Gold Finger | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 20, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 20, 2017

Gold Finger

MY friend is in deep trouble as he has wrecked his dad's new car. His dad is furious. And it's no Mount Fujiama eruption, it's a continuous monsoon tempest. Finally, my friend can't take it anymore, “Dad! It's not that I wrecked YOUR father's car – I wrecked MY father's car!!” 

My friend and his father gets out easy – the former with a slap on the wrist (figuratively speaking) or maybe other parts of the body (literally speaking) while the dad with a hefty bill on auto repairs, but not without a chuckle at the quip of the son's witty remark. 

Such is not quite the case with another father and son duo. The son bashes up not the dad's SUV (yes, we're talking about a dad who is considerably richer), but rather, the dad's business by taking daddy's business 'for a ride', presumably by boasting the apparent nefarious side of it. The 'S' word – 'Smuggle'. I, the proletariat, thought this was a taboo, a matter to be ashamed of (despite the huge gains). But I guess not, it's apparently a matter to brag about. With this new definition of the word, I presume we will now see smirking faces of air travellers at Dhaka Airport Customs after 'relieving' themselves of precious excrements. 

We learn, no wait, revisit another truth – the rich and the powerful have two names: for business purposes there is the certificate name and in the event of an alleged crime, the name used is “son of an influential person”. But a pleasantly surprising discovery is that the latter name can have a surprisingly short shelf life when electronic, print and social media all band together. In the digital age, the pen, the transmitter and the mouse combined are mightier than the sword, the Tomahawk and the B-52 combined. And hey presto, all of a sudden it's no longer “boys will be boys”, as The Untouchables become readily identifiable, trackable, arrestable, remandable, investigate-able, questionable, answerable while being quite personable. Ian Fleming's Gold Finger is pointed to The Man with the Golden…While it was a relatively benign crime of tax evasion that busted Al Capone for his string of deadly crimes, Banani sees an allegedly deadly crime open up a can of worms of a series of not so benign crimes. 

All at the cost of the honour of two young women scarred, and more so in our society, stigmatised for life. After all here is how we define rape allegorically – the fist punches the nose and the nose starts bleeding. Well, the nose was SO 'inviting' that the fist had to punch the nose. After all, the nose was asking for it. No wait, actually the fist did nothing, the nose went and punched the fist. It is the girls' fault that they were 'out late'. It is their fault that they were being good friends at being at a good friend's birthday party. It is their fault that they were allegedly forced to drink at gun point. It is their fault that they were forced to take contraceptives at gunpoint. It is their fault that they were filmed. It would have been their fault if the videos would have gone public. It is their fault that they are women…

Hey, they are available as sacrificial goats. Their 'sacrifices' trigger a string of investigations in several areas otherwise defined as 'business as usual'. The untouchables apprehended. Investigations commence into possible gold smuggling despite no gold being imported into the country for so many years. A hotel has dodged its VAT payments. A hotel is operating in a residential area (Duh! Don't we know that it's now Gulshan/Banani/Baridhara Commercial Area, Motijheel Residential Area and perhaps one day Bandarban EPZ?). A hotel possesses/serves/sells alcohol without an alcohol permit. The hotel building violated its permit and built an extra floor. Oh wait, and the booming gold industry is sustained with 'recycled' gold – I'm sure somewhere along the line there was a reverse gold rush of everyone selling off gold like perishable milk. 

Rape for us is a news item worthy, at best, to be on page 15 of the newspaper. Who cares about the post-rape father-daughter suicide or the gang rape in Dinajpur. It's just not 'sensational' enough as one taking place in the ritzy Tri-State area, aka, Green Zone, with high flyers as cast members and fancy hotels, parties, booze, dope, guns, videos and gold in the lineup. All by opening up a can of worms by worms opening up their zippers.  With so much gold coming into the country illegally by way of the rectum, it was only a question of time that the wealth from this gold would one day create a rectum.

You have a son and you worry about that boy. You have a daughter and you have to worry about every boy on the block, because not every parent is worrying about his/her boy. Hey, after all, “boys will be boys” and the girls are there to carry the dirt, forever and a day…

The writer is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of ATN Bangla's The Naveed Mahbub Show and ABC Radio's Good Morning Bangladesh, the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club. 

E-mail: naveed@naveedmahbub.com

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