Random thoughts before the World Cup final

Posted in culture, politics by jrahman on April 2, 2011

1. I can see why people might be upset about the waving of Pakistani flag in Mirpur stadium.  1971 is not ‘closed chapter’ by any means.  Personally, I am not particularly distressed by it, but to borrow the word of a UV commenter, it is ‘unseemly’. 

2. I find it a bit of a stretch when people draw strong political conclusions from this.  How representative of anyone are a few dozen (hundred?) kids with little knowledge of history? 

3. And if anyone is seriously worried about Bangladesh losing its identity — or whatever it is that people worry these Pakistani flags mean — here is something to cheer you up: judging by Facebook comments (from 3 independent accounts, covering a sample of over 500), net-savvy Deshis supported India over Pakistan 4-to-1.  Fear not, Bangladesh is not about to become Pakistan.

4. That said, even many supporting India have comments to the effect that if India wins the World Cup, their TV channels will become unbearable.  Hmmm….  may be it’s time to stop watching Indian channels and tune into something Deshi?

5. Two fellow UV bloggers were involved in a debate about how this flag-waving business is different from the Meherjaan saga.  I think the difference is non-trivial.  Those waving Pakistani flag are at best young men who are unaware of the history.  Rubaiyat Hossain wanted to make a movie providing a counter-narrative of 1971.  The flag-waving kids ought to be dismissed for their stupidity, or we can bemoan the failings of our education system.  But Ms Hossain should be prepared to face robust intellectual criticism that any counter-narrative of 1971 is bound to cause.

2 Responses

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  1. Adnan said, on April 2, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I cannot help but form an impression that you are living a dystopia that goes beyond the context of Bangladeshi support for foreign (or neighboring) teams, to Bangladeshis’ knowledge on history. It seems so, as your argument for supporting the Pakistan team is solely based on illiteracy. You seemed to contradict yourself when you said a sample (a very unfair one at that) of these uneducated people are overwhelmingly in support for the Indian team. And you are not questioning the integrity of identity of these ‘Indian supporters’- quite double standard.

    Whereas, I find it quite surprising that the average Bangladeshi do not show utmost intolerance for absolutely anything to do with post-71 Pakistan. Considering you are Bangladeshi (I am not positive about it), how can you not know the detailed account of the former West Pakistani oppression of its East Pakistani compatriots in every school history book in Bangladesh today? Unreasonable hatred, not facts, are taught in our history books. Having stated that, I agree that our education system is largely failing.

    However, our countrymen, especially the youth are able to go beyond the dull history books they are fed with. That is attributable to the interactions between ordinary Pakistanis and our older generation during Greater Pakistan and people like me who are young, during recent times. The Bangladeshis’ support (which is in no way a new phenomenon) for the Pakistan team and their generally good impression about the ordinary Pakistanis is a testament to that.

    1971 is certainly not a closed chapter. Trust me, I have met many educated Pakistanis who agree with that.

  2. Rumi said, on April 3, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Support not Pakistan. That is unseemly. But how the same folks feel about some ofhers screaming in Facebook — India, India, India….

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