You won’t be hearing much from plutocrat Michael Bloomberg or his gun control front-person Shannon Watts about Bangladeshi blogger Niloy Chowdhury. The forty-year old Chowdhury, who blogged under the name Niloy Neel, was a secular athiest who lived in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Yesterday, six members of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent branch Ansar al-Islam broke into Chowdhury’s apartment and hacked the writer to death with machetes. “There were six people who knocked on his door, saying that they were looking to rent a flat. Two of them then took him to a room and slaughtered him there,” Muntashirul Islam, a deputy police commissioner, said, according to The Guardian . . .
You won’t hear anything about that from Mr. Bloomberg or his allies at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, though. No guns were used. Outside of their mandate, you see.
Chowdhury had regularly contributed to the Bengali-English freethinker blog Mukto-Mona, which discusses philosophy and religion from a secularist perspective; its writers are often skeptical of religion generally and of Islam in particular. Chowdhury is the fourth such critic of Islam to be hacked to death in Bangladesh this year, joining Anatna Bijoy Das, Washiqur Rahman, and American writer Avijit Roy who were also slain in a similar fashion by Muslims angered by the critique of their faith.
But you won’t hear about any of that from Mr. Bloomberg or his pseudo-intellectual blog The Trace. No way to blame it on the NRA.
According to Mukto-Mona, Chowdhury had written earlier with concern about the lack of security in Bangladesh, and his concern about being attacked for his beliefs on Facebook.
“Two men were following me two days ago. This happened when I was on my way back from attending the rally organized to protest [t]he Murder of Ananta Bijoy Das. First, when I reached a certain place via public bus, they came with me to the same spot. Then, when I got on to a Laguna to reach my destination, one of them climbed aboard the Laguna with me. On the Laguna I realized this was the same guy who was on the bus with me, but there were two of them then. I thought to myself, well, it’s possible; perhaps one of them was going somewhere else so he took a different route….
[O]n the Laguna, the young man was continually texting from his cellphone which made me suspicious. When I exited the Laguna before I reached my actual destination, he got off with me. I was quite scared, and…was quite certain that I was being followed….
When I tried to lodge a General Diary [file a report with the police] about this incident, I faced an even more bizarre situation. A police officer had told me in confidence that the police do not want to accept General Diaries like this because the officer who accepted…a General Diary related to the personal safety of an individual, remains accountable to ensure the personal safety of said individual. If the…individual [later] faces any difficulty, then the relevant police officer may even lose his job for negligence in duty….
When the surveillance on me had occurred, I had had to pass by several thanas, and so today when I visited one that had been in the vicinity, they refused to accept my General Diary. They told me this isn’t under our jurisdiction, go to this other thana, it’s their jurisdiction, and also, leave the country as soon as possible.”
You won’t hear about any of that from Mr. Bloomberg. His bodyguards are always armed and ready.
Bangladesh, forced into the British Empire at the point of a bayonet, still follows a 140-year-old law drafted by its old colonial masters. The act regulates “fire-arms, bayonets, swords, daggers, spears, spearheads and bows and arrows, also cannon and parts of arms, and machinery for manufacturing arms…” and requires licenses simply to possess those arms.
The law was drafted by in no small part to keep the brown-skinned conquered people pacified under the British Raj. Needless to say, even if Chowdhury had been willing and able to acquire a firearm and had the knowledge and skill to deploy it in extremis to do so would have been a serious violation of his nation’s gun control laws.
You won’t hear about any of that from Bloomberg. He wants you to associate gun control with safety, not racist oppression and danger.
Bangladesh clearly has a problem with violence. It has a significant minority of people who are willing to form a small mob to murder critics of Islam when they are alone and vulnerable. Is anyone in that poor nation breathing a sigh of relief that gun control laws keep ordinary citizens like Niloy Chowdhury are disarmed to be easy prey for al-freaking-Qaeda terrorists who want to silence anyone who dares speak ill of the Prophet? Will anyone on the gun control side dare take the position against the idea of an ordinary, non military or law enforcement civilian like Chowdhury keeping a firearm with a 15, 20, or 30 round magazine handy?
Bangladeshis are dying for their right to speak their minds. They are also dying because they don’t have all of the civil rights of an American.
You won’t hear about that any of that from Mr. Bloomberg. But you will hear from al Qaeda. This is what they had to say.
We, al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the honour of the messenger of Allah. We declare war against the enemies of Allah and His Messenger. Enemies of Allah and His Messenger … we are coming [for] you … If your ‘Freedom of Speech’ maintains no limits, then widen your chests for ‘Freedom of our Machetes’.”
DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.