Young generation sit in Shahbagh, protesting against rape
Young generation sit in Shahbagh, protesting against rape

Alongside women, men are standing up in protest against rape and violence against women. Three popular celebrities, one from the sports arena, one from the movies and one from music, speak out here against rape and call for social resistance against rapists. Their message reverberates among the thousands of their fans. The three celebrities here expressing their protest against rape are cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim, actor Ferdaus, and singer Arnob.

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'If you remain silent today, you will be the one in danger tomorrow'

Mushfiqur Rahim, cricketer, Bangladesh national cricket team

Sometimes I wonder if we are really human. Or are we actually hyenas? Humans should act like humans, but how are we acting? The very humanity in humans is questionable today.

The newspapers are rife with reports about rape. These human-faced hyenas spare no one, neither child nor the elderly. They seem to have forgotten they too have mothers and sisters. Rape has become a social disease among these perverted people in country.

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Our mothers, sisters, daughters - no one is safe anywhere. The beggar on the street, the university student, all are unsafe. Housewives are not safe even in their own homes. Husbands are unable to protect their wives. None of us are able to provide our mothers and sisters with security. We have all failed. The society has failed.

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The country reverberates with protest about rape and the rapists. I have expressed by solidarity with this protest. If we all join hands, we can resist these inhuman elements as a society. We should think about the women in our families, make the country, society safe for them. Today someone else's child or sister may have been raped. If we remain silent, tomorrow it may be someone from our family.

A rapist must be hated, no matter who he may be. He must be punished. We have heard a lot of pledges, a lot of talk, but our mothers and sisters remain unsafe. In 1971 innumerable women in our country were raped during the independence struggle. We don't want this in our independent country.

Rape kills a woman before death. She carries the traumatic nightmare the rest of her life. Some resort to suicide. Even the family of the rape victim suffers socially and mentally. I want the highest punishment for these rapists who are destroying these women's lives, destroying their families.

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Until and unless the strictest punishment is ensured against these rapists, we will simply see them continuing in the despicable ways. And new rapists will emerge continuously.

In our society, there is a propensity to view the rape victim in a dubious manner. The family has to go through all sorts of tribulations. It should be the opposite. The rapist's punishment must be ensured.

It is also imperative to create respect towards women among the younger generation. They must never consider women to be weak or helpless. Women are not commodities. Ethics should be taught in schools, colleges and madrassas. It should be etched in children's minds that violence against women is a despicable act. They are the future and they must learn how to protect women.

As it is, women are neglected and oppressed in our patriarchal society. Women are becoming more and more insecure by the day.

Let us build up resistance from the family, society and state against rapists. Let us respect women. Let us be true human beings.

(As told to Tareq Mahmud )

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'As the father of a girl, I am scared'

Ferdaus, actor

Wake up, men, awaken your conscience, your intellect, your values. A man can use his education, will, integrity and the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, to prevent such vile, inhuman behaviour as rape because a rapist may lurk within anyone of us.

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How can a man release this beast within him and rape a woman? He just loses all clarity of thought and violates a woman. He, as an individual, or along with others as a gang, abuses a woman physically and mentally. That woman is someone's daughter, maybe a sister or a mother. Then suddenly her identity changes into a 'raped women'.

This shame is not of a woman, a rape victim. It is my shame, our collective shame. The same of so-called men as a community.

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Thanks to the law ministry for amending the law and pledging to implement it. Exemplary application of the law is imperative. The punishment for rapists must be so extreme that no one even dreams of committing such a heinous act.

I never consciously wish for anyone's death. But for a beast like a rapist, who destroys a woman's life, even death is not enough.

As the father of two girls, I am scared, alarmed. There is the fear of coronavirus on one hand, and of these human monsters on the other. The growing number of rapes in schools, colleges, in the open, even in running buses, is creating panic among us. The air around us echoes with the cries of the victims. Conscious people are taking to the streets to resist this heinous crime. They are in processions and movements.

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Before human values are destroyed, I call upon every conscious person, particularly men, to bring a halt to such behaviour towards women. If it is not halted today, tomorrow it may be your mother, sister or child who is abused or raped by these mentally perverted men.

I ask parents to monitor who your growing children are mixing with, who are their friends. Be a friend to your children. Groom them in culture, ethics. Keep an eye on what they are watching on the mobile phone, who they are communicating with. From their birth, we must guide our children on the right path. I firmly believe that a culturally developed amiable person who is well educated and socially conscious, can never resort to criminal and unethical activities, least of all rape.

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'Hok Kolorob: So let there be noise'

Arnab, singer

When a person loses his humanity, he becomes barbaric. This is reflected in his behaviour. And the number of such people is on a steady rise. It is because of these people that our country, society and our surroundings are seeing moral decay.

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A woman can be my mother, my sister, my wife, my child. But every day a mother, a sister, a wife, a child is falling prey to the hatred, lust and brutality of these barbarians. We must all unite to bring an end to such moral decay. We must ensure safety for women and children. Everyone should be able to live normal lives and such barbaric incidents must not occur ever again. We must ensure this. I protest through my song:

Hok Kolorob/ So let there be noise

(in translation)

Let there be noise, why do the flowers,

instead of being red, turn blue?

Why and when, impossibly

They've taken on the sky's hue.

These questions may seem to have no need,

Why is the palm not a sesame seed?

From the water in the depth of the well,

Why does a lake, not a canal swell?

That is why the fish take to the sky,

Not as flowers, but as hawks that fly.

Let there be noise, why do the flowers,

instead of being red, turn blue?

* These write ups, originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir