Death by Blogging, Part 2

Ananta RoyAnanta Roy Das (bbc.com)

On March 30, I posted “Death by Blogging,” about the murders of Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rhaman and Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy. The third fatal attack since February occurred today in Bangladesh when Ananta Bijoy Das was chased through the streets of Sylhet by four men wielding machetes.

A banker who spoke out against religious extremism, Mr. Das wrote for “Mukto-Mona” or “Free Mind,” the website once moderated by Mr. Roy. He also edited Logic, a magazine publishing essays on secular humanism.

In 2013, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was also murdered. He, Mr. Roy and Mr. Rhaman were all part of the “Shahbag” movement, calling for the death penalty for Islamist political leaders implicated in atrocities during Bangladesh’s war of liberation from Pakistan in 1971.

The leader of Al Qaeda’s Indian branch has claimed responsibility for the deaths of Mr. Roy and Mr. Haider.

Mrs. Roy who was seriously injured when she tried to defend her husband against his assailants, called his murder a “global act of terrorism.” She said that no one from the Bangladeshi government has reached out to her since her husband’s death on February 27.

I shall continue to post updates about the situation in Bangladesh and anywhere else where bloggers and other writers are being persecuted.

The War Against Words must not be taken lightly.

Fear: It’s What’s for Breakfast

CBS news team

“What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge
when anthrax bombs are popping all around you?”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The CBS morning news smacks me awake with cold FEAR, aside from weather with my favorite meteorologist John Elliott, traffic updates with Jill Nicolini and Alex Denis’s delightful-bordering-on-daft “Now Trending” segment. Before I have a chance to grab my morning Joe, I swallow FEAR in the guise of ISIS, Ebola, Enterovirus, a fire in Paterson, carjacking / police shootout in front of Sleepy’s in Paramus, baby black bear found dead in Central Park, a stabbing in Jamaica, Queens, on and on. Fear is what’s for breakfast or what Charlie Rose calls, “your world in 90 seconds.”

Of course, I can shut off the Fear Channel whenever I choose. It’s on when I drive my husband to the bus stop in my pajamas, then I do some stretches and soak in more . . . FEAR. After that I tune into Soundscapes, the New Age music station, and go upstairs to shower. The cats prefer Soundscapes, at least that’s what an animal behaviorist told me. She said they are most soothed by New Age music. Back to Fear.

This morning Charlie Rose asked chief medical correspondent Dr. John LaPook, “What is the worst case scenario?” Norah O’Donnell nods, almost salivating.

LaPook makes it plain that there is little to no chance of an Ebola outbreak on our shores. One look at Charlie’s furrowed brow and we can tell LaPook’s response does not satisfy him. Does he want Ebola in America?

Todd Kincannon’s answer to Ebola is the most straightforward: Kill (“humanely”) everyone who has contracted the disease.

Governor Rick Perry, whom people seem to take more seriously since he donned glasses, has assured Texans he has set up a “task force” to deal with Ebola, now that it has hit home, literally.

In between the sound bites of Fear, commercials are yelling at me: call 1-800-MATTRESS, call  1-800-STEEMER, with the accompanying jingle, “Call 1 800 Steemer, Stanley Steamer gets your home cleaner.” They want me to give my car to a kid, and they sing,“1 877 Kars for Kids, 1 877 Kars for Kids, 1 877 Kars for Kids, Donate your car (kar?) today.” It’s a catchy tune, but I need my car (kar?)!

At last, I switch to the Soundscapes channel which once offered bucolic visuals along with tranquil music with titles like “Sensual Afterludes” and “Zen Dreaming.” Now there’s a black screen with ads popping up offering deals on catheters, telling me who to call if my house is facing foreclosure and who to call if the IRS or collection agency is after me. Help!

I don’t know where to turn. I want to get the weather, traffic report, a sweet, harmless tidbit from Alex Denis, and a smidgen of real news that isn’t fear-based. Of course. there’s WBAI which I can listen to in the car, but it’s often an endless fundraising-a-thon. Perhaps silence is best. Looking out the window upon waking, my kitties in tow, I can determine the weather based on the coolness of their eraser noses, or check my iPhone. But I’ll miss John Elliott, who not only provides weather with a smile, but tells me it’s National Bring Your Ferret to Work Day. He must have a book that he refers to because every day is a holiday with him. And Jill Nicolini announced she’s pregnant this morning. Congratulations, Jill! And it’s a boy!

Okay, now I’m being daft. All I want in the morning is coffee, a dose of visual and audio pablum, and to trundle off to the bus stop, catch the 163 and not be terrorized before reaching Port Authority. Is that too much to ask?