The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my brother-in-law Deepu in the comfort of our own home. Deepu was a journalist in Bangladesh in his mid-twenties and he described how hard the life of a journalist was in Bangladesh. The government would do everything it could to censor the news coverage whenever anything controversial happened and Deepu always found himself in danger when reporting on stories like these. This was one of his first.

              The sound of a shoe tapping the floor echoes through the room. Deepu, now 25, shakes anxiously, waiting to embark on one of the most important journeys of his life. There are three others in the small, dusty room, occupied in their own thoughts, awaiting their turn to be called. It is the opportunity of a lifetime; the solution to his families struggles, a way out of the difficult life Deepu and his siblings endured for most of their lives. This job is everything. Everything that could be, everything that needs to be. A door opens at the corner of the room. A name is called out, “Md Abdur Rahim Deepu”.

              Deepu steps into the office. The office isn’t much but a small dreary room with a desk and chairs. A man sitting on the other side of the desk signals Deepu to sit. He then asks, “Why are you here?”. Deepu takes a deep breath and articulates his practiced speech like he did many times at home.

“You’ve got the job”, the man firmly states.

              A day after his interview, Deepu is off to report his first story as a Bangladesh NTV Journalist. Deepu is sent to report on news of a riot that has broken out in the streets of the Capitol city, Dhaka after several religious leaders have been jailed. He stands in front of a group of men who are shouting, “Justice! Justice!”. The cameraman signals him to go. Deepu brings the microphone up to his lips and begins to describe the scene. He asks a man shouting behind him,

 “What has caused this uproar here today?”.

 “Sheikh Hasina has imprisoned another beloved Imam of the people and has put him on death row. She must be stopped at once”, the man exclaims.

“How do you plan to do that?”

“We will march and fig—".

              Bang! Bang! Smoke starts to rise in the streets. Deepu turns around to find the riot police pushing the protesters back with shields and batons. A protester attempts to force the police back but is met with numerous blows to the head until his face is no longer recognizable. Deepu winces and tears up. Suddenly an officer in gear runs up to him, grabbing his microphone. “Get out of here now! Shut that off!”, the officer exclaims. Deepu struggles to keep the microphone away but is met with a shot to his ribs. “You try that again, and I will kill you. Leave now!”. The officer walks off.

“This was the life of a reporter”, Deepu thought. “This is what I sold my life for”.

             

The Life of a BD Reporter

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2009
Dhaka, Bangladesh

I interviewed my brother-in-law Deepu in the comfort of our own home. Deepu was a journalist in Bangladesh in his mid-twenties and he described how hard the life of a journalist was in Bangladesh. The government would do everything it could to censor the news coverage whenever anything controversial happened and Deepu always found himself in danger when reporting on stories like these. This was one of his first.

Tags: Bangladesh
Decade: 2000s
Rating:
Recorded by Shanewaz Chowdhury on December 5, 2018
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