For Bangladesh
guest post by Mash

The folowing post is my plea for the people of Bangladesh as the military regime that took power in January 2007 now begins to brutalize its own people. What was the world’s second largest Muslim democracy has now been turned into a nation under the gun.

After massive protests by the population the military in Bangladesh has imposed an indefinite curfew and is systematically targeting students, professors, bloggers and reporters while the Bush administration continues to offer its support.

Today Bangladesh’s military turned its guns and its boots against the very people who it is entrusted to protect. Today when the frustrations of the Bangladeshi people boiled over the army responded with beatings and killings. They beat students. They beat reporters. They beat our brothers and they beat our sisters.

A government that mercilessly attacks its own people in the name of “public safety” is itself a danger to public safety. Bangladesh’s military government who came to power with a dubious mandate is fast losing any perceived legitimacy it claimed. Seven months of the suppression of fundamental rights and spiraling prices of essentials have brought misery to the people of the land. The flooding across the country added to the misery of the masses. While the military government pushed ahead with its “anti-corruption” drive and its political purges it neglected the deteriorating conditions in the country. Instead it blamed everyone from the politicians to the bankers to the NGOs for its own mismanagement of government functions. While the military government was looking for scapegoats, ordinary people – who barely get by on a good day – bore the brunt of the government’s neglect.

The military government created a climate of fear where the rule of the gun ruled the day. With freedom of expression and criticism of the government outlawed, perhaps it was inevitable that an act of humiliation by the military upon a student would be the spark that would unleash the frustrations of a nation. So what will be the punishment meted out by the military upon the Bangladeshi people? Will it be beatings? Will it be torture? Will it be murder?

What will the unelected rulers of Bangladesh do to the people? Already the Chief Advisor has pointed his finger at the “evil forces” for the unrest. The Chief Advisor needs to reassess the situation – his government is running out of scapegoats.

Today I stand with the brave people of Bangladesh. I stand against a government that would rather beat its own people then provide for their welfare. Today we must demand that this government restrain its forces from unleashing thuggery against its own people. To be silent is to be complicit.

[For background, read my earlier post on the military takeover. For the latest developments and events leading up to the current brutality, read my post here.]