Bangladeshi Blogger Continues Crusade in American Refuge

By Kyle Smith and Sean Spencer | Urban Agenda

Tuhin Das came to America hoping to live in freedom and escape the harsh government of his homeland.

IMG_1346Born in Bangladesh, Das became a famous blogger who wrote about the oppression in his country. He began his blog in 2001 and went on to publish seven books of poetry and edit a magazine, according to Das.

Das and other rebellious voices had three goals: oppose people in power; bring justice to a governmental system established in 1971 with the Bangladesh Liberation War, when tyrants came into power; and ban extreme political parties.

As his popularity increased, so did his enemies. The Bangladeshi government began attempting to suppress his voice, along with other writers and bloggers. He eventually was hacked, he said.

The government became more and more ruthless in its attempts to suppress Das. In 2001, people ran into his house and assaulted him, he said. Five years later, he was arrested.

In 2013, he began receiving calls threatening his life and later received threats on social media, he said. Eventually he was sleeping in different houses every night in fear for his life.

As of 2013, six writers and bloggers have been killed in Bangladesh, Das said.

One year ago, as a member of International Cities of Refuge Network, a worldwide organization that helps oppressed writers, Das connected with City of Asylum. Located on the North Side, the organization helps endangered writers. This lead to Das coming to the U.S. on April 2.

It was very hard for him to leave Bangladesh since he had a sister and a family, and as the son, he is supposed to be the “breadwinner.”

He said he was in “culture shock of the U.S. language and people,” but was glad to see people that look like him.

Das continues to Skype his family and email others from his home, but misses them and the food.

His goals now that he is in the U.S. include getting his PhD and publishing a novel on the oppression in Bangladesh. He is excited for the opportunities he has found here and wants to make a difference with his writing, he said.

Since Das’ arrival in the U.S., there have been more hacked blogs and killings in Bangladesh. He fears returning home, but if things there improve over the next four to five years, he will go back.

Das said he still encourages Bangladeshi journalists to “continue the movement … blogging is social journalism.”


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