I feel like I haven’t been to work much lately… In fact, thanks to some pretty energetic hartals and riots, and because my office is close to the centre of the city where the action is, I’ve been working from home since the start of the year.
It’s all thanks to the anniversary of last year’s elections on the 4th of Jan. The ‘victorious’ Awami League has commemorated their ‘win’ by calling it a national day of ‘Victory for Democracy’. The understandably miffed BNP opposition (headed up by Khaleda Zia) is calling it the ‘Killing of Democracy Day’. It’s all a bit out of hand and everyone’s very upset.
Here’s just a little taste of what’s been going on: The BNP wanted to have a rally objecting to the day…
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia this afternoon announced an indefinite countrywide blockade to protest government restriction on 20-party rally.
“The programme will continue until my further instruction. We will set the next course of action at an appropriate time,” she said while speaking to journalists after law enforcers barred her from getting out of her Gulshan office this afternoon.
Here’s how a friend of mine described it (far more witty than I could muster):
Current state of play in Bangladesh in the two days since I returned to work… Opposition party threatens blockade of Dhaka. Police form actual blockade of Dhaka in order to prevent threatened blockade from occurring. Dhaka still blockaded. Opposition leader blockaded in her office for several days after police and 16 trucks filled with construction materials mysteriously appear outside the front gate, blockading all exits. Announces indefinite country-wide blockade as retaliation for personal blockade. International NGOs blockade themselves in hotels in order to keep safe from the impending blockade in response to the blockade which prevented the original planned blockade. My home and office are unaffected by the blockade so I’m effectively blockaded-in with work in response to the blockade, which others are unable to do because of the blockade.
It’s really worth reading the whole story. Cos, y’know. Bangladesh.