Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letter to the President

Mr. President (and staff):

Bangla Nation just learned from the Bangladeshi newspaper, The Daily Star, that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League has been invited to New York for a meeting with other heads of government from UN troop contributing nations.

Bangla Nation thoroughly applauds and supports this invitation. Resolving ongoing and future conflicts will require a great deal of cooperation between those financing peacekeeping missions and those who contribute the manpower. Moreover, Bangla Nation believes this forum will be a wonderful chance to figure out the capability shortfalls that Bangladesh suffers in terms of equipment and training for these missions.

This meeting will also provide an opportunity to establish a more positive relationship with Bangladesh, a country of 160 million Sunni Muslims that, while enjoying substantial human development over the past few decades, still lags behind in positive governance and economic/occupational development. With an ongoing militant and political Islamist threat, the United States' attention on Bangladesh would be well received.

With humble regards,

Bangla Nation

Friday, September 4, 2009

F*CK the BBC

Evidently the latest form of Western imperialism takes the form of ridiculous news articles on some less developed countries (LDCs). The recent articles represent the height of irresponsibility, ethno-centrism, and tabloid journalism.

Bangla Nation must ask is the BBC nothing more than an American tabloid? In its drive to gain readers it must report the most ridiculous and outlandish topics from various countries?

Here are three articles, Bangla Nation will not give the links because it will NOT be responsible for promoting traffic to this sad degenerate of a former news powerhouse.

"Red faces as Bangladesh papers fall for US moon landing 'hoax'", BBC, 4 Sep 2009
"Dressing Down - Bangladesh suit ban to save power", BBC, 2 Sep 2009
"Bangladesh police an arresting sight after beautician's tips", BBC, 25 Aug 2009

To be fair, the BBC also ran 2 article on the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny case and 1 article on the awarding of hydrocarbon exploration rights to US and Irish firms.

"Bangladesh guards in fair trial plea", BBC, 27 Aug 2009
"Elusive truth", BBC, 27 Aug 2009
"Oil firms win Bangladesh rights", BBC, 25 Aug 2009

Bangla Nation finds it hard to believe that the BBC can find no other newsworthy items in the whole of Bangladesh. However, if Bangla Nation's allegation is correct, it is not that hard to believe that the correspondent never leaves Dhaka.

Bangla Nation believes that the heart of politics and economics may be the primate city, but the very soul of Bangladesh is in the hinterlands. That is where the "news" is.

Short-term expediency maims in the long-term

Bangla Nation believes this is some sort of rule for Bangladesh. Political expediency driving a decision which eventually returns to maim the democratization process, or worse inflict violence on the Bangladeshi populace. As far as Bangla Nation is concerned the worst form of political expediency has been the co-opting of political Islamists, in particular Jamaat-e-Islami, by the political parties. More importantly, it is the usage of Islamic idioms, symbols, and phrases in official government discourse (obviously Bangladesh is far from the only political system guilty of this). Bangla Nation believes that the Awami League should return its roots, secularism (though without the authoritarianism). A move towards this ideal would involve the cessation of colluding with Islamist political parties and devolving local administration to the upazila parishads.

Curiously, the Awami League government decided to promote awareness of the H1N1/Swine Flu (of which Bangladesh has over 250 cases) by engaging local imams in raising awareness (Daily Star). While, this may be a good idea in the short-term, the Awami League government must not devolve local administrative tasks to religious leaders - this only promotes their accumulation POLITICAL and RELIGIOUS power.

Rather the Awami League government should remain true to its electoral pledge of devolving some power to the local administrations. This has not happened despite a upazila (sub-district) election over six months ago, the local administrations are still beholden to the districts (Daily Star).

Bangla Nation believes that the Awami League should honor the pre-Independence vision of its founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by not accommodating the Islamists. By the same time, the Awami League should honor its current pledge to strengthen local governance. Bangla Nation believes that by doing so information on the H1N1/Swine Flu will reach the populace's ears through government representatives, not religious leaders.

At present, the Awami League is doing little more than surrendering local governance.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Are the PM's words empty?

Not three days have passed since Bangla Nation implored Bangladeshi voters and the international community to hold Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to her alleged commitment to "building up a non-communal, democratic Bangladesh where people of all faiths will live in peace and plenty" (see...). Prime Minister Hasina needs to show her support for Bangladesh's minorities, not just because they voted for her party, by ordering an investigation into the circumstances and situations of the minorities in Bangladesh. Moreover, security personnel should be in place to protect the Hindu community. Most importantly, the police need to bring the criminals and hate activists, especially their leaders and political patrons (if they are acting under Opposition orders), to book and make a stern example of them.

Three days ago, just before PM Hasina's speech, a gang (from a neighboring village) beat up two youths of Dighalkandi Sahapara village (Puthia). In response, 10 Hindu families filed a general diary with the local police. Later that night, 30 suspected BNP-Jamaat "cadres" attacked three of the families, injuring 12. During the assault, the attackers hurled abuses at the families for supporting the Awami League during the December elections. The Awami League President of Baneswar union indicated that "criminals" had been after the land of the Hindu families in the village for a long time (Daily Star).

Disturbing and inexcusable are the only words to describe the situation that the Hindu community continues to find itself in. Bangla Nation believes that if Prime Minister Hasina intends on being more than an empty politician expelling hot air, addressing the grievances of Puthia's Hindu community would be a good place to take action.