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Washington Post: a Quiet Revolution against corruption in Bangladesh October 5, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, CORRUPTION, GOVERNANCE, POLITICS.
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A report by Emily Wax is published in Washington Post on 3rd October, 2007 saying that a quiet revolution is undergoing in Bangladesh against corruption.

The report said that corruption was ingrained in social fabric that even the Bureau of Anti-corruption accepted a bribe and Bangladesh persistently ranked top most corrupt country in the world.

The paper continued, ‘Now, two former Prime Ministers, rival politicians who have dominated the countries politics for 16 years are behind the bar. They are awaiting trials for siphoning off millions of dollars from the Government. Also incarcerated on graft, tax evasion and corruption charges are 170 members of the ruling elite, along with an estimated 15000 political underdogs, local government officials and businessmen’.

It said that they have all alleged to have stolen 150 million people who have long languished in abject poverty.

The paper added that the arrests this year are unprecedented for South Asia Region, a reputation for widespread impunity when it comes to thievery in Government corruption. ‘It is completely unthinkable in SA that a country’s demigods are now in jail’ the paper quoted Iftekher Jaman, Executive Director of Transparency International, Bangladesh chapter, ‘For most people what matters is daily life and corruption is so deep rooted here… that there has to be a painful transition. But in the long terms, it has to happen’.

The report observed that the transition , from a system in which corruption rules, to one, in which institutions do, has indeed been difficult. The interim government says these are normal growing pains, and the only way to change the system.

‘Even a little corruption is bad because it sets a tone that anything goes.’ said the Hasan Masud Chowdhury, Chairman of AntiCorruption Commission (ACC) which has replaced now defunct Bureau of AntiCorruption; “Corruption is tied to poverty. Africa has its Big Men, with their sycophants who benefited from their power. Well, Bangladesh has its Big Women and their blind followers. And why should we all be too afraid to take back what our citizens lost? And why should we all be too afraid to take back what our citizen lost?’

The paper obversed that some Bangladeshis say they are optimistic but cautiously so. The ordinary citizen is also of the same opinion.

‘What is happening here is nothing short of a quiet revolution without violence,’ the paper quoted Barrister Moinul Hussain, Care Taker Government key law and justice official.

An ordinary citizen

Ref: Washington Post 3/10/07, Prothom Alo 4/10/07

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