Photo: Anisur Rahman/Daily Star

Let’s become human again

Our heads should be bowed with shame when we see that our children have been out on the streets and checking our driving licenses and fitness certificates of our vehicles. They have also been reminding the government ministers that they must also abide by the traffic laws and follow the right lane while commuting. This, indeed, a matter of great shame that they had to show us the proper ways.

In the age of extreme human insecurity, the parents of these children usually don’t let them move around without proper safety measures. But for the last few days, the parents haven’t been preventing their children to go out of their homes and demand a safe commuting environment and prevent deaths on the roads.

Our experience in the last few days serves as a clear wakeup call and should compel us to think when the masses are pushed to the fringe, there has to be some sort of corrective reaction from them. Perhaps, the people in the higher echelons had expected that the deaths on the roads would continue and the people would always mourn the deaths of their beloved and with time, forget about it. What they have been missing to see that the country had become one big mourning arena. Every day, we have many fatalities to mourn for.

We have been experiencing all sorts of anarchies on the roads, especially from the people with public responsibilities. One cannot deny how the vehicles of so-called public servants (actually, the people are their servants) go on the wrong lanes all the time. Our government ministers never take the right lane, as if they are the only ones who need to reach to their destinations. The law enforcers as well as their chauffeurs don’t carry their driving licenses with an attitude that they are above the law. We have been giving more importance to foreign envoys than our own people. What a farce!

These people with responsibilities had taken the people for granted that they would never oppose their actions. Now what the children have been displaying in the last few days is the wish of everybody. We must consider this as an opportunity to correct ourselves, not only about the road safety conditions but wherever we as a nation need corrections. There are a million anomalies to worry about.

In the meantime, we, with gratitude, appreciate the solidarity that many government ministers have shown in the last few days. We also appreciate the prime minister’s kindness to financially compensate the families of the victims who were killed by the reckless buses. In doing so, we should remind us the essence of this revolution. It may not be the financial help the people always need; they need a change in the wrong system that has been in place for a long time; they seek a paradigm shift of the wrong system. Let’s not miss the right message of this revolution.

However, we also see some mudslinging going on between Mr Obaidul Quader and Mr Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Mr Quader has been claiming that the elements of their opponent political party have entered into the fray and it is they who are backing the children. Yes, there may be some such elements who may have tried to create unrest for political mileage. But Mr Quader, as a top leader of a mighty political party, may think of issuing statements carefully.

Mr Alamgir has been appeasing himself thinking that the children have held the government in the throat. Come on, Mr Alamgir! Of all people, you shouldn’t be talking like this. Remember your minister’s ‘Allah’r Maal’ statement about the death of a child when your party was given the responsibility to look after the people? May be, you’ve forgotten; but the people have not.

Everyone needs to remember that it is not an anti-government protest; it a protest against ourselves, the society as a whole; the government is just an implementer, but we ourselves have created the anarchic situation that have been killing us. Kindly, refrain yourself from giving a political colour to the great deeds our children. They haven’t shown any anarchy in the last few days; what they did was that they tried to remind us, the elders, about our true human responsibilities.

They have shown that the drivers who kill innocent people on the streets have lost their humane qualities; they have shown that the owners of the killing vehicles have lost their humanness; they have also shown that the people in power who let the criminals go scot-free have also lost the human elements in them; they have shown that we as a nation need to look at ourselves and do some soul-searching and find out how have we come to this; they have shown us to think that there’s an urgent need to become humans again.

First appeared in Dhaka Tribune on 4 August 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *