April 11, 2005


Jane Novak of Armies of Liberation, an American political analyst and columnist has published many columns in international print media. In the past year she had been covering Bangladesh and she did one thing what the traditional media people do not bother to do. She had tracked Bangladeshi blogs and communicated with some of them in person to clear many thaughts and facts to better her understandings about Bangladesh. The end result can be seen in one of her latest columns in the Arab News. She does not label Bangladesh grossly as a rogue fundamentalist country and try to trash Bangladeshis as minnows like a typical Bangladesh bashing article. She starts with:

Bangladeshis have much to be proud of. They achieved independence and a pluralistic state after a hard-fought war. Nearly twenty years later they took to the streets dissatisfied with military rule and stood united for democracy. Devastating annual floods covering a third of the country does not deter their commitment to democracy and modernity. Lately Bangladesh has gained notoriety for the spread of extremism, but jihadis don’t spring from the ground like mushrooms.

She has covered every aspect, questioned the government's sincerity in the action against Bangla Bhai and other extremists, criticised Awami league's boycotting parliament and the fact that Hartal is damaging the economy and exhausting the population. She describes:

A government-controlled media, everywhere it exists, is an anti-democratic institution. Similarly an executive branch that wields influence in the judiciary or bureaucracy poisons democracy. An educational system that does not teach economically viable skills is a disservice to the nation. Corruption denies citizens their equality, and it prevents achievement-based social mobility.

And now the best part of the article; she advocates Western support in lieu of admonition:

For their democracy to flourish and thrive, the Bangladeshi people need Western assistance in cutting off the external sources of terrorist funding, developing their export markets, protecting themselves from natural disasters, and growing their economy. Given this support, 140 million Bangladeshis can achieve their goal of a modern, pluralistic, self-sufficient state. Without it, militant groups will continue to find fertile ground in this Muslim nation to the irritation of the West and the despair of the Bangladeshis themselves.

Thank you Jane for a better understanding of Bangladesh.

The article is cross-posted in Blogger News Network and Middle East Transparent.


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