PEOPLE of Bangladesh are going to begin the New Year with an election in which many things are going towards 'to be' or 'not to be.' The draft of this election farce was composed the day the phone-call farce -- red phone dead and ringing -- was staged. The invitation for a dinner on the phone was offered in a way so that the dinner could be stale and over before the intended guest could accept it. Now Sheikh Hasina has said: “The election process has already started. She (Khaleda Zia) has missed the train. She won't be able to participate in the election.” Khaleda has missed the train Hasina is driving. And the driver resorted to all possible shrewdness so that some passengers including the mentioned person must miss it.
However, the phone-call farce had some meaning. A large audience listened to the conversation with their ears glued to the idiot box. Some felt bored, but some had an absurd feeling of the world shaking around them. But the forthcoming farce on January 5 is boring almost everyone, even many of the performers. Election manifestos are not out yet. The EU and the US have turned their faces away from it. The bad press of the foreign countries like The Economist is becoming worse regarding this.
Some performers in the farce want to flee from this and they are detained, the boundary line between detention and medical treatment having been obscured. Candidates liked to withdraw their nomination papers, but are not allowed, the way ministers resigned but resignation not accepted. There are people who do not want to take part in the election, but they will be elected uncontested. There are people who do not oppose a candidate in the election, but they are made to oppose him/her. Jatiya Party's Jadu Miah is now afraid of a jadu, Bengali for magic, in which he will not publish a single poster but posters can be out in his name.
This type of election farce was first composed by H.M. Ershad. Later, this was improved by Khaleda Zia and now has been taken to an amazing height by Sheikh Hasina. But Ershad was a dictator and a poet, neither of the latter leaders has neither of those gifts. To be or not to be, bizarre, it is.
The writer writes on theatre, education and socio-political issues.