Our interesting times continue. What started small, has now taken a form as large as could've been seen in the past decade in Bangladesh. No people were brought over there by political cadres on trucks with promises of  cash and free meals. The call went out over the social channels - Facebook and blogs, and what happened is largely documented there and also on video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Photos are flooding the internet and the print media is also enjoying covering this.

Shahbagh Square, it is being called (and in some places "Projonmo Chottor" or "Generation Square"), deriving from Tehrir Square and how a massive amount of people gathered there in protest. But unlike the latter, this was not opposing the government. Not once in the 3 days.

Not once? Even though the tribunal was thought by many to be greatly politicized by the government? That could've been changed if just one of the slogans asking for the hanging of Kader Mollah would be replaced by the question - Why wasn't he given the death sentence? Why, when Abul Kalam Azad was!? (esp. since he went missing before he could be arrested) (Can also read: সময়ের প্রতিবিম্ব: ফাঁসি কেন হলো না, জানতে চাই)

The square is illustrated with colors and paintings and long signature sheets and they are all calling for one thing only - the death sentence for all of the traitors of the independence movement of 1971. It is worthy cause, since their actions of that time led to genocide and those tales make you shudder in horror. But even then, I was waiting slowly again to see one banner or read about one shout that acknowledged that current times are not rosy, or that this movement doesn't stop with the war crime trials and banning of Jamaat-e-Islami. Surely we need to rid of this stigma of having among us those who do not believe in the sovereignty and the future of Bangladesh. At many times during the day, I felt strong urges to rush out and join the crowd, and the next questioning, why would I just ask for this? Just this? Are they all happy with how things have been running then? Who am I asking justice from? This movement is placed in a manner where its easily hijacked by the government.  Even though major members of the government were not allowed, and no political banners were allowed in the gathering, the last day did see a big presence of the pro-BAL intellectuals. The government is  showering praises on this generation in parliament and discussing submitting an appeal to get the death sentence to replace life-long imprisonment. As one editorial opines, this event seems a definite win-win. Are we just after mob justice then? Since we aren't questioning the mild sentence, just asking for the killing of the criminal over what the courts passed as judgement?

The positive thing of this gathering is that its big, its spirit has spread beyond Dhaka. I suppose an anti-corruption, safe roads, or good roads (we really don't have good roads anywhere and thats why the newly built Hatirjheel was our recent love affair), or  or pro-democracy* gathering might not have seen such unity. And they seem to be taboo now that we have a mass gathering, which is kind of sad. On the other hand, if anyone thought this would go over as a mild political drama, they were wrong! I believe it shakes things up a bit, a little bit, while being safe and pro-government. I would still want to see people rise from the core to get above ALL things that are adverse in our public life and for being a civilized and progressive society.

As it says in the song:
আমাদের যেন সব ছুয়ে যায়

Padma Bridge levy on cards 
(Mobile phones, air tickets, land sales among a dozen items on provisional NBR list)
জাহাঙ্গীরনগর বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের ছাত্রলীগ: লজ্জা!