Friday, September 18, 2009

The Prophet Motive

When I was at university, a friend of mine wrote inside her book: "There is no God, and Marx is His prophet'.

She didn't know much about Marxism, of course, but she sure hated Islam. Back in the early and mid-80s, if you weren't a Marxist, you weren't respected at Dhaka University, or any university in Bangladesh for that matter (there were no private universities then).

Consequently, universities were hotbeds of communist hotheads. One can imagine the hatred inspired by General Zia and General Ershad's privatization policies, reversing the property-grab of the Sheikh Mujib era. However, we were never immune to the blandishments of money.

My friend – a staunch feminist – received an offer of marriage from a rich Bangladeshi expatriate resident in the USA (yes, the devil's lair). Moreover, this man was a devout Muslim. He would wake up and recite the Koran every day!

Did she agree to such a marriage? In an eye-blink.

I remember how senior students, seemingly addicted to Marxism, would suddenly disappear. On inquiry, it would be learned that he had taken off for some university in America. Ah well! Nothing wrong with acquiring knowledge. Then, after some time, one would learn that he had joined the IMF!

Today, public university teachers routinely moonlight at the (more lucrative) private universities, against the regulations.

You see, there's one thing we can't resist: money.

Marxism brought prestige, which was good for an undergraduate, when your father footed your bills; but the moment you graduated and found yourself in the international labour market, and realized your potential, well, money determined everything. Without a murmur, university teachers went over to democracy and capitalism after the Berlin Wall came crashing down.

Now, there's one idea that pays no earthly dividends: Islam in particular, and religion in general. The old hatred for Islam (that ideological state apparatus, remember?) has, therefore, remained on the campuses. Teachers take every opportunity to instill it into their students. If 90% of American university teachers are democrats (according to The Economist), then 90% of Bangladeshi teachers are supporters of the dynasty of Sheikh Mujib, the apostle of secularism (for which read anti-Islamism).

Hence, when a member of the dynasty was arrested by the army, the teachers incited their indoctrinated students (and paid goons) to burn cars, lorries, restaurants…anything that could be broken and torched.

The intelligentsia squarely blamed the military rulers for raising prices: even though the international media made it abundantly clear that the blame lay on the wrongheaded policy of oil-substitution through ethanol and the planting of maize. From 2007, a chart in The Economist showed a steady rise in international food prices – and January 2007 was when the army took over from the psychopaths

(For international food prices - including Bangladesh's - see Conveniently for our intellectuals, international food prices began to fall just when their psychopathic leader came to power in a rigged election!)

A teacher at a local university blankly accused a bureaucrat of raising food prices – and she was a teacher of (you won't believe this) economics! A banker brazenly asked my wife, "What have international prices got to do with us?"
This year, prices, especially of sugar and ahead of Eid, have risen again – but not a whisper has been heard from the "secular" intellectuals because the dynasty is now in power.

For sugar prices, see

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