Text of Our Politics as Blind as Natural Disasters
Our politics as blind as natural disastersAlamgir KhanBangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Sidr visited Bangladesh in 2007 and Aila in 2009. Sidr killed about 3,400 people and Aila about 200, and both killed cattle, destroyed houses and damaged schools. Disasters mean loss of lives, uprooting of trees, damaging of educational institutions, breaking-up of communication, disruption of the education cycle, etc. Natural disasters are usually concentrated in certain areas and cause most of the damage in a few hours. There are government and civil society organisations that take initiatives to protect people and support the victims when disasters strike. But what if some disaster occurs across the country and continues month and month without any preparedness from anywhere?Bangladesh saw such a disaster in 2013, which continued till the beginning of this year. According to ASK's Human Rights Situation report, 507 people were killed and 22,407 people injured in 2013. Many sources claimed that about 70 thousand tress were cut down last year. A large number of people were burnt to death and those who have survived with severe injuries will live a sorrowful life till death. Hands and heads of men, women and children were blown away. The education minister said that 410 primary schools, 82 high schools, 21 madrasas and 9 colleges were damaged this year. It can happen in a cyclone or a fire accident. But no natural force was in action in bringing about this level of damages. It was political violence as blind as natural forces that did this. Sheikh Hasina was angry that environmentalist civil society leaders did not say anything against the felling of trees this time. But environmentalists appeal to people and politicians to take steps so that green environment can be saved. What can they do when politicians' activities turn as blind as natural disasters? There is no shortage of natural and man-made. There are all sorts of disasters in this country, including the world's largest disaster in the apparel industry in an industrial backwater like Bangladesh. Now people have to brace themselves for the disaster of political violence, which may visit them every five years. The blind force of our bourgeois politics of plundering nature has just exhausted itself like any natural disaster for the time being; but this lull, heaven forbid, may not last long. The writer is Research and Publication Officer, Centre for Development Initiative and Practices.