কাঁদ বাঙ্গালী কাঁদ

This was BAL's instruction to us. Just like last time, the city is appended with posters with this clear instruction. I was appalled the first time at the thought that our government was giving such a message, when there should have been so much more to do and say about building a better city, better lives, a better country.

 This time, its a little different. I am on the "ON" cycle of reading newspapers (almost daily) and even following the news on television, and I must say, this month IS PRETTY SAD! Worth crying over.

There is a list of dreadful events in my last post, and it leads a big tragedy - the deaths of Tareque Masud, the film-maker and Mishuk Munier, who was the CEO of ATN News and a man in love with the camera. They had started on movies together, leading to a film called "Runway". In the recent days, very little has been happening in the world of cinema that I would call noteworthy, and this man Tareque Masud was one of the few I had been looking out for. He puts an effort into his cinema that speaks loudly for the passion he holds for it. Unlike anyone else, he was taking his cinema to the different parts of Bangladesh himself with his crew, which includes his wife and producer Catherine Masud, enjoying the reactions and debates that would come from his movies. I loved the way he spoke and carried himself - grounded and humble, and how he had partnered for life with a kindred spirit and were doing what they love. Mishuk Munier must have been a genius, since the little I see of Runway now in its trailer blows me away! Breathtaking pictures of the rural.

They had gone to visit a spot for their new movie which had the working title of Kagojer Phool (Paper Flower). A few friends went along with them. The accident claimed 5 lives, and one of the friends was artist Dhali Al-Mamun, who is still on life support. They were traveling in a micro-bus, which ran into a bigger inter city bus from the other side on a bend, where other accidents have taken place before.

Just leading up to this accident, there were some noteworthy news - one stating how 41 people identified and proven as corrupt by the Anti-Corruption Commission who are still working, and some with high positions, in the department of Roads and Transport [সড়ক ও জনপথ (সওজ) অধিদপ্তরে]. Another news, stated that the Minister of Shipping, Shahjahan Khan, was putting pressure on the Ministry of Communication to have 24000 professional licenses granted bypassing the normal procedures, since this man and some of his family, are bus owners. He took out 10,000 licenses on a previous occasion.

The accident of course resulted in a lot of voices being raised for road safety issues, e.g., Why hasn't the government taken any steps to implement the recommendations made by the leading engineering university of the country - BUET? Why are professional drivers still so reckless even after a high number of deaths and destruction? Isn't it because they go unpunished every year backed by the strength of their lobbies? People like Shahjahan? Shameem Osman?

A ruthless businessman, Shahjahan did what was expected, denied that road accidents are the fault of the drivers in front of a panel of reporters (who I assume were quiet either for the fear of their lives, or they did not figure out how to go down to his level and communicate). Any one who drives on our roads and highways, will tell you the buses are driven in the most reckless fashion. The communications minister is now always seen with the minister of shipping. They are the new BFFs, the new Paris and Nicole, only lethal.

Whereas everyone is now sitting at home or even taking to the streets, claiming that these ministers step down, it is unlikely. The ministries they are in, are potent money making ministries and now with the road safety concern in the public sphere, I assume its an opportunity for them to fill new pockets. Even though the PM made promises to review her ministers regularly to make sure they are on track, its clear these people are somehow necessary for some plan.

Everyone is in grief. Talk shows are hosting old AL politicians who reminisce their golden days and state clearly how the party is derailed at the moment. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina expressed sorrow for the two talented individuals we lost in that accident through a PR statement, and that was all we heard of her for a while until last night. She was on TV, referring to her counterpart in BNP, saying that people who celebrate birthdays on the death anniversary of Sheikh Mujib can't be expected to do any good for the country. This? That is all you have to say? The people are expecting you to do something about your openly corrupt and inept ministers! Fire them. Declare them unworthy! And yet, you are silent, anyone is guilty but your office, circling in the old blame game with BNP. Unworthy. Unacceptable. I did all I could to not spit on the TV screen

মিশুক মুনীরের স্ত্রী মঞ্জুলী কাজী, মানববন্ধনে রাজনীতিবিদদের উদ্দেশে: "আপনারা বলেন যে মানুষের জন্য রাজনীতি করেন। এমন মিথ্যা কথা আর বলবেন না। রাজনীতি আপনাদের ব্যবসা"
সড়ক নিরাপত্তা কাউন্সিলের তিন মাস পর পর বৈঠক করার কথা। কিন্তু এই সরকারের পৌনে তিন বছরে বৈঠক হয়েছে মাত্র তিনটি। মন্ত্রণালয় সূত্র জানায়, এই তিনটি বৈঠকের একটি করা হয়েছে নৌপরিবহনমন্ত্রী শাজাহান খানের অনুরোধে। - প্রথম আলো