Friday, January 20, 2012

Our 'National wishlist' and the noose around our neck

Mac Haque

“He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies” Tertulian 

The arrest of Golam Azam on 11th of January and his imminent trial for War Crimes of 1971 is an indicator of the peoples will in action - NOT that of our self serving political parties or politicians. If memory hasn't failed us, we all know that over the years both Awami League and BNP and their lackeys have covertly and overtly collaborated with Jamaat at every opportunity to derail our nation, for reasons of political expediency or sheer petty interest. 01/11/2012 will therefore live on as a day when the justice delivery system got activated, but the real verdict is still a along way away.  This is hardly the time to rejoice or even think that victory is already in hand. The hard job has only just begun.

To begin, I hope and pray Golam Azam's trial does not get bogged down over technical judicial trivialities as witnessed with those that have already been arrested for War Crimes. Enough time has been wasted by the War Crimes Tribunal with different Ministers and different Government officials reading from different pages of law books, at different periods of time. That being the case, the public therefore has a duty, and needs to fine tune its eyes and ears to the depositions of Golam Azam in Court.

Let us not forget that in forty years this ninety year old demon in disguise has never been heard in public.  He has convincing capacities and the intellect to kick up a storm with our blatantly corporatized Media, game to anything and everything that sway public opinion and sells - even if it’s momentarily. Let us not, ever underestimate the enemy. That would be suicidal. Rather, let our times be well spent and not get ensnared in running to and fro historical books or records.

Way too many differing and dithering versions on 1971 have come and gone and keep coming only to humiliate us as a nation. The latest version is that of Sarmila Bose and it comes as a shock as she happens to be none other than a granddaughter of Netaiji Subhas Chandra Bose - apparently? And all that our aggrandizing and patronizing friends in Poshim Bangla who we have unnecessarily looked up for 'cultural inspiration' since 1971 have done so far – is to smirk!

We as a nation should be prepared to learn more about Court proceedings and get ready with rebuttals and documents to assist the Prosecution. Jamaat has been professionally and academically preparing for this day for forty years. And all that we have done in the period was dig our own graves with self defeating rhetoric's and Mukti Juddher Chetona talks which have further divided society as much as it has polity. The spectacle is horrifying. Unlike 1971, in 2012 there are far too many players in the domain. JeI owns or controls as many as half a dozen newspapers and at least four private TV stations in Bangladesh and several more who are soft on them. Jamaat we should all know is much more powerful in 2012 then it was in 1971.

The counter offensives will be deadly and repetitive. Jamaat’s 'International Connections' are solidly financed and backed by interest with all shades of opinions - least of which have any real love or mercy for the people of Bangladesh. No folks on this one....we have no friends……we have got to go it alone. This may be a comforting thought, but although we are alone, let us bear in mind that we have got us, and this proud nation has had a chequered tradition of thinking outside the box, and excelling in fights whenever the chips were down. 01/11/2007 period of infamy, and how we fought back, should give a pointed yet recent reminder. The role of this publication and specially that of the Editor who paid a huge personal price during fighting the powerful military, with weapons as such as exercise of free speech, opinion and courage were decisive factors. And all of that happened peacefully.

A few caveats though ...let us make sure that the trials of the War Criminals do not degenerate into an implied 'Trial against Islam'. That is an angle the Wahabi, Shariati Islam pasand bigots in Bangladesh will be playing up to. It is only natural for them as over the years and thanks to our ignorance, Jamaat has catapulted itself to become the 'sole-agents for Islam' - no different from their Saudi Arabian masters who have laid claims as 'custodians of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah' .

Therefore in as much as we need to know the workings of the Criminal Justice system we also have to arm and enrich ourselves in the egalitarian principals of Islam and the plurality of the Quran.  And please do not be swayed by so-called 'International opinion' about the War Crimes Trial. They would as much try to protect a killer like Golam Azam as they would the ‘blood-sucker of the poor’ - Dr.Yunus. When push comes to shove - history reminds us that politics and politicians make strange bedfellows. Add to that the millennium components - our uncivilized 'civil society' - none should be trusted - and all must be jettisoned from our collective National psyche if we are to achieve salvation.

Simply put, our hands have been tied firmly behind our backs and so have our legs. We have been thrown into a swirling sea and we have to do our own swimming. There are no short-cuts to success here, but swim we will because more than a calling of history - 1971 is a calling of our conscience. Conscience is after all the highest court known to humanity.
 Sure enough - as we screamed for justice - we also demanded that the War Criminals be punished no less, that they be hanged by the neck until DEATH. That has always been our 'National wish list' if we may. Nothing should dissuade us, least that a Court in Dhaka on the 9th of January 2012 gave a jailing verdict to a distraught Bangladeshi academic in Australia who 'wished' likewise for our Prime Minister after our dear friend Tareq Masud died in a car crash on 13th August 2011. Tareq’s death like 1971 was no ‘accident’, for as long as the perpetrators are alive, as long as incompetent Government officials do not own up to their failures, it is only proper and justified to demand justice.

Signing off -  do not forget that if we fail to hang Golam Azam and the War Criminals this prepared for the noose to come down on our precious neck's sooner than later!

New Age Xtra, Friday 20th January, 2012