using it.

    Rest assured, I was’t accusing you of “politicisation”. I don’t use dirty words like “politics” to describe other people’s actions :).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: