Friday, January 28, 2011

Shock & Awe Talk : Of Rebels, War Criminals and rephrased Chetona speak

  • The week gone by was all about the Municipal elections and I really don’t care whether BNP outflanked Awami League or vice versa. What is heartening is most of the candidates were described in media reports as ‘rebels’ and reading cursorily between the lines, it seems the coinage had all to do with young Councilors and Mayors refusing to toe their respective ‘party lines’. Plainly stated the ‘rebels’ chose to respect overpowering ground realties; the people in general are fast losing their ‘appetite’ for the two mainstream parties.
  • Not surprisingly, many of the ‘rebels’ were expelled but what it possibly indicates for the future is that a new brand of young and alternative leadership appears to be emerging. By looks of things, this is a power base that clearly will not accept diktats of their fossilized hierarchy. Could this be the catalysis for a major change in Bangladesh politics? Unless we are being deluded again, there is subtle hope in the horizon……and like the saying goes….’if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’……my two noya shikiz to that …join ‘em and beat ‘em hollow……
  • Greed and political ambitions notwithstanding (it doesn’t make sense for any party to field four candidates for the same post) but what I am elated about is the outcome. Admittedly, there was violence but what about the peaceful images of conciliation and tolerance? Sadly very few newspapers ran photographs of the five smiling candidates, locked arm-in-arm parading the streets of Rangamati on way to the polling office to accept the verdict of the people. I ended this column on 14th January 2011, with a hope and prayer that the post-liberation generation be propelled to power. Municipal Polls 2011 – indicates that my prayers may have been answered………Amen……
  • Now, whenever this ‘old leadership’ talks about new or emerging young leaders, the onus is really to foster the possible entry of their ‘blood relatives’, or rub-in raw the culture of ‘leadership by default’. This has resulted in the mentality that unless we take cognizance of a persons blood line to either dead or living Presidents, Prime Ministers or Generals i.e. anybody other than the offspring’s of ‘dynasties’ by implication are unfit to rule. But how long will our wretched nation tolerate these unending ‘die-nastic’ quick-fixes?
  • The offspring’s in turn are glorified by party cohorts and a subservient media as ‘Prince and Princess Wannabes’ and for all we know, the ‘best’ among them may have a ‘degree’ from a US University with smattering of snobbish ‘digital knowledge’ which again, could be no more efficiency foretold than savvy access by Blackberry, Iphone devices to Facebook or Twitter! Anybody for a Facebook Status Update or Tweet? Try – “Hey Prince – tell thy mothers – we subjects are unhappy”…….
  • What then is the ‘qualification’ needed to rule a nation of 120 million people? Have we looked at the possibility that even a ‘lowly’ peasant’s son can aspire to and become a future leader of this country? ‘Times they are a changing’ and its time we optimize on the options we have, or else the changes that are inevitable will find us wont to a situation we are not prepared for – not even in our worst nightmares.
  • Shock and Surprises about the War Crime Trials: there seems to be not one political party in Bangladesh that is opposed to the same, and that includes the Jamaat-e-Islami – the nemesis of 1971! The Awami League having raised the issue in its election manifesto, and as popular opinion would infer, was the one singular factor that swept the party to ‘absolute’ power……that of course is recent history.
  • However the posters and graffiti’s all across Bangladesh have the same loud and robust message – HANG THE WAR CRIMINALS, It seems nothing short of putting the villains to death would please us, a ‘fair demand’ on surface. The realities of the Yo-Yo that indeed is our politics – leaves me to wonder - does the ruling party realise, that if they are unable to ‘hang them’ in this tenure, that they should mentally prepare to ‘hang’ if they fail? My gut feeling is this threat is not so much from the War Criminals – but from the people, specially the young and impressionable who voted them to power in the first place.
  • The US War Crimes Ambassador Stephen Rapp’s recent visit Dhaka in perspective and his suggestion ‘that key provisions in the statutes that set up UN-approved international tribunals should be introduced into the rules of procedure that govern the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh’. The Government reaction being unknown – his ‘generous’ handover of ‘hundreds of declassified papers’ on 1971 to the Prosecution raises the question: how many thousand similar ‘papers’ has he passed on to the Defence on the sly? I wonder if he is somehow preempting a possible Wikileak on events of 1971…..only time will say.
  • As an active collaborator of the Pakistani murder machine of 1971, the US has absolutely no moral right to offer any ‘suggestions’ on how the War Crimes Trials are conducted, and the Government of Bangladesh should instead stay on course and conclude the task it has undertaken – a promise made to its the citizens.
  • Knowing all too well that in our political culture, promises are made never to be kept – what would then transpire? Surely subtle pressures from the US about the War Crime Trials are mounting and since beggars cannot be choosers will we as a nation sit back and co-opt to this shenanigan? Hello……does anybody have an answer………………
  • Its no secret that the US was and still is ‘comfortable’ with the Jamaat-e- Islami – and that’s not for any love of Muslims or Islam, but to afford its Military Industrial Complex the opportunity to bomb us back to Stone Age – like it did in Afghanistan.
  • What happens if the War Crime Trials are scuttled and how would the Muktijudddher Chetona traders foaming at the mouth interpret it? Sample rants – ‘we the brave nation decided to forgive and forget and adopted the South African Truth and Reconciliation model’ will fill the air waves……………hah…..Shocked……I am not…….
  • Epilogue for a Soap sponsored serial ‘natok’: ‘Back in 1974 if the Father of the Nation could forgive Pakistan – why can’t we?’………end of the sorry story……………National Anthem…… switch off your TV folks…….and while you dream, try explaining the above to souls of the Martyrs of 1971.
  • A nightmare? Do give it a think…...

New Age Xtra, Print Edition

Friday, 28th January 2011

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