An epistle for Xulhaz
Xulhaz Mannan was a founding editor of Roopbaan, the country’s only magazine for the LGBT community and also worked at the US development agency USAid. The magazine had been launched in 2014 to promote greater acceptance of LGBT communities in Bangladesh. He had worked in the human rights sector specially for the LGBT community in Bangladesh. He successfully arranged a “rainbow rally” in Dhaka on 14 April 2015; however the rally was canceled in 2016 on police instruction.
On 17 April 2016, Bangladeshi Prime minister Sheikh Hasina criticized his writings by comparing them with adult content.
He had received death threats after trying to organise a youth LBGT “Rainbow Rally” in early April 2016. Mannan was killed in his apartment along with his friend Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy in a stabbing attack on 25 april 2016. A witness reported five men leaving the scene chanting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”). Ansar-al-islam, an Al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for the murders.
One of his friends has written a letter to Xulhaz, which is given below.
Dear Xulhaz Bhai (brother),
I am sure you are watching me while I am writing this letter to you and maybe teasing about my bad English. I know because you always do, but do not worry I will be good as like you someday soon.
You might be a right based activist for rest of the world but for me you are my friend, my mentor, my brother, my boss in some extent (which you always hate because I never listen to you, I know that).
Do you remember those days when I was so shy (maybe some people never believe that now)? You always drag me everywhere, force me to meet new people, make some new friends. I know it’s not only me you have done this for everyone. You teach us being different is not bad. We all have the same right to live our life.
You are my mentor. You teach us how to be brave, how to fight against this cruel world. But again you also teach how to love someone. You always want to win those heater minds with you love. You touch each of our heart with your love and kindness. I wish you could touch those ignorant souls too.
Is relation based on only blood connections? If it is so, still I can say you are my brother because we have same blood color like others. I hate you when you fight with me to get food from my plate but never let me touch your one. But I know at the end of the day you are going to share those desserts with me. I will miss those carrot cupcakes which you bring every Thursday night for us.
You know everyone mock me and say I am your shadow. I will nod my head whatever you say. I want to say do not listen to them. You are my boss, and I respect your decision. You teach me to be confident, be focused and sure not to talk rubbish in a serious meeting.
Xulhaz Bhai, do you remember that text? You were surprised to see that long text and told me you never realize I can write that much. I told you how much I love, how much I miss you. But maybe sometimes I can’t express that. Yes, you said “Baccha I know you love me a lot, and you do not need any word for that.
I want to say the same thing again. I loved you; I love you, and I will do. I will miss you rest of my life. Please stay with me.