Democracy in Asia and Europe
By Jahangir Alam Akash: The nucleus of democracy is the people, people and people. The real appearance of the democracy is the rule of the people. The people's representatives elected through free, unobstructed and transparent elections are the motor of the democracy. So people are the actual steering of the democratic rule. Regarding this, the sayings of Abraham Lincoln, President of United states of America can be quoted. With a very small sentence, such an elaborate explanation of democracy is rare: 'Government by the people, for the people and of the people.'
In most of the countries now, democracy is established. But in Europe it is most powerful and effective. As per the historical facts, 4-5 hundred years, before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Philosophers, Aristotle, Plato etc. of Greece, first have given the outline of the democratic rule in Europe. In democratic and economic aspects, now in Europe, Germany and Switzerland are in the top position. In general, USA is now under Europe. Worst situations are in Asia and Africa. Especially, the condition of Bangladesh is very precarious.
Personally I am not a political expert or an active political worker. I am a common citizen of a 3rd world developing country. I want t tell something about the conditions of democracy in Europe and Asia. On the situations of German and Bangladesh democracy and lately, I have a little experience about the German people's representative. On the politics of these two countries and with special reference to their members of the parliament, I want to make a comparative discussion.
What we can learn from the democracy and the people's representatives of the greatest economic and rich country of Europe? In other words, how democracy and the representatives of Bangladesh can be benefitted from such experiences of Germany country and how they can be utilised in their own country.
The majority people of Bangladesh are victims of the absence of the rule of law, culture of democracy and the ill-politics. As a professional journalist, I am also a victim of this dark side. After many tortures and persecutions, I was compelled to leave my country. Truly speaking, I could come back from the door of sure death. I don't want to discuss that here.
Let us come to the main point. There three pillars of democratic administration. They are: legislative, judiciary and public administration. One is dependent to the other. They control and co-ordinate each other and thus the democracy are active. All these three powers are to work with the same motive. This is people's welfare and serving the people. One is related totally to the other. To steer these three components into the right direction is the responsibility of the politicians. Elected by the direct votes of the peoples, politicians are the upholder, career and the protector of the democracy.
Peoples get the democratic rights only when the above mentioned three systems work properly or be effective. But the in Asian countries, especially t our dear Bangladesh, none of these three does not seem to be working. If the systems were working, the situation of the human rights is not so deteriorated. Because of the electricity, water and gas, peoples have not to suffer! Political rivalry, envy and enmity are not present. To the political leaders and workers of all the parties, the interest of the people and the country would have the highest priority.
Recently, I have come to know a German Member of the Parliament who belongs to the present central government. How he can help in the progress of the human rights and the poor, persecuted and tortured people of Bangladesh, he has expressed his interest to talk with me. In the last December (2009), Reinhardt Stuart, on behalf of him contacted me through the Hamburg Foundation. Mr. Klimke is a political leader of the present powerful government party, CDU (Christian Democratic Union). I met him two times. The last one was on the last 1st April.
Why I should discuss this matter? Without personal relation, nobody in Germany goes and meets any official person without an appointment. Generally, without a prior fixing of time and date, anybody (unknown) annoys another without any ground. It is a very powerful social and administrative tradition, you can say. Before our last meeting, his Secretary has talked with me, before two weeks of the meeting, one date, place of meeting and time were fixed. But later, all were changed. That has happened two days before. The new time has been fixed as 1st April, at 10-30 mornings. I have already grasped some of the rules and courtesies of this country. So I reached to before the pavilion of the famous Café, Bar Alistair of Hamburg before 15 minutes. It was then 10-24. Mr. Klimke has come also. We entered into the pavilion. But we found no sitting place there. We both waited. After few minutes, two places were vacant and we were seated there,
I hope, the readers can guess why I have detailed the above incidence. Let's talk about an MP of Bangladesh. We have just observed the behaviour of a powerful German MP in this Café-Bar and can we imagine it in Bangladesh in a same situation? What would happen in Bangladesh? Mr. MP has come to a hotel or Restaurant. Would he wait because there is no empty place? How it can be? He is the representative of the people. It means he has purchased all the country and its rules-laws. In reality, we experience this always. If there is no place and if necessary, the restaurant-authority will immediately force the sitting guests to leave their places for Mr. MP and his companions. Thus they would be much obliged (a big service for MP!). He is also to save himself from the anger of MP (in case, he fails to take any action to accommodate MP and his persons in his restaurant). We must remember that Mr. Klimke is also well known here as a local MP. But Manager is a far cry; no bearer of the café did not run to him and receive or salute him. The sitting guests who knew him, they also did not say anything particular except normal saluting.
Do any MP in Bangladesh reach any place in the fixed time? Mr. Klimke has told me during the appointment- talk that our discussion would be of 30 minutes only. What is punctuality! When our discussion has passed the 27 minutes, he reminded me. Just on 29 minute, he said that our time was finished. We would now depart. Any Bangladesh MP has reached a place to meet a common person in the fixed time, I don't know.
There is no difference between a minister and political leader with a common person here in Germany or in Europe. Amongst the politicians or high government officials there is no competition of showing their respective powers. Peoples are given here the highest priority. To the demands and the expectations of the people and for their every facility, politicians maintain always a keen attention. In Bangladesh, it is quite opposite. Except the time of election, politicians do not care about the public!
In General, the duties and responsibilities of the MPs both in Germany and Bangladesh are almost the same. To make new roads, foundation of the schools and other academic institutions, people's welfare, social works, development, reforms and making of law. These are the main works of a representative. Before passing a new law, the opinions of the people is inevitable in Germany. As for example: a discussion has been started to make a new rule in the parliament. Immediately, the MP will go to his constituency. About the proposed new law, he will discuss with the people through meetings or personally. He will get the reactions of his voters.
If his voters think, the law is good and necessary, they will say in its favour. If they think this law is not good for the people (at least for their region), they will say it's against. If people do not want, an elected MP goes even against his party on a particular matter. He will not cast his vote (neutral) or cast his vote against the bill, honouring the opinions of the voters of his area. This is the culture of political of Germany. For this, he is not to explain as a member of his political party. His obligations are first to the people and then to his party. If this would occur in Bangladesh!
There are different commissions in the German Parliament. These commissions are everywhere, where democratic government is present and also in Bangladesh. The three most important commissions in Germany are: To supervise the personal income and other economic aspects of the members, Defence and Intelligence. The chairmen of these three commissions are elected from the opposition parties. So the government party has no chance to manipulate these matters. Of course, no political person manipulates here. It is not found in Bangladesh. Here, an opposition member may be the chief of any commission but two thieves are cousins on the matters of corruptions and misrules. Our situations are so. We can not differentiate between personal and party-interests with those of the people's welfare and principle.
What can I say about the human right? Here one convicted and recognised criminal is also behaved with courtesy. During the investigative interrogations, he is asked gently and with cool brain. While in detention, his personal wants are fulfilled as far as possible. Torture does not come in to question! But the similar pictures in Bangladesh are terrible, unbearable and disgusting. Every Bengali knows it well. I don't think that I am to detail it.
The representatives of Germany are very much conscious about the human rights and they have adequate knowledge about it. They study much on this matter. It is very difficult to say how many members of Bangladesh Parliament have the knowledge or information about human rights. And if some are aware of it, how many of them try to materialise it? The number is not definitely so much.
At the last, I want to discus about a matter. As per the present newspaper reports, everywhere in Bangladesh, the electricity, water and gas situations are catastrophic. But in the areas where MPs and Ministers and diplomats live, electricity is available for 24 hrs. Out of 24 hrs, people do not get electricity even for 8 hours! It is quite unthinkable in Germany or in Europe. If Germany had now the situations like Bangladesh, what would happen? The government must fall! There is no discrimination here. Why there would be a difference between a common person and a MP? Why the Ministers live far away from the public?
Many Ministers here live in normal houses in general residential areas. After crossing the entrance, inside, 2-3 plain-dress security personals can be seen. But in our country, a Minister's house is kept separated and from the 500/1000 yards distance, there are many obstacles to keep it away from the people.
A dear countryman of mine (he has been living here for many years) has told me that he had lived before in a small town in the southern Germany. In weekends, a provincial Minister of this town, used to come here to stay overnight in his personal residence from his Minister's quarter in the provincial capital. He always came with his family. The main reason was to maintain regular communications with his local voters. My countryman used to meet him on Saturday mornings in a bakery as Minister also came there to buy bread. There were exceptions but it happened often.
Both of them used to visit the shop to buy their breakfast breads. Minister came sometimes alone. He never went to any place in his town with security. Sometimes, his wife and two sons were with him. In one Saturday Morning, the man from Bangladesh has not come to the shop, he was ill. After coming back home, Minister called him over telephone, 'Why you have not come today in the bakery? Are you making breakfast today without bread? When he has heard about the illness, within a hour, Minister has visited him with whole family and flowers to express personally their wish for the quick recovery! My country man has commented, 'In my 32 years of life in Bangladesh, I doubt, whether I have seen a MP within a distance one hundred yards! The possibility of meeting a Minister personally is very rare. He is the moon in the sky; you can only see but can't touch!'
In the Bangladesh Constitution it is said that people are the owners of the state. And it is also said that people are the source of the power. My question, then, why people are so much suffering? I don't know the answer.
Jahangir Alam Akash