While at work today I had the distinct pleasure of a short conversation with someone who believed that Atheists (and Communists!!!) were responsible for stirring up unnecessary trouble in Bangladesh.
And this lead me to an important question.
Does Bangladesh remember their own History? Do the people trying to reduce the secularism withing their country and follow in the footsteps of Pakistan remember why they won their freedom?
Pakistan at one point consisted of East and West Pakistan. Now the issue was that East Pakistan had little political power and was pretty much dominated by Western Pakistan. Pakistan was ruled by a dictator called General Zhia and the good General was an ally of the USA due to the Pakistani involvement in the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. Under this yoke the Bangladeshi people rebelled and paid a pretty horrific cost. Some estimates place the death toll of that conflict in the 1 to 2 million range. The massacres were of the middle class and intellectual class. Many families escaping from East Pakistan spoke of soldiers killing people with glasses. It was a distinct plan to destroy any middle class there so as to destroy any intellectual disagreement with Zhia’s rule.
India proceeded to arm and equip refugees who wished to fight for Bangladesh and helped liberate Bangladesh while simultaneously fighting off Pakistan in the Kashmir and Punjab. The end result was a liberated Bangladesh. (If you want to hear what the USA did during this time you would be terribly shocked if you aren’t American. The Americans kept selling arms to Zhia and kept supporting him. It was so shocking that the american diplomat to Pakistan wrote a letter of dissent. The infamous “Blood Telegram“. When Bangladesh won it’s freedom it made steps forward but ultimately fell into the same problem that any theocracy has.
You see, many people wish for an Islamic Democracy because they consider themselves “good Muslims”. But they forget that they are “only good” Muslims because they think so and because they are liberals. Why would they be affected by such laws? Here’s the thing.
A secular system means you can live together and be Muslim or Hindu or Atheist. It means you are free to worship what you wish. It means that your country isn’t basing it’s laws on a religious and therefore inflexible text.
When you try to base your entire nation’s function on a religious text then the people most fit to lead are fundies because they adhere to said texts the closest. Which is why Pakistan is struggling to not tear itself to pieces. Which is why Iran, Saudi and Yemen are led by fairly fundie governments. Which is why the other nations deeply struggle to maintain a liberal society and are regularly beset by fundies.
If you keep Bangladesh as a Muslim Nation you will eventually be a dictatorship or a theocracy again. You will eventually lose the ability to play on Twitter or Facebook or even complain. Hell, if you are particularly unlucky you may even end up like Pakistan. Torn by violence between moderates and extremists. I