• Thursday, Aug 06, 2020
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OP-ED: The existentialist dilemma

  • Published at 06:25 pm July 15th, 2020
Corruption and GDP battle it out
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Personal gain at the cost of the multitudes is seen as the new normal

Had it not been for what he said, the unobtrusive man, standing at the foot of stairs to an inconspicuous building in an unremarkable alley would have passed unnoticed. He made no attempt to muffle his words in the true Bangla-style mode of speaking on a cell phone oblivious to what anyone was hearing. “… And if anyone tries anything funny tell them my mum is vice president of ‘so and so’ (the words deliberately left out) council of xx party.” 

The people nearby, the fruit-seller, the vegetable-vendor, the shop-keeper, were unmoved. For these were words familiar to them in their own way and that which many, if not most of us, are used to. It is the ultimate destiny for man with free will, disrespectful of morality and faith.

We have, therefore, reached the stage where analysis must investigate the causes whereby institutionalized systems have gone awry when viewed from a moral perspective. Personal gains and aggrandizement at the cost of the multitude are no longer viewed as aberrations. Rather, this has become a “new normal.” From the days when a monarch ruled his land by whatever means or systems he pleased, societies have evolved to rulers of countries that between themselves want to decide the order of the world. 

In the guise of isms that are chasms apart, its all done for the benefit of “the people” who are easily diverted with small pleasures of the world. These leaders are supposed to think of their electorates or those that are ruled in times of good and bad. Ensconced in their ivory towers and half hidden behind a motley of security and bureaucracy, they are horribly distanced from people. 

So much so that they no longer see the realities of societies. Sycophants and opportunists further dim whatever limited vision remains. Vested interests are diverting attention further to future exploits beyond borders for trading scenarios that may not be relevant. The people are left pondering their raison d’etre.

In absence of cognizance to or just rampant indifference towards science, philosophy, and economics, decisions or lack of them compound miseries. There will be no explanation why 10 physicians can be dedicated round the clock for a businessman in hospital whereas others won’t even see a doctor in three days. 

There has been no accountability or recompense for lives that were lost due to lack of coordinated action. No responsibility has been taken for systems and processes that are broken or just don’t work. Some isms allow for criticism and reflection but these are dwindling. Those without isms are exposed by the mechanisms of checks and balances that exist externally. 

Dire situations require far-sightedness, but that seems in short supply. Matters haven’t been helped by medical specialists who have contradicted themselves leaving the masses sleepwalking. Economists have yelled hoarse in talk of restarting economies with no one providing leads on where that recovery will come from and how it should happen. 

Lack of experience amongst legislators used to pandering to the interest of a few or self has meant throwing money into a pot that empties quicker than can be used. In one country alone, $1.5 billion was sent to people no longer living. 

There have been successful interventions by women-led governments during the current pandemic all through sensible decisions. The word “sensible” may be value-driven, but it defines effective action that is thought-through. These women are shining examples of administering free-will to the benefit of the wider majority. Thankfully, in certain parts of the world, that majority is corruption free.

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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