Yesterday evening it was announced in Bangladesh that the family of Abdul Quader Molla – the first (I think) of the men convicted of being war criminals earlier this year – had been advised to see him immediately.
We all knew what this meant and, sure enough. soon after it was announced that Molla was to be executed at midnight. But this is Bangladesh, and things turn on the spin of coin. Before the allotted time the press announced a stay of execution had been granted until 10:30 this morning.
Latest from the Dhaka Tribune is that this stay has been continued until Thursday to give time for the Defense counsel to present their case.
To be honest, most people I spoke to earlier in the year didn’t believe a single man tried and convicted of the crimes would ever hang. Yet it seems the ruling government (who were elected on the back of the promise to bring to justice those responsible for the atrocities of 1971) are cleverly going make sure at least one is executed. Should the people of Bangladesh want to see the rest of those sentenced to death executed then, well, they’ll just have to vote the same party in again in the January elections, won’t they? Clever thinking…
It’s no surprise how things flip so easily in this country. Bangladesh is a country born out of confusion and its people continue to live in a way which is often bewildering not just to bideshis like me but to other Bangladeshis who live outside the country. It is a land of contradictions.
This confusion is picked up by Maimuna Ahmed who writes a marvelous article challenging the eight million Bangladeshis living abroad to ‘come home’ – but not for the wrong reasons:
Come home to a place which proves itself, time and again, shockingly resilient in the face of tragedy; to a nation held together by the kindness of strangers. Come home to a country where brilliant young people are starting incredible organisations and leading unprecedented movements, where hope and opportunity abound in unlikely places. Come home to a country that will inspire you, every day.
Come home; get your hands dirty. Leave Wall Street, become a teacher. Leave Capitol Hill, become an entrepreneur. Come home, but – and here’s the important part – come home because you want and choose to (and not because slums look cool on Instagram). Come home because you want to be personally and professionally challenged in a way you never have before. Come home because you choose to be a part of the solution.:”
It is a great challenge laid down to all who claim a relationship with this amazing country in turmoil. With political activists on both sides now in a frenzy over Molla’s (possible) impending demise people have already died in clashes. More trouble is certain. Yet, Bangladesh continues to be the most wonderful of countries and home to the most amazing of people.
While my family and I carry on packing yet not knowing how on earth we’ll ever get these things sent anyway in a country where nothing is moving now, we wonder what will happen next both for our own future and for this place we love so much.
But…there’s not much time for such introspection. We’re already at the halfway point in this 30-day series and from now on, every day is filled with visits to friends and celebrations of our time here – while still trying to pack in the midst of political upheaval. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about Wifey’s Farewell celebration.