Mukti

A time to write 3

Posted in activism, blogging, Uncategorized by jrahman on October 28, 2019

Yes, we have to write.  And we need to be cautious and sensible, which is easier said than done.  The question, however, still remains — where to write?

Back in December, an editor friend told me in December 2018 to write in Facebook — you’ll get many more readers there!  He is still right, insofaras numbers are concerned.  Facebook would easily garner a large readership.  And size does matter if the primary objective is to shape the daily news cycle.

However, the longer term impact of the running-commentary-on-the-news-of-the-day is about as high as the bitter personality feuds that pervade the social media.  For any kind of longer form writing, Facebook is simply not all that useful.  If nothing else, as Zia Hassan experienced recently, it is quite easy for the regime’s trolls to disable or delete or erase the analysis posted in Facebook.

Ideally, there would be a multi-media platform where:

  • short, rapid-fire posts from Facebook are archived;
  • videos — including live ones — are posted or streamed;
  • long form writings are published and followed up with contrasting views;
  • TED-talk style videos are shared on relevant topics; and
  • all of these are publicized.

Incidentally, that was roughly the vision I had for the Unheard Voices blog in about a decade ago.  And I had suggested something similar to the editors of Nuraldeen blog in 2013-14.  If anything, there is perhaps a greater need / appetite for such a platform now.

Of course, just because there is demand does not necessarily mean supply is forthcoming, because this is not a well-functioning market.  You have to be incredibly idealistic (to the point of perhaps being naïve!) and energetic to try something like this in today’s Bangladesh.

The point about idealism is perhaps self-evident.  Let me stress the bit about hard work.  Running a platform like above is a full-time job — three people put 20-25 hours each a week on average on UV back in the day.  And much of the work is unglamorous chore — chasing people to meet deadline, proof reading, managing ego clashes and such like.  This is not for someone who treats writing as a glorified hobby.

I have been following two individuals with tremendous potential — Anupam Debashis Roy and Asif Shibgat Bhuiyan.  The former has started a platform that shares with this blog not just the name, but also a commitment to liberal democracy.  The latter’s experiments on youtube and publications on Islam show that a liberal future is still possible.

In solidarity with both.

 

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