“United we stand, divided we fall.”
As cliché as that saying might be, it rings true for our country, now more than ever. As the mortifying events that took place in Gulshan’s Holey Artisan Bakery unravel and the perpetrators are identified, we find ourselves dazed, confused, and more than anything, terrified.
But how terrified are we? The majority of the 2,000 odd friends in my Facebook account seem to be sharing whatever update, rumour, and theory they can find and come up with, but asking rickshaw pullers, tea stall owners, and even some random people in a bus has revealed to me what I had expected. A lot of people don’t really care to know the details.
Rumours of more attacks possibly happening in Jamuna Future Park and Bashundhara City along with a host of top hotels and high-end restaurants have set social media ablaze, and have made people worried about leaving their homes. But my social media newsfeed looks like this, perhaps, because it is full of the English-speaking upper middle class.
But should we be terrified, and if so, what can we do? Let’s face the facts first: The killings happened in one of Dhaka’s most secure and diplomatic areas, Gulshan 2. If this had happened in say, a remote village, far away from the capital, like the Hindu priest killing in Satkhira, the media coverage would not be the same.
Speaking of which, the overexposure of the Holey Artisan shooting by the private news channels along with some poorly timed questions by the reporters to the RAB, along with the RAB looking quite clueless about what to do, made matters worse.
Also, let’s face it: Three of the five shooters killed and identified came from English medium backgrounds and decently affluent families. They have been offered some of the best educational resources in our country, with one of them even going to Malaysia for his undergrad. They are not foreigners, nor are they underprivileged.
What caused them to turn? Who are they working for? How strong are they? We do not know for sure. We can only assume. And that is what we have done. We have assumed and we have panicked. But worst of all, we have become more divided than ever with our various assumptions and theories. And if that is how things go, then they have already won.
If we are to call them terrorists, they have succeeded in causing terror and confusion. That is what they want. We all love the country, and if not, we all want to live as well as we possibly can. Let us all agree on that at least. And to live, freely, we must not let them dictate terms.
We must look for concrete facts. We must look for answers. We must speak up. And most importantly, we must ask ourselves what it is we can do to stop this. We must think.
Trusting the media and the government might not seem like the best idea, but do we have a choice? Is there a better alternative? We must think, but we must also act, and act fast. There need to be questions asked and answers demanded. The Western media already has theories, and all we do is complain about why they do what they do when we, our government, are partly responsible for this.
I cannot give the answers. I do not know for sure. But what I do know is that I care about having a better world to live in. I want things to be better, and I will try my best to make sure it happens.
So, what can we do? We can try to find common ground and unite. And it must start from the most basic level.
We can try to be driven by the love of humanity. We can try to understand each other and our differences better, and help one another. It’s a very basic thing we are missing, and it’s been missing for far too long. Only then will we find some answers