…I kept thinking about what an important day it was. I thought about you a lot. I wished, in the lonely, longing, futile sort of way that we wish sometimes, that you could have gotten to see it. I cheerfully wrote “History is happening!” in my diary in the morning. On our way to Shahbag to await the announcement of the verdict, Rozy and I talked about you. But I was a little bit too shy to tell her that I even practiced a few sentences in my head, things that I would think to you when they announced Ghulam Azam’s death sentence.
I wished that incredible picture of you was still up at Shahbag, because maybe that would be like you were sort of watching over us, seeing the whole thing through.
I wished I could remember having met you. I was too little, of course, but I am still cranky that your life overlapped with my parents’ but not with mine.
I know I would have liked you.
Turns out that I had to rework what I wanted to think to you a little bit, that disappointment is heavy and there’s nowhere to put it. I became immediately, instantaneously relieved that your picture is no longer at Shahbag, because maybe that would have been like you were watching over us, seeing the whole thing through.
We all know what should have happened here. I have neither the maturity (if that’s what it takes, because at least he was proven guilty) nor the clemency (if that’s what it takes, because apparently you’re supposed to be lenient in in cases of ‘old age’) to be able to say I accept this, or even that I respect it.
But here is what I will tell you, and it took me two full days of working on it to feel this way – I’ll agree to find my victories elsewhere. In the shared passion and fury when things go wrong, in the laughing over iftar together and mapping out how to spread fourteen thousand KPR flyers over Dhaka city, in conversations about how to include humanities in university science curriculums.
I suppose that has been always been the point.