As long as she lives, she will not be silenced

This is from April. I didn’t see it then. I’m glad I didn’t – I was freaking out enough as it was. It’s the Daily Mail:

There is no hint of fear in her eyes as feminist writer Taslima Nasreen tells Mail Today that Bangladeshi terror group Ansarullah Bangla Team is plotting to cross over to India and then travel to the Capital to kill her.

The group takes its ideology from Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda activist, and has been involved in the murders of America-based writer Avijit Roy and blogger Washiqur Rahman last month for “criticising Islam”.

Taslima, if Indian intelligence agencies are to be believed, may very well be their next target.

[Read more…]

CFI gets the job done

Here is the big news I’ve been sitting on for

  1. weeks
  2. the past several days

It’s a press release from CFI:

Amid Death Threats from Islamists, CFI Brings Secular Activist Taslima Nasrin to Safety in U.S.

Center for Inquiry Establishes New Emergency Fund for Freethought Writers Threatened by Radical Islamists

The Center for Inquiry has established an emergency fund to assist freethought activists whose lives are under threat by Islamic radicals linked to Al Qaeda in countries such as Bangladesh, where three secularist bloggers have been murdered since February. Outspoken human rights activist Taslima Nasrin, specifically named as an imminent target by the same extremists responsible for the murders of Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das, arrived in the United States last week under the assistance of CFI.

Taslima Nasrin

Nasrin was recently named as one of the next targets for murder by Al Qaeda-linked extremists, prompting CFI to assist in transporting her safely to the U.S., alleviating the immediate threat to her life. Her safety is only temporary if she cannot remain in the U.S., however, which is why CFI has established an emergency fund to help with food, housing, and the means for her to be safely settled. An appeal will be sent out today to CFI’s supporters asking them to donate to this cause. Dr. Nasrin arrived in Buffalo, N.Y. on Wednesday, and was met by CFI staff.

CFI has also heard from several other writers and activists in Bangladesh who are in similarly perilous situations, many of whom have also been specifically named as targets for murder for their secular advocacy. The decision was made by CFI that any money raised in excess of what is necessary for Dr. Nasrin will go toward a general freethought emergency fund to assist with the rescue of other atheist, humanist, and secular activists under threat.

Donate now. [Read more…]

Just a place where people talked

A little more from Joseph Anton, which is an encyclopedia of the kind of bad thinking that’s been going on for the past week. It takes place in France, which is fitting, and mentions a beloved friend of mine.

At the first meeting of the so-called “International Parliament of Writers” in Strasbourg he worried about the name, because they were unelected, but the French shrugged and said that in France un parlement was just a place where people talked. He insisted that the statement they were drafting against Islamist terror should include references to Tahar Djaout, Farag Fouda, Aziz Nesin, Ugur Memeu and the newly embattled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen as well as himself. Susan Sontag swept in, embraced him, and spoke passionately in fluent French, calling him un grand écrivain who represented the crucial secularized culture the Muslim extremists wished to suppress. [p 397]

Plus ça change, eh?

Nirbashito

There’s a film about Taslima; it won an award. Well we can’t have that, can we.

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP from Basirhat, Idris Ali has termed exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen as a ‘loose charactered woman’ on Sunday.

“Taslima Nasreen is a loose charactered woman who plays the communal card. People who support her, eventually end up spreading communal tension,” said Ali. He also targeted author Salman Rushdie saying, “Rushdie was barred from entering West Bengal as this is a secular state and communal elements like him should be kept at bay.”

The communal card, for heaven’s sake. It’s Idris Ali and people like him who are doing that, not Taslima. [Read more…]

One can imagine the pressure

Taslima has a guest post by a neuroscientist at MIT, Garga Chatterjee.

Many Bengalis take a lot of pride about Kolkata, as a centre for free thought and artistic expression. Kolkata, the so-called ‘cultural capital’, has demonstrated the increasing emptiness of the epithet, yet again. Taslima Nasreen, one of the most famous Bengali authors alive, had scripted a TV serial named ‘Doohshahobash’ ( Difficult cohabitaions) portraying 3 sisters and their lives – standing up to kinds of unjust behaviour that are everyday realities for the lives of women in the subcontinent. Nasreen has long lent a powerful voice to some of the most private oppressions that women face, often silently. [Read more…]

But suddenly everything is dead. Everybody is silent.

Taslima wrote a post about banning and censorship two days ago, when the axing of her serial was threatened but not yet a reality. Go read it and look at it; it’s full of pictures of Taslima on billboards advertising the serial. There was a huge buzz about this serial.

But suddenly everything is dead. Everybody is silent. The channel, the producers, the artists all are shocked.

[Read more…]