Pray Howl, Bangladesh

I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed at conception,

liberated fruits of loins poisoned by fervent nationalism

impregnating eggs made fertile by distilled neoliberalism,

stark naked foetuses growing daily weekly monthly,

drip drip drip-fed dogma gestated over half a century,

better to be but never aborted;

dragged through brown streets by angry fathers mothers uncles aunts

who constructed the national myth of freedom

blood red splashed on fields of green hues,

to tie the children, their children, others’ children and their children

to lives of raging desperation, indentured servitude

in service of the nation;

dragged through greying streets of tarmacked development, film

of dust kicked away by the stampede of impressionable

minds programmed dawn to dusk, programmed

to obey, programmed to behave, programmed

to receive and regurgitate the propaganda

of the forsaken and the depraved;

who are taught not to rebel by those who lie that they rebelled

to rape the rewards of the glorious rebellion (Alhamdulillah);

who are taught not to rebel by those who purportedly rebelled

to seek crumbs of the rewards of the glorious rebellion (Inshallah);

who are taught not to rebel by those who were rebels in the glorious rebellion

to be crushed by the lie of the land their sacrifice freed (Mashallah);

who are taught not to rebel by those who rebelled against the glorious rebellion

to be granted duchies in the land whose freedom they fought to prevent;

descended from grey beards hennaed nuclear fusion orange to mimic

the man on the moon, the man whose face appeared crystal clear

imprinted along the lunar fault line of where Muhammad split the moon,

sending vibrations of shifting tectonic plates to shake the very foundations

of nuclear Islamistan fission into Islamidesh to be must be

has been to prevent not to be, five times a day decreed;

descended from bootlickers exuding the only bona fide founding father by

dressing a certain way, invoking the spirit of nineteenseventyone as a sacred ancient incantation a certain way, speaking tongue tied twisted of sweet

nectared development a certain way, frowning, smiling, winking, gesturing

a certain way to devour the tattered hollowed-out spoils of the War, vultures

peeling flesh putrid off bones rotting of what was once a carcass;

descended from talkers never smooth, on free radio, freer television, freest internet,

canonised intellectual saints in life to prescribe dispense proliferate

half-baked quarter ideas divided by six short of a dozen, speaking loudly and proudly false equivalences and falser theories uninhibited, searching for

sharing searing on impressionable minds decadent falsehoods in piercing

falsettos or sotto voce if the occasion calls for it, indelible indubitable stains;

descended from numismatists clawing out femurs and humeri, tibias and radii

to grind into coins passed down to the next generation, printing takas on

brown epidermis lacerated and extracted, micro-aggressions provoked by

Nobel and knighted finances universally lauded suppressed, timely

interventions of cash injections through mobile phones into dollar nest eggs

laid in shorted shares and foreign investments by laundering cuckoos;

holy be they who tell stories on virtual touchpaper in words and images profiling

the importance of storytelling and mythmaking to preserve the sanctity of lies;

holy be they who spin glorious yarns of rarefied Golden Bengal proffering

solutions to problems non-existent and no solutions to existing problems;

holy be they who make the enslaved spin cotton yarns for Golden Bengal pronouncing

pride (in the profits) to be made in Bangladesh;

holy be they who protest that the enslaved belong not in factories proclaiming

that vaginas must be veiled from labia to labia and locked in the kitchen;

marching to the beat of nineteenseventyone slogans, they speak in digital ones

and zeroes, shooting star satellite, vision discarded by the colonisers cherry-

picked from the rubbish heap of disposed foreign aid bad ideas to recreate

colonised mindless drones, repackaged as success story boasted about

in Newsweek – foreign coverage! – bought and paid for, a respectable

narrative promising the lobotomised world more, gone to the highest bidder;

marching to the beat of nineteenseventyone slogans, they speak in metric tonnes of

coal floating up the tepid waters around the Sundarbans, burn carbon burn soot

and filth and mangrove where the tiger no longer roams, calories expended as

the price too small paid for the promises of nineteenseventyone, development

delivered through thunderbolts travelling down the Jessore Road taking with

them fresh water across the border, a better deal Faust could not conjure;

marching to the beat of nineteenseventyone slogans, they speak of fucking traitors

and motherfucking rajakars waving genitals damaging destroying the image of

the nation, their wrath unburdened on the fuckers, broken bones shattered,

blood clotting more splattered, skin ripped open tattered, bashed open skulls

scattered, Joy Bangla motherfuckers, split-lipped toothless mouths open only

to speak of glorious Golden Bengal, glory glory Joy Bangla, glory glory amen;

marching to the beat of nineteenseventyone slogans, they speak to fill the void of

the silence of those who are not allowed to cannot speak any more, picked up

by plainclothes detectives rabid brown men in black feral brown men in army

camouflage, the indigenous social conscience coalescing in bodies blindfolded

impaled with the hot blade freshly forged by development in the hills,

imprisoned or disappeared or shot dead, all dead and forgotten, speak no more;

glory be to the warriors of god and his favoured who spared us from the

anti-national slurs of Mithun Chakma, of Abrar Fahad, of Mushtaq Ahmed;

glory be to the warriors of god and his favoured who spared us from the unbelievers

Mohammad Shahidullah, Ananda Gopal Ganguly, Maung Shue U Chak;

glory be to the warriors of god and his favoured who spared us from the preaching of

the godless pigs Avijit, Washiqur, Ananta Bijoy, Niloy, Faisal Arefin;

glory be to the warriors of god and his favoured who spared us from the scourge of

deviating from the one true way of heterosexuality, praying the rainbow away;

the lost generation copulates, breeding senseless, foetal minds undeveloped

by the lack of knowing what a protest for a child’s right to be safe looks like,

children uniting powerfully futile learning exercising displaying democracy that

shames adult dogs of war off their leash, beating senseless laughing hysterical

raging against the foolish naïve children transformed into the enemy of the state

monster defanged and manacled, lesson learnt and passed down;

the lost generation copulates, breeding senseless, foetal minds undeveloped

by the lack of knowing what a protest for a woman’s right over her body looks

like, the one true god invoked to cover her up by day pornography invoked to

tear her clothes off her by night, descent of darkness salacious thoughts given

life by taking her, ravaging her, taking hers, life for life balance restored and

all is well with the world again, lesson learnt and passed down;

the lost generation copulates, breeding senseless, foetal minds undeveloped

by the lack of knowing what a protest for land rights of the indigenous, a protest

for religious rights of the unbelievers, a protest for fair pay for the enslaved

in factories at home and sent on slave ships to bring civilisation to desert

nomads sent back in black gold made dollar and body bags, a protest of

any kind treachery sedition inhumanity, lesson learnt and passed down;

the lost generation copulates, breeding senseless, foetal minds undeveloped

by the lack of knowing words and images, pen permanently sheathed dried

brush and withered palette tamed, freedom obtained needless relinquished

erased, the green and red of Golden Bengal birthing a monochromatic

land bathed in glorious praise axiomatic so developed that words and images

and freedom are no longer needed, lesson learnt and passed down;

ganja on the mind, yaba washed down with Carew on the mind, colours washed

away by darkness spreading infection on the mind, living breathing numb,

thoughts expelled from the academies for their insanity, from ivory towers for their

savagery, from living memory for their affront to life, uncivilised,

night after night, cowering in suits and saris and panjabis and kameezes and lungis

and underwear, bare chested and bare breasted in darkness bearing,

silence continuous from houses to streets to computers to Chittagong Hill Tracts to

Sundarbans to Padma Bridge to here to now to evermore and everywhere,

no more screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes lost

in the pages torn up and shredded, dignity shredded, lives shredded,

whole intellectuals disgorged steady stream into the ether flowing seven days and

nights a week never reclaimed by the meek weak suffering what they must,

lost battalions of sinister conversationalists jumping down the throats of demons

possessing the better angels of earthbound misfits, hurting no sentiments,

curiosity wandered around and around at midnight wondering where to go

and went, leaving no minds touched or hearts broken,

thinking loned it through the streets seeking visionary minds who were visionary

minds fifty years and counting, disappeared leaving behind not even a shadow,

there is but one incomprehensible commandment comprehensibly established dictum

howled from rooftops in the mornings in the evenings by the best minds of

my generation scattering their semen to whomever come what may, snipping the intellectual golden threads of the artist’s loom breathing darkness

in the darkness, prayers manifested breaking their spines sinking the land to

hell which exists and is everywhere around us, nothing nefarious.

 

 

Painting: Zainul Abedin, from Internet

 

Ikhtisad Ahmed is a Bangladeshi writer. Twitter: @ikhtisad

 

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