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.
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.
Who are the people? Is it Shahbag?
Photo: Google. Number of Shahbag attendees are estimated to average around 50-100,000 during the first couple of weeks, reaching upto 500,000 at times.
© 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
That’s Begum Khaleda Zia celebrating her allegedly 67th ‘birthday’. Who is that gentleman cutting the cake you ask? Don’t be fooled by the attire and facial hair. He may be a daari-wala, but he is no Jamaati. Continue Reading
… as is hackery.
Take Khaleda Zia’s Washington Times article for example. স্বাধীনতার স্বপক্ষের শক্তি sees Khaleda’s article as extremely dangerous to the nation’s ভাবমূর্তি . They want her tried for treason. Unfortunately for them, Judge Manik was not available.Continue Reading
There is a lot to like about Mahmudur Rahman. Student of BUET and DU’s IBA — Bangladesh’s two most prestigious higher education centres. A successful entreprenuer whose business was exporting manufactured goods. He left that venture, and took a huge paycut, to work for the government in technocratic capacities. Continue Reading
… 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.