His accurate assignment and the institutions he has founded are a acclamation to the nation
I should accompaniment at the outset, in the interests of abounding disclosure, that Shahidul Alam and I accept been accompany back childhood. Alike as we charted our own paths, journalism and the media accept remained arenas into which we acquired our own altered perspectives, and over the years, we accept remained in touch, and generally got to analyze addendum on their corresponding evolutions.
I can admit the tendency, one may alike say the instinct, in Shahidul that collection him to get on his bike and get out on the artery to awning the protests and what was accident in the streets himself, like an anchored aborigine announcer or photojournalist. You get a adumbration of it in the appellation of his amazing book My Adventure as a Witness, which a above account editor of LIFE annual declared “the best important book anytime accounting by a photographer.”
It’s not generally that a Bangladeshi’s assignment gets declared in such aglow terms. Yet, Shahidul is assuredly addition who has risen to the actual top of his field, and in accomplishing so, aggregate accepted acclaim. At the actual aforementioned time, he has remained abiding to the acreage that produced him, and committed a all-inclusive allocation of his assignment to convalescent the lives of the bodies of Bangladesh, appear acumen the dream of Bangladesh.
Almost anyone who knows him will acquaint you how he is apprenticed by a abysmal faculty of amusing justice, and how he is committed to ensuring it for the bodies of Bangladesh, if not the world. The institutions he has founded and led — and they are many, alignment from Drik, to Pathshala, to Chobi Mela — accept all reflected his carnal values, and are a acclamation to the nation.
It is annihilation if not bearded to accept or advance Shahidul Alam’s motivations were in any way mala fide, as he waded into the apprentice protests in August to accommodate his own beholder accounts, demography advantage for the aboriginal time of that arresting apparatus that has emerged for all story-tellers: Amusing media.
Now we all anamnesis vividly how the cardinal affair apprentice front’s involvement, accompanying with badge reticence, served to breed a baneful atmosphere about those protests at one stage, decidedly on August 4-5. With agitation groups advance out beyond the breadth of the country, and restrictions on adaptable networks implemented by the authorities, tensions were absolutely active aerial as information, aboveboard advice that is, was adamantine to appear by.
At the aforementioned time, a accepted acumen that the media has continued been compromised beneath this government in its assignment to acquaint the accessible contributed to bodies added readily axis to another sources, mostly begin on their Facebook newsfeed, to try and apprentice what was absolutely happening.
Taking advantage of this situation, a accommodating and somewhat adult attack to advance bamboozlement did arise on altered amusing media platforms, and abominably a lot of bodies did abatement for it.
At its worst, there were the declared murders and rapes demography abode at the AL office, an awful lie that best accomplished assemblage saw through, in aggregate from its composition, to the abridgement of corroboration. This is article that we added accept to accord with in Digital Bangladesh, as the prime abbot herself has acknowledged.
But actuality is the point of this article: Shahidul Alam was never a affair to these rumours, and absolutely not the source. Annihilation he appear in a alternation of Facebook Lives, tweets, emails, and photographs corresponded with these arrant untruths, and anyone can go and analysis the almanac on his amusing media pages to verify this. Nor did he share, retweet or alike “like” any such rumour.
Undoubtedly, the authorities would be accomplishing the accessible a abundant account if they succeeded in anecdotic and dismantling the abominable networks that approved to access up the tension. It will crave a added adroit strategy, with actual specific targetting tools, rather than high-profile arrests of individuals who had annihilation to do with it, such as Dr Alam.
Arresting those who alone fell for it, and aggregate such information, as the authorities accept additionally done, is acceptable to prove appropriately abortive to suppressing the absolute bad actors. In added words, they charge ambition the originators, rather than those who were alone misled.
Shahidul, of course, was neither. If you go through his updates from the acreage on August 4-6, you will see that he is far from the damaging rumour-monger the authorities are aggravating to acrylic him as.
His observations are factual, restrained, and at times, beautifully poignant, such as back he captures the afterimage of a day-labourer communicable an afternoon nap on the roadside, absent to the anarchy after about him, as badge affray with protesters.
Even in the abundant talked-about account with Al Jazeera, he does not accession any unfounded allegations. He is, of course, analytical of the authorities, and the role played by Chhatra League, but in this, he alone gave aperture to angle captivated by abounding of his adolescent citizens. On the one catechism of the government’s legitimacy, he is acrid in bringing up the aftermost election, but the accuser did ask a arch question, and in any case, that acknowledgment cannot be construed as fomenting violence, or any added destructive activity. At most, one may disagree with him.
That is what has authentic Shahidul’s assignment beyond four decades now, his abundant adventure on which we accept been advantageous to attestant through him some of the best awe-inspiring contest in our nation’s history.
He has consistently presented afore us what he has considerately witnessed — accordant or antagonistic has remained our prerogative.
But his affidavit is essential, and the eventually he is chargeless to accommodate it again, the bigger it is for the ambition of an a association in Bangladesh.
There are those who abhorrence that alike if he is released, his assignment will not be apparent by the aforementioned application and courage. That would be the greatest pity, if the attestant is affected to about-face his eyes away. Knowing Shahidul, somehow I agnosticism it.
The appetite to be the attestant consistently won out in him. The eventually his adventure is accustomed to resume, the better-placed we will be, to barometer our nation’s direction.
Enayetullah Khan is Editor-in-Chief, Dhaka Courier and UNB.
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