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Pious bribery, primates, and unemployment

It’s a common belief that our faiths were sent to Earth to keep us disciplined. God is monitoring us, and can show the records of all our actions to us when the time comes on the judgment day. There’s no escape from God. We must remain good and keep our temptations towards evil away so that we can answer properly and correctly to God.
But does our faith make us better humans? Really? Well, at least our Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam thought it did. That’s why he was heard, according to news reports, saying that our namaz wouldn’t be accepted by God if we keep indulging in haram acts. Bribery is haram, and the briber-seekers’ prayers won’t reach God.
He was, obviously, trying to scare the corrupt officials with his wishful statement. Sweet wish.
He sounded like an innocent soul who thinks officials around him are God-loving, God-abiding, and God-fearing — whom we call the “pious.” He thought almost all the officials were pious, and they would humble down to the picture he was trying to portray and correct the wrongs they were engaged in.
To my mind, the secretary’s statement implies a deep-seated national problem, an utter helplessness, if you will, a frustrated psyche on the fringe, maybe, a last-ditch attempt to send a message to a superlatively corrupt society that might soften itself only to God.
He is so wrong. Our greed for unearned wealth has surpassed any kind of fear or love for God. We no longer fear him, as our worldliness is more important than attraction or fear of the afterlife. We leave no stone unturned to abuse religion for our own comfort. Religion, for a long time, has just been a veil for us to showcase our Janus-faced psyche.
It’s sad that in a country where millions are cloaked in religion, many are so corrupt. Showing oneself as a pious person and at the same time bribe-mongering is another element of corruption that we’re genetically carrying. Both religion and corruption are widespread in this country; we cannot live without any one of them.
Unfortunately depressing. Downright hypocritical. Let’s not call them pious anymore; shall we? Or, maybe, we could change the term “bribery” to “pious bribery.”
I try calming myself down thinking that we’re not alone. My depression withers a bit when I hear that the famous social media platform Facebook terms the black-skinned humans as “primates.” Although the bookish definition of the word “primate” also includes humans, we never use it when it comes to homo sapiens. To us, the mammals such as lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes are primates.
Facebook later apologized and said that their AI made that mistake. Oops! Really, Facebook? Now, who programmed that AI? A black-skinned human? We understand and almost-accept your hypocrisy as an act of hypocrisy. We also understand that Facebook is owned by white-skinned humans who, for centuries, had believed that dark-skinned people were inferior creatures who were born to serve the white race.
And white people of yesteryears didn’t consider black people as humans. Facebook is a great example that many white people, till this day, are sticking to their beliefs.
Facebook is carrying the genetic legacy of that belief: Blacks are primates.
This thought refreshes my mind, reminding me, again, that we’re not the only whited sepulchre; I recover my smiles. And fortunately, a piece of news adds spice to my smile and turns it into a deafening laughter.
A minister, in the parliament proceeding, has just come up with an idea to solve unemployment in the country. He proposed that we should formulate a law which would prohibit working women to marry working men, or working men to marry working women. He thought when two working humans are wedlocked, the opportunity for another person’s employment is lost. So, if the man marries an unemployed woman, someone else could get that employment that the wife might have occupied.
The idea is, of course, hilarious and contains elements that may entertain our depressed minds. But no, it doesn’t entertain; we get sadder when we think that the valuable time of our parliament was lost due to the funny intervention of this man.
You don’t go to the parliament to express your stray thoughts; you go there to build the nation, to make the life of the people better.
We believe, the parliamentarians should go to the parliament with sound homework and we expect their consciousness would inspire the people to lead their lives positively and wisely.
We expect our lawmakers to be wise, well-read, and knowledgeable. However, this man is an unfortunate example of thoughtlessness.
The objective of this piece is to tell you that many aspects around us and our consequent actions are full of hypocrisy and without true meaning. We say things we don’t mean and we do things that harm the collective lot. I wonder when we will be able to come out, even partially, of this pathetic culture.
First published in Dhaka Tribune on 11 September 2021.

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