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Carter departed for Bangladesh

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  • Golam F. Akhter
    Washington D.C., 31st July, President Carter, just before departing for Bangladesh, was addressing a press conference in National Press Club in Washington as
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 1, 2001
      Washington D.C., 31st July, President Carter, just before departing for Bangladesh, was addressing a press conference in National Press Club in Washington as a co-chairman of the bipartisan National Commission on Federal Election Reform of USA which was formed and funded by private donors after last election .

      He will lead the team of NDI (National Democratic Institute) of USA for pre-election meeting with the President of Bangladesh, Advisors of caretaker government, academicians, and political leaders of major political parties.

      Commenting on his visit to Bangladesh President Carter said " In an hour I shall be in a plane on my way to Bangladesh. There is no government now, Prime Minister has stepped down for election under care taker government. Two women head the two major parties. Both of them have not been together in a room of a building for the last two years. People are being killed in daily violences . Compared to that
      our(USA) election is much better". Without finishing the press conference President Carter stepped out to catch the plane.

      Golam F. Akhter
      Convener, Bangladesh-USA Human Rights Coalition
      _________________________________________________________________

      [M:MS]
    • Amdad Choudhury
      Whenever we have our periodical debates on the state of Bangladesh, most Alochoks either demand radical constitutional change similar to the one in America, or
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 1, 2001
        Whenever we have our periodical debates on the state of Bangladesh, most
        Alochoks either demand radical constitutional change similar to the one in
        America, or imposition of authoritarian rule prevalent in much of East Asia.

        Those who crave for authoritarian rule should realise that this system does
        not work in Bangladesh, as successive military regimes found to their cost.
        For authoritarian rule to succeed, the ruling elite or those who aspire to
        be part of it, must come from or be willing to be part of, the same group.
        In Bangladesh there are mainly two opposing groups of roughly equal
        strength. Which means if one group imposes itself on the other, the outcome
        is stalemate at best or bloodbath at worst. And if a third person tries to
        ride into town, the opposing groups will unite to run him out. The people
        would have to be accepting of this style as well of course. But in a
        country where ordinary middle-class people ransack the local WAPDA office,
        for 'load-shedding' or for taking tough action against pilfering,
        authoritarian rule seems implausible. Since the success of 1971 and with
        the overthrow of successive authoritarian regimes Bangladeshis have become
        experts at direct protests, therefore, Bangladesh is probably not ripe for
        an authoritarian take-over.

        A while ago I wrote that the problem with Bangladesh was not that, it did
        not have a sound constitution, in fact it had a much more sound constitution
        than Britain and probably even America. Did you know that until 1998
        Britain did not even have an electoral commission to regulate national
        elections? And of course by now we are all experts on the shortfalls of the
        American constitution. But what both of these countries have in abundance
        is 'goodwill' not just amongst its politicians but also its people. Can you
        imagine what would have happened if either Sheikh Hasina or Khaleda Zia
        attained power in the manner in which George Bush did. In politics the
        'sprit of the law' is more important than the 'latter of the law'. For
        example, if the latter of the law was applied then the speaker would always
        be a member of the largest/majority party, but this is not desirable since
        most people find it difficult to make the transition from being a partisan
        to being a neutral ? while others cannot accept that a partisan can ever
        become a neutral. If the election officials were directly elected or
        appointed by partisans then the problems would be even worse. So, the
        crucial ingredient or prerequisite to a successful democracy is not
        necessarily what is written on a piece(s) of paper, important though it is,
        the most important ingredient is goodwill. With time the people and
        politicians of Bangladesh will acquire the necessary goodwill to compensate
        for the inherent deficiencies of democracy. The current discord is
        personality based, reflecting the feudalism prevalent in Bangladeshi
        society. Eventually, Bangladeshis will get tired with personality based
        dynastic politics, just as their Indian neighbours did. But for this to
        happen the respective dynasties have to be given a chance to self-destruct,
        as with the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. If self-proclaimed messiahs periodically
        interrupt their rule, they will continue to make comebacks as martyrs, as
        with Pakistan. And in another 30 years Bangladeshi will still be suffering
        from political, social and economic instability like their Pakistani
        brethren.

        Bangladesh cannot progress economically without political stability at the
        top, be it authoritarian or democratic. It should be remembered that both
        China and India did not make the turn-around by magic, the changes were
        undertaken by their politicians.

        _____________________________________________________________________________

        [M:MS] Threre is an exclusive interview of Roquia Haider of the Voice of America, in yesterday's issue of Alochona magazine. See it here
        http://alochona.hypermart.net/magazine/

        We are grateful to all of you who have been inviting friends to subscribe Alochona.
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