Not really on Shahbagh
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.