Red Ants, Black Ants – a Precursor to Genocide

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Red Ants, Black Ants – a Precursor to Genocide

Smritilekha Chakraborty

“Red Ants, Black Ants” is a popular game in Bangladesh. Little children play this game – when they find any ant mound in their backyard, home or elsewhere. Children break the ant mound and force the ants to crawl out. If the ants are red, they are killed; if the ants are black, they are let go. But if a red ant mound can be identified beforehand, then the children go a step further – pour kerosene on the mound and burn all the red ants in their home.

The game is not complicated – just a simple game for the children. However, this simple game becomes complicated due to the logic behind the game. In their imagination the ants are not merely ants. Red ants are Hindus and the black ants are Muslims. Red ants bite and harm people. The black ants are harmless; they do not bite. That the Hindus by default are harmful to the society and the innocent Muslims are harmed by them is thus ingrained in the minds of Muslim children of Bangladesh.

There are also other ways of killing the Hindu ants. They can be captured, poisoned, burned, drowned or stepped on. The most satisfying method is to individually kill each ant by stepping on them. Children who play this game must be trying out all the methods. Who does not like variety? Why not apply different methods to kill the Hindu red ants?

The children who kill Hindu ants on a mass scale feel remorse if they kill a Muslim black ant by accident. It is natural, since the Muslim children in 90% Muslim majority Bangladesh children grow up with strong religious identity. A child reared with Islamic identity will surely feel sad if a Muslim black ant is killed. This is not just a game for the children, but a reflection of religious identity. The game teaches Muslim children to feel oneness with Islamic ummah. They subconsciously learn as an ideal Muslim they should not harm another Muslim.

And what do they learn from this game about the non-Muslims, specifically Hindus? Don’t they subconsciously develop deep hatred against the Hindus? If a Hindu red ant’s home is burned down and destroyed in a game, this becomes a normal in real life when these children grow up. He will think torture and subjugation of Hindus as the normal way of life. The different methods used to torture Hindus in Bangladesh are also used in the game. So when a Hindu household is looted or a Hindu killed, one should not be surprised. The children learn the methods to torture Hindus in their childhood. They grow up play games on how to commit Hindu genocide. Adults in the household are very much aware of this fact, as they might have played this game when they were children. However, did the adults take any action to stop this anti-Hindu game played by their children?

Hindu children in Bangladesh also know about the rules of this game. How do they feel when they play this game? Do they start believing that Hindus are harmful like red ants? Do they accept that it is considered okay to torture harmful hindu red ants? Do they begin to think that being born as a Hindu is a curse? Does the daily abuse, name calling (Malaun) make the Hindus lose ability and will to resist?

We need to ask these questions. We need to know the answers. These answers are our guidance for the future. “Bangladesh is better than Pakistan” – this lie that is peddled needs to be questioned. We can argue if a “danob” (monster) or “ashur” (asura) is worse than the other, but can’t compare the abuse hurled by each. Hindu genocide in Pakistan is monochromatic, without variety. Bangladesh is creative, so they kill Hindus creatively. But that cannot hide the truth. Bangladesh and Pakistan are both equally adept in Hindu genocide.

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