If those 5-points (see part 2) sounds too much like Mr. Motiur Rahman of Prothom Alo, then that is of course no coincidence. He is the poster-child (La Moudud a la Moudud if you will) of this faction, having come full circle since his early Leninist days. And it was his latest digbaaji that inspired this piece. While I liked his paper from the outset, I did not like Mr. Rahman's editorial stance over the last 2 years nor the personal animosity that showed through at times. I'm no fan of BNP or Falu (there's something really creepy about that smile!), but neither am I a fan of trial by media. Let's get one thing clear: the media is there to expose suspicious acts and bring them to the public eye. It is NOT there to determine the criminality of supposed acts. That is why we have judges and courts.
This is an important point that is sometimes lost in the argument over democracy. Democracy means that individuals are judged for their crimes by experts not the public, while national issues affecting everyone are discussed by the public not JUST experts. That is where a free media comes in. Under this CTG, what we have seen is the exact opposite, and that is where Mr. Motiur Rahman came in. We have seen the CTG stifle public debate over issues through censorship of its critics and appointing its own "experts" into the debate, all the while ensuring that the trial of allegedly corrupt public figures become a matter to be decided by the Prothom Alo-roused public rather than the experts in courts of law. (Tragedy if you ask me. Last thing I want to see is SaQa Chowdhury and his cousin from the AL side running for public office and funding parties again. But such is the tragedy of a tragic nation.)
It is therefore with some small measure of irony that we note that this trend that Mr. Rahman has helped fuel - one of trial by media and an ill-informed public - has now come back to bite him in his nether regions. Like all good comprador liberals who underestimate the power of religion, he forgot that he alone does not play the pipe that enchants the flock.
But other than the irony, what does it mean in terms of the broad based coalition?
Revolutionaries once assured of their own power against their former enemies tend to turn against one another, some quickly, some not so much. Stalin versus Trotsky, Nasser versus Naguib and perhaps most relevant, the different factions who brought about the Iranian Revolution. It might come as a surprise to many readers nowadays, but Iranian women, leftists, Bahai's and Jews celebrated in the streets of Tehran the day Khomenei returned. Secular leftists, left-Islamists (there is such a thing in Iran), right-Islamists were all active parts of that revolution. The first one to bite the dust were the secular left, then the Islamist Right. That went on until the Contra-Iran crisis discredited the leader of the Islamist Left and they further subdivided amongst themselves on the issues of the day and eliminated each other. So on and so forth. I hope the readers see what I'm getting at.
After the twin arrests of our squabbling twins, the "revolution" has been consolidated. Time for the internal conflict folks. Motiur Rahman has been neutered. Debapriya Bhattacharya has been
exiled given an ambassadorship to Geneva.* Yunus has been silenced deservedly for his betrayal of the Bangladeshi masses. Mahfuz Anam alone is not going to do anything. People are baying for his blood too.
Factions 4 and 6 seem to be revelling. Naya Diganta is running stories that reminds one of Hind after the Battle of Uhud (ahem... we
democracy advocates freedom-loving reprobates sometimes know our Islamic history). Now I'm not going to warn the likes of FM and MR that Islamists make very unreliable allies with little political capital in the long run. If wise ones such as themselves do not know that, that's their problem. I would like to remind them that after eliminating the Shushils, they might just start fighting amongst themselves. "Counter-revolutionaries" and "betraying the spirit of January 11th" and all that, translated into the latest parlance: don't be shocked if a certain ex-chairman of BOI actually has some extra cash hidden somewhere in Swiss accounts, or Amader Shomoy suddenly decides to run stories critical of a khatib who spends time giving khutbas about important issues like "who said what" rather than the more unimportant ones such as inflation, arbitrary arrests, the misuse of "Islam" in his own country and the world.
Once you start down the slippery slope of "revolution" and "takfiring" others out of a voice, it's a hard fight folks. You might just be next or the one after that. Naya Diganta editors, Jamaat-e-Islami and like-minded parties, the ulema, high-flying bureaucrats and armed forces members: I wish you all the best of luck.
* The 3rd World View has some news on interesting developments in the use of ambassadorships as tools for exile.
September 22, 2007at 6:03 am