Image by Rezwan

Overcrowded passenger ferry capsized in the Padma River in Munshiganj, Bangladesh

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

Remnants of Kiandra gold mine at New Chum Hill, #nsw #australia

December 31, 2006

Happy New Year 2007

Wishing everyone Merry Christmas, Graceful Eid-ul-Adha and a Happy New Year 2007.

Berlin did not have a white Christmas. But it snowed the following day of my arrival. Just for one day!

We had some guests and guided them to the historic Dresden 200 km away from Berlin. Some parts of the highway were very foggy and I could not see more than 10 meters ahead even with fog lamps deployed. It was a very chilly day with temperature hovering around zero degree. The kids and the elderly were struggling with red and running noses and we had to call it a day soon.

Berlin streets are now well lit with a lot of Christmas decorations and they are still on hopefully till tomorrow. It was really wonderful driving through Berlin's popular spots. The trees on the Kurfurstendamm road are all lit up with tiny lights, reminded me of the Wedding decorations back in Bangladesh. But in this case the lights are all over, where your eyes can reach, and in beautiful designs, like rein deers, bears or Santa. The main Christmas fairs in Europa Center and GendermenMarkt at the twin French Churches were dazzling but with not much crowd, probably because of the weather.

We had our second Eid in Berlin yesterday. The pleasure is more when you get the chance to celebrate it with a lot of people. However the most remarkable thing is that "Bakri Eid" was celebrated without eating any Bakri (goat) or cow meat. I really don't like sacrificing animals and I have indicated in one of my writings that I would rather like be away from seeing blood. So it was good in a sense. Some Bangladeshis here were trying to arrange the sacrifice in a slaughter house 85 kms away from Berlin and could not get the meat on the Eid day.

I will be heading shortly for the center point of the new years celebration, at the Brandenburger Gate and the temperature is an encouraging 8 degrees Celsius. Hope rain will not spoil the fireworks show.

Youtube video of the day

Bangladesh vs. Germany: Street Soccer Vol. 2

December 27, 2006

Going Back

While a large part of Asia is experiencing disruption in internet, I am writing from 35000 feet (10668 meters) in the air somewhere above the Caspian See. Going back to Berlin in after meeting so many people. In this visit I have met many bloggers, from my country and from many parts of the world. I had nice time with my family too.

While coming back I had a few hours break in Kolkata. Aparna came to airport to pick me up and we spent some wonderful time in the Peter Cat restaurant in Park Street, Kolkata. We had the famous Cello Kebab, an Iranian dish, which was very good.

Today there was intense fog in Delhi, but luckily my flight was on time. Lufthansa is continuing to impress me.

Signing off now as my laptop battery is depleting. There is no power socket available. That is one other issue the aviation industry needs to keep in mind in the future.

December 23, 2006

Today's Links

* Yunus in Stockholm: the Secret of Grameen Bank.

* What Clash of Civilizations? Why religious identity isn't destiny.

* What’s the Best RSS Reader for Rich Media?

* Global: Now spelt Blogal.

December 22, 2006

2006 in review: Bangladesh cricket

Year 2006 was a very successful year for Bangladesh Cricket as they won 18 one-day internationals, eight in a row, out of 28 games. They were just two wins behind from world champions Australia in this year's one-day success table. Bangladesh has already surpassed Zimbabwe in the ICC one day cricket rankings. It is their highest performance to-date.

Bangladesh's opening batsman Shahriar Nafees has become the fifth in the world to score 1,000 runs in 2006 and keeps the 19th position in the ICC rankings. The paceman Mashrafee Bin Mortaza (ranking 40) became the highest ODI wicket-taker in 2006 with 49 wickets. Mohammad Rafiq is the most successful bowler of Bangladesh with ranking 28.

Bangladesh is clearly on the right track with its coach Dav Whatmore preparing for the next world cup in 2007. The fans are already suggesting the possible combination of the team for the world cup.

Scotland cricketer Paul Hoffman comments on Bangladesh's chance on the coming world cup:

"On the low, skiddy wickets, they’re difficult to play. Caribbean pitches will be similar, so it would not surprise me if they cause a few upsets at the World Cup next year."

Nobody can deny the South Asia's cricket obsession. According to BBC 90% of tickets for matches involving India and Bangladesh had been sold out much ahead of the championship in March. It seems those people will have a blast.

December 21, 2006

The world in a nutshell

Are bloggers shrinking the planet? Quinn Norton of Wired News cites the example of the Global Voices Online:

Today, the Global Voices website has grown to a million visitors a month, and is rated on blog search and analysis company Technorati as the 207th most popular blog by inbound links, in a field of around 55 million. Geographically distributed editors spend their days rounding up the most important posts from their parts of the world and presenting them through the site, so visitors can easily zoom in on what's happening in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba or the Congo.

Last weekend's conference had the feel of a miniature United Nations, with laptop-toting attendees from nearly every continent gathered on the tiers of a New Delhi convention center, each sitting at their own small desk, many wearing native dress.

A miniature UN, yeah I would like to call GV that too. If you were in the summit, you could just feel it.

(via ThaRum Bun)

December 20, 2006

In Dhaka

After a pretty disastrous experience in traveling with Indian domestic airways (delays, blinded by lack of info screens, considers laptop case as a separate cabin luggage) and watching crowded, corrupt and dirty airports (Delhi and Kolkata)I was pretty happy to see the Zia International Airport in Dhaka. Its new expanded portion was literary shining. The management was satisfactory considering many arrivals at the same time. The Air Sahara apologized for the delay and had two persons booked in the seat besides me. Surprisingly Biman crews were friendly and professional and the aged fokker-28 (with a cabin shelf not willing to stay close) was not actually their fault. Moreover, could you believe it! The flight was on time.

The first glimpses of the night time Dhaka streets were occupied by GrameenPhone advertisements all over propagating its new (Telenor) logo and the irreplaceable traffic jam. It seems the traffic system in Dhaka is going to explode soon. I had to walk a lot in Motijheel area today because the transports were simply not moving. The Biman office has 15 counters and it took more than 1.5 hour to clear 126 persons ahead of me in the queue. Alico had similar counters with lot more people and I gave up at one point. Bangladesh is surely a populous country. I am glad that eventually they make it work and people have a lot of patience. Perhaps my 10 month's experience in the West has made me impatient.

Today's evening was marked by another meet of people I know via internet/blogs. Zafa of Drishtipat invited a whole lot of people in the sassy Saltz restaurant in Gulshan 2. I was delighted to meet a lot of wonderful people like Nazim Farhan Chowdhury, Kamal Quadir, Andrew Morris, Ahmede Hussain, Shafi and Lopa Tasneem to name a few. And the gorgeous Zafa and her open-hearted husband were the perfect hosts. The sea-food snacks were out-of-ordinary. I didn't ask but I think we had caviars too.

The discussion did not go beyond getting to know each other and explaining some people about blogs. Three hours are not enough! We heard that Drishtipat Bangladesh chapter will be opened soon.

I am using dialup internet now. It seems I am getting about 56k now. This is about 20 times less than what I get in Berlin. But I am glad because only last year I could not get more than 36k via modem.

Babar and Babri Masjid

Muslim Emperor Babar was not interested in merely building a Masjid in place of the ruins of the birthplace of the Hindu Gods Ram and Lakhsman. "He was interested in respecting a place of any worship" - says Dilip D'Souza.

He asks "if this explanation of a 500 year-old event is any less believable than the explanation that says a barbaric Babar tore down a temple? Is it more believable?"

It is for all of you to decide.

December 18, 2006

Remembering genocide and celebrating victory day

Some days are very special for a nation. 16th December is one such day for Bangladesh. Drishtipat Blog remembers the independence of Bangladesh 35 years ago. Time magazine December 20, 1971 named it "the bloody birth of Bangladesh".

For those who do not know why it is called so, Mash of Or How I Learned to stop worrying blog shares the history of Bangladesh Liberation war and the Pakistani Armies atrocities:

"In 1971, Bangladesh, then called East Pakistan, was part of a geographical monstrosity created by the British in 1947. Pakistan, as created by the British, consisted of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, separated by the vast expanse of the Indian land mass in the middle. East and West Pakistan spoke different languages and were culturally distinct. East Pakistan accounted for the majority of Pakistan’s population, yet it was economically exploited and politically marginalized by West Pakistan. Bengalis, the people of East Pakistan, were also persecuted for speaking their native language and for being either Muslims who had converted from Hinduism or for being Hindus. Pakistan, translated as "The Land of the Pure", was intolerant of Bengalis because they were not ‘pure" Muslims."


On March 25, 1971, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Searchlight to "eliminate" the Awami League and its supporters in East Pakistan. The goal was to "crush" the will of the Bengalis.

Then Bangladesh suffered a genocide by Pakistani army which killed approx 3 million people, raped 40000 women, burned hundreds of villages, brutally murdered intellectuals. It was one of the worst genocides in the history of the world.

"Kill three million of them," said Pakistan President Yahya Khan , "and the rest will eat out of our hands."

The US government however supported Pakistan and on April 6, 1971 Archer Blood, a US diplomat based in Dhaka sent a telegram known as the "Blood Telegram". It was signed by 29 American government officials and strongly dissented from the American government policy toward Pakistan.

For his dissent from Richard Nixon’s and Henry Kissinger’s policy, Archer Blood was recalled to Washington. To millions of Bengalis Archer Blood remains a hero.

Millions of Bangladeshis took refuge in neighboring India. Quite contrary to the government policy some peace loving people of US created the forum "Americans for Bangladesh" and arranged a poetry recital program on 20th November 1971 in Saint George Church, New York. Among the poets who performed were Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovski, Ed Sanders etc. Ginsberg wrote and recited the famous poem "September on Jessore Road" which depicted the plights of the refugees.

1st of August 1971 in Madison Square Garden, New York. Some 40,000 people attended the "Concert for Bangladesh" arranged by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar to increase awareness for the Bangladesh's cause and to raise funds to help the refugees.

Bangladeshi freedom fighters resisted the Pakistani Army and India gave shelter to the refugees and helped the freedom fighters.

On December 16, 1971 the Pakistani army in Bangladesh formally surrendered. The world had witnessed a bloody birth of Bangladesh.

Drishtipat also remembers:

Our victory celebrations after 16th December were being overshadowed by grim discoveries of one after another killing field. Most destabilizing discovery was that of Rayer Bazaar. All of our national top doctors, professors, linguists, scientists were among the eviscerated dead bodies found here.

The Liberation war Museum keeps the archive of these periods accessible online.

Bangladesh celebrates this day with festivity. Back to Bangladesh posts some instances of how Bangladeshi flag is proudly portrayed by the people.

Ershad Ahmed has more pictures of the celebrations of the day in Bangladesh.

Angelmorn wants the Bangladeshis to be inspired by the martyres of the liberation war.

Farhan of Conversations with an optimist remembering the amazing contribution of normal citizens turning freedom fighters in the liberation war urges the Bangladeshi bloggers to raise their voices against all odds.

Truly the Bangladesh liberation war is a source of inspiration to many Bangladeshis.

December 16, 2006

100 dollar laptop

Today I first held in my hand the first manufactured prototype of the 100 dollar laptop promoted by the "One Laptop Per Child Project". It has ears like a robot which are actually wi-fi antennas. It looks more like a toy than a real PC and its very thin and light.

At the Global Voices Summit 2006

The Global Voices Online summit 2006 is being held in the Habitat Center in Delhi.

You can listen to the live webcast here or participate in the live chat. The internet connection is wavering but the conference is proceeding on with a lot of promise.

Ethan and Rebecca started with the background of Global Voices and the mission of the summit. Two years ago a small gathering of bloggers from around the world took place in a Harvard Law School classroom. From it emerged the Global Voices Manifesto.

Now the outreach session is taking place. Photos are coming up(if I can get the bandwith to upload).

December 14, 2006

On the way to Delhi

I'm attending the Global Voices Summit in Delhi! I am at a altitude of 10668 meter in an Airbus 330-300 of Lufthansa flying at 925km/h ground speed towards Delhi. The in flight monitor says the outside temperature is -50 degree and the plane is somewhere over Tehran. I am going to attend the Global Voice Summit 2006. Looking forward to meet many talented and award winning bloggers.

Its a nice thing to be able to use internet during a long flight. Only if you are in the economy class, your standard sized notebook monitor will not have the space to stand vertically. But you can manage this small problem. Too bad they will be discontinuing the service by the end of the year.

Hope to bring you details of the summit pretty soon.

December 13, 2006

Today's Links

* Pressure piles on Norway to cut GrameenPhone stake.

* Microcredit or Macrowelfare: The myth of Grameen.

* Blogging towards democracy: From China to Iran, web diarists are challenging censors.

* Antisemitism at German Schools: Insults against Jews on the rise.

* English tough? Try Globish.

* Made in Bangladesh, for better or worse.

Fighting terrorism with microcredit

2006 Nobel Peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus says guns are not the way to fight terrorism. In his view terrorism will prevail until the world addresses its root causes, like poverty and human rights. If poverty is alleviated peace will prevail in humans.

Egyptian writer Dr. Alaa Al Aswany says that the recent fanaticism in Islam is not due to a clash of civilization but poverty.

Fanaticism in Egypt starts in poor areas, because the poor are desperate. The current regime here is dealing with them in an inhuman way, arresting and torturing them. Religion is being used as a cover for social unrest, a way to empower these people who are not empowered.

Here are some of the links of Dr. Yunus's interviews:

* PBS News hour: Video, Script.

* The Daily Show: Video

* The People Speak: Video

* The Charlie Rose Show: Video.

And there is even a music video tribute to Yunus. The CD is for sale to raise fund for eye hospitals in Bangladesh. Cool!

December 12, 2006

Blogging feat

Mezba of a bengali in TO has won the Brass Crescent Award -best post for this article - "Better Than A Thousand Months". Congrats to him.

Failed States Index 2006

The fund for peace published the failed states index for 2006. Bangladesh ranks 19th, Pakistan 9th and India 93rd. Bangladesh improved 2 points from last year's index.

December 11, 2006

Today's Links

* In defense of religion!

* GrameenPhone: a solution to rural connectivity

* Finding Your Inner BLOG - The blog help desk

* Who killed Litvinenko?

* Workers in Bangladesh being "exploited" by UK firms - charity study

Apocalypse now?

Bangladesh politics has been taken down to the gutters once again. Another four good advisers bites the dust not getting the environment to be impartial and work for a change. Asif Saleh writes in the Daily Star how the good guys in Bangladesh politics are being beaten (literally) by the bad guys.

Poet Humayun Azad said in a poem "And Everything Will Be in the Custody of the Damned". That is exactly what is happening in Bangladesh.

If the general people of Bangladesh do not take side with the good guys irrespective of the parties or belief they represent, soon we will face apocalypse, the rotting of Bangladesh. And we don't want that to happen. Don't we?

Social Problem

Malaysia is having social problems with good looking Bangladeshi male students.

The country's home affairs minister Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said that the Bangladeshi men looked like Indian movie stars and had been known to hassle women - both single and married (BBC).

I don't think he is telling 100% truth as I have heard that Malaysian women crave for good looks and they would like to be hassled.

(Via Yawar)

December 10, 2006

Army in Bangladesh

picture courtesy of the Daily StarI am watching pictures of tanks rolling in Dhaka. The President and Chief Adviser (CA) Iajuddin Ahmed has decided to deploy the army under civilian administration to keep the law and order in the country. But the unilateral decision has sparked rage among his advisers.

He explained in a televised speech a couple of hours ago that he wants to take a tough stand against the political protests. The citizens will probably not react much as the protests were disrupting normal lives and hampering the economy. However some fear that this is a move to create a ground to hold elections if the opposition wants to boycott the election.

The opposition Sheikh Hasina said in her reaction that she expects that the army will do things right and not let certain quarter use them for their own mission. She warned the army not to become controversial. The use of army in policing of civilians is not the right tool. The human rights abuse of RAB, the elite police of Bangladesh containing of armed forces personals is a burning issue.

Social Business: The next economic phenomenon?

Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank have received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize valued at 10m Swedish kronor ($1.35m, £730,000) at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo today. The event was televised live in many Bangladeshi TV channels. Yunus has indeed become a pride for Bangladesh.

There was an interesting thing in his speech. He mentioned a new term "social business" and according to him:

"In future, Grameen will bring a new concept of business, which is social business. Today’s concept of business is to make profit, but this is a narrow interpretation of business. Human beings are not only for making money, they are also for changing lives of other people. Doing good to the people is as enjoyable as making profit.

Social business will be a new kind of business introduced in the market place with the objective of making a difference in the world. Investors in the social business could get back their investment, but will not take any dividend from the company. Profit would be ploughed back into the company to expand its outreach and improve the quality of its product or service. A social business will be a non-loss, non-dividend company.

Once social business is recognized in law, many existing companies will come forward to create social businesses in addition to their foundation activities. Many activists from the non-profit sector will also find this an attractive option. Unlike the non-profit sector where one needs to collect donations to keep activities going, a social business will be self-sustaining and create surplus for expansion since it is a non-loss enterprise."

Connie Bruck wrote in the New Yorker that Yunus's idea of microcredit as self sustaining social entrepreneurship has attracted many high tech entrepreneurs who would like to utilize their donations for a long lasting initiative.

I think soon we will find this term 'social business' everywhere because it provides an win-win situation for the entrepreneurs and the aid recipients and the underlying mission is to create a positive change in the society.

December 09, 2006

Costly Mistake

"How could you miss the flight?" asked the British Airways counter employee. I was asking that to myself for quite sometime as I could only arrive after five minute of the check in desk closing. It was a terrible miscalculation as it took more than 2.5 hours to reach Heathrow from the North-Eastern corner of London. I should have abandoned my journey in London tube midway and called a taxi instead as I could see it coming. Or I could have done the online check-in before I leave for the Airport. Above all I should have aimed to be there at least one and a half hours earlier with another half an hour in hand for uncertainty of public transport. I could only blame myself for being so slow.

I requested her to help me get to the plane which was due for departure after 20 minutes. She said nothing can be done at this point and sent me towards the ticket sales desk. They said I can take the next flight if I pay four times of the value of my return ticket. Tensed events followed after that. I went back to the city to get some advice and booked another reasonable flight online. Then came back to Heathrow to take the National Express bus to Stansted Airport. Had to wait whole night for the early morning flight to Berlin.

Some mistakes are so costly.

December 08, 2006

In London

I am in London for a short visit.

Had some wonderful time meeting lot of people including bloggers. The evening with Drishtipat London chapter in Kolapata restaurant was a memorable one. I cherished the presence of Asif Bhai, Faisal Bhai, Ahsan, Zubaer, Sohani, Farhad Bhai etc. A long adda with one of the best Bangla blogger was the highlight of my today's proceedings.

I have walked through Brick Lane and had my dinner in a Brick Lane Restaurant.

Pictures coming up soon.

December 03, 2006

From the Bangladesi Blogs

Politics: Blogs are said to be the mirror of a society. The recent political uncertainty in Bangladesh is troubling the citizens and taking much space in the blogosphere.

The nation is divided in two streams of political ideologies and one cannot stand another. Naeem Mohaiemen discusses Bangladesh politics and warns about a third force cashing on the rivalry of the major political parties.

ShahidulNews comments on the recent incident of intervention of the chief justice of the supreme court to prevent a judicial ruling going against a political party. This shows politicization of judiciary which is a bad sign for the country.

The much uttered words of politics are being humored and dissected by the bloggers. Crosses and acrosses mocks the sense of 'neutrality' in politics. ElectricBlues slams the violent politics of 'demand'. 'Fake voters' is another much debated issue and Journal of a Disturbed Mind proposes two solutions to tackle it.

The Nobel Laurate Dr. Muhammad Yunus's solution to the crisis is brewing much debate at Drishtipat blog.

According to Change Bangladesh the voters are facing a dilemma who will they vote for in the coming election. Some are not sure whether the election will take place.

Andrew Morris of Morris the pen caught up with one freedom fighter of Bangladesh, who is disgusted by the way the country's politics is going and commented "this is not the Bangladesh I fought for".

Meanwhile the election campaign has started and Shahidul Alam of ShahidulNews has posted some photos of the election campaign in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Talk posts a rare picture of Bangladesh Police helping a blind woman. The police has earned a bad name as they are used for political repression by the ruling parties.

Take Back Bangladesh is an effort initiated by some of the bloggers. One of the main organizers Nazim Farhan Chowdhury of Conversations with an optimist says in an interview how Bangladesh can be saved from the crisis. Its first initiative attracted almost 13000 people.

Photography: Ershad Ahmed posts in his photoblog some dazzling glimpses of Dhaka by night.

Diaspora: After residing 30 years abroad Ulysses of Back to Bangladesh is trying to become a Bangladeshi again.

Food: Shafiur of imperfect | world | 2006 feats Bhapa peetha, a dumpling cake delicacy of Bangladesh available during the winter.

IT: Bangladeshi developer Hasin Hyder of The Storyteller blog has written a book titled 'Wordpress complete', which is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to set up, customize, and market blog using WordPress. Read an interview with him regarding the book.

Russell writes in his cyber journal about a gathering of IRC chatters in Dhaka. IRC chatting has long been a craze among the net savvy young generation of Bangladesh.

Health: Jyotirmoy Banik of Share The Magic depicts a few unwanted incidents in the health sector in Bangladesh pointing a decline in the number of doctors practicing ethics and integrity.

(Cross-posted in the Global Voices Online)

December 02, 2006

Its a start!

Take Back Bangladesh was launched yesterday thanks to the organization power of Nazim Farhan Chowdhury and others. He reports:

"By some estimates about 13,000 people turned up (we had expected 500 or so) as did many of the last Caretaker Government Advisers, celebs and “civil” society leaders.

Even if our message got through to a small portion of the crowd I think we’ve made a start. It is now up to us to take this spark and light a fire.

More pictures at Take Back Bangladesh.

But I am appalled with almost no press coverage of the event.

December 01, 2006

Google video of the day

History of Bangladesh Liberation War 1947-1971

(Via Salam Dhaka)

Ekushey TV is broadcasting again

After a long struggle Bangladesh's first private television station, ETV (Ekushey TV) is reopening their broadcasting from today. In an advertisement in today's Bengali daily Prothom Alo they have notified this. There is a press briefing scheduled today, which will disclose further information. Those who are Bangladesh can watch ETV in these frequencies:

Satellite PAS - 10 , C- Band , Fequency 3716.5 MHz , Polarization H , FEC 2/3 , Symbol rate 4.600 MS/S

Too bad I am not getting the beam here.

(Via Darklord)

November 30, 2006

Take back Bangladesh launched

Zafar Sobhan, assistant editor of the Daily Star introduces the new initiative Take Back Bangladesh. In an article in the Daily Star he writes:

"Young people, especially, are fed up with the current (political) stalemate. Take Back Bangladesh would like to provide a platform for the millions of people in the country who are caught up in this no man's land, who can see clearly that the election is being set to be rigged, and are disgusted by this, but who are equally turned off by the blockade programs as well.

Take Back Bangladesh's first initiative is an open concert in the Robindro Shorobor open air amphitheatre, Road no. 7, Dhanmondi (close to the bridge). It promises to be an enjoyable and inspiring afternoon If nothing else, listening to artists such as Black or Bappa Majumdar or any of the rest of the star-studded line-up is always worthwhile."

The Star Weekend Magazine also published an interview of Nazim Farhan Chowdhury, a prominent personality and a prolific blogger to discuss more about the Take Back Bangladesh effort.

So if you are in Dhaka and disgusted by the current situation, please show solidarity. Be there.

Is Bangladesh A Democracy or Autocracy?

The political impasse in Bangladesh is slowly turning worse. Today we have seen that the even the judiciary is being controlled by some force and the violent reactions of politically charged lawyers are criminal actions.

It is clear now that the nation is divided in two streams and one cannot stand another. There is no mutual respect or common goal - serving the nation. The current politics of Bangladesh is simplified by Professor Mahfuz R. Chowdhury, who teaches Economics at C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, USA. He says:

"...politics in Bangladesh is now controlled by money and muscle. The current system works in a simple process – the leaders gain power, extort massive amount of money, and then use that ill-gotten money to buy muscle, which is then used to manipulate election. This is precisely what is happening in Bangladesh. Since the main source of money is state power, there is always strong competition among the hordes of politicians wishing to join the winning party. The more corrupt a politician is, the bigger are his chances of being accepted, because his ability to bring in money and muscle through corruption would strengthen the party he joins.

Politics in Bangladesh is currently being influenced by two major political parties – Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). In the center of controversy there are two inept women who lead AL and BNP, the two major parties in the country. Ironically neither one allows democratic practices within their respective parties anymore. Any party member who dares to question their authority is quickly sacked or faces intimidation.

They are evidently bent on destroying each other in order to grab state power, even if it comes at a tremendous cost to the people and the economy. To gain state power they are even prepared to forge alliances with their past enemies, such as the party which is allegedly promoting fundamentalism in the country, and the military dictator against whom they supposedly once fought to rescue the country.

And he echoes the views of millions of Bangladeshis:

"People are losing patience with both parties and want change fast. One can easily sense this from the kind of reception the newly formed Liberal Democratic Party is getting in the country. Judging from their past activities, no sensible person will bet on the ability of the two women leaders to steer the country in the right direction. It is now high time for everyone in the country to face the reality."

Read the whole article published in the American Chronicle.

November 27, 2006

Andrew Morris's Bangladesh Diary

If you are not reading the Bangladesh diaries of Andrew Morris then you are missing something. Welsh expat Andrew tries to see Bangladesh with his inner soul as he can go deep into the culture. Using his ability to assimilate and understand, he does not weigh a place or a person with a mindset built up from another culture and infrastructure.

In his latest diary entry he hails the family bonds and hospitality of the Bangladeshis:

"...how important people are here to each other - and who knows, perhaps this talent for humanity, the respect for family and openness to receiving relatives are all different facets of the same diamond.

This jewel has, in many other countries, already become a museum piece. In a darkened room, crowds of open-mouthed onlookers surround the glass case, gazing in silence at the spot-lit gem, trying in vain to remember what it once represented."

So if you have the mindset of Bangladesh being the next Afghanistan, a country traumatized with political violence and corruption, or simply a majority Muslim country with problems associated with the ideologies then you should read 'Morris the Pen'. You will find the story behind a story or perception and in the end you know a bit more about true Bangladesh.

A Budhdist Monk renounced earthly pleasure

.. by getting rid of the source of all problems.

A gifted horse

A German Social Court has ruled that Euro 345 is the amount of rent and welfare payment with which one can live adequately in the country.

The figure is really unbelievably scanty but I can simply say "do not look a gift horse in the mouth"! I think the people on social welfare should realize that living on aid cannot change peoples lives. On the other side, people become desperate to make a change when they are pushed down to the edge. I think the government is just trying to do it with the reforms in the social welfare system. Some Germans prefer social welfare to the low paid physical jobs.

November 24, 2006

Development Strategy: More Business not Aid

We have heard from Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, that aid breaks poor peoples morales and providing them chance to do business (with Microcredit) can dignify them and they can take the charge of their lives.

The Co-founder of the Grameen Phone (where Yunus's Grameen Telecom has stakes) Iqbal Quadir says:

Aid from western countries has mostly empowered governments, distancing them from their citizens who are left helpless. Historically, people rose from below through technological empowerment and then they participated in their governance, leading to service-oriented governments. That's what created healthier societies with checks and balances.

Quadir unequivocally disagrees with the conventional wisdom that poor countries need aid and charity. Instead, he says, "What they need are businesses. Commerce is development."

Amit Varma hails Quadir and adds:

"People often wrongly equate free markets with big, rapacious companies, but to me, free markets have always been about the little guy. When there's economic freedom, businesses spring up, consumers have more choice, employment grows, and getting jobs is easier. Inevitably, prosperity results. People have more to spend, so they spend more. More money in the economy, more business, more employment. It's a virtuous cycle."

Thats why we need more entrepreneurs and visionaries like Yunus and Quadir.

November 23, 2006

Internet revolution

The Washington Post has published a report showing that after the Cellular phone revolution, internet has reached the villagers of Bangladesh. The country now has about 16 million cellphone subscribers (2 million new users each month) with network covering the remotest parts compared with just 1 million land-line phones (whose network covers mainly in urban areas) to serve a population of nearly 150 million people. After tapping those remote village consumers operators are now promoting internet access via cellphone.

And cell-phone linked computers will soon revolutionize the rural villages of Bangladesh. Now villagers are able to use internet to search specialist doctors, use VOIP and web cameras to communicate with relatives abroad or enabling a expatriate father to see his news born, students can check national exam results online without waiting for newspapers next day, and one unique feature, weddings are being conducted using video conference.

Read the article here.

A cop in Germany

Reuters reports:

German traffic police were shocked to see a California Highway Patrol car cruising along a motorway in Fulda, driven by a man dressed as an authentic American cop. But they recovered sufficiently to book the 35-year-old Goettingen resident, whose uniform badge read "T.J. Lazer", for possessing a replica Smith & Wesson revolver without a license and having out-of-date registration plates.

He was sitting at the wheel with his elbow on the window like in the best TV crime series. The man told police he had been taking the 30-year-old vehicle to Bavaria to sell it and wanted to impress the buyer.

This is definitely a reality show stuff.

Consult your laughing specialist

A new way to cure diseases. Say cheese.

(Picture courtesy Reuters)

Youtube video of the day

Go Bangladesh!

November 22, 2006

Breaking News: The Chief Election Commissioner agrees to leave

Another political deadlock crippling Bangladesh for the third day over the resignation of the Chief election Commissioner M A Aziz. Many political parties were opposing Aziz because of the clear evidence of bias by the election commission lead by him towards the then ruling party. The election commission is also accused of incompetence and lack of transparency in the whole process of creating the voter list and in addressing the complaints (More in Drishtipat). It may be noted that the government raised the retirement limit of the judge to place Aziz constitutionally.

The BNP and four parties' alliance who have just completed their five year tenure were supporting Aziz and were demanding that no unconstitutional measure should be taken to remove Aziz. It became a matter of a political game as BNP was seeing that if Aziz resigns over opposition pressure that marks their defeat.

However people are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Reports say that CEC Aziz agreed to take 3 months leave of absence to enable another person to take his place. BBC has also hinted it. The president is supposed to deliver a speech to the nation confirming the decision and naming the person(s) who will replace Aziz. Another report says that the President is waiting for the official application for leave from Aziz.

However this has come with a price. Violence has spread across the country leaving many people dead. Sporadic clashes between political parties marked the day.

I hope this drama ends with a positive promise, to ensure a free and fare election.

November 20, 2006

Take back Bangladesh

In solidarity with the citizen movement in Bangladesh my blog is wearing the black badge. The mission statement is as follows:


We all want free and fair elections.

It is widely agreed that neutrality of the Caretaker Administration and Election Commission is a pre-requisite for free and fair elections.

The Chief of the Caretaker Government, it appears is neither non-partisan nor neutral, and the conduct of the Election Commission has hitherto been shocking.

At the same time while many in the Nation agrees with the 14-party agenda in regards to securing free and fair elections, their destructive methods have precluded public participation on a mass scale.

Yet, we wish to participate in the destiny of Bangladesh. We want free and fair elections.

It is time that we the general public take a stand.

Back in 1969-71, wearing a small rectangular BLACK BADGE on the arm or chest became a powerful symbol of protest against the vile political machinations of the Pakistan Government. Virtually everybody wore it. The BLACK BADGE expressed the single-mindedness of the people in their quest for justice.

It is once again time that we the general public take a stand.
Starting November 20th, 2006 wear a BLACK BADGE on your arm or chest, or fly a BLACK FLAG on your roofs to protest against election engineering and also the violence that is being done in our name.

Free and Fair Elections is one of the basic entitlements we have as a citizen of this great nation. It is now upon us to protect it.

(via Drishtipat)

South Asia Blog Buzz

The latest from different blogs about the following South Asian Countries:


Bangladesh is facing a political crisis. Unheard Voices: Drishtipat group blog informs about a citizens movement in Bangladesh in which people are urged to wear a black badge demanding a free and fair election and to bring an end to the ongoing political violence and people's sufferings.

All the major religions in Bangladesh enjoy their equal share of religious holidays. Andrew Morris of Morris the Pen describes a baptism ceremony in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has some talented photographers. Shahidul Alam of ShahidulNews has details about the Chobi Mela IV, the international festival of Photography in Bangladesh with lots of links, pictures and background information.


Bruno Giussani of Lunch Over Ip informs that the Bhutanese officials make decisions based on whether they will contribute to the nation's collective happiness, not on economists point of view. No wonder Bhutan is the 8th happiest nation in the world.

However Bhutan is still a developing country. Murray Angus Gunn of One People, Many Cultures comments about the Bhutanese education system that it is still a rote learning system.

The trade bond between Bhutan and bordering India is very strong. Kuensel online reports that one in every 10 Indian national entering Bhutan via border town of Phuentsholing state ‘collection of dues’ as the reason for the visit.


Bollywood has created many famous pairs of actor-actresses. Sakshi Juneja of To Each Its Own hosted a poll to find out which is the Bollywood's hottest pair. The results are pretty interesting.

The duel between religion and science is eternal. Selva of the Scientific Indian opines that religious faith is hopeless and science pertains to hope.


Amidst political instability life still goes on in Nepal. Dinesh Wagle of United we blog has the pictures and details of the Music, Dance and Street Festival in Thamel.

Women do not need sympathy, they need opportunity to gain economic independence. Alex and Heather of Our Six Months tells the story how learning to be a trek guide can empower women in Nepal.


Suroor of Achelois regrets the Pakistani army's rape and mutilation of approximately 400000 Bangladeshi women during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. He is battered by the fact that how can own people (undivided Pakistan) can inflict such a shame and pain saying "incest is more painful than rape by strangers".

Adil Najam of Pakistaniat writes that ‘Pillion’ Riding (multiple passengers in a motorbike) is now banned in Karachi for good reasons.

The Glasshouse informs that a Sindh TV station is banned by the central government for bad reasons.

Why do they like Pakistan? Shirazi of Light Within has details about the migratory birds visiting Pakistan to keep away from the winter.

Sri Lanka:

Mahisha thinks that freedom of speech should not be used to hurt people un-necessarily.

Indi.ca protests the physical violence in light of the Budhdha's teachings.

Youtube video of the day

Arbeitsgeld by Nachlader, which is appropriately termed as the Berlin Anthem by Metroblogging Berlin.


"I do not have money, have no money, have no work
Have no money, have no money, want much money
Want much money, but want no work
I find work, I find, I find working is stupid.

Money without work now, work without money never,
Money without work now, now now.

Everyone give me one Euro, will cost you a smile
Then I will be rich.
Everyone give me one Euro, will cost you a smile
And make me rich.
Give me each and everyone only one Euro.

I do not have money, have no money, have no work
Have no money, have no money, want much money
Want want no work, want want only money
Want money without work, with work I have nothing to do."

Today's Links

* The fine art of (b)logging.

* 18 lessons I have learnt about blogging.

* Ten tricks that make your Web pages load faster.

* Muhammad Yunus, micro-credit innovator and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was interviewed by "The Hour" with George Stroumboulopoulos on CBC Television, Canada.

* What kind of American English do you speak?

* Islamic Terrorism and the injustice myth: Part one & two.

November 19, 2006

Cricket on ice

Now they are playing ice cricket in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The next thing we will hear that the bears are skiing on a beach.

(via Desipundit)

Youtube video of the day

Dr. Muhammad Yunus interviewed in the 'daily show' by John Stuart.

November 18, 2006

Blogebrity list

B-List Blogger

I am a B-List blogger in the blogebrity list. The grouping is explained here.

Take your test now.

(Via Sakshi)

November 17, 2006

Political Drama

Drama 1:

Drama 2:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players" - Shakespeare

November 16, 2006

Today's Links

* A new channel arrives.

* Will you watch Al Jazeera English?

* Silicon insider: A billion bloggers?

* What is poverty?

* How to give away a Million Dollars?

* Islamic militancy in Bangladesh: Still in a cocoon or exposed?

* My day in court.

Inside Germany

Germany is a great place to visit. Its a nice country to live in too. But if you are a colored person or speak any Semitic language and planning to live in certain parts of Germany for a longer period then you should know some facts and beware of certain things.

Picture courtesy - Der Spiegel A latest survey shows that one in every five Germans hates foreigners and one in every ten person in anti-Semitic. A shocking news also reveals that "Far-right views are not just the domain of skinheads and neo-Nazis but are firmly anchored throughout German society, regardless of social class or age" - Der Spiegel.

A few months ago an German-African was called a nigger and attacked in Potsdam. He narrowly escaped death. A couple of days ago after the 68th anniversary ceremony commemorating Nazi pogrom a Jewish synagogue was desecrated by right-wing youths in Frankfurt on Oder. The German President warned that Anti-Semitism is still alive in Germany.

The trend is not ubiquitous in Germany. It is witnessed largely in the former East German states, where the number of unemployment is high and jobs are shrinking and the fear of foreigners are high. A total of 36.9 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: "Foreigners only come here to exploit our welfare state."

The far-right (called Neo-Nazis) NPD party is now represented in two regional assemblies in eastern Germany. The NPD, which calls for the repatriation of foreigners and opposes immigration, has welcomed the survey saying:

"The motto ... has been confirmed in a refreshing way by the current survey results. Germany, we're coming!"

Former East German dissident and poet-songwriter Wolf Biermann has received the Bundesverdientskreuz, the German order of merit on his 70th birthday. In his recent speech "Germany betrays Israel" he dissects the psychology of his fellow countrymen:

"...the children of the Nazi generation are outright refusing to get down from the rocking horse of self-inflicted immaturity. This not-getting-involved, this sly shyness, this clueless inactivity in world conflicts is, in its practical ramifications, a deed in itself, better said, a non-deed with serious consequences."

"The simpler-minded average German sides with the Arabs (in the Middle East conflict). There is much under-the-breath muttering, growling and whining of that old chorus: the Jews are to blame for everything!

In the German mind, the Arabs are maniacs, immature third-class citizens, quite beyond the reaches of humane Enlightenment. This German sympathy is a form of patronizing contempt. The gushing respect for foreigners is nothing but self-satisfied arrogance.

Is it Germany's only problem? No. A Spiegel report say:

"Faced with poor job prospects, high taxes and an intrusive bureaucracy, more and more Germans are choosing to emigrate. Most of those who leave, though, are highly qualified -- which could mean devastating economic consequences.

They are tired of living in country where landing a job is like playing the lottery, a country where not even half of citizens live from gainful employment and a country in which even academics in their mid-40s are already considered problem cases when it comes to job placement. In other words, they are fed up with living in a country where all opportunities already seem to be taken.

And there are also more shocks:

"Many companies already lack specialized workers today, and 16 percent of German companies are unable to fill all their positions because of a lack of qualified candidates. There are about 7,000 unfilled engineering jobs in the machine building industry alone."

This is because of Germany's extra rigid immigration policy not encouraging skilled and talented persons to come and work here and solve the problem. Because of their asylum policy, all they get is more and more unskilled labor and welfare burden from the conflict regions making the equation complicated.

November 14, 2006

The current state of Bangladesh (update)

Political protests continues for a third day. Yesterday's highlight was the heinous ramming of a police truck into fleeing activists, which killed one person instantly and injured others. Drishtipat has footages (warning: graphic scenes) and is blaming party biased police officers for the atrocities.

Another video is available online depicting the past government's misrule and human rights violations.

Reports say the army is still unwilling to get entangled with the mess.

The president and the caretaker government chief Iajuddin Ahmed's actions are creating more debates.

Naeem Mohaiemen's theory on the current situation (via an email):

*BNP wants to provoke AL as much as possible so that AL goes on violent rampage, and discredits themselves.

*AL will fall into that trap because Jalil has never been a sharp card. However juniors and smarter leaders are counseling patience. If the situation gets bad enough that Iaj can declare state of emergency, extend tenure of CTG for 6 months and announce elections in July. This gives BNP time to strengthen themselves.

*From BNP's pov delay in election is good, they need time to regroup and repair damage from LDP defection.

*The army move was partially to test the waters. Iaj may even have designs to install himself as Prez permanently, via army backed coup (think Thaland scenario).

*So far, Iaj is in control of the game, with behind the scenes directions from BNP. AL is reactive and to some degree stuck with few options.

*AL hopes that even if there is election, it will be replay of 96 when BNP went ahead with elections, everyone boycotted, Khaleda had egg on face and had to step down and call new elections (I believe that is when CTG was first formed). But BNP is keenly aware of that scenario as well.

*Meanwhile, what is Jamaat's game? They are shrewd survivors, and no one is paying attention to them.

Rahul Bhonsle analyzes in Desicritics Bangladesh's current political trends and predicts some scenarios.

Watch Bangladeshi TV channels NTV and Channel 1 or read BDnews24 for the updates of news.

Related: The current state of Bangladesh

November 13, 2006

South Asia Blog Buzz

A compilation of individual voices from South Asia:


Asif of Unheard Voices: Drishtipat Group Blog analyzes the current political situation in Bangladesh and urges all the Bangladeshis to take a non-partisan moral stand to get out of the current crisis.

Andrew Morris writes an essay in Desicritics about the historical faces of Dhaka city titled Bangladesh Diary: Time travel.

Journalist Ahmede Hussain remembers Nur Hossain, who 19 years ago gave his live during a protest against the autocratic government paving away the road to democracy in Bangladesh. He writes with disgust that the persons who have become the beneficiaries of Hossain's sacrifice are now squabbling for autocratic power.


Thingyel of the Kuzu-Bhutan weblog pays tribute to the King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck on his Birth Day on November 11 with a nice poem.


GV Krishnan writes in Desicritics that a haircut of an Indian Cricket star can be a public affair.

Rama of Cuckoo's Call narrates how absolute power corrupts in the Indian State West Bengal.


Moyameehaa thinks that the Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom is a superstitious dictator.


Deepak Adhikari, a veteran Nepali journalist blogger provides some tips on how to improve one's writing skills.

Razib Ahmed writes in the South Asia Biz that poaching rhinos is a lucrative business in Nepal.


Owais Mughal of All things Pakistan highlights four songs of Runa Laila, the famous Bangladeshi singer. She has a huge contribution of singing Urdu songs in Pakistani movies. She has also sung Punjabi, Pashto and Bengali songs in Pakistan. In fact, she has sung in 17 different languages of the world.

KO reviews Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's autobiography 'In the Line of Fire'.

Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka Politics analyzes why politician Nadaraja Raviraj was killed in Colombo recently.

Tumeke! opines that the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka between the security forces and the Tamil tigers is pushing the country to a humanitarian crisis.

The current state of Bangladesh

Continuing protests against the government paralyzed Dhaka and other major cities in the country on Sunday. Goods are piled up waiting for delivery. The main export sector ready-made garments industry faces much loss a day. For the umpteenth time we hear that the army is going to be deployed to restore law and order situation. However the military intervention is not likely to help the upcoming elections. The neutrality of the president and the chief adviser of the caretaker government is again questioned. Where do you stand as a Bangladeshi?

November 12, 2006

Today's Links

* Bangladesh Diary: What a Strange, Wonderful Place.

* Death due to a technical failure.

* How to become a really experienced developer overnight?

* Why Grameen Bank and Yunus indeed deserve the Nobel.

* Interview with Salah Choudhury (New York Sun).

* Bangladesh the 'Golden Boy' of South Asia.

The DW Best of Blogs Awards

Had I not read Hoder's blog today I would have definitely missed the Deutsche Welle Best of the Blogs awards 2006 ceremony held in Museum for Communication Berlin a few hours ago. I knew about the awards but I was unaware of the time and place and whether it was open to public.

Hossein Derakhshan speakingAnd there I was listening to 12 of the jurists (Manal from Egypt was absent) and a few more guests, who are blog legends in their parts of the world and also internationally known. It was really a learning experience hearing different views of the speakers who represented bloggers from different languages, nations and communities. The juries explained why they have chosen the particular blogs from each category. There was also a open to all question and answer session.

Internet users from around the world suggested over 5,500 blogs in 10 languages to the contest, more than twice as many last year. The international jury of bloggers, independent journalists and media experts created a shortlist of 10 nominees in each of the contest's 15 categories. The nominees were then opened to the public's critical eye for three weeks of voting.

The competition's Best Weblog awards went to an American blog, the Sunlight Foundation. PaidContent.org received the award for Best English Weblog.

Please click here for the complete list of the jury award winners.

A user prize was awarded to the blog with the most votes in each of the contest's categories.

Here are a few of the comments quoted from the various discussions:

Hossein Derakhshan (Iran): "Iranian bloggers show that this generation is much tolerant and open minded than the previous generation."

Michael Anti (China): "In China blogging has become a sensation. China is the largest blogging nation in the world. Almost all the celebrities (actors, journalists) have own blogs and those are read and commented by the fans. Democracy can be far away but the Chinese people can exercise democracy through blogs."

Gilles Klein (France): "Although there are millions of blogs in France, there are only small number of blogs which matters. The blogs are depended on the servers or platforms. If one ceases to exist, it will affect many bloggers."

Kaltmamsell (Germany): "In Germany one small shop owner started a blog and it got popular. Then it attracted a comment 'The next thing we will see that a toilette cleaner is blogging', and it divided the German bloggers. One half said 'yayee' we would love to read that. The other half opposed it and opined that Blog articles should have some literary value and have certain etiquettes. This shows the unique blogging trend in Germany."

Sonia Francine (Brazil): "Blogging is not yet recognized in Brazil as something noteworthy. However the best Portuguese language blog has influenced the bicycle activism which are protesting the uncontrolled growth of car ownership in Brazil."

Marina Litvinovich (Russia): "Football is important than politics in Russia" while announcing the best corporate blog 'Soccer Club' (Russia).

Julien Pain (France): "The pair of Iranian winners of Reporters Without Borders Award defends free expression in a country that extensively censors the Internet and jails bloggers who are too critical of its government."

It may be noted that Global Voices Online won the best English-language journalistic Weblog awards in 2005.

Youtube video of the day

The Beit Hanoun Massacre, Nov 8, 2006

(Via Haitham Sabbah)

November 08, 2006

Today's Links

* Jumbo trouble.

* Partition refugees targeted as Bangladeshi infiltrators.

* Microloans expand online.

* The net’s voice in the election.

* The first "YouTube" election. Needless to say why Youtube is the TIME's best invention of 2006.

* Arranged marriages: A bride's perspective.

* Four reasons why ZiZou should relocate to Bangladesh.

Exploding blogs

David Sifry's (Technorati) 'State of the Blogosphere' brings to us how the blogs are expanding in the world. More than 57 million weblogs were tracked to produce the statistics. Technorati has taken measures this time to keep Spam blogs or splogs out of the indexes to reduce the garbage. To summarize:
  • The blogosphere is doubling in size approximately every 230 days.
  • About 100,000 new weblogs were created each day.
  • The globalization of the blogosphere continues. English and Spanish languages are a more universal blog language than the other two most dominant language, Japanese and Chinese, which seem to be more regionally localized.
  • Coincident with a rise in blog posts about escalating Middle East tensions throughout the summer and fall, Farsi has moved into the top 10 languages of the blogosphere, indicating that blogging continues to play a critical role in debates about the important issues of our times.

November 07, 2006

Minority and Majority

"Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion."

A century ago Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said the above. So there is no reason to ignore the power of minorities. But because of the fact that minorities represent a tiny obstacle between majority and totality or total purity, they are being pushed to the edge everywhere. Even in a democratic environment all what the nationalist movements do is the inclusive categorization of human beings forcing minorities to conform or change.

Naeem Mohaiemen writes with rage towards his fellow Bangladeshis about maltreatment of the religious minorities especially Hindus. While Rama portrays how Muslims are being neglected by the Hindu majority in India.

Is that a problem of the Indian subcontinent only? Such treatments against minorities exist everywhere, visible or invisible, big or small. For an example while driving in Berlin my every trivial mistake is let known by a honk (it is treated as a social duty) by the vehicle following me. Call me cynic but I am trying to find an answer why the same mistakes by the locals are mostly ignored by the same.

Or is this how minorities think? Is it an inferiority complex? Why do majorities have to always keep in mind that minorities can be sensitive. Minorities can be tyrants also. A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.

I think the need for reconciliation and integration of minorities is vital in every society. We all need to broaden our mind and accept others as fellow human beings irrespective of their race, culture or nationality. Minorities and majorities should learn to respect each other and clear all the confusions and misconceptions between them. They should feel what actions can hurt and what actions can heal.

Naeem coins his act of conscience:

I shout at all of you with rage, because I refuse to accept a haven for me that is a nightmare for others. There is still time to stop this with our words, our actions and our bodies.

I wish we all could think like him.

Online demo against Internet censorship

Reporters without border (Reporters sans Frontières-RSF) are hosting a 24H online demonstration against Internet censorship.

"The goal of the demonstration is to draw attention to online censorship in the thirteen nations RSF terms "Internet black holes" - by clicking on a map of these nations, users register their protest against Internet censorship and for the release of over 60 cyber-dissidents currently under arrest for writings on their blogs."

More here.

* List of the 13 enemies of the internet.

Please join the protest now.

Zizou madness engrosses Bangladesh

French football legend and FIFA golden ball award winner Zinedine Zidane arrived in Dhaka late last night for a two days visit. He is here to unveil the non-profit Grameen Danone Food Factory, a joint venture between Grameen Bank and French food giant Danone which will produce cheap, nutritious food for the poor. Reports say he is here on the Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus's invitation (Grameen is his venture).

Zidane has been offered a lot of cash to advertise in products or just to give an autograph (report).

He will witness a match between the arch rivals of Dhaka football league Abahani and Mohamedan. Experts say that the crowd will be paying exorbitant tickets at Bangladeshi standards to enter the stadium not just to see the match but to catch a glimpse of Zidane.

Too bad people forgot his head butt so early. I wonder why celebrities are so worshiped in Bangladesh. Probably Bangladesh has not many successes to cheer about.

Bangladesh Blog Buzz

Here are the latest buzz from blogs on Bangladesh:

* Diaspora: Zubaer in Drishtipat blog gives an insight into the Bangladeshi Diaspora worldwide and how their remittances are contributing to Bangladesh's economy.

Ulysses at Back to Bangladesh, an NRB himself had decided to return to Bangladesh despite many apprehensions and discusses why Bangladesh needs them badly.

However, Rajputro shares a story of disappointment where a talented NRB was refused a job in the Dhaka University.

* Politics: Nazzina of a nikonian's blog dissects Nobel laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus's recent speech giving advice to the president and chief adviser of the caretaker government on how to tackle the current political situation in Bangladesh.

* Media: Niraj slams the international media accusing that every time a political disturbance occurs in Bangladesh they try to prove that Islamists are going to take control and turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan. He explains why Bangladesh is not going Islamic.

* Tour: Rumi of Drishtipat blog takes us to a virtual tour of Dhaka with Google Earth.

* Photographs: Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, well known as city of mosques, rickshaws and fine muslins has many historical architectures. Ershad tries to keep a visual record of Dhaka city through photographs in his blog 'Dhaka'.

Back to Bangladesh also posts a couple of thematic picture series from Bangladesh: 'Kids Waiting for Eid' and the ubiquitous 'Foochka (Panipuri) stands'.

* Cycling: Back to Bangladesh has some bicycling tips for Dhaka.

* Architecture: Shafiur of imperfect world|2006 introduces an website of an architect of Dhaka.

* Violence: Jakarta Casual depicts the acid attacks on women in Bangladesh and how the society is tackling this issue.

* Child labor: Andrew Morris of Morris the Pen discusses a different class of child labor in Bangladesh, the domestic helps.

* Interview: Naeem Mohaiemen interviews Shahidul Alam, a renowned media activist and director of the award-winning Drik Picture Library (drik.net).