It didn’t come as any surprise to anyone in Bangladesh but the opposition party extended the latest hartal and blockade to the beginning of Friday. Effectively, Khaleda Zia – whatever the cost – is calling for national strikes for every day of the week bar Fridays (considered holy by Muslims here) – I don’t know why she doesn’t just call a constant strike!
The aim to oust Sheikh Hasina with this action, however, seems to be floundering. The UN are now involved in negotiations but both ladies are refusing to engage in the ‘compromising attitude’ hoped for by officials. The UN guys seem oblivious to the fact this is simply Bangladesh history repeating – over and over to the dismay of the people.
Meanwhile, at least one witness against the war criminals tried earlier this year has been attacked and murdered and fears are mounting concerning the protection of all those who testified against these men. My feeling is that Jamaati and BNP supporters are beginning to smell, if not election victory, at least of the demise of the current government and are getting bolder by the day.
All this means our plans are changing by the day too – if not by the hour. ‘TIB’ we say here – ‘This Is Bangladesh’ – and with that expression comes the acknowledgement that the impossible is possible here and vice versa too.
So, as I write, the barrels and luggage probably won’t go on Friday now because the bus which would carry them won’t run Thursday night. At this moment, we’re really not quite sure how or when they will ship. Similarly, with our cases – though it’s possible we can send some of them off with people who are flying down to Dhaka. It’s all rather uncertain…
Meanwhile, friends continue to come and take our stuff. Our short history repeating itself in sense too.
We may be no closer to having everything packed but we at least there’s slightly less clutter to get in the way – especially in Thing I’s room.
The significance of this picture is worth explaining:
This is our clothes basket where we dump the previous day’s clothes for the ayahs to wash (the turnaround period in Bangladesh is one day or less for clothes to be washed, dried and ironed – all by hand). When we first visited LAMB in 2006 the kids both could hide in these in the Guest house where we would stay. When we moved here in 2008 they could both still manage it (one at a time, obviously!). Now, no chance! How did they get so big? Sometimes, history can’t repeat itself – I can’t help but wonder if some ‘growing up’ is needed elsewhere too?
Sad times, bittersweet memories.
- Bangladesh blockade: boy dies in police firing (thehindu.com)
- Sheikh Hasina and The Death of Dialogue (electionbangla.wordpress.com)
This post by ProactiveIndian is excellent and, while unrelated to the post above, is an excellent tale of the political corruption in India which mirrors that of the Bangladesh too. I guess that makes it relevant here after all, thinking about it.