Professional 'Polititutes', Third Rated forces and our Uncivil Citizenry
"Politics is the worlds second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."- Ronald Reagan, 40th US President
The political 'theater' in Bangladesh has been euphorically upbeat for about a month, with talks of a so-called 'third force' imminently poised to sweep into power - atleast anybody half believing the media would have had no difficulty arriving at such a conclusion. Championed by none else but a disgruntled ex President of the Republic who was forced to resign under questionable circumstances little over a year ago, it all started with an innocuous interview of the former first citizen front paged by a tabloid. Within two weeks, his 'brand new' political theory was generically relayed and debated with unrestrained candor in every newspaper worth its spin-doctor salt, TV talk shows and what else have we - LESS the general citizenry who stood back from it all in hushed indifference, so atypical of them.
It is not as if this citizenry 'species' is oblivious or unconcerned to pristine 'moves' on their torrid fate by elitist power brokers, the irony: professional 'polititutes' have over the years become such a depraved and inconsequential entity that they have elevated themselves in 'importance' from the second oldest profession of the world, to the first in Bangladesh! The citizenry has shifted its focus in disgust, elsewhere.
As ever, the media saw itself in the role of a captive collaborator, and given the polemical significance of the debate and fact that reportage for our daily consumption is never beyond machinations of doom and gloom hawkers who lurk scrumptiously behind safe bastions of the prevalent status quo, elitist trappings, pretty people or otherwise. Editors and publishers of known notoriety therefore missed no chance in salivating and prophesizing an imminent 'takeover' at the helms of power, all within a literal 'democratic' quick-fix formula to somehow end for good our accumulated miseries of 32 years.
No fault of the Media here. Being part of the inherently dismal loop of exploitation of the many by a select few - they stand to be the biggest beneficiaries in 'timely' assessment of power brokers move even to the extent of sometime pre-empting them as in this instance, and it seemed that a veritable Pandora's Box was about to open - well sort of.
The chosen choke pitch was, after all the 'solutions' were diagnosed by a former first citizen, who is also a physician of extra ordinary repute, seemingly understanding the right mix and dosage of palliative to be administered to remedy our political ill health overnight?
So great was the unrestrained TRUST displayed by the media on venerable Doctor and failed ex Prez's assurances of unadulterated oxygen bottles to regenerate the oxymoron cells that lay atrophied in the national physical psyche 'if the people desire' - it seemed all that was left was for our mainstream dead horse political parties to do was, close shop, do a quick shuffle and make way for the incarnate of our fate to a hearty, unabridged and unquestionable WELCOME.
Forgotten was political ill health of our nation is no physical anomaly but a psychological fragmentation inflicted through years of phallic disregard of the citizenry, all in pursuit of unabashed wheeler-dealer democracy, in essence a cruel byproduct of the barracks that saw the advent and firm entrenchment of a nouveau riche capitalizing on human misery, in one continuous and contentious nightmare after the other. A national thought process as such was never advanced, any national 'feeler's' that probed what the two parties playing Russian roulette with our destiny had on dynastic offer was, shot out of orbit.
The 'leadership' we have thus inherited has a parochial mindset befitting those of village headmen, the difference being they find themselves entrapped in misplaced urbania, and measure to measure a steadily growing rich and powerful lower middle class appears to threaten and dislodge the power elite, who have in desperation employed a wasted, hapless and helpless middle class slogan chanting brigade to head off the inevitable.
Any move to inculcate the wishes of the citizenry at large is fraught with risks, and no one understands that better than the vortex of our lying, cheating, thieving and fornicating demagogue polititutes. That the ex Prez's move survived the heat of the debate for this long, is only because his 'message' came packaged courtesy the media messengers with 'comfort signals' to willing ears, that offered a rosy façade: aspirations of a silent majority.
Vulgar however was the underlying and veiled 'my way or the highway' undercurrent - and despite assurances of 'talks', the revolutionary romantic diatribes could not be overlooked, neither could the blatant attempts at assumption of yet another round of leadership by default.
The bottom line in the 'third force' attempt to usurp acceptability/respectability by trumpeting politics being a failed institution of the state, with bickering and routine charade of vested interest lining up in bids of power by any party capable of making noise enough to expect the other 'bidder' to quit per force or by threats and ultimatums, is as old as the history of Bangladesh.
The other 'third force' from the barracks has happily moved off polity, and while 'uniformed bullets' are no longer fired, the citizen is nonetheless expected to provide the ultimate 'fodder', numbers in human lives, the real ammunition in any bid to tilt the ante.
The former Prez therefore may only be congratulated for being able to organize the media circus clowns to quote him verbatim, things that have long been said in writings, poetry, songs, theaters and whatever avenue of improper public expression that may be considered legitimate. There have been no less denunciations of the polity from within parties by well meaning but lesser profile individuals, who have either been branded brigands or unceremoniously dumped as rebels.
The illegitimacy of the physical move by the Physician revolves around his sheer timing and the overt and salubrious media outpouring aimed at projecting the advent of a would be messiah and proffered hints of other sidelined politicos joining the bandwagon. A weekend club of sort for the tried, tired, fired and retired - so much for Bangladesh's luck!
While the ruling BNP as a matter of pathological catechism spoke of a 'conspiracy', the staid and cautious reaction by Awami League played up 'mark time' to bizarre heights. In essence what is obvious is both the parties have lost credibility and the only available synergy arrived this time around, is just about anybody in Bangladesh can call for the creation of an ex-officio FORCE that can threaten to dislodge - just about any elected government of the day and stand to be absolved from charges of treason. That simple?
In the melee, Black humor was added by the US educated, ex first son, a sitting MP of the ruling echelon, baptized in the sanctums of polity in no less an institution than the alternative - Young Turkish 'Wind Powered' Power House! His literal 'charge' of maneuvers sometimes outflanking besieged Dad outdid even the fabled Don Quixote. Move for move, the junior conjured sidekick warm-ups of hysterical proportions, and he had his own mandate and gripes to convey quite separate from father. Therefore, whenever father decided it was going to be an Iftar bash, son would promptly announce his own, making one wonder if divisions of 'spoils' has started way ahead of father assuming power!
Infantile mediocrity hit an all time high when junior went on a high profile admonishment of his own party men courtesy the media as 'why' calibrating the term 'Friend of Bengal' was not politically correct ahead of the many adjectives placed before the venerable Sheikh Mujib's name. If the deceased Prez General of the ruling echelon could record it in one of his writing - so could he. Fair premise of an argument and to make a point of it he cheerily dubbed his voice in a badly sung song, penned by 'Daddy O', produced a music video, and passed it on to a TV channel, without making much of a dent anywhere. Images of the Friend of Bengal, Prez General etc figured prominently, which did anything but impress an Eid prime time audience.
Added was the crybaby whining as 'why' his one hour, one day every week slot on national TV achieved through 'use' of power (as opposed to abuse) was suddenly off the air - spelt absurd 'personal', and not political or national interest in severe jeopardy.
The juniors Iftar happening came with clarion calls for a nationwide mobilization of a 50,000 strong third rated force of 'Zia-ist' sounding more like a call to arms, the only missing link: who was going to be Commander-in-Chief - any guesses? The two Iftar's dovetailing each other nonetheless fell flat and flopped, his 'cultural' benefactors seemingly abandoning him - and one waited with baited breath to see how Dad's hoopla would fare. The party of all Ramadhan party's had 700 'select' invitees, and the press even printed the menu, so that none wasted the opportunity of a Wintry Garden 5 Star Iftar. Phew!
With more pressmen than the 200 invitees who actually showed up, the Physician unleashed his prescription. Heck, it's the CIVIL SOCIETY that needs to sort out the mess!
Now who the hell are these guys and why does it need a Physician, cum ex Prez to be an unofficial propagandist to further their bids for power? Not a complete definition, but a definition nonetheless follows:
"Civil society is not a professional sector. It's the informal and willful expression of the people who inter-act with the State not as a collaborator of any socio-economic project or even objective as well as construct including involvement of any structured local or foreign resource supplier. Civil society doesn't need permission to function and isn't accountable to the government for its actions. It's independent, free and those who are actively involved participate in a state of free will without monetary consideration as the dominant or primary incentive. Its prime role is to act as a watchdog of the government and linked institutions to ensure that state collaborators do not violate public rights. It is not an income-generating outfit by purpose and protects rights by definition though it may raise money to fulfil certain objectives." Afsan Chowdhury, Director (HR and Advocacy), BRAC.
If it was definition alone that the citizenry had to contend with, nothing can be more dehumanizing than the term Civil Society for it consigns and reduces those that are not its members, or those that have no faith in this World Bank sponsored 'for NGO's of NGO's and BY NGO's' shenanigan, as 'uncivil', even barbarians.
However in its sheer composition and scope of functions or operation, as explained above, what is not lost to anyone is Civil Society IS a macabre 'secret society', above registration, above accountability, is not a collaborator of any socio-economic project, but can and will collaborate in the political domain, going perhaps as far as acting as a 'pressure group' to overthrow a democratically elected government in tacit collaboration of shadowy individuals? Worrying is while it is not an 'income-generating outfit' it may raise funds for 'certain objectives' which remain deliberately unspecified.
How far and why a citizenry ought to repose its trust upon such utopian concepts, are matters that appears NOT to have been mulled over in any seriousness by the proponents of our third rated forces. Perhaps, unexplained expediency at some unidentified levels among polititutes have made them recklessly callous, and what we surely have in hand is a potent attempts for further destabilization of Bangladesh. Dangerous is a realization, that we have prompted and prodded 'forces' to appear, that other's may well mimic with disastrous consequences, and we will have only ourselves to blame.
Identified Civil Society exponents as far as Bangladesh is concerned has comprised of NGO biggies, shady individuals in control of a dominant and determined Media Mafia, in effect, a patronization club of the nouveau riche, suddenly gone 'fashionable' thanks to their loot and plunder all in the name of development.
When challenged, proponents of the so-called Civil Society went on the offensive stating its long list of 'contribution' to Bangladesh's politics. Apparently the end of the Ershadian autocracy in 1990 was 'engineered' by them, as much as the 'anti-fundamentalist' media campaign of the late 80's. If any of the claims are true, it is time that we accept, Bangladesh is faced with an enormous internal security situation, for in 1990 we did not see any Civil Society 'leader' out in the open, nor did any of its members face the bullets of autocratic forces. It was the ONLY time in Bangladesh's history that student wings of all political parties merged, showed index fingers to their respective leadership and forced the dictator out. The Civil Society was nowhere around.
The mindset is vulgarly clear.
The millions who have died since 1971 for democracy are not martyrs but expendable shells casings of the sheer maniacal lust and greed of power brokers and professional polititutes, a handful of select swindlers, that we have no way of eradicating, other then expecting them to do us a favor from 'within' (read intrigue). The so called 'third force' is as such no more than institutionalized intrigue-ers vying for respectability by riding shotgun on the media period.
Institutionalized and 'democratic anarchy' is what we stand to gain in the third rated force backed Civil Society aspirations for power, and the spillover might well see FORCES lining up that we know nothing about neither can we control.
Of fourth and fifth's forces, culminating into a terrorist or Talibanist SIXTH, or Free Masonic seventh, and what have we - Civil War?
Are we ready?