BNP - The Comedy Continues.

অতিথি লেখক's picture
Submitted by guest_writer on Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:23am

I'd like to start this piece with a disclaimer - I have not been payed to criticize BNP (or been bribed with free biriyani to support Shahbag). I'm a simple AL/BNP indifferent, pro-Shahbag, pro-secularism, anti-terrorism (which you may directly translate to anti-Jamaat), pro-justice 1971, street-food loving Bangladeshi who found herself laughing after reading the news of BNP's call for a strike on 7th of March 2013. Why laugh? Let's start at the beginning.

In 1971 the independent nation of Bangladesh was born after a brutal 9 month war with Pakistan. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the largest political party in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) at the time (Awami League) called for Bengalis to rise against oppression by Pakistani forces through his famous speech on the 7th of March 1971 at the Racecourse (now Swarowardy Uddan). He then declared Bangladesh an independent nation on the 26th of March 1971 (which is celebrated as our Independence Day for those still confused!). He lead the nation into the war that gave us our independence and has rightfully been named Father of the Nation. The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) was formed after the assasination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family in 1975. So far what I've written are facts - witnessed, documented, established and set on stone. However BNP has consistently refused to acknowledge Mujibur Rahman's status as Father of the Nation. Instead they opt to focus on Maj.Gen. Ziaur Rahman, the founder of BNP, and his role as the person who announced the victory of Bangladesh in the war. The one thing they will not acknowledge is the fact that he clearly said (and this too is documented) the he was making the victory announcement 'on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman'. All arguments aside, how can (with all due respect to Maj.Gen. Ziaur Rahman) the man who lead the nation into a liberation war be deemed insignificant next to a man who gave the victory announcement? Taking this comic drama one step further, Khaleda Zia (current leader of BNP and widow of late Ziaur Rahman), declared that 15th of August, the day Sheikh Mujib was assassinated , is her birthday! Amused yet?

Fast forward to 2013. The Shahbag movement, no introduction needed (I hope!). BNP had been iffy about supporting the movement from the very beginning. At one point word of a half-hearted declaration of solidarity was heard. The truth is there was no reason to oppose the movement. They were protesting peacefully and supported by an unexpectedly high percentage of the general population proving we may be divided between AL and BNP but when it comes to 1971, we stand united. Then all hell breaks loose after death penalty is declared for one of the war criminals. Jamaat-Shibir launch into their trademark violent protests against the verdict, as the convicted is one if their leaders. Anyone who has lived in Bangladesh for a considerable length of time is aware of the brutality Jamaat-Shibir is capable of. Moreover in these riots they specifically attacked security forces resulting in violent altercations and deaths. Casualties consisted mostly of either rioters or policemen. All of a sudden we hear Khaleda Zia has returned from Singapore (there is still debate over completion of her medical treatment) and has called for a press conference. I, along with thousands of other Bengalis around the world, watched in shock as she made her statement. She spoke of 'genocide' being committed by the government against the people of Bangladesh, people being killed like birds (who writes these scripts??!) She spoke of how the movement was spreading hate and inciting division of the nation and the government was doing whatever this 'illegal' and 'provocative' movement asked. In the end she stated that her party will be staging a nationwide strike on the 5th of March (following strikes called by Jamaat on the 3rd and 4th) in protest of the 'genocide' being committed by the government. She also refused to answer any questions by journalists(probably the only smart move of the day). Brilliant! Let me get this straight, so Jamaat is creating havoc to free a convicted war criminal. The police are trying to stop the violence which has resulted in casualties and BNP wants to protest....what? The police doing their job? And is it really wise to use the term 'genocide' in support of a group that has been directly linked to aiding in one of the worst genocides of the last century? Madam Zia's statement was probably based on the theory that the word genocide (গনহত্যা ) inherently evokes strong emotions in Bangladeshis against the forces responsible for said 'genocide'. Unfortunately she forgot to take into account the fact that rising literacy rates are directly proportional to intelligence. In other words - we're not stupid. But attacking a movement that the masses have clearly shown support for leaves me questioning her intellectual capacity. It has been established that none of the political parties have ever considered good of the country over power but to gain that power you need the people's votes. Shahbag has been termed a 'vote bank' for AL simply because AL has decided to side with the movement. By that same logic, BNP too could have gained votes by siding with the movement.That's not rocket science people! Shahbag has never acted for or against either party. This was clarified when it was announced from the Jagoron Moncho that there would be no processions from Shahbag protesting the BNP strike. Our fight is not against BNP or AL. It is against anti-liberation forces like Jamaat, although personally I feel BNP is walking a fine line in this regard.

So apparently the hartal on the 5th didn't go as planned. Disturbances broke out in a rally held by BNP and it's alliances (Jamaat included) and it concluded with the announcement of another strike on the 7th of March to protest the disruption of the rally on the 5th. As I have mentioned before, 7th of March is an important day in the history of Bangladesh. Attacking the Shahbag movement, siding with anti-liberation forces and now calling a strike on the 7th of March while still claiming to fight for a 'free' Bangladesh seems kind of absurd doesn't it? The sad truth is BNP is so consumed with opposing AL that they are willing to be labelled anti-lib. They forget that the country they fight so hard to govern came into existence only because there was a liberation war, millions have died and been tortured so they could have their precious 'power'. Siding with openly anti-liberation forces is not only an insult to independent Bangladesh but also an insult to the memory of the millions who gave their lives for this precious independence. If one is so concerned about the alleged 'genocide' in 2013 then how can the genocide of 1971 be so blatantly overlooked? Must be a joke - not a very funny one though.

With BNP's support, Jamaat continues it's violent attacks with renewed vigor. They are attacking minority communities (most notably the Hindu communities), law enforcers and more recently relatives of movement leaders and warcrime witnesses. Despite the overwhelming evidence proving Jamaat's involvement, BNP still decides to turn a blind eye and continue to blame the government for the rising death toll. I was shocked when a seemingly reasonable childhood friend, whose family has close ties with BNP, suddenly lashed out claiming all news media and television channels were being controlled by the government and that AL was actually responsible for most of the attacks, that Shahbag was actually planned by AL for political purposes!! I shut her up with one simple logic - people around the world are showing support for Shahbag, how in the world did the govt manage that? However, it dawned on me that the issue was no longer warcrimes, it had become the same old AL vs BNP argument all over again. Undoubtedly Madam Zia's statements along with ongoing Jamaat propaganda have succeeded in politicizing the Shahbag movement and shifting focus from warcrimes to the age old political cat-fight. This is no longer funny.

I was aiming to make this a funny piece, inject some humor into an otherwise serious situation. Unfortunately with the way things are going I am finding it increasingly hard to keep my spirits up. Oh wait there is something. Yesterday there was a bombing at yet another rally held by BNP and it's alliances. Supporters attending the rally immediately blamed the police (!) and and another strike in protest was declared on the 12th of March. It was later discovered that the bombing had taken place from within the rally. Later police raided the BNP offices and recovered home made bombs. So in conclusion, they are now bombing themselves because no one else will do it. And so the comedy continues.

Alright BNP enough with the laughs. Lets talk a little sense now. We cannot forget or erase what happened in 1971. Regardless of who deserves credit (or not) for leading the war, the fact is the war happened. 3 million people were brutally murdered and thousands of women were raped. There is evidence showing leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami have been directly involved in these crimes. Jamaat themselves have admitted to opposing the liberation war. No matter how much you ignore it, the recent attack on the minorities have been lead by Jamaat( as told by victims and reported by both national and international media), which is alarmingly similar to what happened in 1971. Jamaat is a threat to our democracy, the very democracy that allowed you to govern the country in the past (and perhaps the future). Lets put our petty political differences aside as find a way to unite as a nation and bring to justice the warcriminals of 1971. Let us find a way to get rid of the forces terrorizing out nation and threatening our independence. That way has already been paved for us by the Shahbag movement. Let us all come together under the common banner of the Shahbag movement to fight for justice and protect our independence. Is that too much to ask for? Perhaps it is.


কিষান's picture

It should be

I have not been 'Paid'

. Please correct the typo

Zia's picture

I fully support Shahbag Movement. We want justice, proper justice. Let's not forget the fact that apprehended collusion between Jamaat and AL has created this movement. We need to be alert against BNP and Jamaat both. For political gain, both would love to kiss Jamaat if that gurantees power for the next term. Joy Bangla.

অতিথি লেখক's picture

Great article! Very well written and clearly revealed the thoughts inside the minds of thousands of Bangladeshis. Thank you for this article.

২৮ ফাল্গুন ১৪১৯

অতিথি লেখক's picture

BNP the one and only political party in the history of global politics what was born with killing of a father of nation. Still they're trying to establish the Jamat so that they(Jamat) can convert Bangladesh as Pakistan. But we (Bangladeshi) will protest them till having a drop of blood.


Mashroof's picture

Amazing piece! Agreed to each and every point.

মনজুর এলাহী's picture

A mistake in the Article is- the term isn't announcement of the Victory of Bangladesh, it was the announcement of independence. Moreover, the victim of rape during the liberation war was about 4 lacs, the word 'thousands' doesn't really reflect the actual number of victims or the brutality of the war-criminals and the Pakistani soldiers.
There’s always a need of two or three strong political parties in a democratic country. But yet, if any of the parties are opposing against the fundamental laws, nature and values of the country- it shouldn’t hope the support from the mass.

---- মনজুর এলাহী ----

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