May 07, 2007

Two must-reads

Jyoti Rahman writes today in the Daily Star about the need to engage grassroots to make "electoral reforms stick". Jyoti's views are those of one who has respect for the will of the people, regarding them as active participants rather than passive, sub-intelligent children. Is the CTG listening? You can read the article here

On the same point-counterpoint section, a very courageous businessman named Syed Kabir asks the military if their "intentions are honourable". You can read the article here.

Excellent, excellent piece with two caveats, both highly relevant: 1) among the set of expectations from the army, non-intereference in media matters should be prominent and 2) the Pakistani Army is regularly carrying "the mantle of peace and democracy globally" even as "they are viewed as tyrants in their own backyard". The first is important because of increasing stories of intimidation of journalists. The second because it highlights the expectation held by some that "foreign powers" - whether multilaterally through the UN with the help of the peacekeeping "carrot" or unilaterally - will uphold democracy in Bangladesh. This expectation is formed on the assumption that foreign powers have idealistic goals (such as "spreading democracy") and not interest-based ones (such as "stopping the growth of terror networks"). My expectation is that whoever can fulfill their interest will be backed by them. If we want democracy, we have to work for it ourselves. So it is with great interest that I follow news of the visit of His Excellency, Special Envoy Farooq Sobhan to the U.S., hoping to find out how he spins the recent bombings.

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