A picture is often more powerful than a thousand words. Especially in the digital age, amidst a generation whose response is largely visual.
On the last day of 2021, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and sister Sheikh Rehana set off on an early morning walk across the newly constructed 6.15KM-long railroad bridge on the mighty River Padma.
The picture of the sisters, the only surviving siblings of Bangladesh's founder, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (popularly known as Bangabandhu), went viral on social media and sent out a powerful message of both achievement and hope for South Asia's youngest nation, once described by Henry Kissinger as a "basket case".
By walking on the bridge, which awaits formal opening on the last day of an eventful year, the Bangabandhu daughters were not only sending out a " We-can-do-the- impossible" message but also shed light on the US-instigated conspiracy which had put World Bank's proposed funding for the Padma Bridge on hold on alleged but unproven corruption charges.
That Hasina finally called the World Bank's bluff and decided to do Bangladesh's biggest infrastructure project with its own resources is now history.
It was a key decision taken in a year when the radical Islamists were running amuck with violent street protests, the obscurantist Hefazat was mobilising for a violent showdown and the US envoy, Dan Mozena, was openly calling for the ouster of the Hasina government.
To take a bold decision like funding the mega Padma project with Bangladesh's own resources when the Opposition and their foreign friends seemed hell-bent on bringing her down, Hasina arrived on the regional and global stage as one of the decisive leaders of the century.
The picture of the two sisters walking across the Padma Bridge is a slap on the face of those ceaselessly conspiring to defame and oust Hasina's government by all possible means.
It comes at a time when the US sanctions against 7 Bangladesh security officials, including police Chief Benazir Ahmed, preceded by not inviting the country to the Democracy Summit, open a new line of conspiracy.
The sanctions are clearly aimed to demoralise Bangladesh's security architecture, especially its top echelons, which has curbed radical Islamist forces (parties to terror groups alike) through some really tough policing.
Nothing reveals the US hypocrisy more clearly than President Joe Biden's January 6 speech to mark the first anniversary of the Capitol Hill attack by frenzied Trump supporters to prevent him from taking charge after winning the Prez polls.
Biden called for "firm action" to prevent a repeat of such attacks that he thought "held a dagger at the throat of American democracy".
Here are a few questions for Biden --
What administration finds Pakistan and the Philippines (ruled by Duterte) more democratic than Bangladesh?
Sir, did the US push back the attack on Capitol Hill by garlanding Trump supporters?
Did the US fight Islamist terror in Iraq and Afghanistan all these years by offering Al Qaida and the Taliban the best cakes and pastries?
Did it not set new milestones in torture with the waterboarding at Guantanomo Bay?
Finally, who gives the US the right to play the globo-cop and judge the state of human rights in other countries, including Bangladesh, when its own President warns the country against "severe challenges to our democracy"?
Mr. President, won't it be a great idea if the US minds its own business and puts its house in order!
Having left Iraq and Afghanistan in a mess, why can't it leave countries like Bangladesh to fight their own battle against Islamist radicals and terrorists?
Even a former FBI counter-terrorism official lauded Bangladesh in its fight against terror.
So it is better for the US and the rest of the world if Washington stops applying double standards in judging its own human rights record, especially in countries where it sends troops and that of others.
Mr President, we know you plan to focus on human rights and democracy issues, but isn't it better if charity begins at home?
One last but a very personal message the picture of the Bangabandu daughter's surprise visit to the Padma Bridge conveyed -- an emphatic message to those who relentlessly spin fake news, often with US funding from the likes of NED, and who suggest there is much trouble in Bangladesh's First Family.
Rehana is an ideal sister, a selfless source of support for her elder sibling, Hasina, both on a mission to fulfill Bangabandhu's goal.
The two sisters are bonded by birth and the pain they have gone through following the liquidation of the rest of the family in the August 1975 coup.
Her walking down the Padma Bridge alng side her elder sister is a message to these conspiracy theorists who have put out wild stories centering them.
Such wild stories will continue as the countdown begins for the next parliament polls. The US sanctions have also revealed the contours of a possible regime-change operation.
But the confident early morning walk on the Padma Bridge sends out a message of hope for development, of the defeat of conspiracies and rubbishes the wild stories of trouble in the First Family. The picture indeed says much and more.
Tonmoy Ahmed is the Coordinator ALBD Web Team, CRI