In 2021, when Bangladesh is going to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of an independent state, the number of states younger than Bangladesh is 59 in the list of 195 independent-sovereign states; The number would have been 70 had it not been for the Corona crisis and the stubbornness of the Papua New Guinea government.
I will talk about the possible 70th country first. At one time it was called the German Papua New Guinea. However, the island is called Bougainville. When Australia granted independence to Papua New Guinea in 1975, Bougainville was pushed as a province of Papua New Guinea against the will of the islanders. Earlier, they had declared their island an independent North Solomon Islands. During the 1965 Pacific Islands independence movement, the Port Moresby meeting opened three avenues for Bougainville: (1) Bougainville will be part of Papua New Guinea, (2) Bougainville will be part of the Solomon Islands, and (3) Bougainville will be an independent state. However, in order to be independent, the islanders have to decide through a referendum.
But no referendum was held. Australia granted independence to Papua New Guinea in 1975, and Britain granted independence to the Solomon Islands in 1986. At seventy-five, Bougainville was annexed to Papua New Guinea, and at seventy-six it was declared a province. The Bougainville Revolutionary Army was formed, and they engaged in regular clashes with the Papua New Guinean army. Papua New Guinea vs. Bougainville People’s War begins.
International intervention led to a ceasefire in 1997. In 2001, the Bougainville Peace Accords were signed between the province and the state. According to this agreement, the autonomous Bougainville government was formed. Another condition of the agreement is that a referendum on independence be held in the next ten to fifteen years, and that the Papua New Guinea government take action if it is in favor of independence. The referendum was held here from 23 November to 6 December 2019. Voter turnout was 8.59 percent, and to the surprise of the Papua New Guinea government, 97.31 percent voted for independence and 1.69 percent for more autonomy. The decision of independence could have been made then. The main reason for not doing so is the loss of an important mine rather than the shrinking size of the country. The Panguna mine will then fall into the Bougainvillea and the tempting thing is that the mine has at least sixty billion dollars of copper reserves. Copper was once mined from this mine, but when the People’s War broke out, the copper mine was shut down in 1969. Such an important financial source will always tempt the central government.
No question was raised about the election, even the results of the election of the Minister of Bogenville Affairs of the Central Government are credible and expected. On the other hand, the administrative head of the autonomous region also said: The result of the election has given us at least psychological freedom.
Australian observers believe that even with 50 to 60 per cent of the vote in favor of independence, Papua New Guinea could have found an argument to hold on to the island, but it would be impossible for independence to suppress this ‘landslide victory’ and to do so would lead to violence. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea thanked the government for conducting a transparent election and assured US support in the next state-building process.
On the question of whether the state will run on domestic revenue, the economic survey shows that for now, 57 per cent of the expenditure will be met from domestic sources, the rest will have to be met with foreign aid. 92 per cent is foreign aid, now just the opposite, about 90 per cent comes from domestic sources.) It is clear that they will seek help from Australia and New Zealand to help build the state. But China is ready to provide greater assistance. Under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is interested in including Bougainville in the larger connectivity plan. This will again be a headache for America.
The results of this pro-independence referendum will encourage a few more independence-seeking territories to secede from the mainland – the province of West Papua in Indonesia and New Caledonia under France. The last independent state was South Sudan, ten years ago on July 9, 2011. Within six months of the referendum, the Republic of South Sudan emerged as the newest state. The results of this referendum were inspiring; 98.63 percent of the votes were cast in favor of full independence. From 1958 to 2011 they became armed rebels as part of Sudan and finally gained independence. Meanwhile, as the economic growth of the West Papua region exceeds the average growth rate of Indonesia, the government has focused on building large-scale infrastructure to quell the revolution and satisfy the people. Although per capita income does not carry the full financial identity of a country and the calculation of per capita income is controversial, this indicator can be used in general discussion. In this article, I would like to say that there is no opportunity for such childishness as ‘Bangladesh became independent that day’ or ‘Bangladesh is a new state’. After Bangladesh, 59 more countries have gained independence. On the question of seniority, Bangladesh is well above its 50th year. We always look at the countries with weak economies and say we are better than them, the ministers of the government also play instruments about it. To date, I have not heard a single minister say that even after independence, many countries are far ahead of Bangladesh economically.
As per the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), the per capita income of 43 out of 59 countries is higher than that of Bangladesh. The 18 countries that have less income than Bangladesh are not very low, but the ones that have more are incredibly high. The countries lagging behind Bangladesh in terms of per capita income for 2019 (just before Coronal period) are: Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Comoros, S সাo Tom ও and Pr প্রncipe, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribiti, Zimbabwe, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, Marshall Islands, Eritrea, Kosovo and East Timor.
Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahamas, Grenada, Cape Verde, Angola, Suriname, Similaj, Djibouti, Tuvalu, Dominica, Saint Louis Saint Vincent are the 43 countries which are still above Bangladesh in terms of per capita income after independence. And Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Chelsea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Brunei, Lithuania, Namibia, Georgia, Croatia, Slavenia, Estolia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Belarus, Mozambique, Azerbaijan, Mozambique, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Palau, Montenegro and Serbia.
Three more countries gained independence in 1971, the year of Bangladesh’s independence: Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Qataris earn 16 times more per capita than a Bangladeshi. No country became independent in 1972, not even in 1972, not even in 1975, 1978, 1989; No country became independent from 1995 to 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 to 2020; Maybe 2021 will go like this.
It is a matter of pride to come out of a country by movement and to rise above that country economically as an independent country and it also makes independence more logical. Out of Sudan, the per capita income of the Republic of South Sudan has not yet reached one-third of Sudan. However, one of my classmates, an African friend of mine, Musa Endegu, said that South Sudan under Sudan was in a worse situation. East Timor, which leaves Indonesia, has a per capita income of less than half that of Indonesians. The per capita income of Eritreans coming out of Ethiopia is two-thirds of Ethiopians; After the Portuguese colony of Guinea-Bissau became independent, their per capita income was sixteen times higher than that of the Portuguese. In this way, Bangladesh can be praised, as per PPP, the per capita income of a Bangladeshi is 400 dollars more than that of a Pakistani. This gap would have been at least ড 1,000 had it not been for the capital flight. The names of some of the capital traffickers are known from time to time but the masters who are the victims of this deprivation of the state are seldom identified. A small part of the money that is constantly going out of the country is coming back as a commodity, most of it is spent on suffering and development of different countries.
Why don’t we look at South Korea instead of Pakistan on the golden jubilee of Bangladesh? In 1970, the per capita income of Bangladesh and South Korea was less than ড 60, 60 years later, in 2019, Bangladesh’s income was ৫ 5,200 and South Korea’s ৪ 43,520; The per capita income of the citizens of Bangladesh is about eight and a half times. South Korea has had to move forward through political instability, martial law; South Korea did, we didn’t.
It should also be kept in mind while celebrating the Golden Jubilee – America, Canada, Australia, Malaysia smuggle money to build a second home, the name of the celebration of getting green card in those countries is not patriotism. If the future of the country is not directly related to the future of the child, then the capital will flow towards the country where the child will be a green card holder.
Dr. MA Momen: Former government employee, non-fiction and columnist.
Source: Bhorer Kagoj by www.bhorerkagoj.com.
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