“Had it not been for the protests, now we would all be focusing on next year’s elections and looking at the government’s record in office and the opposition’s pledges,” said Zafar Sobhan, editor of the Dhaka Tribune, an English daily. “Now, all bets are off and elections seem a distant concern. It is hard to see how things will revert to politics as usual after this.”
That’s from a pretty good Guardian piece on Shahbagh. Well, we in AoD beg to differ with Mr Sobhan. We think things are already reverting to politics as usual after this.
And keeping with that theme, below is a discussion kicked off by ADBlogger 5: KZ is blindly following 2000-2001 playbook. It may not be enough this time; AL showing much greater self-awareness and self-correction this time around.
Is she? Are they? In 2000-01, BNP knew that SH would step down. This time round, SH will not step down voluntarily. So the playbook can’t be same. surely KZ knows that.
Until Shahbagh, KZ repeatedly emphasized that BNP wants AL to finish out its 5-year term. Become even more unpopular. Let even more scandals pile up.
Plus, let them do whatever they want with the war crimes trial.
Isn’t that evidence of BNP showing greater self-awareness and self-correction? By emphasising that BNP wants AL to finish out its term, not only is KZ giving SH enough rope to hang herself, she is also telling the ‘establishment’ (including the Washington Times reading neocons) that she accepts the last intervention (which conducted the election) and expects another one. Whether 2/11 will be good for BD or not, KZ has taken the strategic decision that the establishment prevailing upon SH is better than spending valuable party resources (in both money and lives) in street fight that AL may actually win. Isn’t that self-awareness?
And as for WCT, isn’t BNP’s stance on this also an evidence of self-correction? AL, Jamaat and the media (both anti-BNP ones as well as supposed allies like Mahmudur Rahman) hoped that KZ would have come out strongly against the trial. But she has done no such thing. Its official position has always been a transparent, credible trial. Jamaatis are actually extremely frustrated that KZ won’t demand unconditional release of their leaders. This is all in stark contrast to 2008, when KZ saw Nizami ahead of her party leaders upon being released. This to me seems like a textbook case of self-correction.
I agree that these are largely sensible steps. But, all these are also from BNP’s old playbook. In 2000-2001, BNP made the same decision to let AL finish its term, although it was at a much stronger position vis a vis street protests. And BNP’s approach to WCT is exactly the same as how it approached the trial of Sheikh Mujib’s killers. It never gets mentioned, but Faruq and others spent five years in jail under a BNP government without any bail or parole.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying these are bad steps. I’m just wondering if all these will be enough this time. Because the stakes are (sadly) much higher this time around.
All our post-90 elections have been preceded by game-changers. In 1996, the game-changer was 160 days of hartal and successful civilian coup. In 2001, the game-changer was marrying an electoral alliance into first-past-the post system, thus translating 44% vote-share into 70% parliament seats. In 2006, the game-changer was successful civilian AND military coup.
Is Shahbagh the 2013 gamechanger?
Once Einstein was asked, what, he thinks, would be the magnitude of 3rd world war. Einstein responded – I cannot tell about 3rd world war, but I clearly can see how the fourth world war would be, it would be fought with stones, spears and arrows. ….
Similarly I really cannot see what is going to happen during the upcoming elections. Because the only practical possibility I see is AL going ahead with election with Hasina in power and BNP joining it.
And I clearly see the 3rd Hasina government. I can even write a book on 3rd Hasina government.
Source Alal O Dulal