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16 September, 2018 11:12:40 AM


‘Alone in the beach’

Sheikh Hasina’s real power base is the people and her organisation
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury
‘Alone in the beach’

During the 2nd War World after the fall of France Britain became the only fighter against Hitler's Germany. Hitler's ally Mussolini of Italy was preparing for the invasion of Africa and in Asia Japan also was becoming ambitious to advance against Britain.

America was helping Britain militarily but was yet to participate in the war. London was bombed almost every day. Hitler was armed with V-2 Rocket and this rocket was landing in London regularly. British forces suffered a devastating defeat in Dunkirk. There was a speculation that the British Royal family would take shelter in India because they feared that after Paris Hitler would invade London.
In this almost hopeless situation the-then Prime Minister Winston Churchill was addressing the House of Commons one day. At that time the House of Parliament was under bombing and a part of the building collapsed but Churchill did not stop his speech. He asked the members of the parliament not to leave the House and said, 'At present we are alone in the beach, but I can assure you, the victory is ours. We should not lose our courage but we should confront the enemy with more courage and unity'. This speech of Churchill's became famous like Lincoln's speech in Gettysburg. After the war his speech was included in the textbook of schools and colleges throughout the world, especially in the undivided India. The whole speech was included in the text under the title, 'Alone in the beach'. When I was a school boy I read this great speech in my text book.
Now I sometimes think that in Bangladesh our present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is in a similar position like Winston Churchill and facing it with the same Churchillian vigour. Churchill was surrounded by his enemies militarily and Hasina is surrounded by her enemies politically, whose only target is Sheikh Hasina. If they can destroy her leadership they think that they will be able to destroy the secular base of Bangladesh, which was established by an armed liberation war. We can say that Hasina is alone in the beach. She is fighting now at many fronts without any strong ally. Firstly, her real political strength, her party is in a disarray. Secondly, there is a huge infiltration of anti-people elements in the party who we can call the 'enemy within'. Her old foes, the communal and fundamentalist parties with cruel Jihadists among them are united against her government. Even there were attacks on her life several times in the past.

On the third front a large number of the member of the so-called elite and intellectual class are now trying to unite and destroy her by powerful propaganda. They are joined by two powerful media who are opposing her very strongly but under the guise of neutrality. She has some personal opponents who has international fame and they are using that fame and influence to create a strong public opinion against her in the west and oust her from the power.

Among the neighbouring countries Pakistan is still very hostile to her though recently Pakistani military has changed their puppet in the power. India the big and powerful neighbour of Bangladesh, has a powerful influence in Bangladesh politics. Hasina's opponents are trying to vitiate their minds also. The Rohingya crisis has now reached its peak. Though the main perpetrator of this crisis is Myanmar's military Junta but behind the scene the other culprits are Pakistan and their collaborator, Jamaat of Bangladesh.  For a very long time there was a movement for a free Arakaan state among Rohingans and there were some insurgencies demanding a Muslim state bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar. This movement was losing its impetus and fierceness gradually.

After Bangladesh became independent, Jamaat with the help of Pakistan and Saudi Arab revived this movement with a view to create an Islamic state bordering Bangladesh and to disturb its secular government. Jamaat is very strong in Cox's Bazar area and they maintained connection with terrorist Rohingan groups. Time to time there were clashes between Myanmar's army and these terrorists and the innocent Rohingans became victims. Time and again they had to leave their home to flee to Bangladesh. This time also some Rohingan terrorists provoked by Pakistani military officers and Jamaati leaders attacked some army bases which started the present crisis. On the plea of Myanmar's army was fighting terrorists they started killing indiscriminately innocent Rohingan people with the aim to push them in Bangladesh.

On the other hand, in Bangladesh BNP and Jamaat expected that Hasina government would not be able to tackle this huge refugee problem, which would have a tremendous pressure on Bangladesh economy and destabilise social and political structure and the government will collapse. This was a probability. But with Churchillian vigour Hasina survived. The last venture of the united front against Hasina was to take advantage of student movement for road safety and the cancellation of quota system.

Failing this they propagated very powerfully throughout the world that Hasina government quashed the movement with excessive violence and suppressed freedom of speech by torturing dissident voices. They could just put forth one example, the arrest of Shahidul Alam, a renowned photographer and collected signatures from some Nobel laureates against the alleged torture of this photographer.  Behind this propaganda is a man who is now exposed and is known to have a personal grudge against Sheikh Hasina, because his financial interest was affected by Hasina government, like Jagathseth's financial interest was badly affected by Nawab Sirajdullah's government 200 years ago.

Now, we can say Sheikh Hasina government is alone in the beach. To survive she needs Churchillian vigour and a new alignment of her allied forces, both old and new. Her real power base is the people and her organization. These two powers should be revitalized and reactivated. Her second allied force is the left democratic political parties in the country-big or small. Her third and the most powerful power base is the people of the country and the ordinary professional classes who have always stood by Awami League in its crisis. During the Second World War British people unitedly laid their faith in Churchill's leadership. Now in this most critical period of Bangladesh, if Sheikh Hasina could inspire and unite the people and her organization to fight at all fronts against enemies and the people can lay their ultimate faith in her leadership it is certain that Sheikh Hasina would ultimately come out victorious.

London, 13 Thursday September, 2018


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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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