Photo:Shafiqul Islam Kajol, DRIK NEWS.
Why BNP must survive?
For proper practice of democracy in the near future in Bangladesh, it is absolutely important that Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) survives and becomes a strong opponent of Awami League (AL). The question of AL’s extinction doesn’t arise because AL has proved time and again that it can undergo harsh times and can strike back. If AL represents the leftists and central-leftists, then BNP can be assumed to represent the rightists and central-rightists (It is not black and white, I know, but the overlap is not that significant here). If BNP becomes extinct, Allah forbids, the rightists will not vote for AL. Rather they will vote for Jamaat, not because they share same ideologies with Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, but because their hatred for AL often surpasses that for Jamaat. Agreed, BNP has major support from people with modern outlook and they strongly hate Jamaat but they also dislike AL.
They may vote for AL, given BNP’s extinction, or may opt to stay at home, i.e., vote for none! But if BNP becomes non-existent or very weak, then Jamaat is the prime beneficiary, as their share of votes will keep jumping upward. In fact, if BNP remains strong, Jamaat can never hope to clinch power on its own. Traditionally, Bangladesh has always seen a very few ultra-rightists who are die-hard fans of Jamaat. Thus, for the sake of our country’s future, it is mandatory that BNP survives. Granted, the very birth of BNP is tainted and Major Zia’s rehabilitation of the collaborators is very clear. Still, it can’t be denied that BNP enjoys a great support in Bangladesh, matched only by AL. These voters must not fall in the hands of Jamaat. If that happens, all hopes and expectations about the future of Bangladesh will be over. If BNP led four- party alliance (referred to as “Alliance” henceforth) wins the election this time, then Jamaat is sure to swallow up BNP in its entirety in next five years. In five years, BNP-Jamaat alliance will become Jamaat-BNP alliance and BNP will have to ask for mercy from Jamaat, not the other way round. The sympathizers of BNP and those who wish to see a prosperous democracy in near future in Bangladesh must align and voice against Jamaat’s gradual but steady swallowing-up of BNP. The winning of Alliance this time will define a characteristic moment in the history of Bangladesh, the death of BNP and the ascendancy of Jamaat in its place.
If Jamaat clinches power once again:
If the Alliance wins election this time, Jamaati sympathizers will prevail in all over the administration, from the lowest level to the highest level. The Army will systematically be Jamaatized, all public universities and colleges will be Jamaat majority institutions. Mass changes will be brought to the syllabi of Alia Madrassas and their brain-washing will be completed. Judiciary will completely belong to Jamaat. The history of independence will be rewritten in its entirety, giving complete immunity to the Rajakars and the war of freedom will just be a war between India and Pakistan. “The freedom fighters will be conspirators against Bangladesh and Islam, the Rajakars will be the true patriots. Some unknown attackers (Hanadars) attacked Bangladesh and 26000 Bangladeshis died in fighting the Hanadars.” It is worth mentioning here that students in Bangladesh learn about the history of independence only in school. Majority never goes to the universities and even if they do, they don’t study anything about the history of independence in universities and colleges. So, if Jamaat can change the history of independence in school texts, the project of brainwashing the next generation will be complete. The new generation will be completely ignorant of the actual history of independence war. Moreover, since the colleges and universities will be the fertile ground for Jamaat, students will just have the distorted history ingrained in their brain forever.
Before 2001, Jamaat didn’t have significant presence in mainstream media. But between 2001 and 2006, they vehemently made their presence felt in the media. If they go to power this time, they will make sure that the media is completely under their control. So, in sum, if Jamaat clinches power this time:
- i) the history of the school and college texts will be completely rewritten so as to erase the killings, rapes and genocide of Rajakars, Al-Badr, Al-Shams.
- ii) Administration-Army-Judiciary and Colleges-Universities will be completely Jamaatized.
- iii) They will make sure that all Alia Madrassa students graduate after becoming devoted Shibir workers.
- iv) Jamaat will take full control of mainstream media so that no-one can ever know the true history of our independence war and the involvement of Jamaat in the genocide.
If AL goes to power:
If AL-led grand alliance goes to power, what will change? Will people get anything better? May be or May be not. Those who expect some radical changes in Bangladeshi politics and the mentality of our politicians are living in fool’s paradise. Nothing is going to change much. The same old story will be repeated again. Will they try the war criminals? The answer is a big “NO”. They won’t. But the godfather culture will not prevail anymore. AL had to pay its price for its godfather culture. So, they will not repeat the same mistake again. The list of nominations shows some promise in this regard. Moreover, since the leftists are with AL this time, they will keep pressure on AL as to not give in to World Bank or IMF and create policies that go against the very interest of Bangladesh.
One thing is sure to happen. If AL goes to power, Joy will be brought in to the Bangladeshi politics. Personally I don’t have anything against politicians’ children coming to politics. If doctors’ kids can become doctors and CAs’ kids can become CAs, then why can’t politicians’ kids become politicians? But doctors’ kids will have to become doctors by virtue of their own hard work and talents, which is apparently not the case when politicians’ kids become politicians. But the fault is ours. I can vouch that if the people of AL and BNP are allowed to vote to choose who their leader should be, they will choose Joy and Tareq.
Why still vote for AL?
Let me repeat it that those who expect that AL will do some miracles if they go to power are dreaming too much. Very little, if at all, will change. With or without AL, the economy will show good signs starting from June 2009, mainly due to the overall recovery of the world economy from recession. AL will try to capitalize on this, even though they won’t have anything to do whatsoever with the good performance of economy! But still you must vote for AL because we must save the country from the claws of Jamaat. You must vote for AL because we need BNP to survive. If the Alliance goes to power, we will see the skeleton of BNP in five years. Even though AL may not try the war criminals, Jamaat will lose its power in many fronts if AL goes to power. This will also give BNP an incentive to look into the mirror and see what they are doing to their own party by aligning with the Jamaat. If we can keep Jamaat away from power, the history of independence will be protected from distortion. Countrywide anti-Jamaat sentiment will form and anti-fundamentalism will prevail. Jamaatization of colleges, universities, Army, Judiciary and Administration will stop. Jamaat’s gradual control of the media will cease to increase.
Imagine living in a country where Jamaat has the final say in everything. Imagine sending your kids to the universities where they will be brainwashed by Shibir. Imagine not being able to participate in the Victory day procession. Stop and think for a moment that you are not allowed to share the joys of Pahela Boishak. Contemplate deeply what happens if you are forced to listen to Ghulam Azam’s speeches on 21st February. Close your eyes and try to imagine yourself in a position when you will not be able to show your utmost respect for the martyrs on 26th March. Imagine being forced not to listen to Rabindrashangeet. I don’t claim that all these things will happen if Alliance goes to power this year, but these things will gradually happen over time. Keep in mind that if you vote Jamaat to power this time, you will be responsible for creating a crippled generation that will forget all the things that we hold dear. You will be part of the reason for Jamaatization of the country and the death of free thinking if you intend to vote for Jamaat. If you love Islam, then know that Jamaat is the biggest enemy of Islam in Bangladesh. Please verify the basic anti-Islamic tenets of Jamaat from any knowledgeable Islamic scholar. In the name of Islamic bank, they have been violating the sanctity of Islam by way of offering interest and re-branding it as just profit.
This is our moment to define history:
This is the moment that will define our history for the next generation. In this month of victory you will have to decide whether you want to betray the blood of three million martyrs and the chastity of half-a- million sisters who gave their own lives and chastity so that we can live in a happy and prosperous Bangladesh. This may well be the most important cross-road in your life to decide your country’s fate. You may have to regret all your life for a wrong decision that will put Jamaat in power. Close your eyes for a moment and ask yourself whether you want to see the flag of Bangladesh shining high on the cars of war criminals. Decide for yourself whether you would like your children to live in a Jamaatized country. If you are a BNP supporter, think for yourself whether you want BNP to be in power this time and be extinct for ever or you would like your party to survive and be saved from the claws of Jamaat.
As Shakespeare’s saying goes “sometimes you have to be cruel only to be kind”. Be kind to your party BNP by being cruel enough not to vote for them. Save your party and save Bangladesh. The ball is in your court and you have to make the right decision, for your chance may never again come in life to choose who and what you want to be if Jamaat is in power. Wake up, brothers and sisters, at this defining moment of history, in these turbulent times and in this month of the greatest accomplishment of our beloved country, let’s unite for once and for all, irrespective of party affiliations, region, religion and gender, to make our voices heard that we want a country where the war criminals will not go unpunished, where true history will be taught and practiced and where the greatest sacrifices of our martyrs come before our allegiance to petty politics. Let’s take the course of history in our hands and let’s stop Jamaat. Let’s vote for AL not because we like AL but because we hate Jamaat. Let’s shout high above the clouds of the sky that we want justice for the martyrs. Let’s rise once again and say a big “NO” to Jamaat and war criminals. This is our time and we must make sure that we get it right this time.
Mahfuz Chy, a prominent blogger in Bengali blogsphere lives in USA for higher study. He loves to analyse politics in Bangladesh.