Don’t let the Holey Artisan Attack Prevent You from Going Out
August 1st will mark the first monthly anniversary of the attack that took place in Holey Artisan Bakery. This tragic event led to the 20 deaths, among which the majority were foreigners. The attack has also had a significant impact on Bangladesh’s foreign relations. International schools are losing their best teachers, The British Council is closed until further notice, and we’ve lost quite a few foreign neighbors at our Banani apartment. Furthermore, high-end restaurants and cafes that were once bustling with people are now almost empty. In an interview with The Daily Star, the manager of the Nandos branch in Gulshan 2 says: “Honestly speaking, the number of customers who come to our restaurant is just one-third now. People prefer going to our branches in Dhanmondi or in other areas. But we see very few people come to this branch. Even those who do come here, I can sense, they are a bit scared.”
“They often tend to look towards the door and prefer to stay alert. I think it will be fair to say that most of our sales take place through delivery companies like Hungrynaaki and Foodpanda,” he adds. It has almost been a month since the attack at Holey Artisan, and yet it has shaken up people in such a way that they’re afraid of going out at all. We’ve always seen death in the news. But because we were always looking at it through a screen, we never actually understood the rawness of it. We felt that, because we are a part of a certain social class, we’d be protected by an invisible barrier. This was the first time that an incident like this has occurred within our comfort zone. It showed us that none of us were truly untouchable, regardless of where we lived and which social circle we mingled with.
I know that these aren’t great times, but remember that we are fighting a war in our own way. This is a war where we are fighting to retain our freedom to express ourselves. If you want to wear a borka, wear a borka. If you want you want to wear western attire, wear western attire. Don’t let this incident prevent you from expressing yourself. I know this is a bold statement, but this is the only way that our generation can fight terrorism. Go and hang out with friends the way you did before the Holey Artisan incident. Remember that Bangladesh is a secular nation; it is not an Islamic state. Freedom of expression is a vital part of a secular state. We’ve been dwelling in peace with people from different faiths for the past 45 years. So why should we let a few warped individuals have the upper hand?
This isn’t the worst that this country has been through. Things were worse during my dad’s time, back when Ershad was president. My dad said that they even went as far to buy an underground newspaper called Jayjaydin, since all the information was censored. If they can make it, so can we.
At the end of the day, whether or not you choose to go out is your choice. But think about what might happen ten years from now. Would you want your children to be subjected to the same kind of fear? Then it is our responsibility to start acting on it today.