Apathy abounds

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 9:39 am

The fine line between where patriotism ends and apathy descends is as hard to figure out as that infuriating missing link of the jigsaw puzzle. The Versailles Gardens are one of many with manicured mazes designed to test resolve and sharpen the senses. Even given that some are more gifted than others, it behoves a certain peace of mind to negotiate the twists of turns just as in the journey of life. The clinching factor is faith in self, focus on the end game, and decisively a relative sense of comfort in those that are in charge of keeping the maze clear enough for the challenge.

Marathon runners have testified to these facts; confidence that the road is free of encumbrances, faith in the liquids they frequently take in, and listening to what every aching muscle tells them. And that’s after the continuous gruelling sessions they force themselves through day in and day out. Balanced diets are enigmas, luxuries for many. Yet the best long distance runners take their dietary cues from as natural a substance as can be found or afforded.

For the general citizenry that look for just a normal life with their treasured ambitions, big and small, faith has to come from being able to live within means, conduit leadership from those that they can trust, and focus on their abilities. That only 11% plus of the electorate are from arguably the better-off, while sadly, short of means and struggling to just survive turn out for an important by-election is thus a telling indictment.

True, those that put up their hands to be servants of the people only have a few months’ tenure. True that grass-root engagement sans going through the motions of engaging with voters was limited. Yet this is one region, Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Badda, and the slums of Kuril where people had most reason to express a choice and importantly where a section had access to seek accountability.

If individuals of such an area are hurting so much as not to have faith in the conduit, it points to a break in the chain that is supposed to bind faith, belief, and confidence.

It wasn’t meant to be that way. What worked before won’t pave the way forward. People expect to be listened to, not talked down to. Balance the promises made and those kept by those that use them as the means to attract and it makes for disastrous reading. There are excuses galore, but should those impediments not have been factored in?

In general the more forward thinking new generation don’t want to become involved in state law-making. And Bangladesh has a majority youth population. But their targets are set elsewhere, mostly on foreign shores.

Those that join the bandwagon gleefully are usually bereft of understanding of the very basics of law making. The constitution doesn’t feature in debates or discourses. Worse, the changes required in any such document over a period of time is never enunciated. That allows for hiding behind written statements valid for when they were inscribed.

Most important is the disappointment of  tendencies to support directly or indirectly those that have no compunction in piling on the misery.

It doesn’t help when we hear that giving up sovereignty is key to gaining responsibility over the state. If that were so, whatever happened to the power of the ballot? Nor are we crowned with glory when some who seek to serve get bashed up and relevant authorities seek detailed enquiries.

Key functionaries absent for crucial government to government interactions don’t inspire confidence. Those that say business cartels can’t be controlled don’t bubble faith. And missing the trees for the wood in fiscal policy that doesn’t apply salve to financial wounds of the individual doesn’t support the wellbeing of the individual.

There are voices that can, and should be heard. They are relegated to the group “to be seen and not heard.” Till that happens, the voices heard — the grass in the maze — will grow uncontrolled.

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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