Saturday, December 04, 2004

Street politics

We are about to suffer another political winter of discontent. This time the opposition has shown some enterprise and imagination with a historic human chain, spanning the entire length of the country (on December 11th). No doubt it could be seen from the moon, just like the Great Wall of China. However, even if we are spared the usual quota of ‘hartals’ and work stoppages, we are still firmly stuck in the gutter of street politics. Slogans and cheap headlines are the stuff of our democracy.
Let’s do something. Every time a politician opens his or her mouth to attack the government or opposition, let us cut him or her short and ask for solutions. It’s similar to that old business adage where the boss says to his assistant “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions’. We have had our bellyful of one point, six point, and fifteen point demands. We want to see more intelligent debate about how we are going to do the seemingly impossible – chart a way out for Bangladesh. All movements, parties and activists need presence on the street. Everyone needs visibility. We can support that.
But what we need are programmes that speak to us, that can provide for a better life.

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