Bangladesh

When we become silent

In later years, violations of citizens’ and political rights have escalated dramatically in Bangladesh. Media is increasingly under pressure and the authorities fail in the protection of minorities, bloggers, intellectuals and LGBT-people, who are submitted to brutal violence from Islamic extremists.

84 bloggers on the death list

Bangladesh was founded as a secular state – but the former regime established Islam as the state religion. This doesn’t tally, and the double ledger has resulted in a tug-of-war that leads ultimately to terror and political violence.

When there’s no secular state, there’s only discrimination and oppression

How democratised a society is can be judged by how it treats its minorities. From day one, Bangladesh has endeavored to be a secular and pluralist state – but concessions to various extremist forces have created a volatile situation in which the ambiguities of the state regarding its ruling principles are driving some very dangerous developments, writes activist Priyanka Bose.

Daring to know – the story of Mukto-Mona

The very popular blog Mukto-Mona (free thought) was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack this year that left four of its writers dead. The blog was a successful experiment in freethinking and free debate, and can be described as a “barefoot university”. If terrorism manages to silence it, a door will close to adult education and discussion on the role of science and religion in society.

The provoking cartoonist

For 31-year-old cartoonist Arifur Rahman, drawing proved a life-threatening activity in Bangladesh. In 2007, he was arrested and tortured for six months for having blasphemed against Islam. In 2010 he fled to Norway, where ICORN and Norwegian PEN successfully pleaded his case for asylum.

A feminist’s observations

What’s it like to write about feminism and women’s issues in Bangladesh? Author and blogger Marzia Prova has fought long and hard to get to write openly about sex, rape, equality, menstruation and religious attitudes towards women. The price has been high – her community and family want nothing to do with her and she receives constant threats on the net.

Avijit’s killers

Anisur Rahman, poet, critic and playwright, was guest writer in Uppsala from 2009 to 2011. This newly written poem was composed in response to the murder of the very well-known author and blogger Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death by Islamist terrorists in February.

Infographic: Bangladesh

The struggle for a progressive Bangladesh goes on – from Sweden

28-year old blogger and journalist Shamima Mitu left Bangladesh on November 5. She was receiving severe threats because of her writings on social issues. With the aid of The Palme Centre and Swedish PEN, she is now residing in Gotland, waiting for a decision on her application for asylum.

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