Monday, April 25, 2005

ANALYSIS: Perceptions and misperceptions on Bangladesh and insidious danger

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No, Bangladesh is not irrelevant, not by any means, and it is, as Bowring says, not doing badly, but the dysfunctions he mentions are real enough and, if allowed to gain the upper hand, will open this country to all the diverse attacks against it and make them stick. And the Islamic parties are proving to be the lightning rod for all the forces that are out to crush the enemies of secularism (the unpleasant treatment recently meted out by Belgium to a group of Pakistani legislators containing fundamentalists is a manifestation of the dim view taken of such elements by many countries). The enemies of secularism and moderation need to be subdued in this modern age, and especially in the post-9/11 international system, but it is really up to the secular political parties to assert themselves. Otherwise, inevitably this country, which has thus far withstood, and is withstanding, a barrage of spurious propaganda against it precisely because of the international recognition of its tradition of secularism and religious moderation, might one day find itself on the wrong end of international perception.

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