Make Laugh, not War
GIVEN the overwhelming 'popularity' of oborodh, there is now the combo meal -- Oborodh & Hartal on the same day! Call it Obotal, the buy one, get one free deal, or should I say, suffer one, get additional suffering for free. Last Monday even sees a potential for a clash between two allies. “This is our hartal!” “NO, dammit!! This is OUR hartal!!”
Bangladesh IS now one….sorry state. A coincidence that Facebook is also introducing the SYMPATHIZE button as Beautiful Bangladesh continues on its path to becoming Rockin' Bangladesh -- all rocks and bricks? Every news is breaking news -- breaking lives, cars, buses, bones, skulls, norms, processes, promises and thus bringing us all to a breaking point.
But there is a subtle break in the impasse. From CMLA, aka, Chief Martial Law Administrator, we have CMLA, Cancel My Last Announcement. Back flip. And then four loaded guns under the pillow. Have to give credit -- I can't even sleep with an ear plug under my pillow. And do you really need four guns to accomplish the task? Or, is that our version of Russian Roulette?
But one thing is for sure -- humour succeeds where violence fails miserably. The incumbent is finally in a bind.
And the Oscar goes to? Well, everybody. It may take only two to tango in Oscar Fernandez-Taranco's homeland, but he realises that it takes more than just two to tango in Bangladesh. Funny, the powerful are all ears with strangers coming from overseas while remaining deaf when 160 million speak in unison and in pure, simple Bangla.
So, the party continues. And guess who's not invited -- the general public. They don't really matter, do they? But let us not forget Abraham Lincoln's words: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” True, but he said that about Americans -- doesn't apply to the masses in Bangladesh, does it? After all, we are the most disunited lot around. So, one alone can't really make a difference, right?
Well, think again. Have you ever had one single mosquito inside your mosquito net when sleeping?
And so, disparate pockets voice their disgust, in their own ways. Human chains, Facebook comments, Facebook pages, editorials, talk shows, jokes, cartoons, petitions, SMSs and the list goes on. Push them further, and they might just stop paying taxes to stop the doggedness and violence coming from those on tax payers' payrolls. Sanctions CAN come from within. Just as George Bush Sr. had said to the American voters in 1988: “Read my lips!,” Bangladeshi voters' collective message to the vote seekers is: “Read my hips!” And Shakira resonates: “Hips don't lie”.
So, what's next? Let's say that the government eventually gives in. Then what? There's a neutral caretaker government. Then what? There's an all inclusive election. Then what? Some win, some lose. Then what? Uh, uhm…
Exactly! The nation has always been intelligent enough, but now, they are also connected enough to vote based on names, faces and reputations, rather than based merely on symbols. The time has come when the voters are ready to make the powers-that-be realise that empowerment is no longer to be confused with entitlement. And please, let's not bother diluting this notion with survey polls. They add up to 97% anyway.
As the charred bodies pile up, we're running out of time. There is no overtime.
Meanwhile, let's hope the President brings back home some teachings of Madiba.
The writer is an engineer & CEO turned comedian (by choice), a motivational speaker and the host of NTV's The Naveed Mahbub Show.
E-mail: [email protected]