Country belongs to poor people also and they are not exportable18 May 2015 Editorial Desk
Poor Bangladesh nationals are now bracketed with stateless Rohingya refugees in global media headlines exposing our national shame as the search for an end to the boat people crisis continues with thousands drifting in high seas waiting for rescue. In any estimate Bangladesh is now a fast growing nation but the breaking of the boat people news as they are screaming at the high seas in their desperate bid to get out of the country to come out of their desperate poverty level gives a different message about this nation.
The message is whether Bangladesh is having an exclusive development that does not reach the poor at the bottom level. The rich and the politically powerful section of the society is dominating the resources and taking away all the benefits forcing the poor to be easy victims of human traffickers. Being not skilled these poor people are exploited as slaves for trading.
The boat people episode only tells us that the poor are only becoming poorer in the country and although they have the right to a better life. Our governments, past and present, least bothered about their right to live and survive in Bangladesh. All governments including the present one, have been happy to use the poor people as exportable goods for earning foreign exchange.
On floating boat people, news reports said Malaysia and Indonesia sheltered over 3,000 migrants in the past few days while between 7000 and 8000 are drifting aimlessly across the Malaccan Strait and around Andaman sea for a taker.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director General of Bangladesh Coast Guard, Commodore Sayeed has told a seminar on human trafficking in the city on Saturday that traffickers operate from 80 points in Cox's Bazar and Teknaf areas with the help of local brokers. The Home Ministry has already identified 256 local brokers and if they are arrested, will tell the identity of their political backers.
The question remains why the human traffickers were not stopped and arrested long before? The authorities just did not care to make the poor unskilled ones useful for jobs within the country. We have left them to fend themselves. In short, respective government simply did not feel any responsibility towards the poor. The government boast how much they earn through slave trading.
What makes most Bangladeshis feel utterly helpless and disgusting is how our poor ones have become so unprotected in their own country that sea pirates and human traffickers were able to use them inhumanly.
Some people want to justify the boat people issue as manpower export. But export of manpower takes place for people having a skill for work. How one could justify bundling of women and children out of the country into the hands of criminals. This is outright a trade in slavery. Our attitude must change not to feel unconcerned about the poor ones forced to leave their families in search of livelihood. The Finance Minister AMA Muhith does not see poverty much of a problem and he asserts that by 2018 there will be no poor people in Bangladesh.