Mukto-Mona Condemns the Arrest of Cartoonist Arifur Rahman
September 20, 2007
The September 17th arrest of Prothom-alo Aalpin cartoonist Arifur Rahman over a cartoon is an act of barbarism by a military regime in cahoots with religious obscurantists. A simple play on words that does not have any reference to any religion except in the jaundiced minds of raving fundamentalists seems to have offered a cue to a regime that excels in jailing those it finds inconvenient, to take the liberties of an artist away. Arifur Rahman finds himself in the august company of academicians from Dhaka university, inconvenient politicians and, indeed, anyone whom the Bangladesh military and its fundamentalist cohorts dislike, in prison. And, with him imprisoned, the baying by the fundamentalists for his blood seems to have reached a crescendo that sounds rather like a Taliban kangaroo court.
Thanks to the army & fundamentalists' combined efforts, Mr Rahman's life is now threatened inside or outside prison. What should have been a funny cartoon for people to laugh at has suddenly turned into a matter of life and death for a man whose only attempt was to provide readers amusements. Mukto-Mona demands the immediate release of Mr Arifur Rahman and for protection to be provided to him so that he does not suffer any harm. The military led government of Bangladesh is squarely responsible for Mr Rahman's persecution and needs to ensure his immediate freedom and safety. Failure to do this would be yet another disgraceful step towards turning Bangladesh into a theocratic dictatorship.
Mukto-Mona Moderation Team.