Yes Mr. Bush we are 'democratic terrorists' - come get us!
Yes Mr. Bush we are 'democratic terrorists' - come get us!
Forget for a moment events of the year when we fought a bitter nine months long guerrilla war to dislodge the Pakistani killing machine set on a systematic reign of genocide on defenseless Bengalees - or that the men of infamy were backed by non else but the US. Forget for a moment that 'propping up' the 'ruling council' of collaborators on the ground, a bunch of marauding mullahs, and political opportunist found most anywhere in the world was non else but the American administration again. Forget for a moment, that in the dying days of what was then East Pakistan, an alliance of Mukti Bahini guerillas and Indian Armed Forces besieged Dhaka, and were imminently poised for mass slaughter of the enemy if they did not surrender.
Forget COMPLETELY that the US was at the Bay of Bengal, ready to intervene militarily to upset the freedom aspirations of the people of Bangladesh. A chilling Vietnam was avoided in South Asia at the nick of time, had it not, a millennium headline would have paralleled:
'US intervention in Afghanistan to save besieged Taliban regime from Northern Alliance terrorist'!
If anybody looks up the archive of news matters of 1971, the 'ruling council' used the words 'terrorist' to evoke hatred for, and on the flip side 'miscreants' - to rubbish the heroic aspirations of the guerillas - indeed of all Bengalees.
Those were times when we lived in a bi-polar world, where the Soviets had a say about our destiny, and what we considered 'oppression' of the Pakistani-US 'imperialist', was passé, and 'justified' also was our right to an armed resistance. We cared a fig as to implications of the word 'terrorist' in our objectives to set ourselves free from shackles of Pakistani colonialism.
The world then had two EARS- and a 'sympathetic ear' to those that had a dire need for one. The world then also had two EYES - and no need for eye patches - as diseased they might have been, there were no damaged retinas to contend with, nor jaundiced views to accept without question.
The world then also had 'grey matters' in the shell, between the two eyes and ears! The world was certainly a better place - because one could be free, when one wanted to be free, and on its own terms. Freedom per se could not be contained with generic abuse of the term 'terrorist' or 'terrorism'.
On hindsight the word 'terrorist' in Bengal's history evokes images of desperate and disparate men and women, who took that extra step to hammer the last nails into the British imperialist coffin prior to the 1947 independence of the subcontinent, after 200 years of subjugation.
Men like Titumir, Khudiram Bose, Surya Sen, who perished in their messianic last stands, lived on in our folklore, to be remembered with gratitude for their sacrifices in the years to come. The nail they drove in and caused the gangrene of the inevitable colonial defeat was - 'terrorism'.
The word 'terror' or 'terrorist' had a capacity to strike terror in the human psyche and was used succinctly to undermine and criminalize aspirations of those who chose to challenge the status quo of oppressors, and it mattered little what the mainstream thoughts on the issue was. The mainstream 'educated' thought process then as is now, was to remain willing captives to 'tycoons' of idiot boxes and print machines - and that is yet another 'terrorism' made an acceptable world icon, by non else but the Nazi Minister Goebell!
A deviant came along to smother the stigma off the term - the word we conjoined half appropriately was 'freedom fighter' and together the by now overused parallel: 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter'. How remarkably naïve!
The term 'freedom fighter' after all had a 'heroic' ring to it, as much as 'liberators' and can only be used if, and only IF, one achieves victory. History has never been fair to the vanquished. It is the term of the genteel appropriating respectable credibility and a grandiose patronization of your deeds (or is it misdeeds?), once the battle is over and 'terrorists' disarmed and 'rehabilitated' into civility, and had only reminiscences of their exploits to live with. A tongue in the cheek 'you had your say, bad man - now shut up' - while we inject some 'spirit' into our so-called liberation.
Spirit - as in ghosts?
'Freedom' can be said to have been achieved, when 'terror' of the construed 'state' was overthrown - and when justifiably 'thorns were removed with thorns' regardless of the size of the thorns. 'Terror' albeit was an irritating pinprick to the sole of a mindless elephant: a modern day 'poor mans F16'! Do not talk foolishly about 'violence begetting violence' - or 'new 'terror' replacing 'state terror' which brings us to shocking realities of present times.
We have taken on the fashionable Western analogy of talking about terror in terms most demeaning, without realizing that it was indeed the use of 'terror' that led to the bloody birth of Bangladesh, and ensured the removal of tyrants in 1971. As if in a fall back to dementia we have also forgotten that all our so-called democratic movements of recent years were fashioned and executed on 'terror tactics' learnt, practiced, perfected and executed in removing Bangladesh off the despot General H.M.Ershad in 1990.
We learnt to terrorize our mass by taking them hostage and keeping them captives at their homes with threats of 'democratic terrorism' - that ensures success of general strikes we call 'hartal'.
We have learnt to manufacture and use crude home made bombs to hurl at security forces on days we make 'clarion calls' for hartal. We have learnt to strip naked men and women who venture out for the sake of a mere existence in such strikes, and invite lensmen to capture the insults for circulation on front page of newspapers, to earn cheap political capital or is it profit?
As if that is not enough we have created veritable cottage industries of inaccurate yet deadly sawed-off 303 rifles and pipe-guns in each and every neighborhood, to be used at the right opportunity. Per capita, the number of illegal weapons and explosive available in Bangladesh is certainly higher than those available to 'terrorist' marauding US forces in Iraq today - and that is not a security concern at all?
We need not go for 'training' to some rustic Talibans or Al-Qaeda 'camp' in far off Afghanistan to put us into this 'terrorist' frame of mind for it is our so-called 'leaders' who routinely play catechism of a roulette game called 'democracy', that have made 'terrorist' out of every man, women and child in Bangladesh. Rest easy folks, the Talibans and Al-Qaeda 'may' use Bangladesh to 're-train' their skills to kill - and not vice versa.
We credit ourselves for not having a military coup in the last so many years - which is a fair assessment. It was far too easy then, for any aspiring leader wannabe in uniform or out of it to attempt such misadventures.
All one needed were committed (or brain washed) individuals prepared to capture the Radio and TV station, kill men who were foolish enough to offer resistance, lay siege to the ports and other key facilities, and you could be 'king' of the 56,126 square mile of geographical territory called Bangladesh. Piece of cake!
Removing that alluring pie somewhere down the line was thought of and the West offered our military 'outsourced' jobs that they could not or would not do, and we could not resist refusing. Peacekeeping operations in countries that are no less 'un-peaceful' than the prodigal motherland, and our men in uniform not only performed splendidly, they are among the finest peacekeepers on offer anywhere in the world.
Other than the fine reputation (to the extent that Sierra Leone enamored at their performance declared Bengalee an 'official' language) the UN mission ensured that our men in uniform stay off politics at home, and desist from practicing routine change of Governments all at tax payer's expense - which again was no business of theirs (the military) in the first place.
So tempting are these sojourns to exotic locales in Africa or where have you that our men find return to their native land a real bother. While the US forces in Iraq groan about their postings extended to no less that one full year - our men delighted in mercenary like glee when the UN announced that they will be asked to serve a full year in Liberia, after their one year posting in Sierra Leone ends. Bravo!
The West meantime discovered a feasible, less susceptible to 'international attention' alternative in men and women in the business of 'democratic terrorism' in Bangladesh.
Out of the post democratic 'terrorist' we created full time professional's whose job it was to ensure that political merchant succeeded when everything else failed. Our 'democratic movements' and takeover of state power in the last 13 years have been replete with examples that would shame military adventurist of our past.
If one wants to seize power in Bangladesh, all they need to do is call a series of 'hartal', keep every citizen hostage at home, and get some killed. The next day condemn and blame the deaths on 'terrorist'. There will come a time when the media Goebells will term this 'organized terrorism against the mass' - a 'mass movement' leading on to sham 'students revolt' - meaning the 'educated' urban, and vulnerable middle class will scream, 'oppression'. Last if not the least, if you can somehow get the bureaucrats to stop going to office - chances are strong of your 'seizing power democratically'. Piece of cake!
When terror and terrorist contribute to so-called democratic state craft in Bangladesh, when rights of individual citizens are compromised on a daily basis by terrorist who do not necessarily belong to any political party but are components of a large nation wide mercenary Mafia - hired guns ready for the kill - the success of 'democratic terrorism' also depends to a fair degree as to which way the CIA or the RAW station chiefs in Dhaka are looking at any given time.
Yes Mr.Bush, if anybody has been whispering into your ears about 'terrorist' in Bangladesh, they have not been lying. We are 'democratic terrorists' - come get us.
It might be a splendid idea to bring an addition to the cacophonic soundscape. Meanwhile an African who speaks Bengalee with a Swahili twang?
We haven't found one yet!