Bangladesh Seminar

November 8, 2008 at 11:54 pm / by

I’m now in New York and I attended a seminar in the Marriot Hotel entitled ‘Election-08 and Restoring Democracy in Bangladesh’ which was organised by the America Bangladesh Community Development Initiative.

My cousin Joy was the keynote speaker and he outlined his concerns about free and fair elections in Bangladesh on 18 December.

I was pleased to be asked to say a few words and I spoke about my involvement with the Obama campaign. I pointed out that the campaign had been an all-inclusive one and we need to make sure that the imminent election in Bangladesh is similar so that all citizens get a chance to express their desire for democracy freely.

One of the main concerns that both my cousin and I have is the shutting down of the mobile telephone network on Election Day. Mobile phones will enable poll observers, reporters and party polling agents to report any untoward incidents on the day. This will also deter the government and its agencies themselves from manipulating the elections. It is imperative that the telephone network is working as usual on 18 December.

I was excited to meet Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke of the 11th Congressional district in Brooklyn who attended the seminar and delivered an excellent speech. She called for an elected government in Bangladesh and highlighted that politicians with charges against them deserved due process like ordinary citizens.