No one questioned the facts mentioned with the invitation letter. Instead, as Shahidul Alam says, the Chinese embassy at Dhaka 'requested' him to stop the exhibition.
Alam, a photographer, founder and director of Drik Picture Library helped organizing a photo exhibition at Drik Gallery titled “Into Exile | Tibet 1949 - 2009”.
Organized by Students for a Free Tibet, Bangladesh in partnership with Drik the exhibition tells about the ‘journey of Tibetans from their Homeland to Exile’ as said in the press release issued by the organizers.
The exhibition itself was forced to shut down even before it began.
When the Chinese embassy people told Alam to stop it, his reply, as he told the reporters, was simple, `I'm not going to take advise from people of other countries about what I'm going to do in the gallery founded on my property'.
At midnight October 31, Alam posted a status on his Facebook page saying `Khairul Kabir and Palash from special branch currently at Drik. Want to know names of organizers of Tibet show. I've refused to give it. They are still here and are bringing in bigger officers.'
The next day, on November 1, 2009 at 4:30pm, one hour before the exhibition was to be opened formally, the gallery was surrounded by riot police forces and Alam was forced to move out of Drik premises with his colleagues. They locked the entrance to the gallery.
The rest is in pictures-
Drik regularly hosts exhibitions, not only of photographs, like this one of boutiques.
Alam explaining his position.
Alam talking with media while the police using cell phone and talking with the big brother.
Media: Why this show was stopped?
Police: Because they could not produce the paper of Govt. approval.
Media: Can you produce the papers in support of the fact that a Govt. approval is needed here?
Police: No, I cannot.
Riot forces to stop displaying some photographs.
Dr Muzaffar was to open the show formally.
Bangladeshi police face to face with Tibetans?
Dr Muzaffar giving his openion.
Dr Muzaffars symbolic opening of the exhibition by touching the big banner outside Drik
The Press Release of the event
You are cordially invited to the `Into Exile | Tibet 1949 - 2009' a week-long exhibition at on 5:30pm, 1st November 2009 at Drik Gallery.
The Exhibition will be inaugurated by Professor Muzaffar Ahmed, Chairman, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)
With a written history of more than 2,000 years, Tibet existed as an independent sovereign state prior to Chinese rule. As recently as 1914, a peace convention was signed by Britain, China and Tibet that again formally recognized Tibet as a fully independent country. Invaded by China in 1949, the independent peaceful country of Tibet was forced to face the direct loss of life that comes from military invasion and, soon after, the loss of universal freedoms that stemmed from Chinese Communist ideology. Having no representation in the United Nations, the world largely stood by and allowed China’s occupation and destruction to happen.
Tibetans, both inside & outside Tibet have demonstrated repeatedly for independence from China. The fate of Tibet’s unique national, cultural, environmental and religious identity continues to be seriously threatened and manipulated by the Chinese Government today.
This series of images intend to portray, in whatever small fraction, the journey of Tibetans from their Homeland to Exile.
The exhibition is organize by Students for a Free Tibet, Bangladesh in partnership with Drik Bangladesh.
The exhibition will open till 7th November, 3-8pm, everyday for all.
Please send your reporter, photographer, videographer to cover the event.
Some images from the exhibition.