Hossain Mohammad Ershad set a new standard in Bangladesh with his girlfriends, making even the international press with a full-page story about his wealth and his mistresses.
If you are wondering why we are dredging up this old muck, it is because a serving major general in the Bangladesh Army made a spectacle of himself a few weeks ago.
Major General Aminul Karim, the military secretary to the President of Bangladesh, was recently in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, attending a conference.
He was incredulous and a little upset when an expatriate Bangladeshi told him that he did not know who he was. But that was totally eclipsed by the fact that he was trying to pick up female delegates to the conference. He asked for the phone number of at least one women, and almost insisted that a woman from Mexico go out to dinner with him. When that didn’t work, he went after another women.
This was in full view of other attendees to the conference, who were pretty sure that the intention was not to discuss the socio-economic situation in Bangladesh.
This was an academic conference, with mostly university faculty from across the USA, Canada and Mexico attending. This behavior did not do any good to the image of Bangladesh that the ruling junta is so concerned to protect.
Mr. Karim recently earned his Ph.D. in 2007. His thesis supervisor was Professor Ataur Rahman of Dhaka University: a man nominated by the government as a “preferred” guest on TV and radio talk-shows. The external reviewer of the the thesis was Dr. Zillur Rahman Khan of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Professors Rahman and Khan are considered the theoreticians behind the concept of a role of the Army in government, and are trusted advisers to the current government.
So this scholar-general, entrusted by the government to look after President Iajuddin (and keep him in line, of course), is steeped in the theory that is providing the framework of the current and future government of Bangladesh. Is it too much to ask that someone in such an important position not embarrass the country?