Monday, June 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

A nation of selective conscience

Update : 14 Nov 2013, 06:03 PM

Many of the problems that Bangladesh is facing can be attributed to its population and its leaders. The greater public, now increasingly divided over dogma as per their party lines, are equally guilty of selective application of their conscience.

It is apparent from the response of people on the death of the young boy Monir, who was brutally murdered when patrol bomb was hurled in his truck by BNP/Jamaat loyalists, and the killing of Bishwajit, who was slaughtered by Awami League goons.

You will see a big portion of the population choose to ignore one incident or another based on the party he or she supports. One will be extremely vocal against the injustices in one incident, and will choose to ignore the other one completely or dish out a conspiracy theory.

This selective conscience is now one of the greatest moral issues facing the nation. This is hurting the nation and dividing the people.

This great divide was created by both parties. Both needed a dogma and ideology to hide their looting and plundering.

The AL preached that only a superior cultural form that is Bengali and the Bangaliyana can exist, and that the father of the nation is Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

However, instead of unifying through this mantra, AL has chosen to divide the country by looking through a prism of pro and anti-liberation forces. Even the people who were born after 1971 can be termed as part of the anti-liberation force through that lens.

So, these groups feel a compulsion to support AL, even when they see the looting. The position of BNP and Jamaat is the antithesis of what AL preaches.

BNP supposedly stands for Bangladeshi nationalism, taking pride in being Bangladeshi, standing against the increasing Indian influence in business and culture, and protecting the economic interest of the country.

BNP also swings into a milder version of Islamic nationalism when it is politically convenient. In sincerity, BNP has nothing better or worse to offer in these aspects other than empty rhetoric.

AL and BNP are two sides of the same coin. In her personal and professional life, Khaleda Zia, the leader of the BNP, has not displayed any characteristics of an Islamic fundamentalist.

So, Monir, who was killed after a patrol bomb was hurled into his father’s van by BNP or Shibir supporters, is ignored by the same group of people who cried for months when the video of Bishwajit, killed in broad daylight by AL goons, was made public. The screams of Monir’s parents did not reach their deaf ears.

This selective conscience has been preached and taught by the most revered “thought” leaders of the country. You have to think hard where these intellectuals hide when RAB kills people in crossfires or people get killed by the police and AL goons.

Though we hide behind the achievements of Millennium Development Goals, if you strip those fancy goals down and convert those bright indicators to real data, you will find that in Bangladesh 30% of people earn under Tk3,000 per month.

The achievements of the RMG industry sweeps under the rug the massive inequality that exists in the country. Dhaka is the worst city to live in. People absorb all the garbage that politicians throw their way.

Chattering classes seem apparently happy to ignore these. In the absence of quality entertainment, they have subscribed to daily turn of events that is more dramatic than any Hindi soap opera in Star World.

It has all the action, drama, comedy and suspense that one needs be entertained. They find immense satisfaction in being part of that comedy show by voicing their own versions by brewing up a storm in a tea cup.

Everybody is now a mini talk show host with their own interpretations. But they are blissfully unaware of their rights and blissfully ignorant that they are ill-served.

They are happy to be divided, happy to be entertained, and happy to be unaware. Politicians at both sides have found a nation willing to support all their atrocities through selective judgment, and nothing for a politician could be more fun than this.  

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