Sunday, November 01, 2009

Showdown

So I think I ended up spamning everyone on Facebook today - many apologies for this, but I didn't really have any other platform (Twitter doesn't work from mobile phones here).

Long story short: We planned to have a simple exhibition to raise awareness about Tibet's fight for independence. Folks at Chinese embassy were none too pleased. We refused to cancel the exhibition. Police from the Bangladesh Police Special Branch (akin to the intelligence unit) made repeated visits and threats.

© Shehab Uddin / DrikNEWS

All of this culminated in a showdown of sorts today. The police ended up locking the gates so that no one could enter or leave. Shahidul Alam, the founder and director of Drik, ended up having to climb over the gates again and again just to get in and out.



© Adnan / DrikNEWS


The chief guest arrived - Professor Muzaffar Ahmed, president of Transparency International Bangladesh. He wasn't allowed in either. But he kept smiling, and I couldn't help but giggle whenever I looked at him. I suppose being in charge of fighting corruption in the country makes you quite immune to such things.



© Shehab Uddin / DrikNEWS


So, we ended up launching the exhibitions on the streets since the police refused to budge. We gave out refreshments, just as they would have if it had taken place inside the gallery. The policemen refused their share of cake.




Professor Muzaffar Ahmed (left) launching the exhibition on the streets with Shahidul Alam.
© Adnan / DrikNEWS



© Shehab Uddin / DrikNEWS

An interesting day, if I do say so myself.


Note: The exhibition wasn't our idea, although we did provide the gallery space for it. The organisers were a group of Bangladeshi students who had taken it upon themselves to fight for Tibet's freedom. I'll save that chapter of the story for another time.

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