Eid-ul-Adha holidays, the bareness of Dhaka streets was occasionally
interrupted by people covering their head with a heavy scarf,
in trying to ward of the cold. A friend said in jest that
in the past such garb has been used as an excuse to hide oneself
from being seen.
President Iskander Mirza declared martial law in 1958 and
appointed army commander-in-chief Muhammad Ayub Khan chief
administrator, the state machinery quietened all and sundry
with the fear factor. It worked for but a little over a decade
Khan photocopied everything ten years later. The effect was
the most brutal and ruthless attacks in history on the civilian
population of its eastern wing in 1971, the Pakistan Army
tried to instil fear in the Bangalee. Bangladesh became independent
and Pakistan as a country collapsed as the Bangalee population
overcame the initial trepidation. Razakars and other collaborators
tried to extend the terror but surrendered on 14 December
as the greatest cowards mankind has ever seen.
and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity
-- in this case the military and state police -- has been
defined as phobia. Under that situation people are scared
to face a law-enforcer, talk to strangers or even known people.
Nervousness, worry and unease take over. Whereas phobia is
often unfounded and exemplifies a circumstance blown usually
out of proportion, fear is for real.
are afraid of something or the other. The list of phobias
surprised me for not only having excluded cockrophobia (fear
of cockroach) or tiktikiphobia (fear of the domestic lizard),
or for ignoring the very popular examophobia, but because
being afraid of the army or the police or even the secret
police is not a phobia; it has to be fear. It is real.
as their leaders were, the Pakistanis are not the founders
of state terrorism. In fact, the Russian tsars introduced
in 1825 the Okhrana, which means 'protection'. This was the
birth of the secret police. These tsar loyalists could capture,
try and punish anybody, and they were given full judiciary
as well as executive powers.
in Russia is long but the most famous has to be the KGB, which
is short for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti or State
Security Committee. The KGB was the government agency of the
USSR in charge of the Soviet political police from 1954 to
1991. The KGB, the last in a series of Soviet security agencies
was officially disbanded when the USSR collapsed. During its
years of operation the agency's main directive was to protect
the Soviet regime from internal and external threats by means
of a vast police and spy network.
domestic functions included closely monitoring the Soviet
people and suppressing expressions of political discontent.
The KGB also was responsible for guarding Soviet borders,
protecting party and government leaders, and enforcing security
in the Soviet armed forces.
relied on a vast network of secret informers and a sophisticated
surveillance technology to carry out its domestic mission.
Authorized by law to conduct investigations of people suspected
of anti-Soviet behaviour, the KGB sent hundreds of so-called
dissidents off to forced labour camps. In some cases the KGB
avoided court trials by simply having people declared insane
and committed to psychiatric hospitals.
in 1922, conflict over constitutional and economic issues
brought the Soviet Union to the brink of civil war and prompted
its disintegration into 15 volatile successor states in 1991.
Adolf Hitler's trusted lieutenant Hermann Göring introduced
the Gestapo 1933. As a nucleus he used the political section
of the police of the Weimar Republic, but he extended it greatly,
removed from it all legal and constitutional restraints. Its
purpose was to persecute all political opponents of the Nazi
regime (including dissenting Nazis), not only defensively,
in cases of oppositional acts, but also preventively, in cases
of suspected or potential opposition. In this role, the Gestapo
was to collaborate with the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, or Security
Service), an organization of the Nazi Party; the SD did the
intelligence work that served as the basis for Gestapo operations.
Suspects were arrested and usually placed in concentration
camps. It was at the Gestapo's discretion whether or not the
arrested were brought to trial and whether or not they were
released if acquitted. The tyranny did not last and it is
widely believed that killer dictator Adolf Hitler committed
suicide in 1945.
(National Intelligence and Security Organization) of Mohammad
Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran is another secret police that served
an autocrat ruler. With the help of the military and later
the Savak (a secret police) the shah created a centralized,
authoritarian regime. He suppressed opposition, tightly controlled
legislative elections, and appointed a succession of prime
ministers loyal to him. The shah's regime suppressed and marginalized
its opponents with the help of Savak. Needless to say, popular
uprisings brought down the mighty shah's mighty government.
that the KGB and the Gestapo, ruthless as they were, had trials
for the people they apprehended. What sort of a trial?
(R) thedailystar.net 2005