Freethinking and Dangers

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
March 2, 2004

Distance, national origin, race or belief system do not matter in feeling pain for the fellow beings a few miles or thousands of miles away, or decades and hundreds of thousands years of difference.

Our world is in the grip of rising violence, wars, terrorism, corruption and unfortunate natural disasters. What happened to Dr. Humayun Azad, hacking of a noted author in Bangladesh, is no different than today’s bomb blasts in Karbala or Baghdad, indiscriminate firings in Pakistan, Israeli oppressions on Palestinians, suicide bombers’ vengeance against the Jewish civilians, or a few years ago the unforgettable carnage in Gujarat of India, or the merciless killings of thousands of innocent civilians in the World Trade Center in New York.

Humanity does not differentiate between races, religions, gender or distance. It is our entrenched system that throw ample amounts of distraction, in the form of entertainment news, or other conjured issues, so that human moral conscience remain in perpetual slumber while the rampage, pillaging and carnage continue in the background, small to large scale, and in many occasions, just before our eyes, while our feelings of compassions get numbed or blinded by the political rhetoric, religious or non-religious doctrines, thus the killings of fellow animals, including humans, do not stir us strongly anymore.

We crunch the bones of chickens, tear the ribs of cows or goats, and savor the taste of dead sautéed fish and condemn wholeheartedly cannibalism. Our slumbered humanity gets agitated when one of our fellow countrymen is attacked, that we must do so without hesitation, but we remain indifferent or not so interested on the inflicted pains on raped Ugandans, heat stroked Sudanese babies, murdered Mexicans, uprooted Chechens and ravaged Jews or Hindus.

Thousands and thousands of years the similar repetition emerged in now extinct nations, tribes and communities, our present is no different from our bloodied history.

Dr. Humayun Azad is a fearless writer, who knew that hatred filled communalism, that is the sneaky fundamentalism in Bangladesh is one of the major causes of political turmoil, is also a contributing part in our increasingly fractious sub-continent and the overall global arena. And the fundamentalists and other indoctrinated ones from the opposite sides of fences, even there are “secularists” who, as well as the Taleban like mullahs, do not have clean hands in masterminding other hacking attacks, revenge, and bombardments in present and during the time of the past governments, that perhaps get not-so-prominent places in the columns of newspapers or sensation seeking media.

What is occurring in Bangladesh and other parts of our world, is kind of the old gang warfare, like the old Mafia, and these crooks exploit scriptures or equally violent non-religious texts, so that the strife, the battle between the opposing groups of varied ideology continues unabated. There are profits to make from tensions; there are naked clutches for more power needs to be actualized; it does not matter if more blood needs to be shed, as long as it is not their own blood.

Pen is mightier than sword. But pen may bring dangers too. Thousands of years ago, Plato depicted the life of Greek philosopher Socrates, who was executed for his non-customary views, and there are other plenty of examples in history where writers, truth seekers and freethinkers were deemed as the threat to the powerful, and thus destroyed. Dr. Humayun Azad knew this prickly truth. But fear of dangers, constant threats coming through his home telephone, or the forewarning from a parliamentarian did not stop him expressing his views. He knew, a writer may die for the pursuance of truth, upholding freethinking, contradicting mendacious dogmatic notions defended by the tenacious traditionalists, but the refreshing ideas, the thoughts of freedom and liberty cannot be suppressed in the end.

None of us are immortal. But freethinkers like Dr. Humayun Azad knows that we are all part of the same global community and evolving process. Every bit helps, may that come from writings or singing, or reciting an inspiring or melancholic poem, or the solemn journey of one’s spirituality through non-harmful religious practice.

Religious or irreligious, God or no God, our empathy for the fellow beings must not be crushed.


Mahbubul Karim (Sohel) is a freelance writer. His email address is: