I finally head out of Khulna and am on the way back to Dhaka. To get to Dhaka I have to again hire a car to take me about 2 hours to Jessore where the nearest airport is. And then fly to Dhaka. As it turned out, I ended up having a fairly interesting journey to Jessore.
I am hearing about the possibility of another strike in Bangladesh…soon….. and I see along the way on the drive to Jessore….larger than usual groups of men hanging out and talking. I assume they are prepping for this next political movement.
If you add more men so there are no spaces left in the
walking crowd, then you can officially visualize what the
scene sort of looked like (Source: Daily Star, Dhaka)
We get to a small town, when the traffic slows and I can start to hear chanting. Like protest chanting. I look around and can see ahead of us is wall to wall men marching away from us down the street. There are store fronts lining both sides of the street here with no roads or paths dividing them. Just solid stores. This group of men (in the 100’s) are shoulder to shoulder and cover the whole width of the street from storefront to storefront.
There is a bus in front of us and we are inching along behind this mass of people, when the bus eventually gives up and pulls over. My driver starts to continue forward and move around the bus when all of the sudden….something occurs and the intensity of the crowd goes…ummmm…..Up. Next thing I know…I see this rickshaw on the other side of the bus piled with people being pushed over so the group of people on the rickshaw all tumble onto the ground. This action seems to cause a heightening of the timber of the crowd who has now turned completely around and is heading our direction.
All I could think was…these people are dirt poor….they are protesting the shit conditions in their country…they are agitated already….and here I am ….white American…representing all they do not have. I was worried I could be the spark that pushed the intensity over the edge. I knew they would see me…everyone always sees me….I am really the only western person in this region I have seen….and they will be able to see me…..in seconds.
I knew that if anything was gonna happen…I did not know if anything would….but if it was…I knew I had 5 seconds right then to send out a list of who gets what. And I would have that chance and ONLY that chance.
I know this may sound dumb, but I was especially worried about the film being completed…who’d get the footage and who would know WTF to do with it and also who would be able to deal with taking over the Foundation. I know…..I should have done this prior (making a will). Funny….I even thought about it that morning…but it just felt like I was jinxing myself so I decided not to.
The crowd of men totally surrounded the car….we could no longer move forward… everyone was yelling. I tore out my cell and looked down so not to make eye contact with anyone passing and quickly sent out my desires on whatsapp. I have to admit…this was the most nervous I was during the whole trip. It was the only point where I thought….this could go bad….and …..maybe be painful…..and I hate pain. And even worse…..the last beer I might ever get to drink was that shitty super strong bshit beer I had last night. Damn it! Thanks to the driver who continued to push the car through that crowd….we made it through. Another day to be had. Another beer. :)