Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bangladesh's "Dubious Distinction"

The headline in the paper a few days back was something like "Government Officials Reject TI's Corruption Ranking". Bangladesh has, for the fourth year in a row, been labeled the most corrupt country in the world. Transparency International uses surveys and focus groups to measure the perceived corruption of businessmen, developers and countrymen, to give each country a rating between one and ten (ten being a perfect score). Anything below a three is termed "rampant corruption". Bangladesh scored a 1.5, which is surprisingly a slight improvement over last year. This time, at least, Bangladesh can share it's shame with Haiti.

Of course, the ruling government of Bangladesh "rejected" the findings. One official said something like "hey, our values are different here. We don't see human rights in the same way as the rest of the world." YIKES.

Truly, this is a corrupt country. My friend, Faruk bhai (also my spoken English student), was telling me about his experience as a government employee. He refused to take bribes, and had to resign because the system just doesn't work that way. His fellow employees were all affected because he wouldnt take bribes, and although they liked him as a person, he thinks they resented him for messing with the system. So he quit. If he would have taken the bribes, he'd be well off and rolling in money, but now he's living a modest lifestyle. How many people have the strength to give that up? Not many.

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