Can Bangla Blogs Grow Up?

I was on my way to Shahbag on a rickshaw today, when the rickshaw-drivers asked me,”Bhaia, if you don’t mind me asking … what is a ‘blogger’?”

I answered that bloggers are people who write stuff on computers.


Suddenly, bloggers have become a phenomenon. Their community has its own norms, language and code of conduct.

Outside this community they never had a separate national identity.

Most city-folks didn’t know of them, let alone people from the villages. But chain of events has changed that: they have now become a national phenomenon.

How prepared is the community of bloggers to take on this new responsibility?

Responding to their call, the whole of Dhaka city has lit candles, and the clerks of the offices, even without understanding why, have stood for three minutes in total silence.

At least a million to a million-and-half people have visited Shahbag at their call.

Are there any connections between these people and the bloggers? Are these blogger not like the captain who has no control over his soldiers? A captain who cannot mobilize his army?

Therefore, despite having the all the best intentions, the bloggers are under political control. The more powerful a blogger is in the movement, the more he is under someone’s control.

Despite being a tiny fraction of society, the bloggers had raised a justified demand on behalf of the whole society. Then everyone came out to show their affiliation with that cause.

As a result we had on those first ten days an unprecedented tide of people at Shahbag.

But due to the interference of powerful politics, it has not been able to ensure everyone’s participation.

As a result Shahbag is rapidly losing its credibility.

The initial demand of Shahbag was to express dissatisfaction with the powerful. But it could not challenge that power. The movement’s ability to challenge power has been taken away. It’s possibility to have become something truly radical has been damaged.

Recently, it has been using a lot of big words.

Out of nothing, bloggers had become national heroes. But they had no stake in the game. Where have protestors and revolutionaries without stake achieved anything?

Those who like doing online activism, time has brought them face to face with a big question:

Will they remain a virtual, argumentative and big-talking community?

Or will they valiantly stand tall, rise to the ocassion?

[Translated by Tibra Ali, from original Facebook note by Schwap Doo-wop Niel]

Source: Alal O Dulal