Bangladesh Development Initiative
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BDI Statement on January 6 Ransack of the U.S. Capitol Building

 
January 11, 2021
 
Along with millions of Americans and people across the globe, we are shocked and saddened by the events at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Encouraged by Mr. Trump, mobs of his supporters, mostly white supremacist and anti-democratic elements, violently interrupted the work of the United States Congress as it was engaged in the process of certifying the Electoral College votes which are in favor of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  The resulting mayhem which bordered on “insurrection” caused the loss of several lives and considerable damage to the building.  The damage to the reputation of the United States as a beacon of liberty and hope, a democracy built over 250 years of history, was immeasurable and long lasting.  With all its shortcomings, democracy in the U.S. is among the most robust in the world, guarded by constitutional checks and balances, and buttressed by constitutional supremacy, the separation of powers, the rule of law, and free and fair elections to ensure smooth transitions of power.

These and other strong political institutions ensured transparent and honest elections leading to a smooth transfer of power to the newly elected administration.  President Trump’s attempt to undermine this system, gleefully aided by far too many of his surrogates in the Congress and outside, has shaken the foundations of this framework.  The immediate cause of these tragic and consequential events was the claim of a compromised and stolen election, built entirely on spurious evidence.  A more critical analysis shows that these events were a natural outcome of the hatreds and resentments built over the past four years by a sustained campaign of falsehoods, disinformation, manipulative language, and blaming "others", using a variety of techniques, social media platforms, sections of the media, and enablers in Congress.  The events on January 6, which have shaken the nation, will go down in history as a day of infamy along with a few others that people remember in dismay and disgust. 

As members of BDI, we write this for the record, that as part of the U.S. and the global civil society, we are appalled by these events. We call upon law enforcement agencies to move expeditiously, and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths, destruction, and desecration on Capitol Hill. However, accountability should not end with those on the ground who participated in the attack, but should extend to the leaders of the mob, including President Trump and those in Congress who were directly responsible for inciting this heinous behavior.  We renew our commitment to a democracy that empowers all citizens, and to economic progress, which is inclusive of all people, including the poor and marginalized communities.  Finally, we call upon the America’s leaders across the political spectrum to be aware of, and challenge the rampant campaigns of disinformation and misleading propaganda on the Internet, which have radicalized and poisoned the minds of millions of Americans, and to enact appropriate policies to combat domestic terrorism in the United States. It is hard to believe, but there may be a silver lining to the tragic events of January 6.  If these events could serve as a tipping point, a wakeup call for millions of citizens, convincing them that democracy is a precious gift, a fragile experiment in self-governance, and it takes good people from all political perspectives to work together to protect and preserve it. 

 

Approved by the following members of the Bangladesh Development Imitative (BDI):
⦁    Munir Quddus
⦁    Ahrar Ahmad
⦁    Farida Khan
⦁    Elora Shehabuddin
⦁    Rahim Quazi
⦁    Sukomal Modak 
⦁    Atiar Rahman
⦁    Akhlaque Haque
⦁    Adnan Morshed
⦁    Waziuddin Saud Chowdhury
⦁    Ashraf Ali
⦁    Farzana Bindu