Watching from Bangladesh: My take on this is quite simple, #VoteLabour. I imagine many of my friends, colleagues or even beyond will disagree with my reasoning. They may want to vote more tactically – towards the Greens or the Lib Dems… because they are disillusioned apparently by the lack of Corbyn’s leadership qualities..
Yes, Corbyn may seem a little off-hand and not perhaps the greatest ‘exemplar’ of leadership as required in the traditional sense. Nothing in this current state of global politics is quite traditional in any sense. With the upheavals of tensions and complex geopolitics – what gets left behind is everybody that has no time to get involved in all of that.
Yes, the right-wing media will enjoy ripping him to shreds and they are going to throw everything including the bath tub with the bath water to make sure it goes their way. Beyond that – if its possible, we must look at what is actually going on – is that possible at the fractured masses? Probably not.. We can dare to dream though. The leak of the Labour draft manifesto shows that – the Labour party are talking sense. Good sense. Maybe even great sense.. and in tandem. Simply, investment in education, health and national infrastructure is crucial, and a fairer distribution system is important. The Tories and the Lib Dems are just not going to do anything as radical as this current Labour party – and this IS with the leadership of Corbyn.
Yes, the majority of the public are wanting a ‘stable’ strong’ leader. As the Tories rip apart the country and make it into something for the very few privileged individuals.. I argue that Corbyn IS a strong and able leader – he has continually stood his ground and not buckled under pressure or quit despite the madness of the leadership challenges. My hope is, that his communication and language addresses the masses and just not the tiny fan base that believe he can do no wrong – I still don’t think he is able to get to the heart of the matter quickly enough. Practice. Practice. Practice some more.. Because this is probably, by chance, or luck, but he has managed it – a once in a lifetime opportunity to change again the direction of politics in the UK. My other hope, is that his team just STOP focusing on the media as being negative and attacking them + play to their tunes ( even if they are ) and simply bombard the media with their presence. The tactics are there. They just need to be overwhelmingly visible and obvious. Being present – in whatever media – is crucial now + being concise is key. The rest, will be on the public and the 8th June..
Currently the country is going through a crisis – with Hartals and Oborodhs on a daily basis, with restrictions on mobile communication technology – the ban of WhatsApp / Viber and other free messaging apps – it becomes quite clear the government is doing its best to crack down further. How much more can they get away with?
I have not had the chance to go out and draw on the streets still – work has kept me confined to drawing at home and working in the studio. With a lot of activity going on in Paraa – I am quite oblivious to the chaos brewing outside – often coming home to hear the latest update of attacks – buses being burned, people fleeing, etc. Its as if I have become immune to it already.
How fickle is my mind? The world was in uproar because of the attacks in France. And here in Bangladesh, life goes on, despite arson attacks on buses, bans on communication tools and restriction of the movement of the opposition government. Time, it seems, predicts a gloomy and dangerous few months.
In between reflecting, over-thinking and trying to re-find my feet again.. I was able to catch up with some friends. And in this meeting, there was a conversation about purpose – ‘Ruhul – you know what your purpose is, we can sense it / see it…’ (this was the gist of the conversation, and I laughed it off).
And over the weekend, I had a chance to catch up with my thoughts – where are we going with Paraa, how REAL is what we are setting out to do? How likely is it that we will make a positive impact at the scale we are considering, and how obvious is the danger in being optimistic and idealistic? How soon before someone will try to smack out that optimism and give us a sense of reality? I say, not very far away…
The nature of the task, will probably depict the nature of the man (or woman) required to lead. It is an interesting issue, and I use the word interesting in the broadest of sense. Bangladesh is currently going through a process of finding itself, a process that seems to be bloody, messy and embroiled in horrible politics. It begs me to ask the question, who will lead Bangladesh out of this mess? it is a tough situation for the country – violent and divisive politics has become the nature of the beast, and so it will continue for a while.
It dawns on me, and probably many others, that there is a need to just get on with it, not get caught up in this hullabaloo of political chaos. There are many writers, many journalists and even more political theoreticians (within and external of the community) and perhaps even more practitioners who have become engrossed in the current conversation. The propaganda machines are doing their best to distort and contort and confuse the mass public, and right now, we are probably as clueless as everybody else as to what is or is not the truth.
My thinking is simply, that change will take place when a group will lead it forward, when a conscious understanding, and with Truth at the centre, and with the strength and depth of the needs of people firmly rooted – this makes it a difficult and bumpy road, and perhaps one that is already beyond our generation… It is perplexing, because it is quite shambolic and embarrassing to see current leaders acting in such ways – AND further, it is frustrating because it also adds to our own limitations as individuals. How can we rise up to lead? How do we differentiate between political and developmental lead? and how do we ensure that not everything is based around rhetoric and propaganda?
And most importantly, How do we lead with Truth at the centre of the task? especially in the context of a society and world that is heavily convoluted in gaining information and consuming things fast and quick? How do we differentiate between a hard working ethic and an ethic that has been fuelled by consumerism? and how do we break away from the commoditisation of time? And how do we teach these ethics to those that need it the most? the people in charge of leading and shaping our very society? How does Truth even fit into a liberally focused global market? and how or who addresses this inequality? the mal-distribution of time to issues that are irrelevant (who decides they are irrelevant??) and focus on things like education, healthcare, sanitation, proper planning and policy for the everyday citizen (the child, the mother, the sisters and brothers and the elders) who merely want to continue living their life and be given the opportunity to live this in as best a way as possible – to be able to flourish and live up to their potential?
I can go on forever and a day about the rickshaw puller, the garment worker, the bazaar stall holder, the fishermen, the tannery folk, those involved in cleaning and cooking and feeding and the expendable human energy that seems to burst out of every seam in Bangladesh. But how or who begins to understand the REAL VALUE of such people? and how do we begin to shift the dialogue towards one that is people centred, that is community centred and that is focused around the notion of Truth?
AND what if, the whole purpose is to participate in the consumer market lead society, if that is the end purpose, who are we to argue otherwise? So I can easily go back to writing my thoughts, which tend to be questions rather than any answer to anything specific.
And who is it then, that will have the answers to the questions I am trying to answer? and how do get those questions in front of the people that matter? We must continue what we are doing I guess….
One of the things I set out to do a few years back was to write a philosophical novel, based around the Tree of Life and what it witnesses as the failures and triumphs of mankind. It was both a personal process that I wanted to reflect upon and also a wider thought that Nature has never been in a position to give feedback to humanity for the way it has been treated, but if it was able to, what would it say? It was an epic book that I thought would take me a year to write + therefore I am quietly fleshing out the story, and then maybe, when I have that one year available, write it.
What is important to me right now is perhaps more practical concerns. Scales of work and working are needed to allow the mind / body / soul to be in flux with time / space / environment so that there is some clarity in continuing the seeking of Truth. So I am taking the next few days to re-gather my thoughts and see what progress I have made. Its been an absolutely amazing journey thus far, and it can only get better over the next few years, but I guess its important to just take a moment to re-gather the thoughts, so that the ‘going forward’ aspect of it is in line with Truth.
Lets see what the next few days of thinking brings from within me…