Echo

 

Posted by Rezwan

CHANGE BANGLADESH

The state of Bangladesh politics has degraded to the bottom pit. Political intolerance and illogical acrimony between two major parties have created much disturbance in the country. The rampant corruption of many leaders, MPs and ministers are changing the parity between the rich, middle class and poor and spreading corruption to all levels. The nexus between the police and the criminals under the umbrella of the corrupt leaders has deteriorated the law and order situation. I have written about it many times (1, 2, 3, 4). In my opinion we should vote for competent leaders in the coming election and not choose the same old corrupt faces irrespective of their party mandates.

And its time to do something about it. Naima, a Bangladeshi student living in NY has started something moving. The 'Change Bangladesh' initiative is being launched to brainstorm expatriate Bangladeshi advocacy in the 'clean-competent candidate for election' movement pioneered by Dr Yunus’s March 20 speech. The goal is to simply encourage effective leadership for Bangladesh. Among other things 'Change Bangladesh' is in the process of creating a 'how to' guide for voters and a tool using which all Bangladeshis connected to the web will be able to check up on certain aspects of a running candidate for national or local elections. This is modeled after project vote smart in the United States. They are working in a mentor capacity and idea exchange. They have no financial or any other input except logistics. The five components are :

1. Biographical information
2. Campaign finance
3. Issue positions
4. Voting records
5. Public statements

Seems like a very good idea. And I would request you to join this effort as the project will need a lot of support. Bangladeshis, please don't sit idle but act now to save your country.

Update: 'Change Bangladesh' now has a blog.

 

Posted by Rezwan

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Every new-born child in Germany is still regarded as being in debt to a mob of impudent and insatiable Zionists. The Germans should no longer permit themselves to be made to accept guilt"

- Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad declared Thursday in a TV speech in Iran.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TWO NATION THEORY AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

I am surprised to find that some Bangladeshi communal minds have again raised the ridiculous issue that Bangladesh needs to change the national anthem, because Rabindranath Tagore, the writer is an Indian and a Hindu. Diganta also reveals:

Some Indian Bengali came up with "suggestion" that Indian Bengalis and Bangladeshi Bengalis are carrying two different cultures. As Tagore was a poet of the former culture - his poem does not "suite" as National Anthem of Bangladesh. He has got a reply from a Bangladeshi patriot that people of Bangladesh are the proud of Bengali inheritance and they think Tagore belongs to their culture. There are some communal Mullahs who think otherwise, but they are limited in number. Another person responded in a similar tune.
It seems the two nation theory is still driving some people's minds.

Here is an article which depicts how befitting the national anthem for Bangladesh is.

Rockstar cum blogger Maqsood has more roundups.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Saudi Arabia: the next nuclear domino?

* The logic behind Gmail.

* Remember, this is the TV-Turnoff Week 2006 (April 24 - 30, 2006).

*From China town to oil deals.

* USA national gas temperature map.

* Air Force One subject of Internet hoax.

 

Posted by Rezwan

SOCCER IS LIKE LOLLYPOP

Even though soccer is very popular in the Arab world, Iraqi insurgent lord Muqtada al-Sadr thinks otherwise. Omar of 'Iraq the model' transcribes this from one of his latest videos:

Habibi the west made things for us that distract us from our integration, uh, what it put for us? Made us run after a ball habibi…that is like 'eat gargary (lollypop)' habibi.
What does it mean to see a man, big tall and wide and…Muslim, runs after a ball?
This is one, the second thing and more important from that; we find that the west, and especially Israel…er, habibi the Jews, have you seen them play football?
Hmm, seems like quite a conspiracy.

Meanwhile 'the religious policeman' reveals more conspiracy against the Saudi Arabian team, which will participate in the upcoming world cup in Germany. They are scheduled to be housed on a hotel in the resort town Bad Nauheim and full arrangements have been made to make the Saudis comfortable. But looking at the menue, the hotel can be termed as "Der Palast des Schweins!" (The palace of the pigs), which can distract the Saudis (pork is a taboo in Islam). And yet there are more temptations. Der Spiegel reports:
Europe's largest brothel, the Pascha in Cologne, which incidentally claims to be the world's only brothel with a money-back guarantee for dissatisfied customers, attached the flags of all 32 nations competing in the World Cup to its façade in a bid to demonstrate international flair and attract custom during the tournament this summer.
And don't think the holy warriors had let them get away that easily:
"On Saturday night there were 20 masked men armed with knives and sticks. They threatened to get violent and even bomb the place unless we black out the Iranian and Saudi Arabian flags on the poster." -Pascha's manager.
You see it must have been a Jewish conspiracy to disrespect the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims and they resisted that.

So must you run after a ball? Why not go swimming, horse riding or fencing which are favored by the religion?

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Bangladesh govt deported Ehsanul lawfully.

* Musharraf "literally wept" when he heard Pakistani troops had surrendered during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

* US says to help Dhaka fight terrorism, hold polls.

* Roadmap of new Nepal.

* Why Bangladesh matters.

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE CHAT SHOW QUEEN OF PAKISTAN



Who is (s)he? Check it out.

 

Posted by Rezwan

OSAMA'S WAR

Mash has an excellent piece on how Osama Bin Laden's idiosyncratic ideologies could be dealt with by US. Please do check it out.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BANGLADESH BLOG BUZZ
(Crossposted in the 'Global Voices Online')

Let us take a look into what the Bangladeshi blogs around the world are saying lately.

* Culture: Shapps posts his thoughts about the verdict of a British court against a Bangladeshi woman who was convicted for shaking her child violently to cure it from 'evil spirits'.

* Cricket: Bangladeshis are crazy about cricket. They were all cheering when Bangladesh put the world champion Australia on back foot in a recent test but did lose the game eventually. Mezba writes how some Bangladeshis resorted to superstition to bring luck to their favor.

* Economy: Shafiur discusses the political economy of investment in Bangladesh highlighting the case of Niko.

* Podcast: Joe at Bongo Vongo posts readings of English translations of two short stories of Rabindranath Tagore as podcasts: - 'The Hungry Stones' & 'The Victory'.

* Painting: Kazi Rubaiat Imam posts a link to an interview with Hashem Khan, Master artist of Bangladesh, who happens to be his teen idol.

* Identity: Nashat gives her thoughts on the clash of religion and identity.

* Education: Deshcalling writes an essay on the plagiarism in Bangladesh Universities.

* Election: Ahmede Husein takes a critical look at the electoral system of Bangladesh which is plagued by the use of black money and muscle power.

Electric blues urges the youth of Bangladesh to force a change by choosing the right leaders in the coming election.

Shafiur posts some questions and answers on why the recent pre-election violences in Dhaka are causing much chaos in Bangladesh.

* Politics: The Bangladeshi blogosphere erupted with reactions when journalist blogger Tasneem Khalil revealed that the Bangladesh government has spent a lot to 3 US PR lobbyists to improve its image and a recent report on Bangladesh in the TIME magazine was the fruit of that effort.

* Human rights: Mash criticizes the strategy of war against terror. Citing the recent police brutality on journalists during Australia-Bangladesh cricket match, he comments that as long as Governments in the third world continue to terrorize their citizens the environment that creates violence will not cease.

* Language: Adda posts an eye opener- 'half of the world's 6000 languages are in danger of disappearing in just a few generations', while discussing on the Mother Language Day.

* Entertainment: Razib Rashedin reviews the movie 'Khela Ghor (Dolls house)' and rates it as one of the best Bangla movie he has seen in recent days.

* Life and Spirituality: Whether the subject is mysticism, spirituality, meditation, yoga, sufism or prayer, Sadiq discusses all in his blog 'Inspirations and Creative Thoughts'.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BRITISH RAB

UK government has set up an elite force to strengthen counter-terrorism and support special forces. Probably this move was encouraged by the recent achievements of the Bangladesh elite force RAB against the religious extremists. I hope they will not replicate RAB's much controversial method "encounter".

More interestingly Kama of Kingston finds out that the new British elite forces emblem (left) resembles with old Nazi SS logo (right).

 

Posted by Rezwan

DETENTION OF A BANGLADESHI-AMERICAN

On April 17th, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a 19 year old Bangladeshi-American was detained by special forces officers in Bangladesh presumably based on information from U.S. law enforcement agencies that have been periodically interviewing family members back in US since August of last year. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) raised the alert suspecting he could be tortured by Bangladeshi authorities citing its poor human rights records. But as Naeem Mohaiemen terms it as Bangladesh's 1st probable "Extraordinary Rendition" case for US, I don't think the authorities will dare to make a mistake (human rights violation) as US is involved in this. And I think the Bangladeshi authorities need not be blamed as it is a part of an international investigation.

From the sibling's letter it is evident that he was under surveillance for long. We are yet to hear anything from the local media or any statement from the Bangladesh authorities. Meanwhile I think the family should contact the US embassy urging them to take steps to make sure that Sadequee is not tortured.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Bangladesh lose Test but win admirers.

* Left to tell: the inspiring autobiography of a Rwandan holocaust survivor.

* Happy slapper . . . . slapped.

* What Muslims hear at Friday prayers.

* Death lists and dissenters.

 

Posted by Rezwan

POLITICAL STAND-OFF BRINGS CHAOS & FEAR

More disturbing news from Bangladesh:

The capital came to a standstill yesterday noon as the police waged a multipronged war on the Awami League-led 14-party opposition combine over its sit-in programme in front of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). At least 100 people including some law enforcers were injured in the pitched battles spanning several hours.
The usual event following such mess is another Hartal (general strike) today.

The sufferings of thousands of peoples do always fall under collateral damage. Screw the people, we want power.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BANGLADESH'S SUBMARINE CABLE WOES

After much controversies, Bangladesh had been linked to the SEA-ME-WE-4 cable system to connect to the Internet October last year, but the citizens will have to wait a few months more as the domestic interface from Cox's Bazar to the various parts of the country are not ready yet. Meanwhile Bangladeshis will have to be satisfied with low bandwidth from VSATs, dialup modems and analogue circuits.

Bangladesh should have been connected to the Sea-Me-We 2 (South East Asia Middle East Western Europe 2) submarine cable project started during the late 80's. But an army major in charge of telecommunication during the then Military government ruled the least expensive proposal out citing the fear that all secret information of the country would be leaked through that cable. Just look at the heights of the digital divide. Can anybody tell whom can we make responsible for keeping Bangladesh from moving forward all these 16 years?

Now it seems that Bangladesh is being set up again to be cursed, this time by the BTTB (Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone board). The Daily Star reports:

Bangladesh is set to miss a rare opportunity of nearly doubling its revenue by participating in a very low-cost expansion of the international submarine cable it is now being connected with. A top BTTB official said the offer is being declined because the present bandwidth allocation in the submarine cable is good enough. The cable system will give the country a data transfer capacity of 10 gigabyte per second, which will be 68 times the present capacity. This capacity is considered as adequate for the next 10 years while the cable has a life of 15 years.
Now these guys seem to be really nuts. They are calculating everything on the scale of VSATs. And do they know the demand of Internet usage in Bangladesh? Just do some simple mathematics. My home connection is 2Mb per second (I can upgrade it to 6Mb just paying 3 Euro per month more). So 10 Gb means 5000 standard European home connections. Is that enough for a country for next ten years? Silly me. Can anyone save our country from going backwards again?

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE KOMINAS ON THE LOOSE

What do terms like Muslim punk, Halal rock, and songs titles like "Dishoom, Baby" or "Sharia Law in the USA" have in common? Yes, these are products of the band the Kominas (the bastards), one of the handful of desi punkers that exist in America. (Via Sepia Mutiny)



The band has it’s roots in the 'Taqwacores', a novel about a group of Muslim punk rockers who smoked dope, read scripture, slam-danced, prayed, had sex, and embodied the tolerance and compassion that Islam encouraged. Quite interesting but they can be termed as oxymorons by the Islamists.

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE LUNGI REDISCOVERED

Can you guess what happens when Lungi, the traditional wear of some Asian countries is picked up by an US business house? The rename it to SurfKilt and use flashy website to market it. You can check it out spending $39.75.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* The Kafka index.

* The making of a human bomb.

* The Iran plans: Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?

* On Cheney, Rumsfeld order, US is outsourcing special ops, intelligence to Iraq terror group.

* Blogging fever hits Bangladesh Military Forces.

* India's Media card.

 

Posted by Rezwan

CUSTOMIZED LAW

Another worrying example of the Bangladesh government's misuse of power:- the proposal of an amendment of an existing law which leads to dismissal of a bureaucrat, if a contempt of court is made by him/her has caused a stir among many. The proposed amended act increases the penalty but essentially saves a civil servant from losing his job for contempt of court. Via The Daily Star:

Rokanuddin Mahmud, vice chairman of Bangladesh Bar Council, said, "The government has approved this law when some top bureaucrats are facing contempt charges for hindering separation of the judiciary."
I reckon the government will never allow the separation of the judiciary from administration, which was their election campaign promise.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BEING HALF AN HOUR LATE OFFICIALLY

The Sri Lankans themselves are wondering why their goevrnment had decided to put back the clock by half an hour (to GMT+5:30)from April 14, 2006. We know that the Daylight Saving Time (DST) is used to provide a better match between the hours of daylight and the active hours of work and school in temperate regions. In the tropical region there is not enough daylight fluctuation to make it worthwhile to change the time.

One argument is that according to its geographical position, the actual time in Sri Lanka varies from GMT+5:21 in Colombo to GMT+5:24 in Batticaloa varying much from their official GMT+6:00. However most of the arguments are against the change.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Porn star's offer to Bin Laden.

* Soccer, Saudi style.

* Global Voices goes truly global.

* Australian Federal Police to open office in India, Bangladesh.

* Europe takes harder line with terror suspects.

* Why is this man smiling?

 

Posted by Rezwan

BANGLADESH-AUSTRALIA 2ND TEST

The first day was not good for Bangladesh for many reasons. The day was marred even before the start of play as the journalists resorted to a sit-in protest in the middle of the ground against the merciless beating of fellow photojournalist Shamsul Haq Tanku of Bengali daily Prothom Alo in the ground by the police. The play was delayed for ten minutes and the umpires had to intervene.



The tension mounted during lunch break when the DC North of Chittagong Police started using his fist against a journalist (Jahirul Haque) aged like his father (65) and kicked him continuously to show that this kind of power they exercise on the people of Bangladesh (above picture). As Jahirul fell down on the ground, the police became more furious and launched a full-scale attack on the reporters and photographers present there. At least 20 journalists were injured in that assault and the local journalists boycotted covering the play. This delayed the match for the second time.

The Daily Star comments:

The full fury of the law enforcers during the lunch break not only embarrassed the whole nation but also cast a gloomy prospect for the port city to hold any future international matches.
Too bad for Bangladesh and the game.

Bangladesh struggled to put their score beyond 200 after being asked to bat. Only Rajin Saleh (71) stood out taking blows of a few bouncers in the helmet by Lee and Gillespie. Australia was on their full might taking revenge like an injured cat. The Bangladesh Coach Dav Whatmore warned about this earlier. The first innings score at the end of the day is Bangladesh 197 and Australia 1/76 in reply. What more can you expect after the disappointing morning show by the police?

Update: Play stopped before lunch of the 2nd day due to rain and the game could not be started due to wet conditions. Australia remains at 151/2 with Gillespie, the nightwatchman of the previous day still batting.

Update II: The journalists win the battle. Reuters reports that the high official of police in the above picture (he is a popular figure now in international media) has been withdrawn to police headquarters in Dhaka to face a departmental inquiry. Another officer who strated the first assault on a photographer was suspended from duty.

Well the government has to take much more actions to improve this image below:

Reporters sans Frontieres has ranked Bangladesh near the bottom - 151st out of 167 countries listed on the RSF Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2005.

Update III: Australia 364/3 before tea of the 3rd day. Gillespie scores his maiden Test century (His previous best 54) and Hussey is 7 short from another. You can call a game one-sided when only the third night watchman in the history of cricket scores a Test century (Gillespie). Fielding was awful by the Bangladeshis, not to mention Gillespie was dropped earlier in his innings.

Update IV: Could it be worse than this for Bangladesh? Gillespie gets a double century as his birthday present and Australia declares at 581/4. Nafees is leading a reply with 75* as Bangladesh scratches to 195/4 in the fourth day. This series has been a roller coaster ride for Bangladesh and it would be too premature to expect the first test performance every time. I guess Gillespie deserves some credit for his performance which has outweighed many Australian top order batsmen's record.

 

Posted by Rezwan

ENGLISH IN GERMANY

Why do almost all Germans insist that they don't speak English when asked? The Germany Survival Bible claims that many Germans do know working English and are rather shy to claim it.

Well in a number of cases I have faced resistance in trying to converse in English with Germans. For an example, I had problems with my DSL connection and I had to call the expensive help desk call center. The attendant said that he doesn't speak English. I had difficulties in making him understand all the technical details with my stuttering German and that took an uncomfortably long time. Contrary to the Spiegel article, I think, he did not want to talk with me in English because he could realize that I know some German and a conversation could take place. Or probably he knew that little learning can be a dangerous thing. Enjoy the video!

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Bangladesh boilover gives cricket lovers a new way of looking at that country.

* In Bangladesh, 100,000 rural poor are "phone ladies".

* Malaysian man hit with $218 trillion phone bill.

* Why is there so much hate inside us?

* Indira, not US, credited with ending 1971 war: book.

* Grief-stricken Rajkumar fans go on a rampage.

* The Rickshaw blog collects the poetry, phrases, expressions, and words found on the back of Rickshaws.

 

Posted by Rezwan

OF WHAT FAITH ARE YOU?

I took the belief-o-matic quiz and the result looks like:

1. Liberal Quakers (100%)
2. Islam (99%)
3. Orthodox Judaism (99%)
4. Jainism (97%)
5. Bah'ai Faith (95%)
6. Orthodox Quaker (95%)
7. Sikhism (95%)
8. Reform Judaism (93%)
9. Unitarian Universalism (90%)
10. Mahayana Buddhism (75%)
11. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (74%)
12. Neo-Pagan (71%)
13. Theravada Buddhism (71%)
14. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (70%)
15. Secular Humanism (69%)
16. Hinduism (64%)
17. Seventh Day Adventist (62%)
18. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (62%)
19. New Age (57%)
20. Taoism (55%)
21. Jehovah's Witness (54%)
22. Eastern Orthodox (54%)
23. Roman Catholic (54%)
24. Nontheist (47%)
25. Scientology (40%)
26. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (30%)
27. New Thought (30%)

I didn't know about quakerism before and din't know that Islamism and Judaism are that similar. Nonetheless the test was fun. According to Belief-o-matic even a score of 100% does not mean that my views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa. Bengali Fob rates it:

It's quite an interesting quiz and one that shows that no matter what your religious affiliation may be, we are all trying to find answers to the same questions.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BENGALI NEW YEAR (1413) GREETINGS


Shuvo Nobobarsha!

Nobo Barsha, Bangla for New Year, also known as "Pahela Baishakh", marks the beginning of Baisakh, the first month of Bengali calendar. It is usually marked by the tradition of "Halkhata", opening of books of accounts for the new year by the village traders. The celebration of Pahela Baishakh by broad masses in the Bangladesh context may be dated from the observance of the day by "Chhayanat", a cultural organization in 1965. In an attempt to suppress Bengali culture, the Pakistan Government had banned tagore songs. Protesting this move, Chhayanat opened their Pahela Baishakh celebrations at Ramna Park with Tagore's song welcoming the month. The day continued to be celebrated in East Pakistan as a symbol of Bengali culture. After 1972 it became a national festival, a symbol of the Bangladesh nationalist movement and an integral part of the people's cultural heritage.

Read more about Pahela Baishakh which will be celebrated tomorrow (14th of April) in Bangladesh. Here are lots of pictures which show how Bangladeshis celebrate Pahela Baisakh (via Dipu).

Wishing everyone a happy Bengali New Year (1413), a happy Thai New Year (Songkran) a happy Combodian New Year (Maha Songkran) and a happy Easter.

 

Posted by Rezwan

QUIET REVOLUTION

The Kansat situation is going out of control. The police has committed another brutality to the villagers killing six people and injuring many in the name of keeping law and order. The government should ponder deeply that they cannot deprive people long from the basic necessities like power and fuel and discriminate the rural people. Are these lives not precise? People need to wake up. Jago bahe....Konthe shobaye......

Wake up boys, there's a light at the window,
I can hear someone knocking on the door,
There are voices in the street,
And the sound of running feet,
And they whisper the word - "Revolution!"

There are men coming down from the valleys,
There are tall ships lying off the coast,
And they carry the light,
In the dark of the night,
Like a whisper in the wind - "Revolution!


- Chris De Burgh

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Bangladesh’s quiet hero.

* The Shanghai Taxi driver's MBA lecture.

* The Indian government spent Rs. 400 millions on Bollywood stars for an eleven-minute performance!

* The internet is as big as a hard drive with Webaroo.

* A crime against humanity in the name of God.

* Bad King: The pictures say it all.

 

Posted by Rezwan

WORLD CHAMP'S FIGHTBACK

The Bangladesh-Australia 1st test is going towards a result in the end of the 4th day (or it may drag to the next morning). The wonderful performance of Bangladesh in the last two-and-a-half days have given them a considerable lead only to push it further to something really unreachable by Australia, the world champions. But Bangladesh could not keep the momentum in the 2nd innings and reeled to 148 (4 wickets fell adding one run), almost 300 runs short of their 1st innings score. Now Australia has a relatively easy target of 307 runs to win and as I write they have crossed one-third losing only one wicket. So the dream is ending for many Bangladeshis if not a miracle happens.

When I moved to Germany last month I knew that I was going to miss live telecasts of many cricket matches for some time. Now I am thinking that it has been a blessing. Because its hard to watch your favorite team fall from a higher position. Millions will still keep trying to break the jinx in many ways, but I am not superstitious. And let us face the reality that this is what should have happened. But one thing Bangladesh has done with their performance is to silence many loose mouths who do not want to treat Bangladesh with respect.

Update: At the close of day four the game is beautifully poised at 212/4 wickets with just 95 more runs needed for Australia to win. If Bangladesh can make it a close game tomorrow morning, whoever wins, I am sure that it would be a match to remember for many years to come. Let us keep our fingers crossed.

Update II: The game eventually got down to the wire. From a vulnerable position (6/231) Australia recovered and reached to 307 with 3 wickets in hand because of Ponting's unbeaten 118. Did Bangladesh spoil a chance? If Ponting was not dropped at 99 anything could have happened. Well played both the teams; it was a thrilling game. Will you now give Bangladesh the credit they deserve? Have a good day.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* India: largest state passes law to stop catalyzing religious conversions.

* Piercing issue with a Desi twist.

* The Bloggy Award has started.

* Bangladesh and Zionism: The appointment of Dr. Richard L Benkin by Bangladesh government as a PR man and more interestingly denying his Visa to visit Bangladesh.

 

Posted by Rezwan

GO BANGLADESH GO!

This is just awesome. Headlines like this only look like dreams: "Australia Crumbles to 145-6, Trails Bangladesh by 282 in Test"

Welcome the zest of the youths. I only wish that the dream is not shattered anytime soon. There are three more days in the play.

Listening to Cryptic Fate's song "Cholo Bangladesh khelbe amar desh, cholo Bangladesh dekhbo amar desh" (Go Bangladesh lets play the game, Go bangladesh we're always with you). Don't spoil my mood, please.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BUILDING IMAGE OF BANGLADESH



This type of advertisements are all over in Germany, in buses, newspapers, billboards to promote tourism to India. And I am sure this program runs in many countries. But where is Bangladesh in this regard? I had to mention India's name to several people while trying to explain the location of Bangladesh, whose name they have seldom heard. I have explained in one of my posts "Why Bangladesh is struggling to lure tourists". You will be surprised to know that:

"In 2003-04, the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, which is responsible for marketing tourism, was given only 10 million taka (about US$158,000). But for the fiscal years 2004-05 and 2005-06, "no funds have been allocated" making it impossible to conduct marketing campaigns in a highly competitive market."
This should have been the end of the post. But I have more surprises in contrast. Blogger cum journalist Tasneem Khalil reveals that:
Bangladesh has given Ketchum’s The Washington Group a six-month $330K contract to improve its image in the U.S. to "dispel misconceptions about alleged human rights abuses, corrupt government practices and Islamist militancy".
Tasneem further reveals that Bangladesh has appointed at least 3 Public Relation lobbyists in USA for "uplifting the country’s image" with a budget of over a million dollars. And the opposition alleges:
The government has been spending huge public money secretly at the fag end of its tenure to hide its endless corruption and failures, and to protect its interest. A lobbyist was appointed for arranging Prime Minister's visit to America, bring President George W Bush to Dhaka and hyping the image of BNP-Jamaat alliance.
And last of all my apprehensions about TIME magazine's latest report on Bangladesh may be true. Was a lobbyist at work behind the report as alleged by the opposition, and the previous reports as alleged by the government?

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE POLITICS OF DEVELOPMENT

"All progress occurs because people dare to be different."
The latest in the politics of development:
Bangladesh government has postponed a plan to purchase 13 new aircraft for Biman Bangladesh Airlines due to fund crisis and instead took a decision to find out a strategic partner for the survival of the loss-making national flag carrier. (source)
Just to put things in perspective:
Bangladesh has bought 16 F-7 BG fighter aircraft with maximum speed of 2,170 km per hour from China. Eight aircrafts have already been commissioned and the other eight of them are yet to be delivered and included into the fleet of Air Force. (source)
One can only imagine where the country is progressing to.

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE OTHER MIDDLE EAST

From Michael J Totten's Middle East Journal:

It’s in large part the media’s fault that Westerners have peculiar ideas about what Muslim countries are actually like. The Middle East section of major newspapers might as well be renamed When Muslims Behave Badly. When shit blows up, it makes the news. The slogans of lunatic Hamas-bots in Palestine make the news. When the Syrian Baath bussed in a rent-a-mob from Damascus to torch the Danish embassy in Beirut, that made the news.

Journalists don’t deliberately try to make the Middle East look crazier, more dangerous, and more reactionary than it really is. Suicide bombers are genuinely more newsworthy than the nightlife scene in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia’s weird laws rightfully get more attention than the lack of such weirdness in Turkey, Lebanon, the UAE, Tunisia, Morocco, and other reasonable Muslim-majority countries. The normal qualities of the Middle East are rarely documented about outside the travel writing genre. The fact that you can legally get drunk in Istanbul, Cairo, Beirut, Ramallah, Amman, Casablanca, Tunis, Dubai, etc., is only remarkable to people who have never been to those places. (Turkish Surprise)

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* War on terror — failure of clear-headed thinking.

* How Internet changes politics.

* Seeking a definition of Islam.

* Bangladesh growing against all the odds.

* Why doesn't black money change colour?

* Playboy Indonesia launched.

 

Posted by Rezwan

ANOTHER KANSAT TRAGEDY



Tasneem Khalil wrote an wonderful peace on the Kansat killings in last January. This was the first signs of people rising and the use of police force to tackle it. Uninterrupted supply of electricity, was it too much to ask? Our state bodies never take into account the growing discrimination between the urban and rural public service sectors. In rural areas electricity costs more than the urban areas and yet all of the shortfalls of production are compensated by not giving power to the rural areas.

This time 4 more persons were killed and hundreds were injured as the protestors clashed with the local ruling party (BNP) goons. This time political force was used to tackle it. (Source 1,2)

The Rajshahi City Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu , who is a member of parliament of BNP has already termed the protesters as terrorists. Now you guess how justice and probes will be influenced. You see these people boasts themselves as democratic.

Adda predicts that a new peasant revolution is forming up. People need to rise against these tyranny and unjust. I am waiting to see who will try to stop it next time.

 

Posted by Rezwan

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If you are doing a job that Americans won't do, you're welcome here for a period of time to do that job."

- US president Mr. George Bush's messsage to the illegal immigrants in his country.

 

Posted by Rezwan

PROMISES STUNTS

There you go. As soon as you start hearing promises by political parties you know that election is nearing. E.g:

Free education up to degree level if voted to power: Hasina

Don't forget to quote the phrases "if voted to power" while discussing the subject. This is not a party agenda, but an imaginary "carrot" in front of the voters. The journalists have never bothered to ask the party from which fund the subsidy would come in a deficit budget. And I hope they understand that the method to raise literacy rate is to ensure primary education to all, not produce graduate clerks and jobless people in a subsidized low grade education. There is nothing called a free lunch; if there is one, that is charitable and non-eatable(ziafat).

Meanwhile I have checked the other party's website and it says it is coming soon with new features. Can't wait to see more stunts.

 

Posted by Rezwan

FIRE IN PARLIAMENT HOUSE

What the hell?

"Mysterious" blazes in front of the speaker's office and in two other rooms in Bangladesh's Parliament building have burned some documents. The speaker termed the incident a 'sabotage' and formed a five-member inquiry committee headed by the secretary of the Parliament Secretariat.(The Daily Star)
Needless to say what the committee will find as "A camel is a horse designed by committee."

 

Posted by Rezwan

PONTING STANDS CORRECTED

The captain of the Australian cricket team Ricky Ponting now says:

"Looking back I think I was wrong in what I said. I think Bangladesh probably do deserve their Test status."
I think probably he realized that after being clean bold by an Akram inswinger.

 

Posted by Rezwan

FLOODS IN CENTRAL EUROPE

 Meissen city in Saxony
Meissen city in Saxony (Photo: Wikipedia)

Experts are blaming it on the winter of heavy snowfall and a warm and rainy start to spring. Higher temperatures are thawing snow which still carpets in high mountains from where the rivers originate. After 2002 the Central European countries are facing floods this year from the swelled waters of the rivers Danube, Elbe and their tributaries. Seven people have died in the Czech Republic and two in Slovakia.

I was watching the TV coverage of the floods in the Saxony reason of Germany, close to the Czech border where the river Elbe is taking its toll. The assessments can only be done after the water recedes but experts say that damages can go more than €15 million in Saxony alone.

Coming from a land of the floods, these scenes do not surprise me. But I can see that the extent of damage is heavy as all modern infrastructures cost much. As one report showed one meat seller was devastated by the 2002 as his shop was damaged badly. He then started again with loans and state help and this time he lost it all again. He is not sure whether he could start again. The state governor said that the flood victims in Saxony can expect state aid if needed.

However there are much critique in an Spiegel Online report that the damages could have been avoided were it not for stubborn residents, greedy politicians and the short-sighted agriculture lobby.

It is ironical that whether it is a rich country or poor country, nobody can escape nature's devastation. You are helpless at some point irrespective of whatever your preparations are.

 

Posted by Rezwan

BREAKING THE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT ISLAM

I am delighted to introduce a new Bangladeshi blogger to you. Mash (Mashuqur Rahman) lives in Washington, DC and started blogging only last month. In his latest post he tried to answer a series of questions posed to moderate Muslims and Muslim reformers by another American blogger. And he did it with conviction. Please read the whole post (long post warning).

His conclusion:

I hope you find the answers I’ve given to be satisfactory. I am sure I am not the only Muslim to have similar thoughts. When you look a little deeper into Islam, and beyond the caricatures and the Fanatics, you might find that the vast majority of practicing devout Muslims live a life of peace and tolerance. It may not fit the image of Islam some people want to see; it may not fit the Clash of Civilizations argument; but it reflects reality.

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* Texting and Politics in the Philippines.

* Mother Teresa : savior or exploiter?

* Police brought in as teachers lose control at Berlin school.

* 3G mobiles change social habits.

* Taxi-Wallahs of America.

 

Posted by Rezwan

GOOGLE SEARCH TEXT OF THE DAY

desi islamic sex blog - This search has awarded a traffic to my site. What an oxymoron!

 

Posted by Rezwan

THE EFFECTIVE IMMIGRATION POLICY

Being an immigrant in America Fareed Zakaria writes a touching article in the Washington Post on the issue of immigration. He slams Europe's immigration policies. Talking on the failure of the German immigration policy taken in the late 90s to lure tech workers into the country:

The German Green Card was misnamed, because it never, under any circumstances, translated into German citizenship. The U.S. green card, by contrast, is an almost automatic path to becoming American (after five years and a clean record). So Germany was asking bright young professionals to leave their country, culture and families; move thousands of miles away; learn a new language; and work in a strange land -- but without any prospect of ever being part of their new home.
And on the recent immigration debate in the USA:
Many Americans have become enamored of the European approach to immigration -- perhaps without realizing it. Guest workers, penalties, sanctions and deportation are all a part of Europe's mode of dealing with immigrants. The results of this approach have been on display recently in France, where rioting migrant youths again burned cars last week. Across Europe one sees disaffected, alienated immigrants, ripe for radicalism. The immigrant communities deserve their fair share of blame for this, but there's a cycle at work. European societies exclude the immigrants, who become alienated and reject their societies.
So true and he articulates his opinion in two sentences:
America does immigration superbly. Do we really want to junk that for the French approach?

 

Posted by Rezwan

PREVIEW OF THE BANGLADESH AUSTRALIA TEST SERIES

Bangladesh is ready to greet Australia for a home series against the cricket champions. There will be two tests and three one dayers. The first test will begin on the next Sunday (9th of April). Australia is satisfied with the venues and the security arrangements. Bangladesh has retained most of its winning combination, which have whitewashed Kenya (4-0 series) late last month. The Australian team also has an almost unchanged squad, which performed well in the recent series against South Africa.

The aussies are in top form. Bangladeshis are also in good touch. The Aussies struggles a bit in the subcontinent due to the heat and humidity and slow pitch. Bangladesh has the home advantage. But it would not be realistic to ask a performance from Bangladesh every time like their upset win against the Aussies last year. The Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore reminds us: "The number one-ranked team is playing the number 10-ranked team. That's the reality."

Bangladeshi blogger Furqaan has a detailed preview of the series with player-by-player status. BanglaCricket is an exciting forum formed by Bangladeshi cricket fans which will heat up during the series.

For the good of cricket, this series requires to be competitive, not one sided matches, which will drive away the interest of the spectators. Let us hope for the best.

 

Posted by Rezwan

REBIRTH OF A NATION: BANGLADESH

The above is the title of the cover story of the TIME magazine's latest edition. With poster perfect pictures of the Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia it praises the government's crackdown on militancy.

This story interestingly labels Zia's most popular initiative as forming the R.A.B., a police force that draws support in part for its willingness to kill. It falls for Zia's statement that the government's inaction against the militants till August 17, 2005 bomb attack was merely due to a lack of information. The Home Minister Babar also says about the earlier days: "Bangla Bhai was fighting criminals. It wasn't jihad then." - mind blowing.

The report also contains the usual masala you expect, the mentions of flood and cyclones and the Kissinger's historical 'bottomless basket' quote. Of course the usual boastings are also there; the microcredit, for which the government did little and the 100% enrolment of children in primary school (any proofs?).

The one thing has come true from the article is from the mouth of the World Bank chief Christina Wallich:

"The political hatred between BNP & Awami League is the single biggest issue holding back development."
And read the expected conclusion:
Bangladesh may never truly leave behind this legacy of bloodshed, corruption and distrust. But in what was once one of the sorriest places on earth, there is new hope. Quoting a professor of Dhaka University "All we need is five years of good governance, and we'd be away."
Long before the militants issue TIME once nailed Bangladesh as dysfunctional quoting violence, corruption and political turmoil. There are seldom any progress on these aspects. In this report capture of the JMB militants issue has come as the heroic deed. But in reality it was digging own grave first then filling it up. A totally unproductive episode.

The article did not touch anything on the plutocracy of the members of parliament, not to mention Khaleda Zia's son. First we need good leaders, then the question of good governance comes. Until then the world will continue to be fed by these types of reports that pleases some people but never really portray the true state of Bangladesh. It was never one of the sorriest places on earth, but a place hold ransom by some opportunist leaders. And we don't need TIME's fabricated certificates, thank you!

 

Posted by Rezwan

BOOTY CALL

With the advent of 3G technology in cellphones and its rapid proliferation, the younger generation has found a new way to break the taboo. Sharing sex and violence videos via MMS (Multimedia messaging) has become a cult in many countries say it is in Germany or in the USA. Younger generation watches porn and pictures of human beings mutilated, raped, beheaded, and even having sex with animal in their cell phones. The peril is that these people are underaged and they watch these in school, on subways, buses, and in other public areas. Everywhere there are open advertisements for downloading sex videos to you phone; say in TV or in magazines. Its a growing business in countries like Germany.

This month Police has raided some German schools and arrested some teens for sharing videos containing sex and violence. At the hauptschule in Immenstadt (Bavaria) more than 200 students cell phones were confiscated, and in 17 telephones they had found porn and violence videos. Although there are laws against distributing porn to teens but authorities have more to think how to apply them. The students are not aware of the law. Many parents have no idea about the new technology and its perils. Some schools are resorting to mobile phone bans in schools which the students are protesting. The issue has become so complicated that it would require concerted efforts from all quarters to reduce the misuse of this new technology.

Avari.Nameh discusses this issue in light of the US and shows that there is another menace in mobile porn that is the DVD players in the car. He thinks that this is not only disgusting, but sad.

 

Posted by Rezwan

DEVALUATION

In economic terms "devaluation" is a reduction in the value of a currency. Why it is done is a complicated matter. A country may resort to devaluation to decrease import and to increase export (exporters can offer lower price and be more competitive) and thus increase foreign currency earnings.

There is a rumor that fresh devaluation of Taka will be made in Bangladesh soon. I guess as election is coming, the government is keen to make a show of a healthy foreign currency reserve. For a country that is depended on a lot of imports, it means price increase and decrease of purchasing power. More ironically, this means decrease of salary of government officials deputed abroad as their BDT salary is converted into USD and paid accordingly.

This move is non-benevolent to general people. So why nobody is bothering?

 

Posted by Rezwan

TODAY'S LINKS

* YouTube - the web at its best.

* Science: Tracing Islam's innovations - exhibition held in the UK.

* A fish called Allah.

* Justice the Saudi style.

* Why do they hate us so much?

* 25Peeps: Who said bloggers aren't beautiful?

 

Posted by Rezwan

DOCUMENTARY ON BLOG

A new video 'Many to Many: Public Media and the Blogosphere' directed by the documentry maker Marty Lucas is now available on the Center for Social Media website (Quicktime required).

It takes a look at the emerging world of Internet self-publishers and citizen journalists also known as bloggers and its implications for the larger world of public media. It also asks what public broadcasters in the US and the UK are doing to use new media tools to interact with their viewers and listeners in innovative ways.

The 12 minute video features Dina Mehta and Neha Viswanathan of the Global Voices network talking about their Tsunami Blog initiative at the December 2005 Global Voices conference in London, as well as a look behind the microphone at Radio Open Source with Blogger-in-Chief Brendan Greeley and host Chris Lydon.

Its a great video and must see for everyone.

 

Posted by Rezwan

SLAP THE BLOCK PROXY

The creative minds of a few Pakistanis Yasir Memon & Naveed have created this nifty utility for those individuals in Pakistan who are stuck behind the Government supported censorship on Internet in Pakistan. The way this service works is that you can simply go to

http://www.pkblogs.com/blogname
where blogname is “blogname.blogspot.com”

Alternatively head on over to www.pkblogs.com - you get no ads or any annoying pop-up to disturb your surfing experience. The service converts all inside and outside links.

Sign the Petetion - No Internet Censorship in Pakistan

DIGG the story at Digg.com - Blogspot.com Censored in Pakistan

Related: More about Internet censorship in Pakistan.