TRY POLITICS SANS BLOOD AND BODY
Every death is sad. Some deaths are regrettable and some are deplorable. To everyone life is more cherished than loss of lives. But at this point we are helpless as it is in hands of the God. Once born, we must die at some point. But whether death is a non-perishable ingredient for politics is a question being randomly asked these days, especially in the wake of an ongoing blockade that has claimed at least 35 lives in more than three weeks. The non-stop blockade was ordered by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and doggedly pursued by her disciples from BNP and partners in a 20-party coalition.
They have perpetrated a mindless game of killing and burning people in bomb and arson attacks in which hundreds of vehicles have been set ablaze and over one thousand people injured, mostly from very poor families.
When the logic behind these cruel and horrific acts were being widely debated across the stunned and terrified nation, suddenly the country’s political imbalance got yet another jerk as Khaleda Zia’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko died of heart attack in Malaysia where he had been in exile for years. Koko was never directly involved in politics, rather he concentrated on business – in course of which he was involved in money laundering and penalized with six years in jail. He jumped prison by taking refuge in Malaysia.
But as he died untimely in his mid-forties, Bangladesh’s political crisis over apparently insurmountable divide holding BNP and Awami League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ever part, worsened further. As the two largest parties of the country AL and BNP tremendously influence politics and they routinely victimize innocent people while repeatedly stabbing on the back of the slow-paced economy and curbing people’s livelihood by enforcing hartals and blockades.
Without such anti-people arsenals political parties are unable to draw people’s attention that eventually augurs lack of confidence and trust in either party. And we have always seen ‘deaths’– enforced or natural – having played a key role in political vandalism.
It is no different in the ongoing blockade while the AL squarely blames the BNP and its Jamaat Shibir colleagues for an endless mayhem which BNP, on the other hand, says the government and AL should be held responsible for.
Koko’s death offered both parties an extra mileage to take forward their vengeful causes. In a country rife in crime and corruption law takes little effect to protect lives and properties.
Sorry to say that Koko probably died ‘at a right time’ for both parties as in death he is more important than when he was alive. Politics started boiling afresh no sooner than the news of his demise reached Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office where she has been ‘confined’ or staying by own choice since January 3 when the authorities foiled her attempt to address a rally in the capital to decry Sheikh Hasina’s rule since January 5, 2014, election that BNP and allies boycotted giving AL a clean sweep with controversial turnout of voters.
In a very highly praised humanitarian gesture, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had arrived at Khaleda’s Gulshan office to convey her condolences and sympathies to the bereaved mother — who a party hawk said at the time was put on sleep using sedatives. This is not unusual at a moment of extreme shock but minimum political courtesy would demand the PM should be received by Khaleda’s relatives and party chums and taken to her bedside. But Hasina was compelled to leave the place as the gate remained locked from inside.
This kind of insult and indecorous behavior or mischief immediately switched on a nationwide indignation for Khaleda’s party– where a man named Shimul Biswas played the ‘Koko card’ in a dirty and shameless manner, apparently deliberately, to make the distance between Khaleda and Hasina further wide. He probably won his trick but at the cost of BNP’s popularity that was badly dented.
When fully recovers, Khaleda Zia will likely respond to the situation that has definitely shamed her, if not the shameless comic characters buzzing around. They held Khaleda’s emotions over loss of her son hostage to their whims. After waking up from ‘deep’ sleep, she however expressed her thanks for Hasina’s ‘foiled’ visit to her office but it did no good to the former prime minister’s ruptured image.
Instead, it came in full advantage to AL blowing a storm over denial of permission to the PM to see her staunch rival for power. Khaleda’s opponents also used the opportunity to vindicate BNP led ‘blockade’ of horror to trounce Khaleda’s dream of regaining power. She has been grappling for an early election under a non-party caretaker authority that AL has sternly rejected – and it received another ‘no’ from the people who suffered or watched sufferings from petrol bombs and other violence during the blockade.
Over the years we have seen people no longer support or associate themselves with any action that disrupts transports and economic development. On top of that they want democracy to sustain and grow in a peaceful manner. This feeling is becoming stronger among all and sundry irrespective of which party they belong to.
The people also want killing, arson, vandalism stopped once for all because such activities have repeatedly impeded the country’s progress despite having many potentials. But the country’s never-bridging political gap and growing acrimony between top leaders just left those potentials rotting.
Our politicians possess so poor mentality and attitude that they do not even spare the dead and use their corpses to smarten up political ambitions. This is what we have seen in case of Koko. In life he was just above the ordinary as Begum Zia’s son but in death he became suddenly popular with both parties as they scorn over unethical and illogical matters. The top leaders have pet some cheer leaders or game busters who keep constant eyes on even the slightest opportunity to make fortunes and turn their future glossy.
Therefore, the country and people would immensely benefit if we learn to leave the dead in peace and stop trying to thrive on losses of blood and flesh. They better try to change themselves. This will raise their stature in politics and society as true representatives of the people.
Anis Ahmed is Executive Editor, The Daily Observer
JANUARY 29, 2015