Foreign Policy Blogs

Ekushay February: An Opportunity to Reflect on Shared National Values

Bangladeshis nationwide are commemorating the men who died on this day in 1952, a day that is now seeped in political and cultural significance.  Now, nearly all Bangladeshis know and accept the conventionally shared meaning of the day. It is important, however, to remind oneself and each other that some share of the significance of the day arose in the common cause in which men and women nationwide banded together on that day now nearly 60 years ago.

The political leaders and citizens of Bangladesh need to reacquaint themselves with that sense of shared values and common purpose.  There are, surely, difficult times ahead: the poor in Bangladesh may not be able to withstand the rapidly increasing price of staple food.  There is hardly any reason to think that government intervention will pick up that slack.  More broadly,there is no reason to think that as the rest of the rest of the world rears back into positive, healthy, economic growth, Bangladesh’s economy will necessarily keep up with other growing economies.

Economic growth and greater prosperity will turn on decisions made yesterday, today and tomorrow.   Yet there is no way of achieving greater and more equitable economic outcomes in Bangladesh without  squaring the circle of the country’s politics. A move, perhaps a unilateral move, to commit to shared causes and common purposive action might be necessary to achieve all that we might wish of our people on this day.

As the world turns and tumbles in the Middle East, as people make their voices heard in Libya and Bahrain and Yemen, the ruling Awami League government might think to move ahead of the public’s needs and establish fair, transparent, practices borne of shared and cherished values.

 

Author

Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link: http://blackandwhiteandthings.wordpress.com

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