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Practically patriotic

  • Published at 11:51 am September 14th, 2013
Practically patriotic

Everyone is in a rush to leave the country these days. “Feeling frustrated/depressed/down” is a common status on Facebook. But aren’t these feelings on par with modern day lives in every corner of the world?

Yes, I agree, poverty and corruption lie at the heart of Dhaka. But is the situation very different from any of our neighbouring countries? I am not saying those are ideal scenarios, but my question is, what have you done to beget change?

Recently,  Dhaka being ranked as the 2nd worst livable city in the world by The Economist has been the talk of the town, whereby everyone has a reason to add to what makes Bangladesh unlivable.

But what are we, as citizens of the country, doing to make it otherwise? I don’t want to act all high and mighty and pretend that I never had similar thoughts. I have done my Masters abroad too. But coming back to the country, working and living here is something I do out of choice, not force.

I believe that complaining constantly about the state of the country, and sitting on our bottoms, doing nothing about the matter is not going to help change the situation. Let me point out some basic steps that can be taken into account in a micro level.

Firstly, the educated masses need to make it a priority to serve the country, no matter how small his/her task maybe. Instead of being content with living as a second grade citizen in the UK or US, working at TESCO or Walmart just to have that green card/residency in your hand, one should start thinking of giving back to one’s own country. After all, it was here that you were born and raised; do you not have any responsibility towards your own? And more importantly, how are you acting against the tide?

The causes

Corruption is perhaps the most stated reason as to why people decide to leave the country. The question is, do you lead a 100% corruption-free life? Do you follow the “no-bribe” rule when you need to get your work done? I know it’s easier said than done. But sometimes in order to set a trend and make your point clear, taking the difficult road is the way to go.

The second most obvious reason is naturally security. So, if you see someone being hijacked on the road, how many of you stop to try and help the victim? If you don’t, then how do you expect attackers to end their heinous act? I know that the list of reasons for not wanting to stay back in the country is endless.

The solution

Instead of looking at the reason itself, perhaps a better idea could be to examine the root cause, much of which is poverty, linked directly to lack of education. If each of us take it upon ourselves to pay for the education of one single child, literacy can actually go up to 100% eventually, as promised by the government, instead of the measly 54% that it is today.

Before that idea materialises, there is more you and I could do single-handedly; instead of complaining about the lack of parks, try to raise money so that something similar could be done, even if in a smaller scale. Instead of complaining how dirty your surroundings are, make it a point to throw your own waste in the garbage.

Finally, instead of Facebooking on a jam-packed road, get out of our air conditioned cars, try and help ease the traffic, by taking matter in your own hands! If your sole ambition is to talk ill about your country and bring it down at every opportunity you get, and if you are waiting to leave at the first chance offered to you, then what right do you have to say that Bangladesh is unlivable?

Gandhi said: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” With these thoughts, I leave you to make your decision. Let’s start by taking small steps in our own little ways to create the difference that we long to see; let’s not place blame anymore.

For now, let us target on Dhaka not being on the list of most unlivable cities next year round. I am not a perfect patriot, just a practical one. I am doing my part, are you?

Syeda Samara Mortada is the associate editor of ICE Today, a freelance writer and a strong believer in all things equal.  

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