April 2007


Storm 1991 victim

I was a student of Chittagong medical College, when the cyclone of April 29 hit coastal Chittagong. It was drizzles all day, winds were gaining momentum as night fell on Chittagong. When I came out of the library building around 9 PM, the winds were quite strong, campus was deserted, and hospital lobby was empty. I had to stay over in the hospital that night because the road connecting the hospital and the student’s dorm on the other side of the hill was too unsafe for walking in that storm. Falling trees, flying debris were everywhere. As night progressed, storm got fierce and fiercer, as if the immense 6 story quarter mile long building will fall apart. As I took shelter in a bed at the sick student’s ward, it was a scary sleepless night. We, half a dozen stranded souls, kept waiting for the morning only to see utter devastation of the medical college campus. The beautiful hilly tree lined campus was in ruins, 50% of all the large trees were uprooted, and power lines were all over. The hospital, the highest tertiary healthcare-trauma center for all of southern Bangladesh was totally ineffective as the fallen trees completely blocked all the roads including that to the emergency.

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Amazing things are happening. Compared to even one week ago, the changes are quite dramatic.
1. Politicians are talking quite loudly. Neither the ban on indoor politics has been removed nor has SOE been lifted. Surprisingly, these same politicians were stone quite even when there was a dire need for them to speak out. At that time they cited the ban on indoor politics as reason of their silence.
2. Media has opened up. There was no one to participate in Tritiyo Matra last week. Tritiyo matra started taking single interview of unknown persons. At one point they had to do a program with Singer Shuvro Dev and ex cricketer Raqibul Hassan debating. Suddenly politicians are returning and talking evil of current government. No more SMS about Sheikh Hasina statements. Hasina-Khaleda’s pictures have re-occupied the leading first page spot where CinC’s picture has moved downwards.
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The plan A against the two hated/beloved political leaders of the country has apparently failed. This failure has not only derailed the efforts of CTG and their backers to redesign Bangladesh politics, it has exposed the lack of coordination, lack of planning, chaos and restlessness within the government.
This failure could be a lesson to learn from.
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But I doubt the backers of the CTG will take lesson from the failure of plan A and I feel they will now try heavy-handedly to impose plan B.

I suspect that the plan B of this powerful quarter to get the country rid of these two major political party leaders will be to implicate them with corruption/violence and blackmail them into jail sentence or worse. And news items in today’s newspapers like this one reporting inquiry of these leaders’s bank account suggest that the steps towards plan B have already started.

While Plan A was conceived on Pakistan-Musharraf-Benazir-Nawaz model, Plan B will be totally based on a domestic model. The model in this case will be our good old H M Ershad. I feel per this plan B, the two leaders will be subjected to a litany of corruption cases similar to what Ershad endured. And the plan B authors also believe that as Ershad was controlled with the stick called jail for long fifteen years, these two leaders also could be managed with the similar jail fear.

However, a very publicized and failed plan A has weakened the prospects of a plan B. Specifically its credibility will be questioned from the start. Now any corruption case against these two will be taken with a grain of salt by all parties concerned (This same thing could have been extremely popular one week earlier). There will be more international scrutiny and invigorated domestic resistance to prosecuting these two leaders.

The irony is that if the plan B was attempted immediately post 1/11 and not after a failed Plan A, the chances of prosecuting and crippling the political prowess of these two leaders would have been much easier. And a big portion of the general population in Bangladesh would have supported this plan B, but now they would rather be a cautious observer while there will be another large chunk of population who will dare oppose this publicly.

For more on these two leaders, especially why they are unfairly and wrongly treated as dynastic despots please read this post.

While the nation is watching the drama surrounding the efforts of the current military backed government to oust the two major political leaders off the country, let us dive into the past to review how did these “Two” became what they are now.

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After the killing of Bangabandhu sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his extended family and 4 other senior leaders of the party, the then ruling Baksal party’s main component Awami League became leader and radar less. A big portion of the surviving leadership immediately switched allegiance. Within the next few years, several leaders tried to revive the party. Notable among them was late Abdul Malek Ukil, Late Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury and Mr. Abdur Razzak. But during those days, the rebuilding process of AL was seriously hampered by the feud between these three leaders as AL quickly broke into two groups led by Mizan and Malek. And in Malek AL, there was serious feud between Malek And Razzak. At this point, another person, returning from Europe, joined the foray. He is Dr Kamal Hossain. His efforts to take over the leadership of AL faced heavy resistance from feuding Malek Ukil, Razzak and Tofael Ahmeds. At this juncture when the party was about to face another split during the party council of 1980, Dr Kamal Hossain placed the ultimate trump card. He put forward exiled daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Hasina’s name as the party president. Until that point Sheikh Hasina was not aware of any of these developments. Although in the long run Dr Kamal Hossain’s plan to run AL via Sheikh Hasina didn’t work, it was probably the most crucial move in revival of Awami League. Sheikh Hasina, slowly and steadily united party, re-mobilized the party base and brought the party back to power.

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It is not the fashion of this time to talk about Hasina or Khaleda. Let me be a little unfashionable and again talk about Hasina- Khaleda.

Sheikh Hasina has been denied entry into Bangladesh. Governmnet took all possible measure to keep her out of Bangladesh borders. As Rezwan reports, ” Two BAF F-7BG AC will escort out the aircraft from the BD airspace to further south towards the Bay of Bengal. ”

And after doing all these, on the same day, this same Good Government has issued arrest warrant against Sheikh Hasina showing her as a fugitive.

Is governance a joke? Is our current CTG making fun with the nation?

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Latest Update on the drama

It is being reported that ex Prime minister Khaleda Zia has already been or in the process of being deported out of the country with her family members. If it is a rumor only, my apology and this post will be taken off. And we all know the drama that is taking place with other leader Sheikh Hasina in London, UK.

There is absolutely no doubt in anybody’s mind that the exile of Khaleda Zia is mere blackmailing a mother using the safety of her sons.

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Thank You Mr. Mannan Bhuiyan for assuring the nation of your ability to talk. A nation and me, being a member of the nation, were worried about your physical and mental health in terms of your ability to speak.

Why should not we be worried about?

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