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Volume 3 Issue 1 | January 2008



Original Forum Editorial

Month in Review: Bangladesh
Month in Review: International
Is the US stronger than global opinion?- - Afsan Chowdhury
The price we pay--Naomi Hossain
Post-Sidr agricultural rehabilitation-- Mahabub Hossain & Uttam Deb
Sidr and the Sundarbans--Philip Gain
Photo Feature Unwanted and Forgotten
The new way forward-- Asif Saleh
The political economy of energy-- BForrest Cookson
Rediscovering the spirit of Rumi-- Dr M Shamser Ali
A country with a view-- Syed Rezaul Karim
Tale of an island--Irtishad Ahmad
What has changed?-- Rubaiyat Hossain
Science Forum
It's No Joke


Forum Home


It's No Joke

We may have been a little distracted from our own troubles over past days by momentous events in Pakistan.

But as the shock of Benazir's assassination recedes a little, we find ourselves at that threshold of time -- when we look back to what the old year has brought us and what the new year may bring.

Listing our own troubles of 2007 makes the head spin.

Emergency, curfews, unrest.
Arrest of the country's two leaders and numerous high-profile detentions and convictions.

A slough of natural and manmade disasters -- major floods and the worst cyclone in decades -- not to mention spiralling inflation, a stagnant economy and the demolition and lethal collapse of a controversial landmark building.

And yet life goes on, we take an incredible amount of chaos in our stride. Does this mean that we look disasters of all kinds in the face with resignation, that we are inured to following the same trajectories? Or does it mean that we are defiant in the face of hardship, picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves down and starting all over again?

I it can be difficult to understand your own national character sometimes in the same way it is hard to see the forest for the trees.

It's much easier oftentimes to learn from others' actions or pinpoint where they are going wrong or than it is to correct self-mistakes.

If we look to Pakistan right now, it is heartening to find that the two major parties will not be boycotting the general elections after Benazir's family and supporters stressed that she had been killed during her struggle "to re-establish democracy in Pakistan."

Is there a pertinent point here?
On the other hand, while the manner of Benazir's death is truly tragic for the Pakistan People's Party, not to mention for the country, one cannot help being astonished by the PPP's appointment of Benazir's 19-year old son as her successor and "heir" as some analysts have termed it.

To outsiders this appears an obvious case of history repeating, in a way that is peculiar to this part of the world.

Something to consider, perhaps?
Looking ahead, on the threshold of 2008 much is expected of the coming year. In considering what needs to be done to get our house in order, the words pending and looming come to mind.

Exits and entries loom, not to mention the government's pending actions in its ongoing efforts to hold free and fair elections.

This time next year how will we be able to appraise 2008? Will we be on the right trajectory having made some right choices? Will we be a nation united in those choices? Will we be able to say we learnt from our own past mistakes and those of others in order to make those right choices?

Of course, making the right choices in this context implies action and decision from our country's leaders. It also presumes they have choices before them to act and decide on.

The possibility also exists that even if we don't repeat past mistakes, we may make entirely new ones. Particularly in territory that is new to us.

As we head into our own "uncharted waters" in 2008 can we make our experiences, not just over the past year but over our 36-year history, count in securing our future history?

As a year of living in limbo ends, what will the next one bring? A year of resolutions or a year of discontent?



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