1. Somalia 114.2
  2. Sudan 113.0
  3. Zimbabwe 112.5
  4. Chad 110.9
  5. Iraq 110.6
  6. D. R. Congo 106.7
  7. Afghanistan 105.4
  8. Cote d’Ivoire 104.6
  9. Pakistan 103.8
  10. Central African Republic 103.7
  11. Guinea 101.8
  12. Bangladesh 100.3
  13. Burma 100.3
  14. Haiti 99.3
  15. North Korea 97.7
  16. Ethiopia 96.1

                                                                 [ Graph: The Fund For Peace, Washington, D.C.]

The above is the list of the worst performers in the The failed States Index 2008 recently published jointly by  US based Foreign Policy Magazine and The Fund For peace. According to this ranking, Bangladesh in the year 2007-2008 had the fastest decline towards a failed nationhood.  Bangladesh was 17th worst in 2005,  improved to 19th in 2006 but started to decline in 2007 when she ranked 16th and this year Bangladesh ranked 12th, a tie with Burma.  Countries who traditionally fared much worse than us, have improved and passed us in last two years. Notable among these are Haiti,  Rwanda or Sierra Leon.  The foreign policy magazines clearly identifies the states with significant improvement,

In 2007, several countries that have long served as the poster children for failed states managed to achieve some unlikely gains. The Ivory Coast, which unraveled in 2002 after a flawed election divided north and south, experienced a year of relative calm thanks to a new peace agreement. Liberia, the most improved country in last year’s index, continued to make gains due to a renewed anticorruption effort and the resettlement of nearly 100,000 refugees. And Haiti, long considered the basket case of the Western Hemisphere, stepped back from the edge, with moderate improvements in security in the capital’s violence-ravaged slums.

 

But the report was alarmed at the fast decline of Bangladesh as it points out,

Bangladesh took this year’s hardest fall, set off in part by postponed elections, a feuding, deadlocked government, and the imposition of emergency rule that has dragged on for more than 18 months…

 

A very interesting observation by the Foreign Policy magazine was the irony of our contribution to UN peacekeeping force. 

Ironically, Bangladesh and Pakistan are the world’s top two contributors of U.N. peacekeepers, often deploying troops to the very countries enjoying this year’s biggest advances. Pakistanis constitute the largest national U.N. contingent operating in Liberia. More than 9,000 Bangladeshi troops wear U.N. blue helmets around the world, a third of them in the Ivory Coast. It is a reminder that while helping to maintain peace abroad might be an attractive national project, keeping the peace at home can be even more elusive.

 

Foreign policy magazine emphasizes, very clearly, the need of a vibrant and independent Parliament and decries the role of customized rubber stamp parliament our de facto ruler in planning on imposing on our nation.

Every autocrat’s wish list probably includes having a country rich in resources, a public prone to hero worship, and a rubber-stamp parliament. But, when it comes to legislatures, dictators should be careful what they wish for: The world’s most vulnerable states are also home to the weakest parliaments, according to the Parliamentary Powers Index, a ranking of these bodies based on factors such as the power to declare war, impeach the executive, and establish veto-proof laws. Leaders most adept at legislative manipulation often simply extend their own rule; last year, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev persuaded his pliant parliament to declare him president for life. Others, like Burma’s military junta, simply ban the legislature from convening altogether. But these results should send a clear message to the world’s autocrats: Sometimes, it can be a good thing if the House wins.

 

It is not a happy thing to blog about. This report does not make any Bangladeshi happy. But I post this, with a flicker of hope that, our fellow NRBs and Urban Bangladeshi’s will wake up from the dream and see the reality. The reality is that the current Army Chief controlled puppet government of Bangladesh is not the panacea and not even the better of two bad. Report after report is coming out with damning indictment of this government’s performance. And it is not a matter of whether this government was given adequate time or not. After the take over of 11 January, 2007, on most of the objective indicators of a nation’s well being, Bangladesh’s decade long development has taken a U turn.

And most most importantly this report clearly cites the failure of a designed democracy to suit a military General or an elite class. This report has clearly shown that a free, strong, vibrant and fairly elected parliament is vital to nations well being.
But with great apprehension I suspect that we are heading towards a direction away from a free, strong, vibrant and fairly elected parliament. At least these rhetoric’s of army chief General Moeen U Ahmed, “If they want to make trouble, let them” ; or “”You can judge the people of a nation by the type of leaders they select,” etc. make us fear that we may be heading towards a rubber stamp ‘Yes General’ Parliament.

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