Often international pressure is placed on countries to move toward a more democratic state and possess the associated qualities like freedom and liberty. Two weeks ago, Bangladesh celebrated a new milestone, the return to democratic rule. After election preparations in 2006 were shut down and emergency rule imposed, many on-lookers cast doubt on the future of Bangladesh to protect its citizens’ rights and the rule of law, but the general elections on December 29th proved to be free and fair according to the Bangladesh Election Commission and 20,000 international observers. The peaceful return to democratic rule is certainly something to celebrate on its own, but taken into historical context, this is an even more amazing feat. Just 37 years ago, Bangladesh became its own country; seceding from Pakistan after a bloody battle. Since that time, Bangladesh has undergone numerous governmental and institutional changes, and in addition to these transitions, Bangladesh has simultaneously been faced with the steep challenges of many other developing countries. In parallel, America at it’s 37th birthday was engaged in the War of 1812 and numerous battles across the U.S. waging war with Native American tribes. Although this is certainly not an exact comparison, it provides an interesting perspective to look at the progress of nations in relation to their place in history. Hopefully, this milestone in Bangladeshi history will be the first of many that improve the lives of those in Bangladesh and the rest of the globe.

Video: Bangladesh Restores Democracy

Written by Kristy Crabtree