Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Arrived at 11.30 am, three hours after the shootings began. Made my way through the backlanes to end up at the entrance to Zigatola, about 50 m away from the gates of the Bangladesh Rifles HQ. The stretch of Sat Masjid Road leading towards the HQ had been cordoned off completely.
Did not really know what to make of the situation and the crowd that had gathered at the Zigatola entrance -- at least, not until the army guys showed up. I think the exact word that came out of my mouth when I saw the machine guns and mortars was "FUCK".
Children being evacuated from the school located at the entrance to Zigatola. They were the only ones who looked keen to get away. The crowd that gathered seemed fearless.
General panic caused by random gun shots.
There is something more to be said about the crowd. First of all - since when did people walk towards the sound of gunfire rather than away from it? Sure, they ran (see above) when it got too loud, too close. But they ran with smiles and laughter. They ran off till it was quiet, and then regrouped and came forward again.
I don't understand this. Did they not know that people had already been killed by the misfires? Was this a game to them?
And the truth is this: I would make a shitty war photojournalist. Sure, I fed off the adrenaline, but I just kept thinking to myself, this would be a shitty reason to die for.
The worst thing was that I couldn't tell where the guns were from, or what they were aiming at. I didn't know where to hide my very not-bulletproof body.
UPDATE: Pics now on PBS Wide Angle blog. More to come, perhaps. Heading out to again now.