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Culture of Immunity: The Death of a Bangladeshi Writer and the Complicity of the Democratic System


Culture of Immunity: The Death of a Bangladeshi Writer and the Complicity of the Democratic System

Mehnaaz Momen

A pair of glasses, a pen, and blood and brains surround the limp lifeless body of Abhijit Roy, clad in a red Punjabi, the body of the curious and courageous mind attacked and hacked, left for dead in front of spectators and police, none of whom came to his rescue while he along with his wife was being attacked with a cleaver just outside the Ekushe Book Fair, a public venue. A day later, his father Professor Ajay Roy would hand over the body for medical research, forgoing religious rites, and thus honoring his son’s lifelong quest for rationality and science.


Thank you for this informative article, Mr. Momen.

As to this horror:

“How about a demand for investigation of the police force who were supposedly providing security a few yards from the crime scene and failed to pursue the murderers? Abhijit may have been targeted by the Islamic group(s), but the easy and obstruction-free assassination is far more problematic than his death.”

When that “Exceptional Nation” marketed to the world (and its own people) as the quintessential beacon of liberty, the font of justice, and the picture of fairness while increasingly, its armed gendarmes gun down innocent Black men in broad daylight while their superiors justify their acts, we see how the law of the jungle (a/k/a “Might makes right”) thrives in authoritarian nations. The example is set and transmitted. So make no mistake about it, without the compelling and rare example set by nations in South America to act as exception, much of the world–largely through the bait and switch tactic of Fighting Terrorism–has armed so many who are prepared (if not trained) to turn on their own.

When fear is spread and soldiers (or those who act like them) are everywhere, the trust that enables a socially balanced society to cohere goes missing. From that point, as we now see, just about anything goes.

It is difficult to reconcile the fact that one resides in a supposedly civilized nation, and yet rape, child abuse, sickening porn, spontaneous shoot-outs, police violence, and even torture are normalized, everyday occurrences. Welcome to the asylum. With so many inmates banging on the gates, it IS destined for a collapse that many of us pray could not come soon enough.


It is with some trepidation that I bring this up, as I don’t exactly disagree with your sentiment, but I can’t help wondering if the kinds of actions described in the article aren’t in fact a clear description that this collapse is upon us (defined however you choose). Which means it provides no solution to the disaster the biosphere is facing.
As for who is banging on the gates, it’s not at all clear to me which side of those gates contains the inmates or whether either side offers any prospect for a future I want to see. Which raises the question of whether this metaphor is useful in pointing the way towards the kinds of actions required to make a positive future for humanity. I fails to address the primacy of the death cult, which you are well aware of, as well as the need to make that cult visible and subsumed in a blanket category, such as ‘inmates.’
Is there a better metaphor that can lead to positive enlightenment or is metaphor not able to cover this unprecedented situation? It’s something I’ll be considering because I use metaphor quite a bit myself.