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OP-ED: The tragedy of the commons

  • Published at 10:05 pm August 6th, 2021
dominos falling

To all those who become drunk on power

Nobody knows what’s waiting for him or her tomorrow. Today’s most influential person may turn out to be a pauper, and the hapless may gain great power tomorrow. To continue our life as a king tomorrow and the day after, or remaining as a have-not for the days to come, sometimes depends on the decisions we’re taking today. 

Whether that decision helps us to be happy or not, we, sometime in our lifetime, would love to become rich and influential or powerful. Exercising power over others in a society is such a queer desire that one only understands when s/he acquires it. 

Power and money glitter, and you feel like an emperor when you have it. 

However, in our society, power and wealth don’t come as a godsend; you won’t have it even if you toil for it. You have to remain close to the happening world to polish the metals of the super-powerful and receive the windfall. 

This is normal. Those of us who wanted to eat the windfall apples have always satisfied the thirst of the super-powerful as their pawns with a dream to become one of them one day. 

Over the last one and a half years, right here in our country, a few of us have followed the centuries-old habit and fallen into the trap. 

There was a time they were very close to the people in power. The riches are there. They earn innumerable favours which sometimes go against the commoners as well as the interests of the people in power. In the pursuit of wealth, they tend to commit many serious crimes. A limited-scale crime, we believe, is tolerable to the super-powerful. But when it crosses a barometer, they are thrown in the trash barrel. Then, they graduate as the enemy of the people -- as cheats. 

Cases have been filed. Media investigations have been brought forth that the wannabe powerful have abused their intimacy with the powerful. They have told the people that “they are their people.” On most occasions, they promote their affinity with the powerful. 

For example, they take pictures with influential people and utilize those photos to convince the foolish herd that they are their people. Social media, these days, is a great tool for the wannabes. They are often seen on television talk shows and newspaper commentaries, sermonizing to the entire nation. 

A female political worker from Narsingdi reportedly had a permanently rented room in a five-star hotel and used to pay about Tk250,000 for the party drinks every day. She was arrested by the law enforcers in February last year along with her husband. Then the stories of her undisciplined life came up in the media. According to media reports, she made all her money by deceiving the common people. 

She was very well-connected with the influential people, who, allegedly, also used to spend time in the parties thrown by her. However, no one tried to reveal their names or hold them responsible for anything; only she got caught. Perhaps it was only due to the pandemic we came to know about one lady doctor and an owner of a hospital. These two were also regular faces on TV talk shows, sermonizing the nation with their lofty advice. However, they were big time frauds. They played with people’s life and death. 

The law enforcers had detained the hospital owner in July last year from the border areas of Satkhira. He was issuing fake test reports of Covid-19 to the patients coming to his hospital. The lady doctor was committing the same crime. 

Interestingly, we have seen photos of these two criminals with many influential people ranging from the law enforcers to journalists to politicians in the regular and social media. Allegedly, they used to display these photos in the public domain and utilize them in order to cast influence on the common people. 

All the influential people denied their friendship with these criminals when they were arrested. 

We saw photographs and videos of a so-called grandson of the nawab of Dhaka with influential people such as ministers, MPs, and media personalities. This man also tried to prove that he was also very well connected with the powerful people.   

The real info came out when he was arrested. His claims of being the grandson of the nawab was fake. He had also claimed that his dad was chair of the World Gold Council who also had ownership of a gold factory in Dubai and Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. All fake. 

The last in the series of the detentions was a lady politician who was also a media personality. She used to operate a web-based TV channel which wasn’t legally approved. She was also quite vocal on social dos and don’ts on social media. She was also detained from her residence at the end of July. 

This lady had also displayed plenty of photographs with the influential people. Nobody came forward to rescue her and shied away. 

The reason I cite all these characters today is because society would always be filled with such persons who would want to cheat innocent people. The very existence of these humans is a tragedy for the gullible common people who suffer due to the crimes committed by them. 

On the other hand, these criminals, in their drunken desires to achieve the status of social gods, commit hubris. They dare to become gods. We wish those on Mount Olympus would nip these characters in the bud so that the people had less suffering.        

Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller, and a communications professional. His other works can be read on ekramkabir.com.

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