While I'm all for South-South cooperation, I can only be appalled by the decision of the Bangladeshi government to open an embassy in Khartoum, as reported here and here. I especially love how the Bangla report says that the decision has been taken, while the English says that it has only been hinted at! Great going mouthpieces!
After calling for a reform of the OIC that everyone has known for years was a useless international organization, Iftekhar Chowdhury managed to slip this in without the local press even sniffing to try smell the stench. Which only points to how much more our "local" press needs to know about the world outside of Dhaka and South Asia.
Three/four days ago, Zafar Sobhan had written of Pakistan:
"With Pakistan lurching towards ever greater strife with each passing day, closer association with it at this precise moment in time sees like an anachronistic idea."
One now hopes that someone comes out with a similar rebuttal against greater ties with Khartoum, especially under this government. The problem is not JUST its appalling human rights record in its ethnically-African southern regions and now in Darfur (and how many Imams in Bangladesh know and are ready to denounce this blatant violence against Muslims by Muslims?). The problem is that even more than Pakistan, Sudan has an extremist government ready to export out its own brand of religious violence and intolerance under the guise of "Islam". And it doesn't take much internet research to find that out.
What's really pissing me off is OUR moral equivalence. I'm all for a realist paradigm in foreign relations. But Bangladesh does not follow a realist model at all. We have cited, and still do cite, other governments' human rights records as pretexts for not maintaining diplomatic relations with them (or perhaps our diplomacy has the sole goal of keeping the OIC happy instead of us!) We did not keep ties with apartheid South Africa, even though we could have used their resources. What about the Khartoum governments' awful treatment of Darfur's people? Should we overlook it thanks to the elusive promise of their black gold?
What's worse is calling for reform of the OIC - which opposed our independence drive and ROUTINELY disregards Muslim oppression of other Muslims - and then disregarding Darfur's suffering in the same breath. Our foreign affairs staff might regard that as Machiavellian and pat themselves on the back. But they've just crossed the fine line into outright hypocrisy.