Saturday, June 22, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Of blockades and apologies

Update : 07 Dec 2013, 06:30 PM

Enough has been said about blockades, hartals, and the related violence in Bangladesh in talk shows, newspapers and in the media in general. Unfortunately, not enough has been done to stop it from happening.

What I find most disturbing, as a common citizen of this country, is that most of the politicians here care little about the people they represent and care much more about either getting to power or holding on to it by any means possible.

It is no secret that some of the major political parties in this country have strong ties with foreign powers, and it is speculated that some of these external powers spend huge amounts of money during our national elections to see their favourite party in power. Understandably enough, they do this so that after the elections, decisions and policies are taken in their favour.

A few days back, there was an official apology from a political party for their picketers having thrown a brick at an embassy car on a hartal day. Also, it was seen in the recent past that during the visit of foreign high officials, hartals and blockades by opposition parties were not announced, or were postponed.

Very nice. As a Bangladeshi I appreciate the party’s official apology to the concerned country and embassy (in the first case) and the courtesy shown to foreign diplomats by not calling hartals during their visits (the second case mentioned above).

But isn’t it about time that all political parties apologise to the nation for all their misdeeds done over the years during their enforced hartals and oborodhs and promise to never call for such things again? There have now been too many cocktail and petrol bomb casualties, too many thousands of working and schooling hours lost, too many millions of Takas in financial losses, and the politicians have tested the general people’s patience far too much.

The 160 million people of Bangladesh want an immediate stop to the killing, mayhem, and excessive violence that they are tired of seeing and suffering from. All we want is a guarantee to be able to come back home safe and sound after a hard day’s work.

If the opposition really has problems, they should discuss them in either the parliament, or organise peaceful sit-in programs in public places, like it was done by the Shahbagh Ganajagaran Mancha, and press home their demands. Some might argue that if they try to do so, law enforcers would drive them away.

Firstly, the people would like to see an opposition who would be brave and resilient enough to participate in sit-in programs even if the law enforcers try to drive them away. Secondly, the people would like to see a government who would listen to people’s demands and protests, not one that uses brute force to stop the people’s voice.

It is important for our politicians to understand that the vast majority of people in the country, at the end of the day, do not really care about who comes to power. They want their own and their family’s safety, security, and happiness. Mad, brutal fights on the streets at the cost of human lives are only taking the people further away from the politicians and the parties.

If the “aam jonota” really do wake up from their slumber, like they did to get rid of the colonial British and the West Pakistani rulers, they will be very difficult to control.

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