To most of the people, New York Times ‘opinion’ titled ‘Bangladesh’s Farcical Vote’ may look like just another op-ed published in the newspapers in the world. But in fact, it is not “just another op-ed”. Rather it is an opinion of the Editorial Board of this prestigious and extremely influential newspaper. It certainly will bear consequences – mild of severe – whatever may be – but this will not go unattended. Those who are aware of the weight of an opinion of the Editorial Board of The New York Times will definitely realize – this newspaper has clearly encouraged the US administration in particular and the global policymakers in taking some stern measures against Bangladesh government — more precisely – the ruling party in Bangladesh.
At the beginning of this opinion, there is a statement saying “The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.”
Such ‘opinion’ does not appear in The New York Times regularly. It only appears, whenever something extremely important or urgent takes place. Meaning, The New York Times for some reason has taken the December 30 general election in Bangladesh and the post-election situation very seriously.
Before going into details of this ‘opinion’ and exposing the reason behind its publication, let me first of all tell the readers – for the whole day, the ‘opinion’ of The New York Times was on discussion tables in the offices of the Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen, Judges, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, White House and most of the major news outlets in the US. Meaning, everyone has already taken the matter very seriously. But the Bangladesh mission in Washington DC or its consulate in the New York City are clearly either reluctant or trying to hide the gravity of the matter to their home offices in Dhaka. This is like foolishness of hiding a ticking time-bomb beneath jacket.
What has NYT exactly tried to say?
In the first paragraph, NYT has endorsed the tremendous or booming economic growth in Bangladesh and has given the credit to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. But it also has raised question about the election saying, “Sheikh Hasina has done marvels for Bangladesh over nearly 10 consecutive years as prime minister. Per-capita income in what was one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world has grown by nearly 150 percent, and the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty has dropped from 19 percent to about 9 percent. All the greater the pity that her achievements have been offset by a precipitous slide toward authoritarianism and an election in which Mrs. Hasina’s party won 288 of the 300 contested seats in Parliament, a preposterous 96 percent rate of victory.”
And the most dangerous comment on this opinion of the editorial board of NYT are “…..Mrs. Hasina is back for another term at the head of what has effectively become a one-party state, ready to further tighten control” and with this particular sentence, NYT clearly stated – Bangladesh has become a “one-party state” which certainly is extremely alarming message to the world, which may even result in international actions.
What is the reason behind NYT’s sudden grievance?
It is quite illogical thinking the editorial board of a huge newspaper like The New York Times has such enthusiasm or interest of publication this ‘opinion’ in an exposedly harsh wordings. There definitely are reasons behind. One of the many reasons could be certain efforts or initiatives by some influential individual in the American media or a PR firm which had convinced the editorial board of the newspaper about Bangladesh turning into a ‘one-party state’. Other reason could be members of the US Senate or Congress having access to the editorial board might have convinced them in publishing it. With these questions, this correspondent has investigated the matter and cross-checked some facts.
Aggressive efforts of the anti-Awami League quarters in the US:
According to information, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat e Islami (JI) activists in the US have turned extremely active since past one week. In addition to contacting lobbyists and PR agencies, this bloc has been ‘fact-sheets’ supported by newspaper clippings, video footage and photographs proving ‘manipulation’ in the December 30 general election as well as ongoing ‘repression on press and gross violation of human rights’ in Bangladesh. There also are materials centering ‘forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings’ by the ‘members of the security and law enforcing agencies’ under the ‘directive from top brasses’ of the ruling party.
The same group of BNP-Jamaat also are circulating documents centering ’corruption’ of the ruling partymen as well as ‘smuggling out’ billions of dollars to different countries.
Reaction from the US:
Commenting on the New York Times editorial board’s opinion on Bangladesh affairs, a political analyst in the US told Blitz, “New York Times is the cranium of the liberal cesspool. It has been lately promoting socialists, communists and Islamists with full enthusiasm. This newspaper has no shame in portraying President Donald Trump as a “Russian sleeper-agent”, which is not only just fake news but it goes much beyond the minimum ethics of journalism. Everyone knows NYT has become a platform of publishing lies and half truth. The opinion of the editorial board of this newspaper on Bangladesh is just another instance of bad journalism.”
She added “Although all of us know, New York Times now is just a propaganda machine and supportive of crooks, liberals in the US Congress may now capitalize the opinion of this newspaper on Bangladesh in creating a new round of notoriety against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government. Let us not forget, Democrats are under substantial influence of Hillary Clinton and because of her old-rivalry with Sheikh Hasina, it is not unlikely that she would not push this matter with the Congress. Bangladesh has to remain vigilant against any such conspiracy.”