Elections in Bangladesh, Bergman's Peterloo and Our Epistemic Autism

A lady votes for the cameras in the 10th Bangladeshi General Election.
For video of more democratically empowered Bangladeshi women and youths
see ProgressBD's fine collection of English subtitled media clips.
I feel that the January 5th elections just past were probably the most foolish and malevolent elections to be held in the history of Bangladesh, East Pakistan and British Occupied India. The government led by the Awami League of Hasina Wajed, and the opposition led by Rawshan Ershad's breakaway faction of her detained husband's Jatiyo Party is illegitimate.

It is not going away any time soon, after all foreign donors need the admin support, and from the looks of it the oppositions are in very bad shape, not least because of political repression put upon them over this Awami Regime and of course the donor-backed military dictatorship that took power in 2008, enfooling us with anti corruption talk.

This government will be in power for a while, for several years government organisations have been purged and disciplined into the desired shape. Although some of the corporate media did try to cover this particular farce, I wouldn't expect too much from them, since they are generally complicit in the May 6th massacre. To find out more about the roots of their complicity, think how they created the mood music for it.

Bergman meets his Peterloo?

Bangladesh has its poor man's Robert Fisk in David Bergman.  Accused of being a Jamati agent over his coverage of war crimes tribunals, he has shown his stripes with subtlety in this election ridiculing those who call out the massacre as issuers of hyperbole, and generally functioning as an articulating echo of the secular liberal establishment.

I was annoyed at statements from BNP thug Sadeque Hossain Khokha the day after the killings, his party leader had ordered activists out on the streets to protect Hefazot at the last minute and he failed, bottled it. We are prevented from knowing by fascistic authority, the useful idiots of the Shahbag movement (epitomised electronically by @rezwan) and a media with ethical commitments only to money and comfort.

However, thanks to good people on the ground and some social media support we know from an elderly hospitalised survivor that the dead were carted away the dead in dust trucks.  (See video from 0:58). From the videos and witness accounts we have access to, we do know that there was a massacre and it has been alchemical on our collective political selfs.

Perhaps if the victims were members of his colour, political, professional community or family, then a preliminary figure of 61, and the context of unarmed sleeping protesters being set upon by the full force of the state would warrant the term 'massacre'. I remember how initial estimates of the dead from the World Trade Center attacks started basically with estimates of morning building capacity and changed as we learned more about people escaping. In that case, the people and the state were at one in recovery, at Motijheel, the state and emergency services were against the people, and there was a media blackout and cover up.

Proposed Peterloo Memorial
Bergman will know the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 well, when armed cavalry of Napoleonic 'war heroes' charged huge crowds in broad daylight killing 15 and injuring hundreds.  Revulsion at this brutality led to the establishment of the Guardian Newspaper with an epistemic momentum to value the life of people, not just the privileged.

I remember learning about Peterloo in one of the important political lessons of my life from an elderly communist grandpa-type from The North, early on the second morning of the Occupy encampment at St Paul's in London, before banker engagement. He was not too impressed with the youths who were still fast asleep having spent the whole night drinking and getting stoned. I remember listening to a very excited girl reporting witnessing a couple copulating in the churchyard in V for Vendetta masks.

The elderly activist remarked that the younger generation had a very poor political education, kinda reminded me of Boro Hujur come to think of it.

The issue of bringing Peterloo into it is to highlight the inequality of regard to human life that 15:61(min) represents. The ridicule of the event demonstrates that Bergman doesn't give a shit and nor do many others in his echo chamber of native informants. Remember that he is married into Kamal Hossein's family, Mujib's first foreign minister and a very established figure in civil and political society in Dhaka.

There is a terrible double standards of evidence here [click for poem] that extends to Muslims in the UK media too. However, when did pointing out double standards of an oppressor ever get us anywhere?

Waste(wo)man Warsi

For their part, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Affirmative Action Alibi Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has issued a predictable statement  relegitimising the election, blanket blaming all parties and renormalising British ties to the regime. This is the same Warsi who dismissed the Motijheel Massacre with some vague fluffy talk about 'freedom of religion'.

So while it is good to write to various institutions of the British government and establishment (not least to challenge lies and bias in a dignified way), and  please do talk with your MP and challenge the BBC's (Sabir Mustafa's) bias, what is more pressing is a longer term issue whose resolution lies in community transformation and the creativity possible because of it.

We must superscede the practices of a generation of thousands of AL/BNP/JI/JSD drones and the newer alliance of Bengali Nationalists, Zionists and Islamophobes in the UK.

Fortunately, we have already seen evidence of resistance counter culture and I for one look forward to seeing more as we renegotiate a transnational localism of Nur.

Epistemic Autism and the Now What? Question

At the root of our problem understanding, being and thriving  is Epistemic Autism.

I make up words and terms, you are probably used to is by now, but they are intended as portals, this one is important and defined as follows.
Def: The inability to comprehend that which one has not cultivated the mind for.
Epistemic Autism is a problem in multi-disciplinary research collaboration, complex organisational management as well as political life.
The seculibs of Bangladesh, who wear liberalism to secure white privilege, have so little knowledge of islamic dynamic culture, that their misframing of Hefazot-e-Islam has translated into the Motijheel Massacre.
Unable to distinguish students of Maulana Madani from Maulana Moududi, and dismissive of anybody able to, their inhumanity, arrogance and shamelessness continues to corrupt intellectual, organisational and justice-making for everybody else.
It seeks to explains the intellectual character, or lack of, amongst educated power holders captured by the term 'civil society' today in Bangladesh. It points to a need to democratise religious, social and physical sciences and uloominate our conditions and problems with a mighty orchestra and politics of decolonial love.

Taking ownership of the seculib problem in an important step, and raising our voices and support for a forensic investigations of the massacre at Shapla Chottor is part of that. It will be easier once the illegitimate government of India in Bangladesh has fallen.

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