Opinion: True story behind Shahbagh


I write this post for my friends in Bangladesh who are being pushed to fight their brothers and sisters over ideas of belonging, freedom and the meaning of justice. Never have I seen a greater manipulation of social media to ignite raw emotions to serve the purpose of rulers. The Awami League faces elections latest by January 24, 2014. The norm in Bangladesh is to give each kleptocratic party an opportunity to loot every other term. However, this time, Awami League wants to stay in power for twenty years at a stretch. What a smart way to crown itself Shah of Bangladesh with the support of the angry masses.

I started my career as an International Policy Analyst for the US Department of Commerce. I got paid to spot trends and make forecasts. When I heard about the protests in Bangladesh – I was open to the idea that it was a non-partisan protest, yet I questioned why the government would not hang one of the most devious war criminals when it hung so many already. Then I began to look at the various facebook posts by attendees, and read various articles on the issue. The protest was started by Imran H Sarker, a staunch Awami League activist:https://www.facebook.com/thelightofchange?ref=ts&fref=ts

The protest did not begin spontaneously, it was a calculated installation that grew spontaneously as it appealed to the raw emotions of patriotism, revenge and capital punishment.

Egypt comes to mind as a possible end result of what has started in Bangladesh. Egypt is on the verge of civil war because the Islamists and the Moderates cannot compromise on a way forward – giving priority to the love of land, mothers, children, families. Simply based on Jammat’s activities and views – a strong constitution that protects civil liberties would curb the party’s power. Yet, the Awami League has created the stage to prevent any non-partisan movement that would have come to the foreground to protest its kleptocracy by preempting a movement that serves its purpose to grab more power. This movement will only legitimize and strengthen their goal of ruling the country for the next 20 years. With oil in the country, Chevron’s shadow, Islamists who feel a bigoted sense of communal righteousness, and nationalists with narrow ideas of the past- a civil war in the country is a real possibility – further destabilizing India and Pakistan. The only hope is if new leadership can emerge and provide a strategy to reform Awami League or push back as a transparent, secular and responsible opposition. But how will new leadership emerge? By making peace and human development priorities:http://hdr.undp.org/en/humandev/

Source: PB facebook page