Thursday, August 30, 2007

A lesson not learnt well!

A lesson not learnt well!
Shabbir Ahmed

Just one cursory look at the history of Bangladesh would prove that the people of this deltaic land are adept in organizing and raising protests against the conspiratorial regimes. They showed their adeptness on the streets against the dictators in the past. From 1947 to 1971, the dedicated students, intellectuals, and other conscious sections of Bengalis raised protests after protests and continued mass movements against the Pakistani military, conspirators, and their cohorts. The eventual result was the independence of Bangladesh by defeating the Pakistani military regime and their collaborators including the fundamentalists and the bureaucratic forces. In the independent Bangladesh , the civil-military bureaucracy emerged with their full strength under the leadership of the military dictator Gen. Ziaur Rahman. Since then, the people of Bangladesh could not able to get out of the palace intrigue of the civil-military bureaucrats and their collaborators.

The recent student protests and country-wide spontaneous demonstration is just a signal to the palace-intriguers, who snatched the victory of the people and somehow consolidated their power after January 11, 2007. The message from the crowd to the civil-military ruling class appears to be very clear. But, as before, they have not been able to comprehend the message given by the students and the free-spirit Bangalees who came out to the streets rather spontaneously. It is a historical fact that these people of Bangladesh can organize instantly and come out to the streets to undo the conspiracies of a small section of power-mongers, who try to rule by suppressing the freedom and civil liberties of the masses. This historical fact has been proven again on the streets of Bangladesh recently.

The power-mongers did not try to understand in the past that these free-spirit democracy-loving Bengalis did never bow down when their freedom of speech and civil liberties were suppressed. They can be silenced temporarily using brute force under curfew but they cannot be stopped permanently. Under the rule of the military dictator Ershad, curfews were enforced to suppress the movements many times but eventually curfews became ineffective in 1990. The protesting Bengalis defied the curfew and brought an end to the military dictatorship in Bangladesh in 1990.

The palace-intriguers never try to learn from the history. If they were learning from the history, then the present civil-military bureaucrats and their partners in power would not have taken steps to suppress the democratic process by prolonging emergency rule and by staying in power beyond the time-limits given in the constitution. It is likely that there will be a time when the present civil-military bureaucrats and the co-conspirators will not be able to undo the mistakes they are committing by not paying heed to the voices of the Bengalis on the streets. It is never too late to correct the mistakes by learning lessons. Unfortunately, the steps taken by the regime does not reflect any sign of lessons being learned by them. If they learned a lesson, then they would not have arrested respected university professors. In fact, they have only added fuel to the fire that will inflame in not so distant future. The beating of a student by an army man acted only as a spark to
the charged environment. It is a request to those in power for not to add more charge to the already charged atmosphere in Bangladesh.

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