As Inauguration Day draws closer, many of us are still feeling very angry and insulted. Even though most of us were not naive about politics before the 2008 primary season began, we still were in for a shock on two fronts. First, the utter corruption of the Democratic Party, once our “safe haven,” became painfully clear. Second, and related to this, was how the party saw their hand-picked candidate introduce misogyny, as well as race, into the campaign and didn’t make any moves to stop it. Not that the leadership even wanted to…
So, many of us feel that Hillary Clinton, even if she weren’t the first choice of some, still was badly treated and was “robbed” of the nomination. Later, Clinton decided to stay and play with the boys, which was very disappointing. On the Republican side, Sarah Palin was trashed just to be trashed and suddenly the only person on either ticket with long executive experience wasn’t “qualified” ; and she was undermined by factions in her party as well.
So here we are in the United States, with so many of us not feeling fine about the status of women these days. Many of us who have been in this fight since the 60’s see things slipping away, while many women and girls, along with the media and many men, either don’t get it or if they do, are just willing to accept a disdainful, hollow man as President rather than a more experienced, tough, fighting woman.
(As an aside…seeing the Roland Burris debacle unfolding, you can almost understand why Hillary Clinton wanted out of the Senate. I wish she hadn’t decided to stay in the game as Secretary of State, but it’s clear that Harry Reid et al will stop at nothing when it comes to getting “their” people in…and Clinton is not “theirs.”)
Which brings us to another thing to ponder. We’ve seen NOW and NARAL cave, and we’ve witnessed Nancy Pelosi in action. We may speculate that once women reach a certain level, they’re in a power game and they forget where they come from and play the game alongside the men in the same way. And this includes undermining other women. It may be that they’re jealous of the power they’ve gained, fearful of losing it to a rival, or may it’s just what’s in their own characters. Whatever is going on, it’s clear that just because a woman gains power, there’s no guarantee that they will be any different from men in power. The media may try to undercut women in power with hints that they are “emotional” or “weak” but anybody watching can see these women are playing the power game no-holds barred.
As an example, let’s take a look at recent events in Bangladesh. Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries and one of the most politically corrupt, had an election on December 29, 2008. For the last two years the country has been controlled by a caretaker government backed by the military which was installed to try to bring stability to the country and stop political violence.
According to the BBC’s Q & A published before the election (Q & A: Bangladesh Election,December 17, 2008):
The two main parties competing for power are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and the Awami League of Sheikh Hasina – also a former prime minister…Between them the two women – bitter personal enemies – have alternated from government to opposition for most of the last two decades….both Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia have been detained during the last two years on corruption charges along with dozens of other top political and business leaders. Many fear that the character clash between the women – reflected among their respective sets of supporters – means that their mutual rivalry will overshadow the pressing problems the country faces.
Sheikh Hasina Wazed won a landslide victory on December 29th, marking her second election as Prime Minister. According to Reuters, “Security remained tight across Bangladesh and police were on alert for attacks by Islamist militants as the army-backed interim authorities prepared to hand over to civilian rule….Strikes, street violence and attacks by militants trying to turn Muslim-majority Bangladesh into an Islamic state based on sharia, Islamic law, have hampered past Bangladeshi governments.”
Today, January 7th, Hasini has been sworn in as Prime Minister (Hasina emerges with a change)
Her charter for change, which includes building of a “digital Bangladesh”, drew public attention, particularly of the young generation, which was finally reflected in the battle of ballots, observed political analysts. Her promise of change also reflected in the formation of the cabinet as she appointed young and fresh people.
The restraint in her speech attacks on her political rivals won her popularity in the run up to the election. Her call upon all political parties to shun politics of confrontation, and to develop a healthy political culture for building a prosperous country, also earned her public kudos.
We’ll see. Hasini’s rival, Khaleda Zia ,who was the first woman prime minister elected in Bangladesh, initially vowed to work with Hasini even though she stood by her charges of voting fraud, but has already revived the bitter rivalry.
From The Daily Star (Bangladesh), January 7, 2009:
AL’s journey for ‘change’ started thru’ killing Says Khaleda
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday came down heavily on new Awami League (AL)-led government, saying that it has started its journey towards “change” through killing, snatching and criminal activities across the country.
“You’re observing what is happening across the country. Does it mean change? Do people want it?” Khaleda made the remarks after visiting the bereaved family members of Nazrul Islam, a leader of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal, who was killed in the city’s Bijoynagar area on Monday.
Khaleda, who didn’t attend the oath taking ceremony of Sheikh Hasina and her cabinet, demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the killing.
Both these women have been jailed and both have been either threatened with exile or actually exiled. In Zia’s case, corrupt relatives have fled the country (elder son, Tarique Rahman, still awaiting trial). Observers believe that there will never be political peace in Bangladesh as long as these two women are on the scene.
All this reminds me of Benazir Bhutto’s history in Pakistan, which probably shouldn’t be a surpise as Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan. Like Bhutto, Hansini comes from a political family; she is the daughter of Bangladesh’s first prime minister. Zia is the widow of the assassinated Maj. Gen. Zia ur-Rahman (assassinated in a failed coup attempt in 1981); she has also been elected to the office of prime minister twice. As with Bhutto, corruption is the name of the game when it comes to these political rivals.
So, while lots of people mourn the demise of Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Presidency, the reality is that while being a woman in power does make a statement, it’s not always the statement we dream of. In the meantime, let’s see how Pelosi, Clinton, and other women in the Obama Universe operate. We already know what Pelosi is capable of.
And let’s see long Sheikh Hasini lasts…THIS time around…
Related Post: After “Aunt Benazir’s” Assassination, Fatima Bhutto Still Fighting to Reveal the Truth [Posted December 27, 2008]
Filed under: Current Politics, World News | Tagged: Awami League, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Barack Obama, BBC, Benazir Bhutto, casseroles, Democratic Party, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Inauguration Day, Islamist militants, Maj. Gen. Zia ur-Rahman, misogyny, Nancy Pelosi, NARAL, NOW, Pakistan, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, racism, Republican Party, Roland Burris, Sarah Palin, Sharia Law, SHeikh Hasina, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Tarique Rhaman |