This document came to my attention, and is a fascinating account of rumoured events leading up to President Iajuddin’s resignation as Chief of the CTG, and declaring a state of emergency.
Essentially, it is saying that the army decided to stage a bloodless coup because they were threatened by various international actors that if they assisted in the running of rigged elections, they would lose their prestigious and financially lucrative contracts with the UN.
It is written by Dr. Abdul Momen, a professor in Boston, USA who seems to have good sources, but either way, it’s a nice story, and unfortunately all too believable.
What I personally find interesting is how the fate of whole countries can rest on the whims of a few people, who are typically unelected and inexperienced to handle that level and type of power. Indeed, they might be ignorant of it. Power sometimes, I believe, at critical points can become an independent force, and it is all man can do to try and keep some modicum of control before events and unintended consequences propel situations towards human disaster. I’m not sure if we’ve created a way to manage this. I’m not sure if we ever will.
Given that ultimately this power rests, when it’s not active, in ordinary human beings, it’s subject to human faults. This has been exemplified by the crisis in Bangladesh, and The Times published a good round-up today of the impasse, and also a description of the cataclysmic relationship between Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia which is so responsible for holding Bangladesh back. If you thought Blair and Brown didn’t like each other, read this.
In other news, and contradicting the hopes expressed by the military in Dr Momen’s story, the High Court has ruled that fresh elections can’t be held for at least three months, until a genuine and accurate voter list is ready. And today, the last five members of the Electoral Commission, who had been trying to stage the original, doomed election, have bowed to public pressure and resigned.
The interim government is certainly moving at a startling pace towards reforming and repairing the corrupt institutions of Bangladesh. Illegal settlements on government land is being demolished constantly, and Sylhet has turned in to a building site almost over night, with many of the main streets now lacking fronts to all the buildings, as pavements suddenly emerge. More than a thousand people a day are still being arrested. But the government has also agreed to curb it’s clampdown on the media, which is a immensely positive step.
So Bangladesh may have suffered a bloodless military coup last month. Fate might have tossed and turned this country to be finally facing the light again. But until power is restored to a government legitimised by the people, it’s hard to say how Bangladesh will emerge.