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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

July 30, 2014

Bangladeshi politics is showing a strong indication to take on again its traditional anarchic posture after a natural calm in the fasting month of Ramzan. Colors of jang(war) are going to replace the white flags. Chiefs are calling for all out battle!

It seems both parties have made up their mind to settle their political differences on the street. Exchange of Eid greetings and acrimonious attack went on simultaneously.Their egos once again enslaved them. They are tempted to show the world who calls the shots here in Bangladesh. Both are confident about their victories in the future confrontation. At the same time, a feeling of Schadenfreude has made them complacent.

In the vocation of politics, both chiefs are colleagues. Terming each other ‘killer’, ‘dacoit’,’blood sucker’, ‘thief’, ‘agent’ and blah,blah,blah is ruining the political atmosphere and is making bleaker the prospect of any reconciliation, for which the whole nation is longing.

If Begum Zia is showing eagerness to take part in dialogue, then PM Sheikh Hasina should respond to it positively. But turning down that call for dialogue, sensing the party is not in an advantageous position, will be a repeat of Khaleda Zia’s mistake before January 5 election. If somehow this opportunity of dialogue is missed, then it will be extremely difficult to hold talks in future when the differences will become unbridgeable.

Both party chiefs enjoy the role of supreme decision maker and are perceived as symbol of unity within the respective parties. This symbol entitles them to exercise overwhelming authority. Popularity and authority make them envious of each other. Mirror, mirror on the wall,/ Who is the strongest of them all? When political tensions reach the boiling point, they take the matter to the street. The primitive display of force on the streets is to show the World who is more powerful and deserves to rule the country. A medieval tactics in the 21st century! This show of force will eventually end up in violence. And whoever comes victorious in this fight has to deal with the mess that the confrontation will leave behind.

Mother Nature is always a good source of learning. Look at the bee world. Even queen bees retire in their empires. Look at neighboring country, particularly the role of Gandhi family in Indian congress party. The two chiefs can take a back seat in their parties, limiting their role to be symbol of unity, and pass the baton of decision making and governance to other sagacious leaders ( even if they are chiefs’ chosen ones; but no prince or princess).

Let’s hope that this simple hope is not an illusion!

History will remember the chiefs as Begums of bad governance if they tread the precarious path of confrontation; trying the option of dialogue, however, will be a new history in making.

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