The world has come a long way, so has my country. When my country started off, she was the second poorest country in the world and today, she remains the second largest garments exporter in the world, with diplomatic ties at her very best.
Yes, of course she has her glitches. Yes of course, she is in a troubled zone stuck between two hard places; the fundamentalism and the strive to combat and let common sense prevail. But, isn’t that the story of every nation right now?
So today, I am going to concentrate on what my country has than what she doesn’t. Today, I am making a vow to myself that I am not going to let the negativity derail me from recognising the positivity of our ruling government, and also the oppositions, just like any other country in the world.
Today, I am writing this letter to the first love of mine; my Bangladesh, my home.
I hope you receive my heartfelt gratitude at the start of this letter, because you have given me my home, my identity. This is not a nationalistic gesture my love, this is my way of letting the love of my life know; just how much you mean to me, and how far you have come.
When I was born, you were just 17 years old. You had seen a fallen patriot not long back then, and in the year I was born, another patriot left office. You had and still are enduring everything that is being thrown at your gracious face.
You may be broken, you may be tainted by the lines of the wrong, you may show the wrinkles of struggle, but you are still the most beautiful land I have ever seen and ever will. Bangladesh, you will always be ever thine, ever mine, ever ours
Cruelty to animals, cruelty to women, cruelty to children, terrorism, religious animosity, economic corruption, political partisan corruption has all been thrown at you, but you my love, have endured.
You have still managed to bring a smile on my face when you were ranked one of the happiest countries to be in, you brought a smile on my face when you showed me the Shahbagh revolution; and you darling, have taught me the importance of unification, in civics, in religion, in gender.
I am so grateful to be with you when I see other countries being torn apart. You have stood firm against every division, every natural calamity. Nothing has shaken your roots, and yet today, they say that the love of mine is fading in to nothing.
But they don’t know you like I do. They don’t know what you have endured and what it cost you to be this strong, they don’t even know the power of 1971, they just know the scar. They just see the scar, and not the power of healing.
Please never lose this resilience you were gifted with. Never ever think the people who live within you shape you, never play in to the stereotypical gender roles or the negative politics.
I know that recently your burdens have become heavier, don’t let that affect your soul or the vibrancy of life you were born with.
You were born out of a unified resistance to tyranny; you were born out of love. The unnecessary critics don’t understand you like I do.
But today I will tell you a secret. There are so many like me, who want you, love you, and most importantly understand you like I do. Every time, when I return from abroad, I know I am exactly where I am meant to be. I am free, I am a sovereign.
I am you and you are me. Don’t ever think that you are alone my love, because you are not.
So, breathe darling, feel the love from the ones who walk on your roads, pay their taxes, clean your roads, wash the filth off of you. Feel the love from the ones who plowed your fields to feed your children, feel the love from the ones who sacrifice their lives to stand at your border to save you, and also me.
Never forget the ones who pray for you in mosques, temples, churches, and everywhere else. Never be afraid to tell us we are wrong, and never forget that above it all, you are us.
We may scream at you in anguish, but, we only fight with the ones we love. You have been the love of my life. You have been the reason why I still give “love” a fighting chance.
So today, I promise to you that I will do my best to make you better than you ever have been, and I will make you proud.
You may be broken, you may be tainted by the lines of the wrong, you may show the wrinkles of struggle, but you are still the most beautiful land I have ever seen and ever will.
Bangladesh, you will always be ever thine, ever mine, ever ours.
Briarose Marguerite Deirdre D’Silva is a freelance contributor.