Hi all! Today when I started writing up my draft, the first thought that came to me was as if it was only yesterday when I was struggling to put up my first poetics prompt on Dverse – I wrote about Holi, an Indian festival of colors, and now time has come for the same festival this year. So this marks my year as a bartender – I would like to thank you all for the support you have given me. I feel proud to be a part of this and spreading poetry. So thank you.

However, I am not happy today. I am rather shaken by a really bad news – Avijit Roy, a Bengali writer and blogger, was hacked to death in Bangladesh by Islamic extremists, when he was coming out of the book fair in Dhaka. He died when he reached hospital. His wife was attacked too and was seriously injured. They were in a very much public place, yet no one came up to save them. In one of his early articles, he wrote about inner struggles whether to relocate to India, as that is where most Hindus from Bangladesh shifted, on or after the partition. He, unlike most, didn’t leave Bangladesh – he loved his country – where a brutal death awaited him.

His father was a renowned physicist and freedom fighter in Bangladesh. He studied in Dhaka, then Singapore and later moved to US and started working there. As a student, he started writing about his views in yahoo groups. He was one of the fore founders of a community blog – Mukto Mona, where he started writing about freedom of speech, atheism and rationalism. He along with his followers wrote equally against the radicalism. He received many death threats; yet he ignored them and went to the book fair at the launch of his new book.

I would be honest here – I didn’t know him or heard about him before. Yet now that I am reading about him through the articles of someone I know, I feel that I know him very well, as if I have met him, shared his views. He always wrote about humanity irrespective of religion, caste or any discrimination. When I heard the news first, I felt scared. In many occasions I write about social issues. I protest when I see something is not right. I asked myself, am I feeling weak? Am I going to accept things as they are? I was reading about him for last few days and one of the articles really showed me hope. The author, Biplob, said that this is not the end; it is not a moment to think they won and we lost. It is a moment to write and raise our voice. When Avijit started his journey as a philanthropist, he only had eight friends were with him, now the followers are in thousands.

The extremists may think they are powerful, they can challenge our integrity by their barbaric act but we can also show them that we are not afraid today. No, tonight I don’t want you to write about any religion but raise your voice against terror, against abomination. Look around the globe. Iraq Ukraine, Copenhagen or Paris – humanity is facing the darkest hour. We need to believe that we cannot be suppressed. We will make our voice heard. Join me in the protest.

Truth, peace, harmony, love
I must be the change I wish to see in the world.

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