Saturday, April 16, 2011

Democracy and Violence

I remember the electoral fight between my uncle, Major General (retd.) M. Khalilur Rahman and the president's man in their constituency of Jamalpur.

The general was winning, when suddenly the counting was stopped on state television. When it was resumed, we found that the general was losing. General Ershad, the president, had rigged the polls.

And what a wonderful thing that was: it meant that my uncle, no matter what he did, could not win. That meant that even if he had employed thugs he would still have lost. So, naturally, neither side employed thugs. This was the benign aspect of 'democracy' under dictatorship: the absence of goons.

When Ershad fell from power, of course, thugs and murderers and rapists became the norm. Without these criminals, you couldn't win an election.

This is what 'free and fair' have meant for Bangladesh: rule by criminals.

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