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28th-Jan-2015

PM’s motherly sympathy is needed more for ending violent deaths

By MAINUL HOSEIN

What was a mere personal issue of consoling a grieving mother by another mother has deliberately been turned into a matter of political recrimination by some sections. The latest episode of the ongoing political volatility, which demands a quick solution for safety and security in public life and for saving national losses, the government's ministers and party followers are seen too eager to play politics with the saddest of a sad situation between the two mothers. It is being officially touted that one mother, Sheikh Hasina, went to another mother, Begum Khaleda Zia, to express condolences at the death of her youngest son Arafat Rahman Koko in Malaysia. So, Sheikh Hasina did not go to meet Begum Khaleda Zia as the Prime Minister. Now, it is being campaigned politically to say that the Prime Minister has been insulted. This position cannot be taken logically.     Since it was a mother to mother visit, it should have been left at personal level. There was no need for using it as a political excuse for refusing political talks to end violent clashes now going on all over the country at a heavy cost to personal lives and property. The country's economy is badly faulted and its image abroad trampled.   If someone feels, it is justified in blaming Begum Khaleda Zia, though it was asserted by the BNP that she was deeply sedated and did not know about Sheikh Hasina's desire to calling on her, let him then do it for not being courteous to Sheikh Hasina at personal level. But to treat it as a national issue for refusing political solution does not make sense. Otherwise, why it is to be said so enthusiastically that Begum Khaleda Zia has missed the train and she cannot have dialogue with the government on the critical national issue of holding free and fair election? The issue of dialogue, if it is to take place at all, is national and not personal. The people's voting right is not a matter of giving away for somebody's personal relationship with somebody else. Besides, the question should also be asked who missed whose train? Why over a personal tragedy a section of professionals and the government should deny the urgency of holding a fresh and legitimate election? The easy answer is not available easily. The fact is politics has become not only ugly and mean but also incriminating. The government refused to sit with Begum Khaleda Zia for any dialogue from the beginning of the differences over the election of January 5 last year condemning her as murderer. The Prime Minister should be seen as mother in respect of some 30 persons, who died and others who are still losing lives everyday as a result of continuing countrywide clashes over the demand of fresh election. Unknown number of people have received injuries of various kinds. The situation should be a matter of grave concern to any person who is in his or her right mind. The show of police power or expecting the police to shoot the civilians at sight is not political leadership. So not just Koko, but all those who are facing violent deaths either as a result of street violence or police action also deserve PM's motherly sympathy, and they need it more. If the PM can be so sympathetic to the loss of human lives and human sufferings then she can easily declare election and end the violence in no time. Every mother wants her son or daughter to live safely and grow happily. No matter, whether one dies in street clashes or police cross-fire, it is the most shocking loss to any mother. Those, who are too eager to avoid dialogue and election also criticised Khaleda Zia last year about missing the train when she could not accept the Prime Minister's sudden invitation to a dinner violating her own hartal programme for unilateral election of 5th January. They cannot see that without voting right, nobody can claim to be anybody as a citizen. Election is not a personal matter but the people's right.    Who does not know that our politics, as being practised now, is too much personal and hateful. Now is not the time to dwell on the instances to show how bitter and personally insulting the relationship has grown between the government and the opposition. So, Begum Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina as mothers know best who hurt whom most. Begum Khaleda Zia, as mother, could have a grievance that her son Koko would not have died alone away from his mother and the country if there were no politics of personal enmity and intolerance.   The painful truth is that in our kind of power grabbing politics, we cannot realistically hope from many of our political leaders to show large-heartedness or human compassion at personal or national level. Most unfortunate part is the importance of the self-seekers in our politics to whom human lives or national interest means nothing. We have been urging repeatedly to allow democratic politics to function if we want to see politics as an honourable pursuit for self-respecting people. Every dignified nation would like to uphold the dignity and honour of its Prime Minister, both in political as well as personal relationships. But he or she should have the democratic mandate by respecting the dignity of the peoples' sovereignty. Respect comes from respect shown to others. Let nobody, whether in power or in the opposition, become inhuman for one's hunger for power. To be blinded by power is the worst thing that can happen to a political leader.