From the Editor-in-Chief: Leave no ‘deshi’ behind

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, March 12th, 2015
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Even amongst all the euphoria and jubilation that visited upon the nation this week, thanks to the magnificent efforts Down Under of our beloved Tigers – Bangladesh’s wonderful cricketers – at the ICC’s marquee event, some terrible things did manage to happen that do not bode well. It would seem time, tide and now the dreaded ISIS – the self-declared caliphate carved out of adjoining territory in Iraq and Syria – wait for none, with news of two Bangladeshis having been captured by the jihadists in Libya.

 

The North African state that was under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had opened its doors to both skilled and unskilled migrants from Bangladesh. Vast, in size and hydrocarbons, but populated only sparsely beyond the northern coast, evidently it pulls in our workers still. Over 50,000 Bangladeshis are still said to work there. Given the chronic instability it has fallen into ever since the Arab Spring ventured in, before culminating in a reported bloodbath in the colonel’s palace courtyard, its worth thinking over whether they are actually safe there anymore. It has been another misadventure for democracy in the former Italian outpost, that has turned a prosperous and resourceful Libya into not even one, but maybe two or three failed states. ISIS’ brand of punk or shock jihadism has replaced Al Qaeda as the main terrorist threat in Washington’s crosshairs. American policymakers seem to be quite impressed by ISIS’ ability to actually capture as well as hold on to territory, as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s jihadists (where jihad is a perversion of its purpose and practice as set forth in the Quran itself) have with that swathe from Mosul in northern Iraq to Raqqa in Syria’s eastern fringes. The West is of course playing right into its hands by failing to conceptualise or execute any alternative strategy to deal with the problem, except perpetuating the cycle of violence.

 

The kidnapping took place even as Bangladeshis around the world were erupting in joy. We are known of course, for having spread our seed far and wide, and impromptu victory marches broke out in Banglatowns across the globe. Above all, it was so heartening to see the formidable contingent holding the fort in Adelaide itself, that serene city of cathedrals and gardens on the South Australian coast. The evening as it was setting in, even on the television looked beautiful and inviting.

 

Those Bangladeshis who were there, almost all of them students or hard-working migrants – how they would have enjoyed it! To see the beloved country you’ve left behind, for which the heart still pines, be represented where you are now resident in such stellar fashion can only act as a lift. The spring in their step at work for the next few weeks at least is assured. From anywhere around the world, few demographics could be more deserving.

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