Political Equality in Bangladesh

An article on Counterpunch started off with,

2011 was not a good year for the public image of ruling classes around the world; even Time Magazine named their nemesis, “the protester,” person of the year.  But the pillars of the ancien régime still feel secure.  Why shouldn’t they?  They own the state (and the political parties that contend against each other to govern through it), and the media still do yeoman’s work in their behalf.  Their hold over cultural institutions may not be quite as stifling, but it is very significant; and for every university where there are flickers of dissent, there are a dozen think tanks that do their bidding.

But these are human institutions, not forces of nature; they depend upon human beings to keep going.  In a democratic age, this means that maintaining the status quo requires the support or, at least, the acquiescence of the vast majority. <Emphasis mine.>

So how is this relevant? Writer is referring to some place else, different culture, different political setting, different everything. On the face of it, it is right. The sentences can easily be warped, just a little bit, to fit the situation in Bangladesh.

With ‘democracy’ being the most abused word/ideal of the political parties here, the first requirement is broad participation, which remains to be met by any side. Let us assume that there is broad participation (which is completely untrue in reality but play along), fragmented as there are numerous political ideologies floating about. An amicable settlement is achievable, only if the different sides are willing to “trade”, make and give concessions. Let us now reduce the number of ideologies floating around till there are only two political parties dominating the landscape. The population is then, assuming so, evenly split between the two.

A compromise should definitely be possible now, you think. Yes, if, and that is the humongous elephant in the room, if, the vast majority are willing to go for a compromise. Let’s further assume that the two sides go for a compromise but the vast majority are dismissive of it, at best, and on the verge of revolt, at worst. How long will the compromise last?

Let’s try it the other way. Two sides and their active supporters (a small percentage) decide not to agree on anything. Vast majority just want to live in peace. How long will the unstable situation last?

The assumption, for both, is: the vast majority do not just read the morning paper and shake their heads at the state of affairs. They go out and do something. DO SOMETHING. That is the missing ingredient. Not just broad participation but broad, active participation. This has been my, at least for the last five years, observation that people here have an attitude summed up thus:

“If one can do it, everyone can do it.”
“If everyone can do it, anyone can do it.”
“If anyone can do it, why should I even bother trying?”

As I told off someone recently, stop being lazy, country’s a mess because of this attitude.

Stop being lazy.

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