PM and our crisis heroes
April 8th, 2020 at 7:22 pm
PM and our crisis heroes

Nadeem Qadir;

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has yet set another example for others to follow as lawmakers, districts chiefs, organisational chiefs and heads of all other services.

It is honouring the one section of the frontline fighters who are every second risking their lives to protect us from the dangerous COVID-19.

It is the frontline medics whom the prime minister honoured by declaring a series of measures to recognise their services to the nation. The armed forces, police, RAB, media, some NGOs and private organisations have also come forward in aid of humanity.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

This is always true that crisis makes new heroes like our 1971 Independence War. It drew people from all walks of life like students, housewives and farmers, seeking independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman amid Joy Bangla (Victory to Bengal) shouts.

Again, the Bengali nation is under attack by another enemy, but an “invisible” one — the novel coronavirus. But it too has produces new heroes who too should be recognised in a way that is suitable for them.

I have added in this piece two young men who died without treatment. The premier rebuked those for not keeping their holy pledge to serve the humanity. One cannot agree more with her comments as published in the media: “I want to reward those who have been engaged directly in the fight against COVID-19 since March… This incentive is not for those who fled for their own safety and left patients to go from door to door for treatment.” 

Thus she rightly put out the flags of “directly” and “not for those who fled.” Those who “fled” need not be upset, but rather do the job they have so far failed to do and the premier will welcome you in her arms with her motherly love. 

It is clearly the head of government drawing a line between the heroes and cowards.

As the crisis started to unfold in Bangladesh, some individuals or institutions have also played a heroic role and needs to be honoured.

One politician took an exemplary initiative even before the authorities or health officials had asked for any aid. He is Jahangir Alam, the Mayor of Gazipur City.

Jahangir Alam

A young politician with a huge popular following stood up to face the imminent COVID-19 crisis to save the people of his city and the country at large as much as possible. It is shocking to see that some media people instead of thanking him have been very critical about his gesture.

Jahangir Alam so has imported 50,000 rapid tests kits from China with his own money on an urgent basis without waiting for the minimum 180 days government processing time. To him, saving a life is more important than going by the books and that is not breaking the rules.

In crisis one may have to break a rule if it brings good for the people – in this case saving lives. Hats off to him!

He said “I have additional 100,000 ready and if needed I can import them too … I have distributed the test kits to different hospitals around the country.” The mayor informed that he has also imported from his own funds Personal Protection Equipment. Amazing!

Dr. Nuhu Amin

Yes, he is a politician and not a medical expert who thought China is an expert on COVID-19 and importing those will be useful. None can say they have not proven useful. They may be saving lives now. He is a new hero who should be recognised.

A 36-year-old Bangladeshi scientists at the famed International Centre for Diarrheal Diseases and Research, Bangladesh Dr. Nuhu Amin’s formula for hand-wash with water and locally available detergent was approved last week by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It will now be WHO’s official and most effective hand-wash against COVID-19. Hats off to him!

“The project started in 2010 as my first research on joining the ICDDR,B to find out a low-cost hand-wash for the slum people for whom a regular soap is expensive,” he said, adding that one mini detergent packet mixed with one and half litre water does the work.

Told if he was the father of the hand-wash, Amin said he was the “inventor and conceptualised and institutionalised it.”

Another crisis hero who should too be honoured for saving lives and bringing glory to Bangladesh. Institutions are run by men and thus few of them are lesser known than their famed companies.

Ahmed Akbar Sobhan

They are Ahmed Akbar Sobhan and Sayem Sobhan Anvir, the chairman and managing director respectively, of one the country’s top conglomerate, the Bashundhara Group. Their gift to the nation to save lives is an unprecedented one. They have given space for a 5,000- bed health facility to treat and save coronavirus patients, the largest in the region. It includes a trade centre and four convention centres. 

“We believe that the move will play a significant role and help you (Prime Minister) in facing the future challenge of providing treatment to the patients with coronavirus,” Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, chairman of the Bashundhara Group, said on the offer of hospital.

Basundhara Group managing director Sayem Sobhan Anvir handed over the cheque of 100 million taka to Dr Ahmed Kaikaus, principal secretary to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Sayem Sobhan

According to Anvir, “This is just a token of our support to the efforts of Bangladesh Government in combatting the crisis and we want to widen our scope of partnership in this fight by opening up all our resources to set up a 5,000-bed hospital that will play a crucial role in saving valuable lives.

“As a private sector business group, we are proud to support our people and I take this opportunity to congratulate the government and the people of Bangladesh for a very low infection rate so far. However, with coronavirus, one can’t predict how things might turn in the coming weeks and months. It is important to be prepared and be ready, than be sorry,” he added.

Hats off to them!

They have also gifted aid to the armed forces and security organisations like RAB and police. Thus the two father and son entrepreneurs have set an example of giving to save lives, giving for humanity. They did not hold back their wealth or prize possessions for themselves, but gifted it to the nation, to the humanity. They two are our new heroes setting trends for others that what should be done in national interest.

Aziz Khan

Summit Group is yet another conglomerate in Bangladesh and two men led the way in aiding the government to fight the COVID-19 just as the big bug attacked Bangladesh by gifting five thermal scanners.

Muhammad Aziz Khan and Muhammad Farid Khan, the sibling chairman and vice chairman of the group, also donated 30 million Taka to help save lives. They too are crisis heroes.

Aziz Khan said “it is nothing exceptional, but to stand by the government at this hour of need.” “It is a gesture of our love and part of our responsibility for our country, besides to help contain the virus.”

We must continue to list our new heroes for first and major contributions to save lives from COVID-19, a cure for which is yet to be found.

Farid Khan

One young man who lost his battle with cancer due to the inhuman attitude of some doctors who refused to treat them fearing he had coronavirus.

He is Sumon Chakma. We must remember him in solemn prayers and tell his parents even in death their son is our hero. We bow our heads in shame for failing to save him.

In his Facebook he wrote as he felt seriously ill that “I am not infected with coronavirus. But it seems I have to die for (the) situation created due to coronavirus.” He was a patent of cancer and lung complexities.

Our mother-like premier has remembered them with honour. Let there be a befitting gesture to their parents to console their losses.

Nadeem Qadir is a senior Bangladeshi journalist and a Dag Hammarskjöld fellow,-