This year, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was one of the biggest protests that the country had seen for a while. And it all started with a blog post.
Shahbag Protests. The chance of many people around the world knowing of this event is quite minimal, but its significance is not.
Things started back in 1971, there was a war between Pakistan and Bangladesh for Bangladeshi independence known as the Liberation War. During this war, there was a lot of corruption with some Bangladeshi leaders– many of them switching sides and committing major disloyalty. But in 1973, they were pardoned and got a government amnesty for all of their crimes. This issue resurfaced again after the 2008 election when corruption in the government and the lack of prosecutions for war criminals cause a massive uproar in the country– a massive uproar which is still heavily present today.
There is a point beside the history lesson, however. The discontent in the country was overwhelming, but the things is– the change wasn’t brought by some great Bangladeshi leader or someone of high importance with speeches and campaigning. Change and protest came to be because of social networking. An online activist group, Blogger and Online Activists Network (BOAN) posted a blog post the night that controversial verdicts were announced and they called for their followers and blog readers to come to Shahbag square to protest and make a change.
And, look where that blog post has gotten them: 500,000+ people came to the square to protest and fight for a cause and slowly but surely, there are changes stirring in the small country of Bangladesh. This movement has spread to the United States as well, and many Bangladeshi communities all over the nation are holding their own little protests to show their support for the cause.
This is a big cause, a big call to the people, and a big outcome… but it goes to show that people, any kind of people, can make a difference in the world. In this day with thriving social media and so many ways to get connected and voice your thoughts, more people should be rising to the opportunity and voicing their beliefs and ideas to make a change. The political state of Bangladesh has definitely been evolving since this all started, but in my opinion, this spark of change that has been brought about is what’s truly important. It’s possible to change the status quo, and I’m personally calling to everyone to take a stand for something they believe in, and with the new tools that are at our feet, let’s leave our mark to make the world a different and better place.