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          Volume 11 |Issue 08| February 24, 2012 |


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Politics of Confusion

Aasha Mehreen Amin

No matter how much we may grimace with distaste at the word 'politics', it is hard not to be drawn to the mind-boggling strategies of our politicians. When it comes to the two largest political parties in the country along with their half-hearted alliances, it is definitely a game even Tom and Jerry could not beat.


When BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia threatens to cripple and maim the government AL presidium member Matia Chowdhury retorts back that the BNP comprises a number of 'lame, deaf and dumb' leaders and activists. Besides uttering terms that are completely politically incorrect, such squabbling leaves us wondering at the maturity of our leaders.

When the BNP announces it's grand rally funkily named 'Dhaka Cholo' (Go Dhaka), the AL decides to have a counter programme, officially making sure the fight will be bloody and unofficially forgetting that they are now the government, the people who should be trying to maintain peace, not fuelling a crisis. Then as the ludicrousness of such a plan becomes overwhelmingly real, the AL decides to tone down its zeal to thwart BNP's plan. Instead they will have human chains on March 9 and 11 across the country and a rally on March 23 demanding a quick war crimes trial. Again, are they not forgetting that they are the government and the war trials are being conducted under their rule?

The confusion is further heightened when you learn that the BNP has given indications that it is now, like a begrudging estranged spouse, ready to talk about the 'caretaker government' issue, incidentally the reason why they are having the rally in the first place. Nobody can answer why the Dhaka Cholo programme demanding a caretaker government for the next elections will still take place when normal discussions are in the pipeline. Perhaps the 'ready to talk' part is a bluff, perhaps the hype over the rally demanded that it take place anyway - nobody (i.e. the BNP fans) likes to know that the most happening party in town has been cancelled.

To make themselves further appealing to the public, the BNP's Chairperson has magnanimously invited 'meritorious, honest and competent' people to politics. She, however, did not define such words which may have alternative meanings; nor did she specify whether she considered her sons to have the second of these three admirable qualities.

Meanwhile the BNP knowing the allergic reaction that will ensue whenever the word 'caretaker' is heard have cleverly rephrased the term calling it an 'interim' non-party government, which can be discussed in a civilised manner with tea and biscuits perhaps, in that place call the parliament where they have not gone for eons.

If 'interim' sounds less offensive to the ruling party, we have no problem at all. All we want is to have a normal day with a normal traffic jam and a normal political culture where politicians talk it out inside the coolness of Louis Kahn's architectural masterpiece. Nobody wants to see another rerun of the usual political Tom and Jerry show.

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