Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

100,000 Global Voices for Peace in the CHT

Jesus, it’s time for peace in the CHT. I write this a mixture of anger and sadness. But mostly its anger.

The CHT Peace Accord was signed in 1997, but most of the key promises of the accord remain unfulfilled. For more than 30 years now the indigenous people of the CHT have been subjected to military rule and oppression, serious human rights violations and land grabbing by settlers. The Bengali settlers have been consistently backed by the military, who violently oppress any attempt to hold onto what rightfully belongs to the indigenous people of this area.

Living here in my little tribal, settler-free bubble in Rangapani, it’s sometimes easy to forget about all the tension, and the long standing issues between the indigenous population and Bengali settlers. Only when I travel into Rangamati proper do I feel the tension and animosity between the two groups. It’s like walking into another world. A world I don’t like.

This tension bubbled up into clashes in Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati last night. Reports differ, and the way the army controls the area it’s unlikely the true figures will ever be known.  The news is reporting that 4 indigenous people were killed in the clashes last night, and 50 tribal homes and shops have been torched (http://bdnews24.com/details.php?cid=2&id=154123&hb=top). Local reports from the area are that 12 people have been killed, and 350 homes torched. Both reports confirm that the army opened fire on the indigenous people.

I get so angry that this situation has been allowed to continue. That communities continue to be violently oppressed, their culture and traditions destroyed and their land stolen. The magic of this area is slowly being eroded and I wonder how long before it is totally destroyed. If I came back here in 5 years time, what would I find? Who is going to stop this rampant destruction of the diversity and rich cultural traditions of this area? Indigenous people need support, and it is time the international community stood behind them. Their struggle for survival should no longer be Bangladesh’s dirty little secret. It should be out in the open, where the sins of the oppressors can be clearly seen.

If you’d like to add your voice to the campaign, please add your name to the petition at http://www.cht-global-voices.com/. It will only take two minutes out of your day.

2 Comments»

  Shumit wrote @

i am bangladeshi bangali (live in Dhaka). i completely agree with you. but i dont know how to help CHT.

if i went out in protest of conditions in CHT what would happen? not one guy would join

i mean the voters of this country do not really care about anything that actually matters. they are too bz in pointless debates. i hate this.

  Tawhid wrote @

To Estelle, I am glad to know that you spent some time with my beloved Bangladesh. I am happy to know you have had the experience and opportunity to see outside of the box. There are countries like Bangladesh, in Asia/South Asia/Africa – where peoples are suffering everyday, they dont have education, food, and the infrastructure is broken with the shade of corruption in from their government and political level. You just have seen experienced the East part of Bangladesh, where the majority of indigenous community lives, but i believe you haven’t experienced the other rural parts of Bangladesh, other than Dhaka. I believe you or someone will have that experience too. The entire infrastructure of Bangladesh is Dhaka (The capital of BD) centric. The corruption started from Government and political leaders to each and every governments organization to non-profit organizations (NGO) level. I know some NGO’s which are internationally controlled, they are not corrupted, but moreover, the majority is corrupted. Few numbers of richer corrupted peoples are sucking the blood out of poor, political violence, corruption are demoralizing all those peoples everyday, and there are young educated peoples too, who can’t do anything after successfully completing his education. Their only hope is leaving Bangladesh, and they keep trying and trying to get out of that country for better live. I am one of them. I had the opportunity of leaving Bangladesh, and i was deeply involved with Dhaka based life. I tried to do business in IT, when i started doing it, i saw how tough it is to deal with government services, telephone, trade license, tax… corruptions are in each and every layer of the whole system, and the victims are us.

I am happy that people like you went there to see the broken system, and i hope people like you will continue explore other parts of Bangladesh. THe majority of those people are truly honest, poor and victim of corruption. I hope that day would come where an honest leader will lead the country and kick the corruption and get it out of a 3rd world country.


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