Bangladesh: Adil, the man I know

by NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA

You said to me
I can bear anything”
with stubborn eyes you faced the sun
until blindness became a ball of flame
and the flame turned the sea to salt.  – Lu Xiaobo : Ne enemies , No Hatred

It was few days ago that they came and dragged him to their vehicle and took him to a secret location for interrogation before producing him before the court at their convenience. Eventually, due to the increasing pressure from the outside that the government faced, they had to produce him before the court and he is now in prison. What wrong has this man done? Who did he anger with his work? Who wanted him to stop his thirst for the liberty of victims in the country? Who needs to eliminate this “troubleshooter”? According to the local media it was another illegal arrest based on fabricated charges and arbitrary detention, which is very common in many countries.

Adilur Rahman Khan is the secretary of the Odhikar which is one of the major local rights groups in Dhaka documenting human rights violations. He was arrested by the security forces in Bangladesh on Saturday (August 10). News immediately spread across the world and many urged for his release. However, the government is in a hurry to prove the guilt of the subject they have targeted.

DSC_1242

Mr. Adilur Rahman Khan is in a prison van on August 13th, 2013.

I met Adil last year and we had a lengthy discussion on Bangladesh. Adil described the situation point by point from the war of Liberation in 1971 to the present nation slowly perishing in a sea of corruption and extremism, called Bangladesh. Adil is a charismatic activist, and outspoken man who loves to talk and express his honest opinion on the situation.  He knows how to articulate the debate into the stage where people can think and learn. Unfortunately, his provocative comments created more unknown adversaries than friends. So I was not surprised to hear about his arrest by the Dhaka authorities, though it makes me feel sad and angry about the present crummy political system in Bangladesh, which remains in power by spreading social fear among the communities.

The crisis in Bangladesh is deep, and the level of destruction of the state’s institutions is unimaginable. Many have talked about the liberation from Pakistan, but in reality there was never any real liberation of the people in this country. Personal liberty is a day dream, and politics happens behind closed doors and is used only for to plunder the public assets. The ordinary person has been shut out with no role to play except participating in a ritualistic election once in five years that is termed as ‘democracy’ which enables the ‘winners’ to go crazy.  Corruption is a daily event that everyone experiences in every layer of society. A couple of years ago, one of the senior professors in law who teaches in one of the major universities in Dhaka, said, “who can have hope for the justice when people are living in the context where justice is being sold at the cheapest price”. This is precisely the reason why Adil is behind bars today.

It was just last year when Adil, attending a meeting on the prevention of torture, presented chilling arguments about the society at large. “In the 10 years since 9/11, Asian countries have enacted many national security acts and emergency laws. In 1974, Bangladesh did the same. Torture is legitimized by law! Therefore we cannot only talk about rule of law. The 1982 Citizenship Act made the Rohingya non-citizens of Myanmar, although these people have been living there 500-700 years. The Rohingyas continued statelessness points to the failure of ASEAN to address the issue. At the same time, Bangladesh has failed to shelter the fleeing Rohingya. There was a budding human rights movement in the 1970s and 90s, but this was crushed by the 9/11 incident. We need to discuss how to revive these organic movements, 2013 will mark 20 years of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. What can Asian states claim to have done since then?”, (source – Ethic In Actions ( Vol. 07. No. 03 – Page 72)) Adil observed.

He went into the detail and he tried to visualize the psyche opt in the society in which many people become victims. “What also struck me yesterday was the dehumanizing aspect of torture. When you wish to cheapen the life and liberties of someone, you have to paint him as a traitor, a dog- then your methods suddenly become a lot more justifiable or acceptable. Then, in abusing him, you psychologically begin believing in the same lie you sold to the rest of the community- that he is a dog and not your equal in dignity and worth and not possessed of the same rights. (source – ibid)”

There is no doubt that Adil should be a free man, he must continue to do what he deserves to do, and he should continue with his great role in the nation that has already lost millions of lives for nothing other than protecting the highly corrupted political elite.

However, the long struggle of Adil’s release has just started, and Adil is not the first victim of this barbarianism, nor will he be the last. The scenario will be repeated. Tomorrow you might be the victim of this cynical political manipulation of truth and freedom. Unfortunately, if this scenario continues, there will more bloodshed before the society at large to understand and act with unity for dignity and liberty of the human beings in Bangladesh.

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is journalist and editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily news paper based in Colombo Sri Lanka. He can be reached atilangamuwa@gmail.com or editor@srilankaguardian.org

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is Editor of Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives. He also edits the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily newspaper. He is the author of the recently released non-fiction books, “Nagna Balaya” (The Naked Power), published in Sinhalese, and “The Conflation”, published in English. 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal