Leaders – (Trust+Responsibility)
by Zia Hassan
Do you know how does it feel if you know you don’t have a job but you have a two years daughter for whom you need to buy milk , but you will not have enough money to buy that? Have you ever felt how it feels to stand in a small shop in the evening and think if the sell is so low you got to terminate your staff as you can’t pay their salary any more?
Do you know how does it feel to be locked in a CNG three wheeler with your wife and kid when a passing procession starts hitting your vehicle with stones and makes attempt to arson your vehicle and you don’t have any way out as it is locked from the drivers end ?
Do you know how does it feel when your father calls you to say, he has invested all his savings on your MBA and you are now required to find a job but all the offers that you are getting are some marketing jobs where maximum salary is 10k, which is not enough to pay monthly food bill of your family.
Do you know how does it feel to realize that even though you are getting older than 35 but you can’t get married as your current job offers you 12k and there is no hope of significant increase in near or distant future.
Even if you have not felt this, you would observe in all the situations cited, one thing is common. That is every person, has to take responsibility. Responsibility of family, organization, community and oneself. Fear and shame fills your heart when you find yourself in a situation where you will fail to deliver what you are responsible for.
This responsibility defines a person. A persons life is measured by the scale of how successfully he manages to bear the responsibility that is entrusted on him.
Our existence as a mortal human being is all about taking responsibility.
By the same token, political leadership is about taking responsibility of the people, the country that one is entrusted to govern when he or she is in power or fight for their rights when he or she is in opposition.
The phone conversation (between two leaders) leaked to the media clearly demonstrates, our politicians are ignorant of this responsibility for the people. They are oblivious of the consequence of their decisions on peoples lives. That is the most dangerous conclusion that can be drawn from the conversation that is making rounds in the airwaves across the nation.
You must have heard about butterfly effect. Butterfly effect states that, even a wing movement of a butterfly in the forest of Sumatra have consequence in a tsunami in japan. This is one of the key part of the Chaos theory. If you take it other way round, you can see that the bigger the responsibility the bigger is the consequence of the decision.
Our two leaders seamed completely unaware that they are sitting in the most responsible position of the country and their decisions have grave is the impact of their decisions effect every single person of this country -all 16 crore of them. .
For them it is about personal vendetta, personal suffering, and past grievances – they are not remotely concerned about the impact of their decisions on peoples lives.
They say when Rome was burning Nero was playing flute. Can we really forgive our leaders who arson the country consciously and play tunes.
BNP and AL supporters might get offended but the actions of BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia, and AL leader Sheikh Hasina, must be scanned under microscope.
As a leader of opposition, Begum Khaleda Zia has to take every opportunity which would allow her to evade the 3 days strike that was called. That is part of the responsibility that we entrusted her as opposition leader.
Strike is a valid political tool in your country – no question about that. Silly Strikes were called before. And, the current situation, when Awami League is trying to manipulate peoples will, by cancelling caretaker government through phony logic, does call for action from opposition and strike is one of the valid tool in that action.
But, If a strike has been called for certain demand and if that demand has been met even at the last second -that strike must be withdrawn.
A strike is a strike is a strike- it brings sufferings to people. It is utterly deplorable that, BNP called strike in demand of dialogue and when dialogue was offered, they said “OK lets continue the strike and we will speak after the strike is over.”
If BNP had accepted the dialogue, then why this three days suffering is for?
Khaleda Zia even said, I can’t go to your house since there is a strike?
Madam, may you please tell us how our sons and daughters will go to school ? How a pregnant lady who has to go to labor will go to hospital ? How the farmer who has some perishable vegetable, his investment of a whole year rotting his store will take this to market ? For a strike for which demand has been met and also accepted.
Mam. If you are leader, you got to take responsibility of your actions.
She said, she do not have time speak with other leaders of the alliance. She may or may not have time but the key question remains same. How least amount of responsibility they feel for the nation and how remotely unconcerned they are for the people.
BNP supporters cannot see the absurdity of the arguments placed by Begum Khaleda Zia. They are happy to see that she had a go at Sheikh Hasina. They can’t see, she missed every opportunity to cancel a strike, which eventually resulted 16 lives.
They consider this as collateral damage. They can’t see, the most valuable thing in this world is a persons life. A person has a family, a father, a mother, a daughter or a son to whom his value can not be exchanged for a billion dollar or for all the GDP of the world.
For saving a single life, wars have been fought. But, in the most densely populated country of the world, life of a person is possibly the cheapest commodity for the leaders .
So, the more lives will be lost there will be more intensity in the movement to bring down Sheikh Hasina government. A movement needs dead body- allegedly said by a leader in previous movements. BNP is possibly thinking, they will tread down the well worn path to resistance movement and anarchy across the country which will force the government out from power.
For Bangladesh politics that is legitimate course of event. But, that option should only be resorted when all other options has been exhausted, when the dialogues have failed.
On the other hand, Sheikh Hasina’s government is one of the most repressive government in the history of Bangladesh. The number of people killed during protests in this year is more than any in recent memory.
The way they have tried to exploit political leverage by publishing the conversation of the top two leaders goes beyond any norm ad decency. For Awami league it is about gaining advantage. Through this action they have burnt all the bridges of trust of opposition, whom they have called for dialogue.
Awami League has proven they don’t have any desire for dialogue. They only need a dialogue to give legitimacy to the election that they will conduct by hook and crook without caretaker government – which is supported unequivocally by the majority of the population.
What AL does not realize is, the most precious commodity for a leader and a party is trust. By publishing the dialogue which is confidential and is a matter of a ongoing process AL has proven they cannot be trusted.
People have learnt that, this party can not be trusted. On top of this, a lot of people suspect, Sheikh Hasina was aware that this conversation would be published later and she was unusually polite in her conversation which uncharacteristic of her.
I want to give the benefit of doubt to her. But, by allowing to publish a conversation that she had with her counterpart to get political advantage in her mostly friendly television channel, leave little room for doubt for most people. This will hurt AL in the long run. People will know that, this party can not be trusted.
If AL had any sincerity in their motivation they could not in a million years publish this conversation. The conversation of top two leaders is a state secret. It is indecent, it is dishonest, it is devoid of any sense of shame to publish this without the consent of each other, when a negotiation is gong on the outcome of which impacts life of all the people of the country.
AL might think they have gained some leverage by exposing the rants of Khaleda Zia but if you observe the actions of people, you will see nothing has changed. Not an iota of public opinion has moved in anybodies favor.
People who are supporters of BNP are happy that, their leader has shown great leadership by thumping on the mouth of Sheikh Hasina and they harping that Sheikh Hasina could not articulate herself upon the onslaught of Khaleda Zia .
On the other hand, AL supporters are saying how much mature Sheikh Hasina sounded and what an ill tempered lady Khaleda Zia is.
Judging from these responses, you can figure out this country is so polarized that there no absolute truth any more, truth is about relativity. You also realize a big part of the population has lost objectivity by subscribing to dogma their leaders preached and they are unable to question their leadership anymore and are happy to stand by the bad motives of their leaders.
In the end, this dialogue has reinforced what people already knew that the fate of 16 crore people is at the mercy of two feuding ladies who have no awareness, consciousness and sensitivity to the sufferings of people and they have no concern about their responsibility to people and how their actions impact them and they can’t be trusted.
In their first opportunity to have conversation instead of talking to each other – they only talked about each other.