Thursday, 11 December 2008

A Notun Din?

For those who have been born and bred in the UK, a prospective Bangladeshi election and political change means nothing more I'm sure than rain. It comes every other day (especially if you're from sunny Wales) and you don't really batter an eyelid at it. Bangladeshi politics always seems to be an impassioned issue, heated all the time whenever our parents would surf the Bangla news so we all grew a type of immunity towards it. Whether it's some Awami League or BNP, BJP - one of the two?! None of it really makes sense. And as I have recently tried to decipher the politics of Bangladesh, I feel (sorry to burst any bubbles) that it still doesn't really make any sense.
American Presidential candidate McCain after a recent visit to Bangladesh claimed that the upcoming election was possibly one of the 'fairest' of the world. With the caretaker Government's astringent clean-up process across the political world and the massive programme to register over 80 million people, McCain was truly wowed by this rags to riches story.
But before people get carried away by his sweeping claims, I'd really like to question what type of future this free and fair election will give Bangladesh? Will it free them from their deeply ridden problems of crime and corruption? Will give return fairness for all the poor and destitute? Rather than just praise a process, what the real issue is what this process will achieve.
And first and foremost if this is a model of democracy, with the people driving the politicians and politics they want representing them, then why is it that the caretaker Government is astringently screening who can even stand as a party or contestant? Less than half the parties who initially applied for registration have been given the go ahead to actually partake in the process, with Islamically inclined parties being thoroughly scrutinised due to liberalist pressure. Even the widely known party Jamaat e Islam narrowly just made it. Is that democracy?
The fairness that the caretaker Government claim to have created across political culture in the last two years, will no doubt bring a smirk to many a face. Newspaper editor and political analyst Shyamal Dutt said that the anti-corruption drive has failed to stop many bad people from entering the election, in his opinion. Corruption has been straightened out when wanted and to whom wanted, often sporadic. The fact that the two former Prime Minister's, who even the most politically illiterate know were entrenched in corruption, received a year in prison rsp with one out on bail and the other on medical parole, itslef says alot about what the intentions behind their imprisonment really were. Forget financial embezzlement, the fact that both during their terms were never able to attempt to deal with the impoverished people they ruled over, but could fulfil massive plans for India, America or their ruling elite, is itself I feel a crime that deserves more than endless years in prison. And indeed the destination for the ruler who mistreats his people, is no short of hellfire. Thus it makes me wonder who the 'clean-up' act was really for - the people of Bangladesh, or to achieve the nodding heads in America and Britain and for comments like those of Mc Cain.
The reality is this democratic election, in all its hype, will in the end come to be a moment of deja vu for Bangladesh. If you sleep through this election, don't worry you will have seen the result at some point during Bangladeshi history - Either Awami League or the BNP. This is the people's choice dished to you on a plate pre-arranged. And whichever comes to power, it will always be the Capulet-Montague style battle which dominates political headlines - Which party or family did what against whom, over what policy will improve the quality of life for Bangladeshi people.
How can we aspire for change from politics which has been proven as failed? The discussion has to develop outside of the box handed to us.
What we want is real, sustainable change for Bangladesh. Change which shakes the etablishment down to its roots, and actually uproots it! Discarding the deeply-entrenched corruption, injustice to replace it with a system of governance which holds the wellbeing of its citizens and justice for them as its cornerstone, absolutely uncompromisingly. Where everyone, including the ruler and his bandwagon, are all subject to the law and no one is above the law. Where justice is enshrined in an independent judiciary and the authority lies with the people.Where there is a very clear and distinct measure for what the ruler has to abide by, with removal as the consequence of not doing so. And where the sole sovereignty lies with the one Being who deserves it - Allah SWT.
A big vision, a crazy vision you may think. But in this crazy world we live in, big revolutionary change is the only change which will do. Nobody thought the Berlin Wall would change. Nobody thought the Cold War would change and nobody ever thought that occupied America in the 18th century would rise to become the world's superpower. But as a brother not so long ago said, big change can happen. And what I'd like to leave you with is a plea, to believe it and work for it.


Bengali Muslimah said...

Hi, I'm Bengali with a Dad who went CRAZY last year in december about the elections. Of course I couldn't care less either, i mean living in America, i was much more excited about Obama. But the party my dad supports won and according to him, history is repeating itself.

The pink cat said...

Thanks for your comment. I think many Bangladeshis went CRAZY, as you so rightly put it, during the elections last year, as they were so well controlled and never had they been so organised etc. And many people have always had their allegiances. However the question we all need to ask is what the Party in question will actually achieve for Bangladesh? So far, things we can see have changed very little. Poverty is still absolutely normal, corruption is just the way things work still - So what happened to real radical change? That, I'm sure most have realised will never come through the politics which have been present in Bangladesh today, it is high time we call for a totally new type of politics to bring real change and justice.

Bengali Muslimah said...

Very true. To me it looks like they are still fighting against each other for their own fame and good; not making any progress any country wise. I hear my dad often talking to his friends about Bengali Politics and all I hear him say is "oh look what they did to each other" *ridiculing laugh* You would think, after all these years the more wiser (according to my dad) party is in control, the country's conditions would improve, but I guess not.