August 20, 2007

Awami Forces vs. the Army League ... Completely Pointless

An army must need be hierarchical. In a high-tension situation, you have to shove independent thinking behind and follow orders. Just make sure that you don't do the same in low-tension situations.

And most importantly, let us treat our soldiers as citizens first, soldiers second. And may they live up to such treatment. Yes, I mean "up"!

Why do political parties or political cultures need to be hierarchical? Political parties are civilian institutes that should foster independence of mind, not similarity of thought.

Why then can't partisan writers, in the mainstream media or in the blogosphere, simply ditch their party's grand narrative and start thinking afresh? Why do they keep repeating the same cliched lies that serve no one's interest, except some political big wigs?

Take this gem I came across today. An obviously emotional and ill-informed blogger ranting about the armed forces' recent homage to Sheikh Mujib:

"Yes, this is the Bangladesh Army who killed the father of Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975. After 32 years, have they realized that it's their unruly officers who killed the Father of Nation? Haven't the Army destroyed democracy over and over by putting military dictatorships of General Zia and Ershad? Now, they are paying tribute to the Father of Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Are they really paying respect to Bangabandhu from their heart? Or, they're simply trying to exploit common people's love for Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman? How will this army pay this nation back what it took from all of us?"

What is this?

No seriously, what the **** is this?

This is from a group blog that advertises with pride that it is pro-71! Three cheers, bloggers, so am I. Exactly what does it mean to be pro-71 when we're busy putting down the very institution founded by freedom fighters such as MAG Osmany, Ziaur Rahman, Khaled Mosharraf, Colonel Taher and others? What does it mean to be pro-71 when we're busy equating our current professionalised army with the bunch of hot-headed butchers who gunned down an entire family? Since when is being pro-71 more about being stupid and blind like Tikka Khan, instead of being analytical like Tajuddin and magnanimous like Mujib?

When did that happen?

And pardon my probing/amateurish questions, but who exactly is the "they" in "their unruly officers"? The current generals? The army chief of back in the day? Under BAKSAL, didn't final say rest with the President, who would also then be CinC? So if anyone ELSE is ultimately responsible for those "unruly officers" other than they themselves, - and trust me, I feel really bad pointing out something so tragically absurd as this - your logic requires that we assign the dead leader the blame for his family's and his own death!

What empty logic propaganda rests on.

Also, not to put too fine a point on it: exactly how much collective responsibility do you wish to assign any institution in the land when neither Mrs. Hasina nor Mrs. Zia nor the BNP nor the AL have ever compensated anyone for property damage caused by "their unruly officers" during hartals?

And not for one minute do I blame solely Awami Leaguers for the current sorry state of our national debate. For behold, the other side in this meaningless debate can be gleaned here. Go look at the comments section, for seriously the article says nothing new. The comments make clear that some think that saying anything against the army equals saying something against Bangladesh.

And when did that happen?

For the benefit of the Awami Forces, here's the LOC country study page for Bangladesh. Go look up Chapter 5 and read it thoroughly to know the complicated birth of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. After that, please come back and explain to me what exactly you find in common with the Army of today and the Army of 1975, other than the word "Army".

For the benefit of the Army League online chapter (whose members I doubt serve in the Armed Forces) forever questioning other Bangladeshis' loyalty, I have nothing to offer other than your own brains and common sense. And maybe my post from DP last week to show you what REALLY hurts national security more than mere words. Enjoy, and don't get so paranoid about Bangladeshi citizens. We love our country as much as you do.

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