Do You Know This Man?

Police clash with journalists in Bangladesh

He may not have an American Express card but he does have a police badge. Apart from his wonderful facial expression, he enjoys beating up journalists and old men, likes wearing cool sunglasses, and has a taste for berets.

He is also what people in the Third World think of when you say "terrorist". As long as Governments in the third world continue to terrorize their citizens the environment that creates violence will not cease. Power unchecked by reason and unleashed upon defenseless citizens must stop. If you want to know where terrorists get their start, look closely at this picture. This is commonplace violence in the Third World. This kind of violence is also the tip of the iceberg: things get really ugly with government sanctioned torture, murders and disappearances. The environment is ripe for anyone to exploit and unleash further violence in the name of defending the people.

The United States cannot hope to win the war on terrorism as long as it tolerates "allies" who continue to terrorize their people. We are applying band aids to a cancer when we should be using chemotherapy.

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28 Responses to Do You Know This Man?

  1. usnjay says:

    I agree with your analysis that violence, lack of development and poverty are sources of terrorism. America is not a source of third-world violence, we have just been one of many of its targets. Can you flesh out your proposed solution a bit? Does ending our toleration of ‘allies’ who support government violence mean we cut off all trade and diplomacy with any country that is not a widely recognized democracy? Should we stop sending financial & humanitarian aid to anyone, knowing that at least some of it would fall into the wrong hands?
    Should we invade every country simultaneously? Retreat into isolationism?
    Or do we perhaps pick one particularly egregious and dangerous dictator to overthrow and attempt to install democracy in the middle of a region that has not seen a working democracy?

  2. Mash says:

    usnjay, you cant change the situation by the example of overthrowing a dictator and saying we’ll do this to you also if you dont shape up. Most regimes know that will never happen – if you were playing the lottery, the odds of getting invaded by the US are very small. So, that is not a deterrent.

    And most of these countries are not dictatorships. Bangladesh is not a dictatorship – it is a democracy.

    The answer is not democracy, it is law and order, checks and balances, education, poverty alleviation, corruption and accountability. Removing Saddam Hussein did nothing to change any of these factors.

    So invasion is not an answer. The United States and the wealthy countries wield enormous power over these countries. Speaking about Bangladesh specifically, the thing the leaders understand is money. In fact, it is all about money and power. We have plenty of economic levers to pull to bring about reform in these countries. If we do so, the people will applaud us. If we bomb them, the first thing you will lose are the people (if in fact, our goal was to help the people, we fail when the first bomb drops).

    I am not suggesting sanctions. I am suggesting trade policy with conditions, trade quotas handed out with strings attached, IMF loans tied to government reform, investment in education, etc. The United States has enormous power by the sheer force of its ideals. Make no mistake about it, we have been a force for good and can still be. It will surprise you how many people in the Third World have read the US Declaration of Independence.

    As far as Bangladesh is concerned I know the power structure and Bangladesh’s experience with democracy well from personal experience. The leaders in Bangladesh thrive because not enough attention is paid. Attention makes them run and hide.

  3. usnjay says:

    Good points, I agree that soft power is the best approach in many cases, Bangladesh included.

    Soft power was clearly insufficient for dealing with the threat Islamic extremists made clear on 9/11. I haven’t heard a viable alternative to invasion that didn’t simplify to “ignore the problem and hope it goes away”.

  4. usnjay says:

    quick addition wrt your first sentence: the point of invading Iraq wasn’t to instill fear of invasion in neighboring dictatorships, but to instill the hope & example of democracy.

  5. Bengali Fob says:

    Yep. Saw that pic. The event was all over ATN Bangla news. That man should be ashamed for hitting a man that could be his father! Actually that doesn’t even matter. The police should not be violent against reporters double period.

    As for the people of Bangladesh letting the government do whatever they want: I do disagree somewhat.

    Some people are of course trying to stop this corrupt government and some support the government for their own selfifh needs.

    BUT the vast majority doesn’t even know what is happening! The are illterate, so how can they understand what the newspaper says? They are too busy worrying about getting food in their stomach.

    “Ignorance is power” that is what the government is promoting. It’s power for the government.

    Once the people of Bangladesh are literate and educated then they will know how they are being fooled.

    Ignorance = oppression

  6. dude says:

    Bengali Fob, agree with you on pt about the masses. average bangladeshi, primarily in rural areas, have not seen their lot in life change in the last 35yrs, or for that matter, last 61 years, or, probably,the last 100 yrs.

    IMF & WB indirect sanctions have never worked, and generally end up the very people who need the biggest helpinghand.

    as long as the wealthy and affluent can ‘gain’ something from support of either party, and as long as law and order is a tv show in most peoples eyes and not reality, and as long greed and and an unwillingness to see their fellow citizens improve the daily lives, things will only get bad to worse to dismal.

    it bewilders me how others in asia with the same natural resources and negative environmental factors, i.e. cyclones and floods and drought, can fare better then b’deshis.

    time to ‘fire’ all 3-4 major parties, and begin afresh!!

  7. dude says:

    oops, forgot to end ‘i’ & ‘b’.. sorry!

  8. dude says:

    now all we need is a small hungry looking child getting beat to complete the set as we already had a housewife, and have plenty of students and mullahs.

  9. Mash says:

    dude, I did not mean to suggest sanctions. Sanctions always hurt the poor first. Poor starve to death while the leaders eat caviar when sanctions are in place (to wit, look at the maximum leader in N. Korea and his taste for fine drink while his people starve).

    I do however think something needs to be done to cull the corruption at the top. The United States and other donors can make that happen by squeezing the rich hard. Its not hard to do, most of their money is in foreign bank accounts. But, back to reality, I doubt it will happen. Its just not as sexy as bombing.

  10. L.N. Smithee says:

    You wrote, “The United States and other donors can [cull the corruption] by squeezing the rich hard. Its not hard to do, most of their money is in foreign bank accounts.”

    If it’s not hard to do, then I am certain you will have no problem explaining exactly what you mean by “squeezing the rich hard.”

    I’m waiting.

  11. Mash says:

    L.N. Smithee, still waiting?
    I was referring specifically to dude’s comment regarding Bangladesh where the richest person in the country is the biggest bank loan defaulter. The quickest way to make money there is to take out a multi-million dollar bank loan with dubious collateral. This money is then shipped abroad to foreign banks. You want to get rid of the corruption in Bangladesh a good place to start is to freeze these assets.

    I hope it was worth your wait. Now perhaps you can get off your condescending little horse.

  12. dude says:

    agreed. i have a very radical solution, and it isnt peaceful, so i will refrain from saying it.

    but suffice to say, we have gone down to manhole deeper and deeper and every new news coming from bangladesh is graft, corruption, stupid infrastructure investments, i.e. repaving elephant road 15 times/year, or yet another bomb blast.

    all the good works unfortunately has to be left to the likes of pbs to showcase grameen or brac.

    its a malaise. i think the youth donthave pride in themselves, or real belief int heir futures. they are taught to be selfish and seek self-fulfillment by parents and by example.

    while our neighbour steams ahead, donned to be a regional superpower, we are sitting around waiting for phonelines to be hooked up and drs. to show up at ER to get treated.

    we simply dont care about ourselves, or our own environment.

    when there is dirt, bacteria will grow. and there is alot of dirt in balgladesh, starting from the very top all the way down.

    sorry mate, bit negative i know, but i have almost given up reading the news from dhaka.
    more of the talent needs to return home, as they are doing in and india.

  13. TedB says:

    One large area often over looked is the military subsidies to, shall we say, “suspect” countries. When our government sends weapons to other governments, which are then used against their citizens, our moral standing is eroded.

    The militaries are used to prop-up unstable and corrupt governments – see Pakistan. When we are viewed by large groups of people as the supporters of this corruption, they are defaulted into groups that offer a change, even any change however bad we perceive it.

    Hammas won elections recently by offering something other than more of the failed policies of the past. Is it truely surprising that the Palistinian’s opted for something to be changed, rather than accept that nothing would change. I don’t care for Hammas, but I do care about democracy. When a “bad” party wins a clean election, it is time for us to do some soul seaching about the way we conduct ourselves in the world.

    Are our policies designed to offer hope, enlightenment, and a better life to average people; or, are they designed to maximize the profits of the few? Regular people know the way of the world, and I believe that is why revolutionary movements get traction in poor countries. When governments forget where real power rests, radical movements gain a foothold for, at the least, mischief.

    Corrupt governments have few options. 1) change and satisfy the citizens human and democratic rights – South Africa; 2)become increasingly autocratic and repress all decent – Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Russia, N Korea… 3) fall to generally more corrupt and ruthless revolutionary movements – think of the many small central African nations; or 4) be overthrown by a military junta – Pakistan.

    It seems bleak to review this list, but I believe open dialog with people of all types can make a significant impact on the outcomes in many places. The photo, and ones like it, of the policeman will have an effect in the country of origin similar to the reaction of the U.S. population’s revulsion with the publication of the famous photo from the Vietnam era showing the summary street execution of the “enemy combatant”; or the numerous Abu Grab photographs.

    Turning points?

  14. Bengali Fob says:

    More on Dude’s comments:

    “i think the youth donthave pride in themselves, or real belief int heir futures. they are taught to be selfish and seek self-fulfillment by parents and by example.

    while our neighbour steams ahead, donned to be a regional superpower, we are sitting around waiting for phonelines to be hooked up and drs. to show up at ER to get treated.”

    I agree. I think it’s because they are so used to it. Also they don’t promote volunteerism like they do here (referring to Canada where there is mandatory community service to graduate). No one cares about other people anymore and those that do feel helpless. I mean who can go up against the government? So many people try everyday, but they end up dead.

    Dude said: “more of the talent needs to return home, as they are doing in and india. ”
    Those countries have governments that (even though they are somewhat corrupt) try to do things best for the country. They’ve been creating lots of jobs and that’s why a lot of people are returning.

    India has been doing some pretty great things, which shows in the news unlike Bangladesh where there is constant violence and signs of blatant corruption! If I got a penny for every time a government offical said, “I don’t know what they are talking about.”

    Why don’t they know what they are talking about?!?!?! It’s their friggin job to know!

  15. Bengali Fob says:

    TedB said: “Corrupt governments have few options. 1) change and satisfy the citizens human and democratic rights – South Africa; 2)become increasingly autocratic and repress all decent – Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Russia, N Korea… 3) fall to generally more corrupt and ruthless revolutionary movements – think of the many small central African nations; or 4) be overthrown by a military junta – Pakistan.”

    I say REVOLUTION! Like the French!

    I see so little hope… It brings tears to my eyes sometimes…

  16. dude says:


    hmm, have u ever heard this, “u dont know what ur talking about, u dont live here, u dont know what its like”.

    i used to get it all the time. aparently, our leaders dont know either.

    used to be u had to get certain marks in the civil service entrance exams to get into particular ministries, the f.s. takign the cream. they should implement that for parliament. if ur too srupid to pass the test, ur too stupid to legislate and run the country. ofcourse, @#$%ing showing up to sessions might help!!!

    they must think the population are blithering idiots. i know people watching bbc worldwide or cnn or interweb news sources to find out whats happening in their own communities before local media or gov get around to it.

    gov wont create jobs for expats to come back to, the private sector does that. and the private sector wont become viably robust unless more people not only come back, but people stay in the first place.

    we have brain-drain like every other developing country. taiwan and china sent students on gov. scholarship to US for education in high-tech fields, and work experience. these then have gone back in the last 10 years, creating numerous start-ups.

    thats long-term thinking. how did they get people to come back from their cushy jobs. easy, taiwan created industrial parks with very low or no tax incentives, AND, gov. subsidy for the first few years.

    we have soooo many lawyers, engineers, financial and business professional abroad makign money and paying taxes to foreign governments. even if they send remitance home, wealth is being created by our talent pool for others, while we sit around and stick our hand out for, well, hand-outs.

    1) get rid of corruption at all levels, people can start by getting rid of it from their own lives.
    2) believe in the country and its population and a real future
    3) low crime and corruption, increased infrastructure development, i.e. phones that work, roads that run, water that flows, consistently, and invite/attract ur own sons/daughters back, their talent, and, their money for investments.
    4) say it, do it. we like to say plenty, not do. though we like to say plenty about others peoples doing. shame on us that foreigners come and feed the poor, heal the sick, and teach our children.
    5) many expats live as 2nd class citizens. hell, many citizens at home live like 2nd class citizens. pride in our self and ability first of all.

    i say its time for a 2nd independence!!!

    viva le revolution!!



  17. dude says:

    and as an avid photographer, i am doubly offended and distraught at the crime against fellow professionals, and/or, danger of/to equipment!!!

    sad… and see the idiot in the background taking a pict with a point-and-shoot… disgracefull, while the slr is about to get togged.. and what the 4377 kind of way is that to punch someone, even our cops are wusses…

    PS: though his shades are wicked cool…

  18. Mash says:

    TedB, I hope a turning point is coming. I fear that corruption is so entrenched in Bangladesh that the general public are almost powerless to do anything.

    You are right about the military subsidies – there is always someone willing to sell arms to the Third World. Another big problem is the misuse of foreign aid and loans. Its all about money lining the pockets of the elite.

  19. Mash says:

    dude, I like the shades too. At least he’s looking good while abusing his power.

  20. dude says:

    mash, have u seen the latest beatings via daily star online?

  21. Mash says:

    Thanks for ruining my night, dude 🙁 Now they are beating women? Just great, when do they start boiling babies?

    It looks like BNP is out the door if the elections dont get rigged.

  22. dude says:

    no, no, they beat the nice mohila a few weeks back, this was a go at activists.

    u r talking abut b’desh right?? because i think u may have it confused with somewhere else when u say rigged…

    HA HA HA HA…..

    we should all be sailors we are so good at rigging…

    i say fire the lot! send down trump, and fire parliament as well…

    the citizenry should ask for a refund of the years lost…

    PS: i am sure they will be kicking puppies and throwing kittens out of jeeps next… reallly, no one else left…

  23. Mash says:

    dude, alright, I draw the line at puppies!

    alas, I know all about how the Election Commission got politicized and stacked with sycophants.

  24. TedB says:

    dude showed new pics from Bangledesh that saddened us all. Unfortunately I too must share what, to me are, are revolting pictures here “in the land of the free and home of the brave”.

    Free speach can have a terribe cost. An interesting side note is that this Free Speaker is a resident alien not a member of the lackey White House press corps. Once again showing how immagrants strengthen our democracy.

    Let us all keep shining spotlights of truth on these governmental ner-do-wells seeking to keep us docile and in the mood to shop till we drop.

  25. Bengali Fob says:

    You know the cop with the glasses? Apparently the guy’s a millionaire! No wonder he can afford those cool shades!

    Check out the article there… These guys call themselves cops… sheesh.

  26. dude says:

    thanks bFob for that link.

    i am curious, how is it known that this or any other cop is a millionaire? is that in taka, or $ or what? and is it one of those “oh, everybody knows” or there being actual fact?

    just curious. considering b’desh is a muslim country (thanks to ershad islam became the state religion, not sure if it still is), how do there a$$4073s explain the beating of women and old men?

    but the old danda on the side is a common occurance for hard working rickshawallas and/or the poor in general, so maybe it’s time it caught up with the rest of the populace.

    support vigilantism of the citizenry against the idocity of the law underminers, aka cops.

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