xer-files
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
  Hijacked narratives - Bangladesh
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Unheard Voice

Dhaka -- Unlike the Baul statue circus a month ago, the group that came to smash Balaka Chattar/Biman Office statues (storks, also by Mrinal Haque) came near midnight. This time, no government officials, no advance “protest” in media, no advance anything. They worked quickly, with hammers. Other reports said “ramda”, but I tend to think that’s fear shorthand.

Then the police arrived. According to BdNews24, for the first fifteen minutes they did nothing. Then I suppose the “higher ups” decided whether to stop or allow, impede or accelerate. And then the police “swung into action.” Or, as Shamokal reports it, dhawa palta dhawa. Police wounded, attackers in custody, conveniently wearing white robes. Almost ready for their photo-op.

The hammers managed to get through the plaster legs, but stopped at iron rods.

I arrived after midnight. Lot of police vans. My CNG driver knew about it: “Ektu agei hangama hoise, oidike jaiben”. Helpful tour guide.

Al Jazeera camera crew were there. Video camera nicely set on tripod. [..]

It’s all one gigantic hodge-podge. But I’m sure some TV station will clarify and simplify, turn it into a bite-sized chunk and juicy headline.

And then two days later, a friend will write me from New York “What’s going on over there?” [..]

The police ask our group which paper we are with. We’re not with anyone. Ah, he says nodding, that’s why you’re so late. [..]

What is sand and pitch is a global audience, creating a conundrum for activists. I am glad they didn’t manage to smash the statues. Dodged the bullet, this time. And because there’s relief, our group starts having a discussion about tactical media. When we go home tonight and blog about this, we will put up our images by habit. But then what, where will those images go? -- [link]

 
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