Female voters — the missing variable

garments (1)

Pundits are seeing revolution everywhere in Bangladesh these days.  First there was the Shahbag revolution, which was supposed to start the second liberation war.  Now there is the Hefazot revolution, which is turning Bangladesh into Afghanistan via Syria.  And then there has been all the speculation about disturbances in the force.  In between, pundits (and fellow bloggers) have seen black-and-white birds, various flags, and politics that keep on getting deeper.  For all that talk, I think the most likely path of political change in Bangladesh is still through an election participated by both main parties.  I am going to eschew various deep analysis of these revolutions, and focus on some simple political calculations.

Continue reading

Paltan to Shahbag

An election is approaching.  Government is set make the playing field as uneven as possible.  Opposition needs a major street victory to change the game.  Jamaat is flexing its muscle.  Secular-liberal-progressives are worried about what might happen if Awami League loses to the BNP-Jamaat alliance.  The establishment — local bureaucracy-army-civi society-corporates and the international murubbis — are worried about stability.  There is much violence in the street.  No, I am not talking about today’s Bangladesh.  Though this describes Bangladesh of March 2013 pretty well, I am actually talking about late October of 2006.

Continue reading

Shahbagh — the End


© Arif Hafiz

It might be hard to remember now, but Shahbagh awakening began as a protest against Awami League.  Think back to the distant days at the beginning of February.  After four years of de facto ban, Jamaat was all of a sudden allowed to hold ‘peaceful protests’.  Oh, they were peaceful alright.   Continue reading

I’ve seen the future…

… and it’s one where everyone believes in মুক্তিযুদ্ধ.  Recent teachers’ election in Shahjalal University points to the coming trend. 

শিক্ষকেরা তিনটি প্যানেলে বিভক্ত হয়ে নির্বাচনে অংশ নেন। আওয়ামী-বামপন্থী শিক্ষকেরা ‘মহান মুক্তিযুদ্ধের চেতনায় উদ্বুদ্ধ শিক্ষকদের প্যানেল’ ও ‘মহান মুক্তিযুদ্ধের চেতনা ও মুক্তচিন্তা চর্চায় ঐক্যবদ্ধ শিক্ষকবৃন্দের প্যানেল’ এ দুই ভাগে এবং বিএনপি-জামায়াতপন্থী শিক্ষকেরা ‘মহান মুক্তিযুদ্ধ, বাংলাদেশি জাতীয়তাবাদ ও ধর্মীয় মূল্যবোধে বিশ্বাসী উদারনৈতিক শিক্ষকদের প্যানেল’ থেকে নির্বাচনে অংশগ্রহণ করেন।

More detail, here



The Ershad factor

Pak-Bangla subcontinent has five generals who went on to become politicians with their own parties.  Of these, the two named Zia were killed while in office.  The other three — Ayub Khan, HM Ershad, and Pervez Musharraf — were forced to resign after popular uprising.  Ayub died an old man, and no one cared.  Musharraf lives in exile.  In fact, all the other generals who tried to save our countries — Iskander Mirza, Yahya Khan, Moeen U Ahmed — died as forgotten men, or were exiled, or both.

What about Ershad?

Ershad is different.  He wasn’t left alone or exiled.  Instead, he was tried and convicted for in open, civilian courts.
Continue reading