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01st-Jul-2014

But our internal problems are not all internal

By MAINUL HOSEIN

It is natural for any outside government to tell us that your internal problems are yours and do not expect others to wash your dirty linen. Of all other countries, we have been hearing it most from some leaders in India -- past and present.Any free and respectable people deserve to be reminded of this basic truth. We are also painfully aware that we have not been able to deal with our problems rightly and wisely. Other than reckless self seekers, many among us ask many questions for an answer and feel ashamed to see how a peaceful country going the violent way. It is because we wanted to look after our own interest in our own way, we struggled long and hard in Pakistan days for autonomy. We also made it clear to the world during our Liberation War how we planned to run our internal affairs and maintain friendship with other countries without malice to none. Our struggling political and intellectual leaders of the past made it abundantly and convincingly clear that the ideals and values of democracy will guide us in managing peacefully our own affairs.Many of us are also bewildered how it is that we are so incompetent, helpless and blindsided in not knowing our way out of the mess and lies. Who and from where the idea came that democratic ways are not the ways of free Bangladesh.It is also not that India did not try to play the role of a guide and guardian of Bangladesh being aware of its contribution to the independence of Bangladesh. The Congress government was especially close to Awami League government of Sheikh Hasina. Such close relationship with Awami League was understandable and would have been healthy for democracy if the considerations of the people of Bangladesh were not given a go by.So such special relationship between the two governments has not materialized as helpful for democracy to survive.  We understand and appreciate the Indian External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj's emphasis that it is for the people of Bangladesh to settle their internal problems. She also made it clear that her government would not be discriminatory in favour of any party or person in Bangladesh as the relationship would be on people to people basis. But at the same time, it will be important to realize by the present Indian government that Bangladesh's internal problems are not all its creation. Our main problem is saving the country from becoming an autocracy of the few for the few. Now Bangladesh has a government which is continuing in power admittedly on the basis of a voter less uncontested election. The Awami League government is not keeping its promise to hold a genuine people's election later. So for a peaceful solution of the crisis of democracy as created with the help of India there is need for help not from India alone but from our other friendly countries. The country must be put back on the road to true democracy. Where institutions are more important than any person or party.Unless the people's legitimacy is established over the government it is not possible for the people to solve their problems on their own. It is not peace that the country belongs to the people but the government is of others.In our view, not just India's, our crisis calls for friendly cooperation from other friendly countries if a peaceful solution is to be desired. The government also knows that no amount of brave face and big talks will give it the legitimacy of a people's government for people to people relationship with India or any other country.Our emphasis is on a peaceful and democratic solution. Not just any solution. Those who are busy with power and power struggle without thinking of a political solution do not know that they are peering into an abyss.