March 05, 2008

No Country for Young Men

Yeats should have sailed to Bangladesh.

For in Bangladesh, the old in one another’s arms dance on the bloodied corpses of the young.

I speak not only of “cowardly liberals” such as our twin editors, who seem to have sacrificed a man each to save their own political hides. Whereas they should have been leaders, voices of experience and bulwarks of strength who sheltered the more adventurous of their flock – Mohammad Arifur Rahman and Tasneem Khalil – they have instead proven themselves to be sell-outs and sycophants through not just their “sacrifices” but also their silence.

No, I come not to speak only of these so-called progressive voices of a decrepit generation with suitably unoriginal, decrepit ideas. I speak also of other older, more honourable men. Men who vow to keep us safe, where “us” equals every person who inhabits our green land. Men who send our finest and bravest to battle. Men who have taken on young men and women to fight for their land and are responsible for their safety.

After a generation of INDOCTRINATING our young army personnel against India as opposed to TRAINING THEM TO THINK about countering India’s influence meaningfully, I see the most honourable of men travel to Delhi. The Bangladeshi media reports sycophantically on it. The Indian media talks about “joint exercises” aimed at eradicating the Indian North-East of “rebels” and “terrorists”.

Now unlike Mr. Farhad Mazhar, whose write-up on the topic I appreciated highly and urge everyone to read for its section on the Bay of Bengal gas blocks issue, I am not about to make emotional appeals that go like, “Our army is going India’s bidding!”. Joint exercises are not doing anyone’s “bidding” and, if our army is to become/remain well-trained and have a global outlook instead of the parochial one that pervades it, such exercises are positive. I will not make such emotional appeals.

I will humbly point out a small, probable scenario: the only reason these “rebels” have not turned their guns against us is because we turn a blind eye to them (at the least) when they want to use our territory as refuge. If we start to carry out “joint exercises”, they may not appreciate it and we might have our own little problems on the northern border. The Hindistani (my latest word for “North Indian”) elite at the Indian centre does not quite understand that there are real grievances at work in these areas. They seem to be under the impression that these insurgencies are being “fed” by our military, and that if our military suddenly switches sides, that is going to stop the insurgency. In the presence of real grievances, this is not about to happen. Indeed military solutions to insurgencies are highly prone to failure (too lazy to link).

And if this does happen who will pay the price for the switch? Our young of course. The ones who were indoctrinated against “Indians” will then be re-indoctrinated against a new set of “Indians”, you know, the ones with “chinky” eyes. They will fight and they will be sacrificed, while old men play golf and talk expensive horses or arms deals with American secretaries of defence.

As far as I know, no promises have been made. But given the alacrity of old men to sacrifice the young in this country, should I not be fearful? Give me one reason why I shouldn’t be? We’ve talked so much about the riots of August, but did anybody really focus on the Tragedy of young, 20-something Bangladeshi students fighting young, 20-something Bangladeshis in uniform, simply because all their elders are obstinate old men who didn’t get along in the heat of the 70’s?
And I’m not even going to start talking about the issue that this New Age editorial brought up, to wit the issue of undignified, box-like structures at the border. I’d just like our pan-Bengali-rhetoric sprouting folk to stand up and say something at this point. Yes, that’s you Mr. Aly Zaker! You too Mr. Syed Badrul Ahsan! Decrepit old men with decrepit old ideas the whole lot of them!

I’ll end with a jibe that I should know better to make, but simply can’t resist. A certain blogger who enjoys putting down economists (perhaps under the mistaken impression that I am a student of economics!) has previously expressed his admiration for the man in uniform on horseback. Now it seems that the man in uniform has gone to Delhi to beg for rice. And I contend we have come to this because all the economists have been pooh-poohed from the left as “IMF-stooges”, from the right as “shushils” and by this blogger as purveyors of “craponomics”.

But of all of these pooh-pooh-ers, only the last has something to be happy about in all this. The Indians gave this most honourable man in uniform a few horses, so it seems that our fellow blogger’s dreams of having the Man-on-Horseback president will be fulfilled, even if begging for rice and doing India’s dirty work is the price of that dream.

And I thought it was only the economists who ran the country on craponomics!


Fugstar said...

dude, my distaste of craponomistic thinking is not personal.

The rice issue for me points to the lack of mojo in the water resources sector and the condition of flood defences. Then along the lines of mr mazhars views about agricultural knowledge culture. Economics can come later, but first essential qualities and nonlinear matters need to be understood.

My Anindian expectations were dashed by the rivers meeting in the summer and the previous downgrading of the ganges barrage project. Practical issues, not diplomatic symbols.

My awe of warriors on horseback is independant of pakistani-bangladeshi realities. Surely you'd have grasped that by now? Shah Jalal didnt arrive in the ganj with PRSP did he?

About the horses issue, its sad. If it was hasina theyd probably have given her an honourary degree. I do wonder what was in reality exchanges. Back in the day our sultans used to pay off the delhi folks with war elephants. Personally I think they should have sent the scary sylatian chap to india.

And about the film. I was dissapointed not to see the showdown betwen the hitman and the hunted one.

Rezwan said...

Welcome back!

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