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Jan 18 2012

Teacher arrested in Bangladesh for having Taslima Nasreen’s novel

Please send messages of solidarity with the teacher to [email protected].

Press Release

We, the undersigned strongly protest the arrest of Mr. Yunus Ali, the Head Teacher of KC Technical and Business Management College of Pirojpur, on 4 January, 2012. Mr. Ali was arrested for having allegedly kept a copy of writer Taslima Nasreen’s novel “Lajja” (“Shame”) in the college library. This arrest is a clear breach of the right to freedom of speech and shows the presence of a broad range of communal and generally reactionary forces in our society.

We believe that the banning of books clearly violates the right to freedom of thought and expression, which constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic and pluralistic society during the information age of the 21st century and is enshrined in the Constitution of Bangladesh. Dissenting ideas and opinions should be faced through a healthy debate, not censorship and arrest. A state’s weakness, intolerance and imprudence are revealed when a literary work is banned in this manner.

Only a tolerant, secular and democratic atmosphere will ensure maximum participation of everyone in public life, enrich our culture and maintain the spirit of the liberation war. On this basis, we demand that all charges against Head Teacher Mr. Yunus Ali be immediately dropped.

Signed by:

1. Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain O Salish Kendro 2. Hameeda Hossain, Chairperson, Human Rights Activist 3. Khushi Kabir, Coordinator, Nijera Kori 4. M. Zafar Iqbal, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology 5. Anu Mohammad, Jahangirnagar University 6. Gitiara Nasreen, Dhaka University 7. Sonia Amin, Dhaka University 8. Ferdousi Priyobhashini, Human Rights Activist 9. Sara Hossain, Advocate, Supreme Court 10. Dina Siddiqi, Hunter College, New York 11. Meghna Guhathakurta, Research Initiatives Bangladesh 12. Bina D’ Costa, The Graduate Institute, Geneva 13. Shapan Adnan, Independent Scholar 14. Zakir Kibria, Solidarity Workshop 15. Faustina Pereira, Advocate, Supreme Court 16. Robaet Ferdous, Dhaka University 17. Asif Saleh 18. Jyoti Rahman, Editor, Drishtipat Writers’ Collective 19. Sultana Begum, Human Rights Activist 20. Khodeja Sultana, Human Rights Activist

(Via Marieme Helie Lucas and SIAWI)

21 comments

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  1. 1
    Mriana

    What is wrong with reading a book? Any book? No matter it’s title? Seems to me, they want to oppress open-mindedness too, as well as enlightenment. No wonder someone in Asia wrote the “Art of War”. Guess it became necessary when Xians and Islamics started burning books.

    1. 1.1
      PersianPower88

      Speaking of Muslims burning books, the Arab rats after their sacking of Ctesiphon burned so many centuries of knowledge, Arab sandniggers, the most primitive subhuman “people” (dogs) of their time declared anything not Muslim as sin and blasphemy, at that the Arab rats also cut the first Persian carpet, the beautiful Spring of Khosrow into shreds.

      The crimes of Arabs are unbelievable. Can’t wait for these rats to be exterminated some day. Truly hate every single Arab on earth.

      1. Mriana

        PersianPower88, while I agree with your basic premise of not burning books and those who do should be dealt with, I do not agree with the way you propose to deal with them or your racist name calling of people. It’s degrading and demeaning. I would think if you did not want to be degraded or demeaned yourself, you would not use such words as “sandn****r and alike. In the U.S. words, such as the “N” word are loaded with history. Even the word Cracker, which originally meant, “one who cracks the whip”, which was generally a slave owner or sometimes a slave assigned to do the job (which was worse and more despised). I would hope you are not such a person who cracks the whip on those who are assigned X amount of lashes, but be that as it may, you do use some historically loaded words.

        Let me make this clear, I do despise Islam, as well as some other religions and how people use the various texts in modern society, but I do not hate people. These primitive stories, when used in modern society are quite inhumane, as well as vile, and should not be applied to modern society. This includes the texts of Xianity and Judaism. When taken and applied to modern life, they are extremely dangerous and harmful, as you obviously know, but hatred of people does not help, esp since many people today are a melting pot of various ancestries. Seems to me, if you hate one group, you only end up hating yourself. Being part German, I would only end up hating myself if I hated Germans, but it is another thing to hate what Hitler and Nazis did to people. The same goes with the rest of my European ancestry. If I hated them for what they did to my American Indian ancestors, I’d only end up hating myself, but I can hate what they did to my American Indian ancestors. I have also taught my sons not to hate their White ancestry on the same premise. It is one thing to despise slavery, but it is another thing to hate the people, because they would only end up hating themselves, because they are both white and black. There is a vast difference between hating actions or an object, such as religion, but another thing to hate people. I hope, for your sake, you learn that.

        1. PersianPower88

          You can say these things all you want and they can apply to you in context with your situation in a western democracy, however, if you try to apply these things to your average Iranian who has suffered through a government which humiliates him, tries to subvert his culture, and spits on his indigenous civilization then it will be a different story.

          Iranians are taught Arabic at 5 years old, they are taught that Arabic is the language of heaven. The amount of Arab worship pushed on Iranians is insane, and as you know, Iranians are a rebellious people.

          The Islamic Republic is doing everything to ensure Iranians hate Arabs. It’s as simple as that.

        2. Winterwind

          Mrianabrinson:

          Let me make this clear, I do despise Islam, as well as some other religions and how people use the various texts in modern society, but I do not hate people.

          I think it’s a shame to say that you despise the entire Islamic religion. I’m a secular humanist who despises the fundamentalist forms of all religion, but I grew up in a very open-minded household and I still enjoy listening to music from various religious traditions (Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh). The other day I saw a Renaissance exhibition in which much beautiful artwork of Jesus and Mary was patronised by the Catholic Church in Italy.

          I know many moderate Muslims as well as moderate believers from other faiths who ignore the barbaric parts of their religion and use it as a means of personal improvement. I may still hold that their beliefs are irrational and based on Bronze Age superstition, but if they’re not using them to deprive anyone else of their rights, but rather to continue practicing the religion of their ancestors and remain part of their community, I’m not going to hold it against them. Personally, I think we can appreciate the positive things (e.g. art) religion has produced while continuing to criticise the negative things.

          … but hatred of people does not help, esp since many people today are a melting pot of various ancestries.

          I just want to make this point, because it’s very important. People have ALWAYS been a melting pot of various ancestries. Every one of us, no matter where we come from or what we look like, has relatively recent ancestors (thousands/tens of thousands of years) from all over Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Americas. It may be more obvious today, because new technology like aeroplanes is speeding up immigration, and global media are facilitating the expansion of languages like English, but we have all been ‘mixed race’ since the dawn of humankind. We’re not even purely human (Homo sapiens). We now have evidence that our ancestors mated with Neanderthals and Denisovans (the genes of these species remains in our DNA). It is very likely they mated with other humanoid species we don’t yet know about.

          This is one of the things that makes ideas about racial purity so bizarre. There is no such thing as a pure German or Igbo or Japanese (or Persian, lol). There never has been and never will be. It’s a racial fantasy that people use to justify all kinds of prejudice and violence. It’s particularly worth remembering this in today’s social climate, where we have reactionary xenophobes complaining about the ‘unnatural mixing of the races’, and telling us that we need to segregate ourselves along ethnic lines and return to an imaginary racial purity that never existed… in order to stop the ‘degeneration’ of (usually) good, pure European genes from mixing with those of the ‘lower races’!

          This in group/out group mentality has probably been around since we evolved and dispersed into tribes. If you read the Torah, for example, you find that most of its writers are obsessed with the racial and cultural purity of the ancient Hebrews. They insist that the Hebrews are Yahweh’s chosen people, and pour scorn on those Hebrews who ‘defect’ by committing the abomination of assimilating and intermarrying with the neighbouring tribes (for example, by adopting Asherah worship). The Canaanites are singled out for particular condemnation, ironically, as the Canaanites were linguistically and genetically some of the closest cousins of the Hebrews. The Babylonians too are called depraved and sinful, despite the fact (actually probably because of the fact) that the Hebrew culture was trying to maintain its independence from Babylonian hegemony. The story of Genesis is clearly copied from the Babylonian creation myth (although the Babylonian gods are replaced by YHWH), Moses’ ten commandments are modified rules borrowed from the Babylonian code of Hammurabi, and the flood story is probably borrowed from the Babylonian flood myth (where YHWH takes the place of Enki in saving humanity from the flood. YHWH also causes the flood, whereas in the Babylonian version it was the elder gods).

          Every culture has borrowed from its neighbours. We all have ancestors from the four corners of the world. We are all part of the melting pot and always have been. It’s worth remembering this today, more than ever.

          1. Mriana

            Maybe I should rephrase that to say that I despite how ancient mythology is literalized today and even called history. From all my religious and mythological stories, Jesus, Abraham, nor Moses, ever existed. They are just as mythical as Adam and Eve, as well as stories of Osiris/Horus, Vishnu/Krishna, etc etc. For religious extremists of any brand to literalized, historize, and even live by them in modern society I think is horrid. However, as literature, some of the mythologies, including the modern day myths are not too bad. I rather like Hanuman, Anansi, Bast, Ceiling Cat, and even the Lorax. OK the last two were never actually gods, but you get my point. I think Fr. Tom Harpur, of the Anglican Church in Canada, now retired, and author of The Pagan Christ said it best when he said, “Religion is mythology misunderstood.” There is what I think of religion and the texts there of in a nutshell and yes, even he believes that even Islam is also mythology. However, I don’t think religion has produced anything positive or of great worth. Even Galileo are deemed as a heretic until recent years, but it wasn’t the Catholic Church who made the scientific discoveries. Society would be a lot better off without religion, but again, that is my opinion and has nothing to with human beings themselves.

  2. 2
    Rafiq Mahmood

    This is precisely why I am setting up The Seditious Press – to make available in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Bangla, Indonesian/Malay and Turkish works of thoughtful literature that would otherwise be unavailable or difficult to access; regardless of any authoritarian control.

    Anyone who is interested in this project please contact me at [email protected]

    1. 2.1
      PersianPower88

      Look at the disgusting sandnigger animal Rafiq Mahmood.

      Hey animal, it’s Persian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_language) in the English language, we don’t say Deutsch you uneducated rat cunt. Don’t bother replying to me. There’s only one way I respond to Arabs in real life and that’s with a fist to the face, regardless of age, gender, or religion.

      My hatred of Arabs can’t be explained in words, it is so deep. The hatred I feel for you is incredible. The hatred the Iranian people have for you after 32 years of your bullshit, you have no idea. I HATE you, I HATE your family, I HATE your lineage, I HATE every single Arab on earth. We WILL purify our language, we WILL purify our blood through eugenics, we WILL exterminate ALL Arabs under the Iranian National Socialist regime of the future, and we WILL purify our culture from Arabo-Muslim influence.

      Just wait until this Islamic Republic is done and you’ll see what the Iranian people want, a nationalist regime, we will make the humiliation go away and we will see that you are all exterminated.

      Just wait.

      1. Midnight Rambler

        Very annoying to find that the killfile script doesn’t work with nested comments.

        1. FredBloggs

          Yeah, but you can just skip over the paragraph after seeing the author.

          It is interesting, though, how someone can be apparently literate enough to be able to own a PC and an Internet connection, but at the same time be so dumb.

      2. Mriana

        PersianPower88, if you hate that much, how can you even love yourself? I never could understand such strong hatred for other people or how one could love themselves with such strong hate.

    2. 2.2
      Maryam Namazie

      Rafiq, I’d love to help you in anyway so let me know what I can do. thanks

  3. 3
    PersianPower88

    I used to hate Pakistanis/Bangladeshis and those oriental Indian Muslims because I thought they were Arab parasts (Persian slang for Arab lovers), but I’ve met a lot of Pakistanis/Bangladeshis lately and I’m surprised that their hatred of Arabs (and subsequently Islam) exceeds my own.

    I was shocked at the number of people killed by Arab sandniggers in ancient India, and I thought Iran’s conquest by the subhuman Arab rats was bad. Now I truly feel for Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi people.

    I’ve seen a lot of signs on the net that Pakistani youth are slowly turning to racial nationalism and subsequently adopting a deep hatred of the Arab invader, I am truly loving this.

    Hope to see the day when we Iranians finally get to exterminate every last Arab rat, these people are truly the seed of Satan.

    88 – Hail Victory

  4. 4
    Winterwind

    Maryam, I know you’re against censorship and are a strong believer in freedom of speech, but could you please ban the troll? His constant vile, racist, homophobic rantings are turning me off your blog.

    1. 4.1
      Maryam Namazie

      I’m sorry I can’t ban arses, racists, and homophobes. The point of free expression is just that. I can’t just delete entries I don’t like for various reasons as it will mean deleting many more than the trolls! Just ignore them please. When you know who they are, skip over their posts. And keep reading (the good bits at least)!

      1. Nathanial Burton-Bradford

        Winterwind -

        It IS vile – BUT

        I fully agree with Maryam –

        also, dialogue (with an attempt at reasoning) might, just might, actually make some difference… I live in hope ;)

        Also – if you go, the voice of reason has got that little bit quieter.

        1. Mriana

          That and we get to see just how vile and hateful the other side can be, while trying to lie and say that Islam is a religion of peace, even though it means submission.

          1. Winterwind

            As far as I’ve seen, the most hateful comments so far have come not from Muslims but from a nationalist/ethnic supremacist. Racism is as big a problem as religious fundamentalism.

          2. Maryam Namazie

            Hear, Hear. Islamism, nationalism – just more of an excuse to hate anyone that is not considered part of that group…

          3. Mriana

            @Winterwind- I’ve noticed that too. A country can be 99% Islamic and the neighbouring country could also be 99% Islamic and they still fight amongst themselves, much like Xians do, concerning the right brand of Islam. From what I’ve seen here, it goes beyond the Quran calling Xians apes and Jews pigs, but others, despite being Islamic are “rats” and other names I will not repeat. The only thing I can say about apes, pigs, and rats, in this respect is that through Evolution, we are hairless apes and related to other animals (the hairless Mexican (breed of dog) and Sphynx (breed of cat), albeit genetically manipulated by humans, and other hairless mammals show similarities, just as other apes do), which I personally like the thought of being related to other animals, but I take offence at people being called pigs and rats, esp with sharp screams and chest beating like a gorilla. Even so, if we ignore him, hopefully the clown in the gorilla suit eventually leaves.

        2. Mriana

          BTW, I showed that one dude who called me a “cunt” and “infidel” to my 22 y.o. son and he said, “That guy sounds like an asshole.” Just goes to show who raises who right. :) I raised my sons to truly respect a woman, not say things that gives them just cause to tell them where to go or what to do with themselves. :lol:

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