Bangladesh, you’re screwing up!

August 30, 2007 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

Until very recently, I have been among the biggest supporters of Bangladesh’s Caretaker Government. But some actions taken over the last several days has saddened me and has forced me to begin reevaluating my support. I am specifically referring to the detentions of several university professors under suspicion of encouraging the protestors (and vandals) who have been attempting to (and in some cases succeeding in) causing havoc in the major cities.

While I understand the need for bans on political gatherings and some of the other controversial rulings which I hope will allow the country to be freed from the iron grip of the two Dragon-Ladies and their demonic sycophants; I feel that these detentions have not only crossed the line of authoritarianism but have put the President (Professor Dr Iajuddin Ahmed) and his government onto a path leading to tyranny.

A few years ago, I was talking with a Bengali friend, “Mannan”, in Kuwait about his countries situation at that time. The BNP’s Khaleda “The Wicked Witch of the West” Zia was still firmly entrenched in power, her son Tarique was joyfully indulging in his various larcenies and embezzlements, and the 300+ simultaneous bomb blasts were months away. The only possible respite from her devilish rule was the equally contemptible (if more secular) Sheikh “The Wicked Witch of the East” Hasina. The Bangladeshi people were in a sore state, and (having already visited Dhaka several times) I saw no sustainable concrete hope coming for the foreseeable future.

I asked Mannan what Bangladesh would need to put it on a path to escape the poverty that pervaded the vast majority of its people and the corruption that consumed his government. I was startled (and a little flustered) by his answer. “The only hope for my country”, he answered, “is a strong dictator who can keep the elites and extremists in line.” I could not believe my ears. I had known Mannan for some time and knew him to be an intelligent person who was not likely to give such a contentious answer unless he had given it a lot of thought. Of course, I immediately told him that I was diametrically at odds with his opinion. But he insisted that although democracy was the only long term choice for Bangladesh, a strongman was needed, for the short term, to end the endemic institutionalized corruption and build an infrastructure that will allow industrial and economic growth.

I left that meeting feeling uncomfortable by my friends words, but I considered them for a long time. After several more visits to Bangladesh and discussions with other people who knew the countries situation, I began to agree with Mannan’s ideas. However I must admit that it still made my stomach churn; I have never been a supporter of an absolute overlord in any form. But as a short term leeway to a long term answer, it seems the clearest (if not the most palatable) answer.

But all of this being said, I cannot support unwarranted midnight abductions guised in the best interests of the country. Although a dictator may be necessary, tyranny cannot be his vessel.



Entry filed under: Bangladesh, Politics & Politicians. Tags: , , , , .

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