Democracy in the US also has weaknesses

Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday slammed foreigners for talking about democracy and elections in Bangladesh – saying there are “weaknesses” in democracy everywhere, including in the US.

“There are good and bad sides of democracy in every country. It’s not a perfect situation. It’s a dynamic process. It’s an evolving process. Democracy matures through continuous effort,” he said.

Momen made the comments during a press conference at the State Department when his attention was drawn to US Ambassador Peter Haas’ repeated comments on democracy in Bangladesh and the upcoming national elections.

He said foreigners make comments when spoken to by the media here. “They should come to us instead of going to them (with questions).”

The foreign minister said democracy in Bangladesh had “weaknesses” but the government was trying to figure out how to address those weaknesses.

“We have weaknesses. But that doesn’t mean they (US) have the best. They have their own weaknesses,” he added.

Momen said, “We are not a great power. However, in this country we have principles and values. We remain vocal where we see injustice. This is Bangladesh.”

Regarding the 1971 Liberation War, he said that when genocide was taking place in that country, they (the US) did not come near Bangladesh, and when genocide was taking place in Myanmar, nobody offered them protection.

“Who was it? It’s Bengal. It’s Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina has the courage to open the border for humanitarian reasons,” he continued.

In his rather lengthy reply, Momen said Bangladesh is a leader in democracy and the people of that country donated blood in 1971.

“We donated blood to establish democracy. Have you seen anywhere in the world? We fought for the establishment of democracy when the people’s voice and democratic rights were denied,” he said.

Momen said the people of this country started the war of independence to establish democracy, justice and human rights. “So how much will others teach us? We remain committed to democracy, human rights and justice.”

Regarding the elections, Momen said the government does not want to see a single death during the election process.

“The government is committed to holding free, fair and transparent elections. The government is committed to it,” Momen said, adding that the Bangladesh Awami League has consistently come to power through elections “known to be free and fair.

He said they will try to ensure a free, fair and transparent electoral process. “It’s better not to go to the foreigners.”

Momen also said that Sheikh Hasina also demonstrated a smooth transfer of responsibility.

Momen described the relatively low turnout in US elections and the lack of interest among young people in getting into politics. “Don’t you like your (US) democracy? Why don’t young people come (up)… They (journalists) should ask them these questions.”

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