Monday, December 25, 2023

The Election of the Absurd*

Bangladesh’s governing party officials are threatening voters with the loss of state benefits if they don’t show up at the polling centres in the country’s uncontested election.


On 7th January, 2024, an “election” of sorts will take place in Bangladesh.

Perhaps it is best not described as an “election” but as a theatrical play or even charade which seeks to portray the people of Bangladesh as being able to make a real choice and that is one of choosing the Awami League as the legitimate party of government.

With no opposition in attendance, it remains unclear whether those participating in this theatre of the absurd are actually beguiled by the charade. Its preposterousness is certainly in full view of the audience – and it has already received some very bad reviews by many inside and outside the country. Most plays so comprehensively panned would have closed its box office some time ago, but not this one. The director of this charade very much wants to keep her job, and as memory of the theatrical spectacle fades, the play’s economic backers feel that their investment will pay off in no time. And whilst after such a charade, one would never expect that the reputation and career of a director whose play was so uniformly slammed could revive, this one has previously put on two other similarly ridiculed dramas (in 2014 and 2018) yet managed to continue with her reputation (and power) pretty much intact. And she is betting that it will happen this time too.