Came across a 2001 article by Murray Campbell, “Can feuding matriarchs heal a nation?”, Globe and Mail, August 3, 2001: A3.

So much ignorance. Me, not them. Had no appreciation of the power of elected female leaders in the history of Bangladesh.

Story relating to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter getting two fierce political rivals together:

Of all the challenges that Jimmy Carter has faced in his years of globetrotting do-gooding, this may have provided his sweetest triumph.

Yesterday in Bangladesh, the former U.S. president succeeded in getting two political archrivals who have feuded for more than a decade to sit down for lunch.

Witnesses said Sheikh Hasina, who recently ended her five year term as prime minister, and Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladesh National Party, exchanged only pleasantries as they broke bread. But it was enough to boost the stock market in the country’s capital, Dhaka…

…The rivalry between the two leaders has poisoned Bangladeshi politics, according to many commentators.

“They have divided the nation, created and perpetuated dynastic myths around two past leaders,” said Akhtar Hossain, an International Monetary Fund economist.

In a survey published last year, he accused the two women of practising a feudalism that “promotes suspicion and betrayal, arrogance of power, intolerance of political opposition and criticism and…corruption.”

The miracle is that Bangladesh, which Henry Kissinger once wrote off as a “basket case” is thriving in its own limited way.

A nation of 130 million people, it is flooded annually by monsoon rains, and is no stranger to killer cyclones. Its per capita income is less that $400 (U.S.) a year. One analyst called it “a 10-letter word for woe”.

And in 2016, Sheikh Hasina is back as prime minister, having been re-elected in 2009. She previously served as prime minister from 1996 to 2001. Also in 2016, Begum Khaleda Zia is still in politics, as an elected representative, having been the prime minister between 2001 and 2006, and previously prime minister from 1991 to 1996. They have seemingly alternated as the country’s prime minister since 1996, with one period where neither ruled: 2007 to 2008, when the country was ruled by a caretaker government, supported by the military. Lots of political drama and intrigue, though where democracy still appears to be the ideal, although…

And more although…


About brucelarochelle
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