Not really on Shahbagh

Posted in activism, blogging by jrahman on February 16, 2013

Thaba Baba, a nationalist and atheist blogger/facebook-er and a Shahbagh activist, has been brutally murdered last night.  There is a good possibility that he was killed for his writing.

If the murder is political, then liberty is under assault in Bangladesh in a way not seen in recent years.  We have seen the state gagging opposition media.  But with that kind of assault, there is an eventual corrective counter assault — as political tide changes, those who applaud the closing of Ekushey TV eventually become the victim of the temporary ban of Amar Desh.

But that’s not what happened here.  If Thaba Baba was indeed killed for his writing, then the killers are likely to be non-state actors.  The Shahbagh movement has already claimed him as the movement’s first shaheed, pointing the finger at militant, fundamentalist cadres of Jamaat-e-Islami.

If they are right, then Thaba Baba will join a long list of Bangladeshis killed for their views by militants supposedly acting in the name of Islam.

If they are right, will the Shahbagh movement remain non-violent?

This post is titled ‘not really on Shahbagh’.  That’s because I am still not sure I understand well enough what’s going on to say anything particularly interesting.  Never mind interesting, my own thoughts are in a state of such flux that even jotting them down just for the record is difficult.  For example, I see a lot of comments like ‘this is a new revolution, Bangladesh will never be the same again’ interspersed with a few ‘dawn of fascism’.  What I don’t see is an analysis of how a dozen or so people turned into a hundred thousand or more overnight.   Until I understand what’s happening — and it may well have ended before I feel I understand remotely enough — I will leave the commentary to others.

Instead, let me return to Thaba Baba.  This blog’s fundamental principle is liberty.  If a Bangladeshi blogger is killed for his opinions (whatever the opinions may be), then all bloggers have been put on notice.

That cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

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28 Responses

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  1. anonymous said, on February 16, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Can you give a link to his blog?

    • jrahman said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:12 am

      Updated in the post.

  2. Anon said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:49 am

    This blogger did ten posts in last ten years. I do not see he has much following in his blogs either. If Jamaat makes him their first target for killing, there is no dumber organization in the world than Jamaat.

    • jrahman said, on February 16, 2013 at 4:55 am

      He has his own Bangla blog. I can’t load it — Mac trouble. But his blogging output (caution: religious people will be hurt) is widely reported in facebook and elsewhere, and is easily available. Independent of Shahbagh, I can see why hardline jihadis will be upset with him. And if that’s the case, it cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

      • Anon said, on February 16, 2013 at 6:34 am

        I see ten blogs in and same number in He has not blogged recently. May be he is killed for his atheist faith. But that killer not necessarily have to be a jamaati. I will not get carried away chanting jamaat did it jamaat did it. May be some local right wing man did it out of personal hatred. Otherwise if blogging is the cause of death why the target will be a person whose last post was 3 months ago?

      • GodsFavAtheist (@GodsFavAtheist) said, on February 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        How sad is it? That in the year 2013, we can still die for being an atheist. It should show how pathetic religious mentality is. A philosopher has never killed anyone, but religion has killed many philosophers. I guess the only upside I see is that it was him and not me. This is one of the greatest fears I have about going home. So much fear that I can’t even relate to the country as my home anymore.

    • rahawakib said, on February 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      agree with you

    • Israt Maria said, on February 19, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Same goes with Nowka if they support him and endow him with sahid title. Shahid hA ha what a joke?

  3. sabyashachi barman said, on February 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

    jammat sibirer birudhe sokol bangalir rukhe darano uchit.

    • নাম নাই ভাই said, on February 18, 2013 at 5:24 am

      জনাব ইন্ডিয়ার বাস কয়টায় ?

    • GodsFavAtheist (@GodsFavAtheist) said, on February 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks for directing to me that page. For some reason it is way harder to read bangla off of a website than it is from a book. Kept me entertained for almost an hour. Thank bud.

  4. Rubaiyat Hossain said, on February 16, 2013 at 10:10 am


  5. Rubaiyat Hossain said, on February 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Reblogged this on Rubaiyat Hossain.

  6. Dilbor said, on February 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Link to Thaba Baba’s personal blog in :

  7. mahir aktab said, on February 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    its frustrating rather than sad.

  8. Israt Maria said, on February 19, 2013 at 8:52 am

    It’s a good news. Bloggers will start thinking before what they write. We need no more salman rusdhi, Tasleema Nasreen among us. These writers are deceptive cannot think outside of the box and just for trivial fame they oppose God. Thank Allah, he is dead.

    • GodsFavAtheist (@GodsFavAtheist) said, on February 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Consider even more the unlikeliness that you would be here in the first place. We humans take life for granted because it is all around us but you should not be here, statistically speaking. Neither should I. We are that one in a billion sperm that made it into the highly elite University of Mommy’s Egg. In our case, the penalty for not getting into that university was not sulking and licking wounds or retaking the entrance exams–it was death. Right off the bat, many of the potential replacements for you never got the chance to come into existence and as such never got the privilege to truly experience being a human being. They never got the opportunity to develop a brain that is better than any supercomputer pound per pound. They never got the opportunity to reason. They were never able to use those hundreds of thousands of sensors we call rods and cones in conjunction with the world’s best, all-natural, dynamically adjusting, camera lens (eyes) and the processing centers of our brain to interpret the energy given off by a sunset and translate it all into the beautiful image we know. Think about that. When you SEE, you are translating waves of energy into colors. That’s insane. When you HEAR, you are translating pressure waves into the audio you are perceiving. The other sperm never even got the opportunity to hear the most gorgeous note which is capable of sending chills down your spine. And here you are defending a religion that doesn’t give you shit for answers. In 12 lines I gave you more to think about than all of the quran.

  9. shafiq said, on February 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

    There is only one group of people in our country who have regularly killed people for just expressing their thoughts. There is deep divide in the country, but let there be no illusion about the group that is the most vicious and ruthless enemy of free society in Bangladesh. These are killers, and they have millions of enablers. The barbarians will strike again and again. Civil society of Bangladesh beware!

  10. Soibal said, on February 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Absolutely true. It’s not anymore issue of awami league or BNP. It’s the question of existence of ourselves. Is there any good reason to support Jamayat and its propaganda. No doubt Jamayat committeed war crime in 1971 in Bangladesh. This Jamayat is trying to save itself by using the name of Islam. We have to remember this Jamayat did not follow the principle of Islam in 1971 while killing our forefathers raping our mothers and sisters in 71. Equally this Jamyat are not following principle of Islam now as well. Our prophet Hazrar Muhammad (PBUH) said nature of bad is never changed. So Jamayat will never be changed. So we cannot trust Jamayat.

  11. Diganta said, on March 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    The murderers are caught and they are from well-to-do families.

  12. rizwan said, on July 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    All I understand after having conversation with an atheist, they are not even sure if they exist at all or not, they believe in science and mathematics but cannot work out infinity and something came from nothing.

  13. rizwan said, on July 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    and it’s an old trick to be popular, rich or get asylum in one of the well off countries, that’s all ,

  14. rizwan said, on July 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    they just love to dream and can not handle the truth

  15. rizwan said, on July 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    just to let you know guys the “atheist” was 200 hundred years of age

  16. […] am a reasonably early riser, so I woke up to the news of the murder and posted this.  My reaction was visceral.  Here was a blogger who was as vulgar, obnoxious and unpleasant as […]

  17. Golfing said, on October 5, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    My family all the time say that I am killing
    my time here at net, except I know I am getting knowledge everyday by reading such good content.

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