It’s not about her…
… it’s about him, and us.
I woke up to this horrible news, and couldn’t shake it off my head the whole day. My immediate, visceral reaction was one of disgust. And I try not to write anything when angry (or sad or elated) — emotion clouds judgment, and hampers rational analysis. Perhaps it’s the anti-flu drug, perhaps it’s the lack of sleep, but the anger did not subside as the day went by.
In my anger, I decided to post his photo (source: SM Mahbub Morshed). After all, everyone has seen her battered face. But no one has bothered to show his mug, which really should be in every wall, with WANTED written all over it.
So I did it. But the anger did not subside.
I tried to think about the question Naeem posed: what is the monstrous society we created? I recalled something Zafar Sobhan and I once discussed — Dhaka is the angriest city we have ever been to. It didn’t help.
I tried to think about the broader social context, about the implicit elitism of it all — would we have cared if she worked in a brick factory instead of Dhaka University. It didn’t help.
In fact, this kind of let’s-put-this-in-context thinking only worsened my anger. After all, if this happens to someone from the impeccable bhadralok background, then what happens in the broader society is too horrendous to even imagine.
And then it hit me. What was I really angry about? Wasn’t it the anger of being caught out? Wasn’t it the anger of being unable to say it-doesn’t-happen-to-us?
Perhaps we don’t hit our wives and sisters (as hard) — I put that in parentheses intentionally, referring to the Quran 4:34. But are we any better? Really? Are we really all that better when don’t hesitate to put our careers ahead of our wives? Were our parents any better when they put aside the bigger piece of fish for us, and not our sisters?
What kind of society lets this happen? The kind of society where we congratulate a guy for being so liberal as to ‘allow’ his wife freedom.
Face it. There is a bit of him in all of us.