The political parties have already met our president one after another for EC formation and started taking preparation for their campaign. Now is the best time to have a deeper look on the culture of politics of our country. I wrote an article about that topic couple of years back which was published in The Daily Star.
Truth be told, politics is not my cup of tea. I know very little about it. But as a simple citizen of the country, I have some expectations from our political leaders. And that’s exactly what the article was all about. Recently, I’ve made a revisit to that piece of writing and the question that has come to my mind is: Are we revolving around the same vicious circle?
Let me share the article with you.
A dream in all our hearts
We, the people of this country, are well aware of our political culture. We know that because of the wrong direction and leadership of our political leaders Bangladesh has witnessed one-eleven. For them we had to live in a state of emergency for a long stretch of time. We also had to accept a country without democracy for two years. However, we cannot stop dreaming. We dream for a new Bangladesh. We dream for a change. Even though our political leaders are responsible for making the situation worse, only they can make it better.
Now we have an elected government. There are many challenges ahead of this new government - to safeguard the economy of our country when the world is facing financial crisis, to take necessary steps against the price hike prevailing in the market, to strengthen the law and order situation of the country and to make our police, and other forces more contemporary and effective to prevent and solve crime (do not forget the Mumbai tragedy), to reduce corruption and not to allow the unlawful activities of party members, to improve the system of our education, to generate employment in order to alleviate poverty, to spread the education and the use of technology throughout the country for the purpose of creating a knowledge-based society, to take the necessary steps in order to eliminate gender discrimination and to ensure more participation of women in the mainstream of the country, to rightly address the emerging issues such as digital divide, and so on. The government alone cannot face these challenges successfully. Active participation on the part of the opposition is needed. We hope that our opposition will praise the good work of the government and will criticize the bad ones, and more important, they will not do anything (hartal, strike, and the like), which would be harmful for the business and economy of the nation. We also hope that our government will consider the opinion of the opposition and will treat them fairly. Both the parties should actively work in order to make the parliament effective and to strengthen the root of democracy as well. So the people of this nation are expecting a change from both the parties. Change of their political cultures, their strategies, and their ways of doing things.
Our political leaders can take important lessons from US presidential elections where Americans gave their decisions in favour of change. The people of America did not want their country to be in the same track for another four years, they wanted change, and that is why they elected Barack Obama. And this man, in selecting his teammates, surprised everyone when he included Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary from Bush Administration, in his Cabinet. The most surprising decision was to make Hilary Clinton the Secretary of State. Our political leaders can also learn from McCain- the way he accepted the result of the election and said “My President”, and the way he uttered his wishes to act jointly with Obama in the interest of America. When will we see this kind of political culture in Bangladesh? Our country has passed a long way since the independence in 1971. 37 years have gone by. But unfortunately, the country was not always in the right track. So the dreams of our martyred and freedom fighters remain unfulfilled. In 1971, the fight was not only against Pakistan military, but it was also a fight against exploitation, deception, discrimination, and fear from which we have not yet got rid of. Despite all of these failures, we hope that our political parties will learn from the past and will act jointly to shape Bangladesh up as per the dream of our freedom fighters. That is the only way we can truly show respect to these great sons of the soil.
So this country needs a change now. The key is in the hands of our political leaders. We all are waiting. To be or not to be that is the question.
(Published in Star Campus, The Daily Star, Volume 2 Issue 102)