Leaders – (Trust+Responsibility) = Sheikh Hasina+Khaleda Zia

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.

6 thoughts on “Leaders – (Trust+Responsibility) = Sheikh Hasina+Khaleda Zia

  1. History has proven that these two leaders only care about their wellbeing and that of their alliances (family, donor businesspeople, etc.). What do the citizens gain in these arsons targeting vehicles and passengers in them, deliberately harming people who are not part of the strikes, gun-battles across campuses for domination by rival student wings, and abysmal corruption in the public procurement sector? It is about time for a third party to emerge. Some of us were desperately hoping for Mohammad Yunus to launch one during the military-installed caretaker government of 2007 – 2009. We missed that chance. Although many would comment that his party would be another one launched from cantonment, following instructions from the uniformed brass, how are we any better right now as a nation? Time and again, we have given these two parties our votes and hopes of a better future, only to be stabbed again and again. It’s about time to think outside the box.

  2. Well said.
    I do wonder if anyone will, at some point seriously suggest that this phone conversation counts as indisputable evidence that Zia refused to bring the hartal to an end when Hasina fulfilled Zia’s demand to initiate discussion. Therefore, Zia can be shown to have allowed the deaths of many people since that time which could have been avoided had she cancelled the hartal. Surely grounds for manslaughter or even murder charges? Just a thought…

    • Any suggestion that Khaleda refused Hasina’s call for discussion is exactly the reaction that Hasina planned. But careful study of last 5 years will show Khaleda has been constantly refused ANY discussion throughout the 5-year term, while Hasina pulls the “dead phone” trick to “withdraw hartal” at the last minute. A nationwide hartal schedule cannot be stopped with a casual hand signal overnight – much logistics goes into scheduling or cancelling them.

      Hasina also has a history of dangling the carrot to stop a political action, then applying the stick at the other end to refuse the carrot, This “withdraw hartal” move had the potential of exactly such an outcome. Even if Khaleda had stopped the hartal (a major Opposition protest against Hasina’s failures), the result would NOT necessarily end up with any discussion.

      The loss of lives is unfortunate, but the govt is as much to blame for such losses as Opposition.

      • I agree with you up until the last point. No I think the onus always lies with the person directly responsible for the action – in this case Khaleda. Undoubtedly, Hasina has been ‘chalak’ in all that she does and is probably guilty of deaths in the past when she has been the one issuing hartals. But here, right now, last week’s hartal, Khaleda’s refusal to stop the hartal (and I read the transcript so I know just what was said) means she gave the implicit go-ahead for action everyone knew would lead to deaths. No one suggest Hasina is without blame but Khaleda could have ended the action swiftly without a doubt. Loss of lives is never unfortunate. Loss of lives is always, always wrong and illegal.

      • If you “agreed so far” (that hartal cannot be stopped with a casual hand signal at the last minute) then what was it that suddenly made you blame Khaleda “directly responsible” for the loss of lives ? It somehow reflects the Bangla adage “Joto dosh Nondo Ghosh” (all blame is on Khaleda Zia no matter what).

        Firstly, some of the losses were due to direct Police & RAB attacks, which Hasina could also have ordered NOT to allow. Secondly, had Hasina made an early and preventive effort even one week before, to meet with Khaleda – the hartal AND the losses would be avoided. So, I don’t see how the govt can be excused from the responsibility either.

  3. Ken. some people would argue that similar charges should be drawn against Sheikha Hasina as she did not accept the proposal that could have cancelled the Hartal. In absense of a functional court system, the judge will give the verdict based on his personal alliance or the party who has helped him to get appointed.

    We live in a time of relative truth.

    But, honestly the lives of 16 person is least of anybodies concern. That is “collateral damage”. Some people might even argue that is a Malthasian way of controlling population.

    People all caught in a quagmire who have nothing to do but chew stick lozenge

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