Too ill for justice

With so many busy talking about depression, breast cancer, ebola and AIDS, we tend to neglect one of the biggest psychological and physiological illnesses of current times- Affluenza. This, so called disease, is a direct result of the consumerist culture we currently thrive in and it is quite a pressing issue. Imagine having so much money that all you can ever want is just more of it and in this pursuit you forget to care about simple things like cause and effect. It is indeed the saddest state of affair; wouldn't you rather go hungry than have to fuss over whether you'll eat that piece of imported veal or caviar? Affluenza is this generation's bubonic plague and it thrives in a culture where financial success trumps all. 

A recent accident caused by a 16 year old has brought this issue to the fore. While social media has taken it upon themselves to bring this so-called crook to justice, pause and ask when social media has ever achieved anything of note. Remember, the crisis in Gaza which helped us completely forget our inaction in the brutality being faced by the adivasis here? Israel didn't stop their bombs and neither did they care. What about the huge scandal during Pohela Boishakh when the scions of the powers that be went about making sexual harassment normal? “Just dushtu cheles, I did the same when growing up, LMFAO,” our ministers quipped. While it is only justifiable to question why the rich go free, it does not however excuse our own instances of “affluenza”. When Aunty has her car parked in the middle of the road backing up traffic and she can't possibly get out without having the driver get out and hold the door for her – that is affluenza. When we try to get away or go to the first of the line because we are “female”, or “students” or “journalists” or God-forbid all three together, we too suffer from affluenza. It's about false privilege and we suffer from it and it is so because by the very definition, it is a contagious condition and one which is socially transferrable. At least according to Wikipedia, and no on really researches further than that.

Details: Kid drives drunk, runs over people.

Therefore, it is no doubt that when our history is rewritten, they'll call it the age of money, where money literally talks. With enough cash you can confuddle the cleverest of law makers and law enforcers. The cops suddenly have a valid point when we go back to the current case of the #classykid in hand; no one filed a case against the corpulent individual. What about the fact that he was driving under the influence, didn't have a license, and weren't his windows tinted too? Do cases need to be filed for these? As for filing cases, that's a strange one. For instance, if a cop were to stop you for speeding, would he need a common citizen to file a case against you before bringing you to face justice? Probably not, but then again these are not important questions. You'd jump at the chance of beating the case with an under the car bribe rather than face the music too. The #classycopsofDhaka will let you get away with it too. Ran over a few people? Throw takas at them till they shut up and move on. This is classic Bangladesh though, isn't it?

End of the day though, this 16-year shows no remorse for his actions for three reasons; affluenza, our prevailing culture of impunity, and the fact that his upbringing was as bad as any orphan raised by thugs. This is the world we live in today and we need to accept it for what it is. The rich write the laws. But the rich are forever ridiculed. 10 years later, this 16 year old will be a grown man but his legacy will never leave him. He may now think what he did was cool, “dude, was so smashed ran over two children, LOL #justrichthings.” But one day he will grow up. One day, given how bad he is at decision making, he will no longer be invincible. But along with him, a generation suffers the same as him. We are all the same, except many of us are in denial. We are akin to the mothers admonishing their daughters and sons for having an Ipad raise their kids while forgetting we were raised by the TV. It's a vicious cycle and we are all a part of it. Now let's all move on to the next trending hashtag and pretend like our democracy depends on it. Anyone up for debating secularism?


Illustration: Ehsanur Raza Ronny


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