Like other high school students, Abdul Karim Rajib, 18, and Dia Khanam Mim, 17 had many hopes and dreams for their lives. One had hoped to become an army officer, the other, a banker.
On July 29, 2018, around noon, the two teenagers were killed in the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, by three buses speeding against each other for no reason other than to arrive first and cram as many passengers into their already overcrowded interiors, for maximum profit.
This was not an isolated accident. Every year, more than 12,000 people lose their lives to road accidents in Bangladesh, and those are just the ones reported. 12,000 deaths that were completely preventable had the laws been followed. To say that traffic law enforcement in Bangladesh is lax is an understatement.
This time, however, we said enough is enough. Young Bangladeshis like me are sick and tired of fearing for our lives on the roads—fearing being run over by a bus or truck simply because the driver values making money more than human lives. We are tired of forming human chains on roads only to be ignored by our leaders. We are tired of empty promises from people who travel in VIP entourages, never having to face the precarious reality of moving around on Bangladesh’s roads.
So we took to the streets and protested.