Monday, April 02, 2007

Bangladesh army chief should be Seen but not Heard!

A.H. JAFFOR ULLAH

THE fact that Bangladesh army chief, Lieutenant General Moeen Uddin Ahmed is inching forward in itself is an ominous sign! The place for a good soldier is a cantonment or a garrison but not the civil society. If the army chief in America or any other civilized society were to address the civilian people, it would start a controversy. However, our Sonar Bangla is a case in exception. Here the army had done two coup d'états, maimed the constitution, and pushed the nation into the path of rapid Islamisation. The nation is under an emergency rule. On January 11, 2007 the president goaded by the military had declared the emergency rule. The country is now being ruled by a handpicked technocrat by the army. To earn the trust of the masses, the government had started a campaign to get rid of corrupt politicians and business tycoon. The army chief was lying low in the initial 3-4 weeks but after that he is becoming increasingly visible.

I do not like a bit the sign that tells me Gen. Moeen is positioning himself for something big. First, he started to address small gatherings in the backwaters of Bangladesh such as Chittagong Hill Tracts, Borguna, and other hinterland where he wrongly said that Iajuddin Ahmed had saved the nation by declaring emergency. Now I am reading that he is supposed to deliver a keynote speech on "Rethinking Political Development Tomorrow."

For the life of me, I do not understand how the General has become so knowledgeable on such a lofty subject as "Political Development." Do they teach politics in Army Cadet College, never mind "Political Development"?

To show the importance of the meeting where the Army Chief is going to deliver the keynote speech, the newspaper report wrote that one Prof. Zillur R. Khan of "Washington University" will attend the conference. I never heard anyone by the name Zillur R. Khan who is a professor of Washington University. However, there is a pedagogue by the name Zillur R. Khan who to my knowledge is the brother of Late Dr. Fazlur R. Khan (the architect of the Sears Tower, Chicago). Prof. Zillur R. Khan taught all his life at University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, a far cry from University of Wisconsin at Madison. Is there a university in America by the name Washington University? Bangladesh's news media are not big on names; therefore, Wisconsin or Washington hardly makes any difference.

Please watch the next move by Gen. Moeen. The other day I read another report in which it was stated that Gen. Moeen told the law enforcement people: "I do not want to hear the news of another garment Industry go in flame" (this is not the exact quote but a very similar one). My question to Gen. Moeen is - who do you think you are? Dr. Fakhruddin being the CA of Caretaker Government may say this to the chief of police. But why does the Army Chief project him as the Chief of the government. In fact, his place should be Kurmitola. And he should come forward when asked by the President or the Chief Advisor of the caretaker government. This kind of statement coming out of the military chief or his delivery of the keynote speech does not bode well for Bangladesh. Because, the army chief should be seen but not heard! #

Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA