Bangladeshi publisher Ahmedur R. Chowdhury says he writes and publishes because he feels a responsibility to do so, even after having put his own life at risk.
Text by Teresa Grøtan
Meet Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury in conversation with publisher Trygve Åslund in Life on the line for free speech.
Why are you an ICORN writer in Skien?
I’m a progressive publisher and editor from Bangladesh. I was the target of fundamentalists in Bangladesh for writing and publishing books. I was the publisher of Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy whom were killed by fundamentalists. I was attacked in my own office on 31 October 2015. The objective was to kill me. I luckily survived, but was majorly injured. After that, with an invitation from ICORN, I came to Skien as a guest writer in the January of 2016.
You are a fierce champion of freedom of speech. Why does it matter so much to you?
I write, I edit and I’ve published over 1000 books. My work is my passion. And a feeling of responsibility drives me to do it. I talk about free speech just as I write poems getting self motivated. Political issues, human rights violation, the question of equity – these issues affect me. I think freedom of speech plays a vital role in democracy, human rights and equity.
You have lived in Norway for a couple of years. What is the biggest difference between Bangladesh and Norway?
I discover new differences everyday in my life. But the biggest difference I can feel is between current me and me in Bangladesh. And honestly current me missing me in Bangladesh.
Chowdhury recently published a new edition of his magazine Shuddhashar, which he has continued to published online after being exiled.