Omar Faruk Babu Remembered

Omar Faruk Babu Remembered (d. May 2013)

1. Tibra Ali for

The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries
— T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Louis Ferdinand Celine one said that the good ones should have some kind of marking to set them apart from the rest of humanity. One of those good ones was Babu.

One of the first to run to the aid of those trapped in the wreckage of Rana Plaza, he saved many lives with his bravery. But soon afterwards Babu started to have nightmares of mangled dead bodies and other psychological problems.

Babu was being treated at Dhaka Medical College Hospital but then he went missing. His dead body was recently discovered there with marks around the neck. His family rejects the thesis that he may have taken his own life.

Why did we fail to take better care of Babu? Was it intentional or was he another victim of our systemic failure? I remember when I first saw his picture – that raw face on which you could see an anguished soul. A simple welder by profession, Babu confirmed for me that kindness and courage are instincts unencumbered by prudence.

His full name was Omar Faruk Babu. Lest we forget the name of one of the good ones.

2. From Anha Khan’s Facebook status, translated from Bengali for by Tibra Ali:

“Of the several hundred people who rescued the trapped workers from the clutches of death in Rana Plaza, we made a few of them into “selected heroes”. We raised our hands in salute to these selected ones. One of them was Kaikobad, another one was Babu. But suddenly, in a moment’s notice, both of them were dead. One of them, Kaikobad, died despite receiving the best treatment that this part of the world can offer, and was given a state funeral. Whereas no one knowns how Babu died. Babu, who had saved about 40 lives, went missing while he was under treatment in the veranda of ward no. 315 of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Two days later the missing Babu turned up dead.

The treatment of Kaikobad was an exception concocted by the government. This example was concocted for the sole purpose of show – to avoid responsibility toward all the others. We can talk about Babu’s death today because we were able to hail him as a hero and salute him on Facebook. But who is looking out for the physical and mental well-being of the several hundred others who, overcoming horror, searched for the living in the wreckage? If they can’t lead even simple and normal lives, where is the value in hailing them as heroes? Who will bear their medical treatments and counselling?

Who will save the saviors?”

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