Wednesday May 22, 2013
Bangladesh's Political Civil WarTim King Salem-News.com
As an insider, William Gomes knows how difficult life can be there for anyone who objects to political policy.
(SACRAMENTO, CA) - The headlines out of Bangladesh today were grim and disappointing. Observers on the ground express shock and dismay from the repeated clashes between protestors and police. Casualties are mounting and predictably, western media ignores the strife.
One of our reporters covering the action in Bangladesh, William Gomes, has a personal stake in the matter. It is his home country.
Those who have been following this developing story, know that the government of Bangladesh is engaged in the elimination of Muslim political parties. A shift in the political landscape led to the government's arrest of several key Muslim political leaders.
The men have been targeted as war criminals for having sided with the Pakistani government during the war of independence for Bangladesh in 1971.
Those who have paid the highest price are the Jamaat-e-Islam party, and not just their senior members, but even teenage school kids associated with the political party.
The photo accompanying this story shows the government rounding up little girls associated with Jamaat, and taking them under arrest.
The students were from the local darunanecha Islamic madrasa and in the ninth grade. They were attending a campaign meeting. 18 girls have been arrested, they are being held on charges for 'sabotage'.
Also today is a photo of a young man, Golam Rabbani, 25, who was an activist with Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, shot dead in the street by police.
The deadly clashes ensued when police tried to disperse Jamaat-Shibir activists who were picketing in the upazila headquarters.
It happened around 8.00 a.m.
The protestors were demanding the release of the party’s city unit ameer advocate, Ehsan Mahbub Jubayer.
Rather than allowing the protest, police went violent and a number of activists were shot, at least five police officers were injured.
Golam Rabbani was rushed to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital (SOMCH) where doctors pronounced him dead.
The protests and violence, both spiraling out of control, are crippling a country that has barely been stable, its politics always questionable.
The frustration is a daily struggle for our Human Rights Ambassador, William Nicholas Gomes, who was born and raised in Bangladesh. He has not just reported, but physically endured the injustice that this country has to offer. In Bangladesh, torture is routine police work.
As an extremely ambitious world level human rights reporter and activist, Mr. Gomes knows the trials and tribulations of Bangladesh politics inside and out.
In fact he can't even return to his home country because of a threatened 'Sedition' charge over a poem he wrote about his home country called 'Anti-State'.
As an insider, William knows how difficult life can be there for anyone who objects to political policy.
Born a Muslim, a Christian convert, Mr. Gomes is now drawing fire for his support of the Jamaat members. What people are failing to grasp, is that religion and human rights activism are separate subjects.
Activists with high integrity in this field judge absolutely nothing from religion, they simply advocate for victims, regardless of their faith.
The Bangladesh government has conducted trials that the world's largest human rights organizations are objecting to and suggesting are fixed. This is what Mr. Gomes objects to.
He is also highly disturbed by the death penalty's role as a tool in this political civil war.
His critics should just be glad that Mr. Gomes fights for the human race as a whole, it is the only way any of us can approach this burning subject.
While working with Salem-News.com, Mr. Gomes has broken major stories that have aided people in extremely difficult conditions, and two times his open letters led to people being saved from torture.
The only answer is for Mr. Gomes to stand tall as he has been and to carry this fight for humanity as far as it can go. Governments are only legitimate when they adhere to international law.
The people of Bangladesh deserve far more and their political leadership is causing the violence, rather than working to reduce it.
Mr. Gomes is a bright light in a cruel world.
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
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With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide.
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