Wednesday, February 11, 2004

An 'Alternative' take on the Morol-ization of Bangladesh

Political games in Bangladesh have become so blatantly predictable that they have reached a point of delusional saturation, as it appears that we have altogether given up on creative solutions to the problems that bedevil us. The forcible entrapment of the national mind and psyche to lascivious images of those we willingly or unwillingly call 'powerful' and have decided are the best minds on offer, are minds that have unfortunately NOT gravitated beyond time warps of the 1960's. Consequentially by co-opting to their parochial thoughts, actions, deeds and public machinations, we have prophetically doomed Bangladesh to fit the ancient adage:

"Every country deserves the leaders they have".

For one, mainstream political parties have nothing better to offer a hapless public than a lunge at each other driven, 'get them all one at a time', 'kill, kill' pitch in the vying game called 'power'. In effect this wanton trepidation reduces states craft to a connoisseur consumer product where the 'get rich soon', 'get to power' formula revolves around how every 'patriotic' Bangladeshi political scamster can quickly forget promises made only yesterday.

Mass amnesia for the masses is what we have permitted to evolve as a resultant by-product, as much as a flourishing new entrepreneurship called lobbyism and 'cash in for the future' subscription mania, of hysterical proportions. Supposedly a few billion Takas can buy just about anyone the opportunity to loiter the hallowed precincts of power 'democratically', and create the necessary facade for the rise of demigods! Louis Kahn's masterpiece in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka is destined to become a bingo hall, if it is not one already.

The deepening chasm in the 'democratic' makeup with foul mouthed politicos on both ends of the spectrum has reached such a dreadful point of stagnation that LIFE for common citizens caught in endless fissures since the advent of this so called 'workable democracy' circa 1991, is one of repetitive dejavu nightmares that seeks to illustrate, enforce and confirm the 'Morol', or village headman mindset and its fashionable urban imitations rule the roost of those in and out of power - on cantankerous four year rotations at public expense.

Bangladesh citizens clearly have no choice, for its 'leaders' have religiously betrayed them and 'we' have failed to find anybody other then these well-known conmen and conwomen to repose our trust upon. All our worshipped heroes (and heroines) have been reduced to zeroes faster than the time it takes to utter the word naught. Psychopathic conjurers, they offer tokenistic hopes for those that are hopeful, yet whatever hopes there may have been around outside of the well laid trap to bulldoze the nation out of its sorry state of inertia, are hopes deliberately mesmerized and hypnotized off the national psyche with more than a few gullible twists.

Talk about problems, and we can well churn out encyclopedias full of our cumulative woes and contempt - but talk about solutions, and we expect 'others' to bail us out. So well ingrained is our dependency mentality, that we expect the Government to be 'responsible' for most things in our lives, even to sweep clean the garbage in our own backyards?

Take it or leave it our 'democratic leaders' are NOT leaders by natural choice, but necessarily by default, in that we the citizens have propelled them ourselves at taxpayers expense to 'lead' us to our pitiable destiny, based on the right honorable 'national ghost' each of these elements were/are either related by paternity, maternity, marriage or accident. These filial connections apparently exudes on them the authority to extend their personal grudges to the public domain disguised as 'national grudges', and provides the infinite propriety to consider Bangladesh a fiefdom, its citizen hostage and serfs, doomed to a sense of GUILT, simply because of masters prevailing (personal) insecurity, and limitations or sense of right or wrong, of 'injustice'?

We are Bangladeshi citizens, and very proud of it, but we carry a huge burden of shame, not one we have heaped on ourselves by choice, but by another 'default' - our blessed birth in this 56,126 square mile geographical entity, a CURSE like no other in the world.

It has been decades and we have systematically encouraged every emerging generation to inculcate not the virtues of tolerance but of hatred (including "Ghrina Dibosh" or National Hate Days!) only because the bloodletting of ghosts has not been adjudged or disposed off by a Court of Law to the complete satisfaction of those inherently and personally 'concerned'.

"Justice hurried is justice buried, justice delayed is justice denied" - but what about justice awaiting delayed execution/s? We common citizens surely have no answer: less of course if anybody has the time and patience to willingly endure the painful ire of contempt of Court or at the cost of embarrassments to our omnipotent "Me Lords".

Even while hundreds upon thousand of prosecuting man hours have been lost in 'righting the wrong', fate has conspired to sentence every man, woman and child in Bangladesh, GUILTY of murder, simply because some Morol somewhere says so and believes so with dogged earnestness. Therefore no 'justice' is welcome or forthcoming on anybody's fate - till the 'original sin' has been washed clean. The Kennedy family in the US should have taken a crash course in Morol-ization from Bangladesh, that way several generations later, the world would have been spared of this son of a Bush!

The problem is, we have decided to encourage that we wash the original sin/s with more blood, the irony however, those that suffer from this sense of 'injustice' expect others to shed their blood - not their own to right the wrong? There has not been one violent death to this highly protected "injustice-ed" species in that many years of our national history (there have of course been dubiously orchestrated close calls) even while the Kennedy's die to this day, in brothers and their mistresses and their sons and their wives?

The ultimate tragedy is we have hundreds of misguided young men and women filling in as foot soldiers, and just about ready to plunge to their death with unhesitant aplomb at the nod of 'venerated leader' and while psychologically they fit the profile of suicide bombers, their deaths are considered 'necessary' by politicos and 'celebrated' with gusto in general strikes for a day or more, and millions of wasted sentences in newspapers reports, articles, op-ed's and editorials, not to forget the passionately gruesome early morning display in newspapers and tabloids the colorful blood splattered images of decapitated corpses, or shall we talk about the vulgar display of open mouthed wailings of mourning relatives, wives and children - followed by deafening silence…..and then more deaths with the predictably programmed loop once more, until the next death, general strike and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on…………... we've given up.

The unending number game in Morol-ization is of much importance here. The higher the number of deaths, the higher the skeletons in unmarked graves, cemeteries, or ashes in crematoriums, the higher the 'justification' for the next 'movement for the BIG push, to dislodge' by which we mean, get ready for more deaths and destruction and more steps backwards - never forward. And the result - a by now discernable apathy of the citizenry, which has become inconsequentially immune to blood gore charades in their struggle to make ends meet. Our love for body politics has metamorphosed as a direct result of our politician's perverse fascination to keep the nation deliberately backward, poor and vulnerable - period.

Going by newspaper accounts of events is the most hazardous thing one can do to bank an opinion or live with sanity intact in Bangladesh. The 'Fourth Estate' as the 'once Marxist if you are no fool' press likes to call itself with a congratulatory slap on its own back, has more often than not been a guilty party in the existent rut. Being mere extensions of the existing status quo made unnecessarily powerful, thanks to its patronization of Morol's, it is not at all surprising that of late it (the press) has decided to 'close rank' and solidly back a sacked ex-First Man of the State-*****-tired Physician - all the while wallowing out unselfishly an unexplainable new term 'alternative'!

Truly 'alternative' is only the second in the first of new terms as the original 'Third Force' oddly backfired as it reduced the pathetic old King and Prince Wannabe to 'democratic' insurrectionists', or least of all the term had some kind of debilitating and diabolic chill down the spine effect in perceptions of not only the thinking citizenry, but indeed all and sundry.

The 'power brokers' meanwhile salivating on the fringes with billions of Takas allegedly in hand to seize just the opportune moment were nonplussed seeing their investment imminently poised to go down the smelly drain on the question of a silly term that could not be stamped APPROVE, even by publicly inducting invisible members of the secretive Society of Civil Conspirators in Bangladesh!

So "Alternative" it is and Alternative it is going to be - but what the hell is this Alternative anyway?

Answer: Somebody quietly pointed out that despite the reams of megalomaniac offerings in the Bangladesh print media, a dent to the nations destiny was not made anywhere. Sob!

Reason: In a country of 120 million people less than 1 million newspapers are sold - not read. More than 80% of bored newspaper 'buyers' spend more time ogling semi clad local film heroines or unclad cut and paste offerings of Mumbai's Bolly-something's, which we have made a 'national duty' to pirate, cannibalize, reprint and replicate. Among the balance 20%, less than 1% have any interest on Third Class Forces or regal stories of King and Prince Wannabe's and/or their incumbent durbars of sycophants…. therefore!

Alternative 1: A website to capture 'international' attention to the cause of seizing power by democratic ruse in Bangladesh - but nothing there. The website is still "Under Construction" with harried and hassled Netizens reportedly sharpening their sheaths in wait.

Alternative 2: Well, a VCD to be sold at Taka 100 apiece to explain all aspects of 'alternative', meaning all paper clippings, all speeches, all five star Iftar party's, all videos including the horribly off-key music video by Prince Wannabe! No takers there - or more likely this is the nation's best-kept 'alternative' secret!

Alternative 3: His Excellency King Wannabe's LIVE Netspeak in - wow, atleast we are getting somewhere! Nothing there, and it was again the print media that churned verbatim whatever sense or nonsense was spoken. This was no debate - this was a Q&A: End of the story.

Last, but not the least of Alternatives - "haven't you thought of Television dudes?"

"Ah yes! People can sit back and decide, hear and act upon what we have to say in the convenience of their homes and THEN throw out the Government and the Opposition all the way to Bay of Bengal, but hang on a second: will the "stupid" Government allow it?"

The story line remains hung to this day - but we promise to report back even if CNN does not?

In the meantime Prince Wannabe decides to "teach" democracy to everybody in Bangladesh by creating a bombastic sounding institution, but again nothing new or 'alternative' about it. Commendable new 'alternative' attempt nonetheless after his recent efforts to mobilize a nation wide 70,000 strong Zia-ist jihadist force failed, sends signals that 'alternative' irritations to such callously infantile and insane time wasting is also reaching feverish peak and timeout to exercise caution is the order of the day.

Will the print media in Bangladesh declare a 'general strike' for 30 days and stop printing news and OPINIONS solicited or otherwise of any party, person or other 'political' animals. Exception or exemption to "general strike": Their unlikely deaths by causes, natural or otherwise…Amen!

How's that for an 'alternative' idea folks?

First Published 10th February 2004