Echo

Cyclone Nargis on the way: Bangladesh needs to worry  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Any cyclone is a bad news, especially for the countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal. Because of the shape of the bay any tropical weather system tend to push towards the pointed peak, where Bangladesh lies.

Tropical Cyclone Nargis is gathering strength and momentum somewhere over west central Bay and adjoining southwest Bay, some 1000 km away from Bangladesh.

(Image credit: Weather Underground -click here for update)

Although the prediction on April 28 that the cyclone will move towards Myanmar, it still can change course and hit Bangladesh. However the Weather office only issued warnings to all fishing boats and trawlers and requested to stay close to the coast.

The satellite image of the cyclone looks scary:

(Image credit: NRL Monterey Marine Meteorology Division)

Chris Mooney, the cyclone Pundit warns:

What's most troubling is that Nargis has a very warm Indian Ocean to travel over, as you can see in this data from the Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory:

A Very Warm Bay of Bengal Means Cyclone Nargis Will Hit Hard – Somewhere.
According to the Joint Typhoon warning center, The cyclone is on a course to make a landfall in Myanmar in 48 to 72 hours, but this can change rapidly. The waves can rise to as high as 27 feet.

God save Bangladesh this time.

Update- May 1, 2008: Experts say the cyclone has altered its course and within a day it will hit the Chittagong coastal region in the Southeast. Bangladeshi farmers have been urged to speed up the rice harvest before the cyclone.

Update II -May 4, 2008: Bangladesh is lucky as Nargis held on to its course. But Myanmar was not that lucky:
State television, which was still off air in Rangoon more than 36 hours after Nagris slammed into the city of five million, reported 20 000 homes destroyed on one island alone.

Utter war zone," one diplomat said in an email to Reuters in Bangkok. "Trees across all streets. Utility poles down. Hospitals devastated. Clean water scarce."
Death toll 351 and rising according to official figures.

New talent from Sylhet  

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Meet the latest singing star of Bangladesh.. none other than the British Ambassador to the country.

Tagore memorabilia stolen  

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Earlier this year we heard that the stolen Nobel medal of Rabindranath Tagore may be smuggled in Bangladesh.

The latest is that more memorabilia of Tagore were stolen from the Tagore Memorial Museum in Bangladesh's Sirajganj district. Due to lack of resources the Department of Archaeology is unable to protect and display many other items at the museum.

Both Indian and Bangladeshi authorities should take measures to protect Tagore's memory.

Armenian Genocide  

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April 24 was the Armenia Genocide Memorial Day. 93 years ago approximately 1.5 million Armenians were brutally killed in Ottoman Turkey in this first genocide of the twentieth century.

From a post in Global Voices by Onnik Krikorian we note the ever present hatred of Aremnians against Turks:

Every year on 24 April, a date marking the roundup of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in what is now Istanbul, Armenians commemorate the massacres and deportations worldwide. In Yerevan, this is particularly the case with hundreds of thousands marching up to the Tsitsernakaberd memorial overlooking the capital to lay flowers and pay their respects.

In fact, the Genocide is one of the most contentious and defining aspects of the present-day identity of most Armenians, especially in the Diaspora. Nevertheless, remembers Hrag Vartanian, who posts a photograph of Armenian-American artist, Kardash Onnig, holding up a sign reading “Un-Hate a Turk This Day,” there are some who believe in the importance of recognizing the Genocide, but also consider that blind hatred towards Turkey is unfortunate.
Bangladesh also suffered a major genocide in the hands of Pakistan Army in 1971. Bangladeshis don't have blind hatred against Pakistanis now but there is a notion of forgetting everything. Quoting words from Onnik Krikorian - remembering man's inhumanity towards man can prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.

Showing allegiance?  

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Mr. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury wrote an article on the Government's angry response to Mr. James F. Moriarty's remark that Bangladesh needs to lift the state of emergency.

"Why the present government in Bangladesh was angry on Mr. Moriarty´s comments? Because he emphasized on lifting state of emergency? Because he spoke in favor of reinstating democracy? Because he spoke in favor of human rights?"
While I agree to the point that state of emergency should be lifted, I completely support the reaction of the Bangladesh Government. It has the right to express its opinion not being cowed by representative of another nations's remarks.

The political scene has become muddy because of these kinds of diplomatic interventions. The 1/11 episode was cooked up by these diplomatic initiatives. Every now and then you here some diplomat springing up and throwing remarks on each possible issues. Just imagine can the Bangladeshi ambassador to USA say such things on US domestic issues without any repercussion? Is this the diplomatic norm they are exercising?

Mr. Shoaib Chowdhury tried to prove with propaganda style logics that Bangladesh is gradually slipping towards anti American block. He wonders if Bangladesh wish to become ultra Nationalists and anti Americans to show red eyes to Washington.

I am surprised with Mr. Chowdhury's remarks that all well of Bangladesh lies in showing allegiance to USA. Well nodding to everything what and how USA says may work at personal level as Mr. Chowdhury thinks. But I think Bangladesh is maturing to decide on its own its policies. These can be criticized constructively. But Bangladesh does not require to bow to demand; show allegiance or red eye to any nation.

Update: Shafiur has more on Moriarty.

Renewable energy in Bangladesh  

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The power crisis is acute as frequent power outages hamper the livelihoods. Big power stations are much capital intensive and time consuming to build. So Bangladeshis are not getting bailed out of the situation anytime soon.

From this Newsweek article you can see how grass-roots movement are generating power in local towns and basements and being independent of the energy industries:

In the late 1990s, the town of Freiamt in Germany's Black Forest decided to take the fight against global warming into its own hands. Three hundred of the town's 4,300 residents chipped in to buy the four 80-meter-tall Enercon wind turbines that now top the surrounding hills, generating 1.8 megawatts each. An additional 270 families put solar collectors on their roofs to heat water and power their homes. Three businesses—two sawmills and a bakery—whose land abuts a gurgling stream have installed old-fashioned water wheels, each providing an additional 15 kilowatts.
These wind turbines can be seen in many places in the developed countries.

Have you seen any wind turbine in Bangladesh?

At last  

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Breaking News: BDNews24 reports Ordinances ban war criminals from local polls:

The cabinet Thursday approved three ordinances that prescribe a series of provisions, including a ban on convicted war criminals from taking part in the local government polls.

The ordinances listed 20 crimes that disqualify the guilty to contest the polls.

A person who lost Bangladeshi citizenship or was declared insane by any court, or suffered at least two years in jail for criminal offenses or was a bank loan defaulter would be barred from the polls.

Blame the neighbor for the dirty lawn  

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Bangladesh has been fighting fighting a tiring battle against the Avian bird Flu disease for more than a year. But like many things India has been blaming Bangladesh for spreading the disease. They even claim that the virus came to India by "winds blowing from Bangladesh'. FLA_MEDIC from USA tells that this is almost impossible.

He even criticizes India's blame game:

The West Bengal government, however, ignored early reports of bird deaths back in December, and failed to act swiftly enough to contain the virus. The virus reportedly spread, virtually unhindered, for nearly a month. And once action was taken, it was often poorly organized and only partially effective.

The H5N1 bird flu virus may well have come into India by way of Bangladesh (unproven, but certainly possible), but it became entrenched due to the slow and often ineffective actions by the local government.

But, when local economies are affected, and lives are negatively impacted, it is only good politics to shift the blame to a neighboring country.

Corruption and accountability  

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Some crimes cannot be hidden and the tables can turn. Koko, Selim, Tarique and Babar are disgraces to the nation. Hope their trial and judgment will be a warning for the other corrupt persons like them.

Facebook chat option  

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Facebook is getting better and better. It has now a nifty chat option with listed friends. I feel like scrapping other messengers that I use.

Extra-Judicial  

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No wonder another news was muffled in the Bangladeshi media which took the British Bangladeshis by storm. They were disgusted and annoyed to hear that Barrister Rizwan Hussain was detained by the Zia International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the charges of trespassing while he claims he was merely helping an elderly. And things took to a dramatic turn when he was handed over to plain cloth joint forces staffs and he was beaten mercilessly and forced to sign false statements that he was sorry for trespassing and he was treated well by the captors. BBC has details.

Here is Rizwan Hussain's full statement to the incident. Meanwhile one Bangladeshi newspaper did finally publish an ISPR press release saying:

the London lawyer became incensed and started using abusive words in English at the top of his voice, and even made threats, the ISPR statement said. Finding no alternative, the on-duty security officer handed Rizwan over to the joint forces, who interrogated him.

The lawyer, however, continued to avoid the issue of violating airport rules, instead trying to extract privileged treatment by mentioning his foreign citizenship and the status of his profession, the press release said. It was at this point, the ISPR statement says, that the members of the joint forces "harassed" barrister Rizwan.
You can see from the picture (courtesy BBC) what the harassment looks like.

I fail to imagine why there is such a need to tarnish Bangladesh's image by acting like a goon by a responsible authority where Mr Hussain (assuming he trespassed) could easily be arrested and handed over to court for the law to take action.

If somebody still can't get it, this is extra-judicial abuse of human rights.

Rizwan Hussain's press Conference: Part 1



Rizwan Hussain's press Conference: Part 2



And this is going to be nasty. The High Court issued a notice on the home secretary, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh and director general of the Department of Immigration over the alleged assaults on barrister Rizwan Hussain.

The ISPR said that the air force authorities immediately took the taskforce members into custody in accordance with military law and formed a committee to investigate. Looking forward to hear the findings of the committee. I hope the actions of the relevant authorities will be such that no more extra-judicial abuses are done without foreseeing the consequence it brings.

Meanwhile Barrister Hussain, who is also a famous TV presenter in an UK based Bangla TV got wide support from the community via facebook groups and online petitions.

Part 1:



Part 2:



Related:
* Bangladesh's long wait for justice
* 1971 Bangladesh Genocide Archive

Today's Links  

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* Acid Attacks on Rise in South Asia: Disputes lead to crimes against women that too often go unpunished

* Rat infestation hits Bangladesh

* It is the ordinary citizens of Bangladesh who need a voice

* Bangladesh is paying a cruel price for the west's excesses

* Ethiopian Painters campaign to end early marriage practice

* A different type of sex

* Farakka Once more

* The Crushing Burden of Microcredit

Bangla Bangers  

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2nd Episode (part 1)



2nd Episode (part 2)



2nd Episode (part 3)



2nd Episode (part 4)



2nd Episode (part 5)



2nd Episode (part 6)



2nd Episode (part 7)



2nd Episode (part 8)



Via Arup

The international media are at it again. A light of a world wide famine beaconing, which is a favorite topic for any media professional. You will see picture galleries full of hungry people fighting for food, skinny children waiting for help makes any journalistic work easy. ABC News terms the recent food riots around the world as an apocalyptic warning predicting hundreds of thousands of starving people in Asia and Africa. The World Bank announces “the world is moving towards a food crisis that may lead to wars and riots”.

What I fail to understand is why it took so long to raise the alarm? Many are trying to find out the cause of the recent crisis.

I recently wrote on the recent price rise of rice in Bangladesh and its impacts. Shortage in production and increasing demands have been sighted as the problems. There are also a list of problems and solutions that looks so complex and harder to achieve in a short time.

And some are terming it as subprime food crisis as surging oil prices made US dollar got weak leading to the subprime loan crisis making worldwide imports (in US Dollars) costlier.

According to a recent report of the World Bank names Western investment in biofuels as the cause of the drastic rise in prices for corn, rice, and other staples.

Concerns over oil prices, energy security and climate change have prompted governments to take a more proactive stance towards encouraging production and use of bio-fuels. This has led to increased demand for bio-fuel raw materials, such as wheat, soy, maize and palm oil, and increased competition for cropland.


Outside The Beltway comments:
It has long struck me as wrongheaded, if not immoral, to take cheap, efficient sources of nutrition to turn them into expensive, inefficient fuels. A gallon of ethanol produces roughly two-thirds the energy of a gallon of gasoline and is far more expensive. And, while farmers and, especially, processors make more money by the increased demand for biofuels, it means that food is now out of reach for millions.
Ronald Bailey tells about this stupid energy policy:
Politicians in both the United States and the European Union are mandating that vast quantities of food be turned into fuel as they chase the chimera of "energy independence."...The result of these mandates is that about 100 million tons of grain will be transformed this year into fuel, drawing down global grain stocks to their lowest levels in decades. Keep in mind that 100 million tons of grain is enough to feed nearly 450 million people for a year.
Dennis Avery from the Hudson Institute says "Biofuels are purely and simply the biggest Green mistake we've ever made and we're still making it." So Bio fuel mandates must go.

Living space  

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The world population is approximately 6.5 billion (6,500,000,000) now and is likely to surpass 9 billion by 2050.

Traveling in vast barely populated countrysides in Europe seem to amaze me, coming from a populous country like Bangladesh. When I describe Bangladesh to a person who has no idea about the country, I say that the major difference you will find that its buzzing with people. If you go to a countryside you will see farmers at work, women washing stuffs in pond water, people walking in street; anything but you will see people.

And it becomes even harder to compare when it comes to size. The area of Bangladesh is 147,570 km² with a population of estimated 150 millions as of now. It has a population density of 1045/km² (11th most populous country in the world). If I compare it with USA then it has an area of 9,826,630 km² (66 times of Bangladesh) with 303 million people (two times of Bangladesh) with a population density of 31/km². Such a huge contrast!


Size of countries based on population. Graph courtesy GeoHive

Some highlights:

* The populous world is dominated by some Asian countries
* By Population Mexico is several times larger than Canada
* Nigeria is the black sheep of Africa

This leaves you thinking why we are seeing more and more of this kind of disparity in the world. The places with more population density have degradable living conditions. And how can you manage this much people? For an example a public bus which can last in USA at least 10 years will not be in usable condition in Bangladesh after 1 year from deployment. More resources are required to provide infrastructures in these countries and challenges are high because these fall in the developing part of the world.

And what will happen in the next 50 years when population in these countries will be almost double (Bangladesh has a growth rate of 2%)?

One might want to look at the history of migration of people in the world. This is almost a natural phenomenon as migration happened due to the lookout for available land because of population growth, attraction to the wealth of affluent areas. USA is the perfect example of migrants setting up a new place for living.

But in todays world this phenomenon is controlled by Visa system. Some scientists suggest that because of negative growth of population some affluent countries will require skilled workforce from the developing world. But more and more affluent countries are blocking entries of potential economic migrants and are not even allowing working immigrants. If you are a resident of a third world country then you will find that a Visa (other than work visa) to an affluent country can be awarded to you only if you can show sufficient financial ability. So the idea is keep the poor in those unlivable congested places.

Today's world is becoming tougher and tougher for people of many populous countries. It remains to be seen how people or nature reacts to the blockages of migrations of people to create enough living space. Extreme solutions like engaging in war to encroach lands are also a distant possibility. You never know what will happen if you push people to their limits as they are squeezed out of their living spaces because of population growth.

Bangladesh 1971  

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"They had risked all to hold on to this moment in history. The scarred negatives, hidden from the military, wrapped in old cloth, buried underground, also bore the wounds of war. These photographers were the only soldiers who preserved tangible memories, a contested memory that politicians fight over, in their battle for supremacy. These faded images, war weary, bloodied in battle, provide the only record of what was witnessed. Nearly four decades later, they speak."
- Renowned Photo Journalist Shahidul Alam spells out these words to introduce us to the photo exhibition on the Bangladesh's liberation war. Shahidul's photo agency Drik is behind this with the partnership of Autograph ABP. and this is being held at Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA, until May 31.

Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam writes in the Guardian a review of the exhibition:
The contradiction between exalting and forgetting persists in Bangladesh, where the war remains a contested space, still charged 37 years later with an emotional and psychological intensity that brings to life William Faulkner's words "The past is never dead, it is not even past". Yet these complexities are captured in a photograph taken by Naib Uddin Ahmed of a woman - one of the birangona - obscuring her face by clutching a thick mass of her own hair.
The Guardian has published a 12 page photo gallery containing images being displayed in the exhibition.

The exhibition is also accompanied by the Bangladesh 1971 Film Season. So those who are in London should not miss this opportunity. Also check out our effort - the Bangladesh Genocide Archive to learn more about the war and the genocide.

French Manhattan  

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Panorama view of the La Defence District on the edge of Paris.

Photo: MagicMongol


Writing from an highrise apartment (level 20) in Paris's La Defence district. From here you can get even a view of the Eiffel Tower which has magnificent lighting in the night.

This is predominantly a commercial place with many offices around. Today is Monday morning and you can see black (suited) ants (employees) crawling into the buildings from up.

I am quite obsessed with these buildings and shot loads of photos. Will be uploaded later.

Our France trip is going well. Today we are planning to go a bit far towards the D-day beaches of Normandy. More later.

Bangladesh: Hidden Hunger  

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First published in Global Voices:

Unheard Voices Blog quotes UNDP which hit the panic button for Bangladesh last month:

Skyrocketing oil prices have driven up the cost of food worldwide, but their impact has been particularly dire in Bangladesh, where almost half of the 145 million people live on less than one dollar a day.
For those who do not know, the staple food of Bangladesh is rice and the price of this commodity has almost doubled than what it was about a year and a half ago. And the poor in this populous country have been hardest hit.

WFP has warned:
The rising prices of food items, especially rice, may cause political instability in the country since poorer households spend up to 80 percent of their income on food.
Himu quotes a newspaper article which shows how many poor Bangladeshis even the middle class are barely making ends meet. The people are not well and you can hear their plights and anger echoing in blogs, media everywhere.Rumi Ahmed of In the Middle of Nowhere Blog questions about famine in his post "is it here". Posting photo of a skinny man who is presumably a drug addict he writes:
“The vulnerable groups are usually the homeless, the poorest of the poor of the society. And among them the first to fall through the safety net are the mentally-physically disabled persons, drug addicts, the elderly and the children. It has been many years I last saw a skeleton image of a Bangladeshi citizen.

News reports of hunger death started appearing scattered in our print media. This report [bn] confirms several hunger deaths. ”
Even the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management confirmed that no famine but a hidden hunger persists in the country.

Meanwhile Bangladesh's military chief’s remark encouraging eating potato instead of rice got bloggers reacting strongly. Shafiur has even posted recipes of mashed potatoes in response to his remark.

The reasons for this impending disaster are manifold. Bangladesh had a bad year in natural disaster in 2007. With a prolonged flood and the devastation of cyclone Sidr left its own rice production much lower than usual. There is a new government which did not have the experience in predicting the shortage and piling up sufficient stock although they were warned. Now the shortage in supply is effecting more on price. The government controlled food distribution centers were abolished some years ago with the pressure of World Bank and IMF. Now with no such wide scale distribution arm the government is not being able to keep the prices down with a small number of rationing booths.

Subinoy Mustofi, an blogger and an economist by profession describes [bn] why the price of rice has raised so much in his post in Bangla Blog Na Bola Kotha.
* Recent natural disasters in major rice producing countries hampered production
* The rice growing fields have decreased
* More demands from developing nations like India and China
So more demand and short supply have raised the price in the world market to a twenty years high.

Because of the rising price major rice producing countries like Vietnam, Egypt and India has decreased export and concentrated on keeping price in grip in domestic market. Neighboring India which is the largest suppliers of rice to Bangladesh set an import price of 1200USD per ton, a price almost three times high than 6 months ago. Moreover the food reserves all over the world is all time low.

Jyoti claims in Unheard Voices:
The chart below shows that taka depreciated by around 20 paisa against the (Indian) rupee since the beginning of 2007.

Taka depreciation

In addition to the global factors (see here) and the natural disasters, this depreciation alone could have sent our food market into a frenzy.
Subinoy Mustofi also shows [bn] that because of inflation the purchasing power (real income) of the poor in Bangladesh has gone down 5% although there is an overall GDP growth of 5%.

The situation is likely to persist in the near future. A Financial Times article on the March 28, 2008 reveals:
Rice prices jumped 30 per cent to an all-time high on Thursday, raising fears of fresh outbreaks of social unrest across Asia where the grain is a staple food for more than 2.5bn people.
Now the question is how to tackle the situation. Famous writer Anisul Haque quotes Indian noble laureate Amarta Sen in Bangla Blog Na Bola Kotha:
Famines are easy to prevent if there is a serious effort to do so, and a democratic government, facing elections and criticisms from opposition parties and independent newspapers, cannot help but make such an effort.
In a recent BBC debate (in Bangla) among politicians and general people the participants have echoed this and commented that Bangladesh needs to be back in the road of democracy really quickly.

An ordinary citizen reports that the government is introducing widespread employment opportunity for the poor people – a 10 million Taka project till April to enable the poor to have the purchasing power matching the price hike.

The Government hopes that a bumper Boro crop awaits and will be in market by end of this month to ease rice prices down. This news and the recent imports of rice from India at government level has apparently caused the price rises to cease but people fear will that be enough to minimize the hidden hunger?

Panic alarm  

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At first there were reports that a Bangladeshi plane was hijacked and made an emergency landing in Thailand. But later it was revealed that it was an apple pealing passenger with a fruit knife which has caused all this. The fellow passengers did not have any idea what was going on.

Quotes for today  

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"We neither want to go back to pre-1/11 days nor want to be in the present situation. We do not want to live under the state of emergency day after day where we are not able to speak." - Sultana Kamal

"Services of Chief of Army Staff General Moeen U Ahmed have been extended by one year for public interest at the directive of President Iajuddin Ahmed" -ISPR Press release

"The present government will have to shoulder the responsibility for the undemocratic situation it has created in the country by altering the democratic system" -Justice Habibur Rahman.

Source: The Daily Star

YouTube video of the day  

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For a comic relief.

Bangladesh's garment industry is now matured  

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This week's cover story in the The Daily Star weekend Magazine is on the state of the garment industry in Bangladesh.

It is the biggest contributor to the country's foreign exchange- around 76 percent- and employs around 2.2 million people, 80 percent of them women. The export figure of Ready Made Garments (RMG) reached US$ 9.2 billion in 2007 and there are predictions of it rising to US$ 12 billion or more in the next two years.

The report talks about the how the working conditions got better and safety regulations are now place. Of course it is a continuous process and we expect the same standard evenly spread across the industry.

It makes us proud to buy a cloth and later find it labeled as 'Made in Bangladesh' be it in Europe or in America.

Biased propaganda against Bangladesh  

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Recently two articles were published by Sunita Paul who calls herself as a South Asian Expert which are no less then paid biased propaganda. There are some truth in it but they are being manipulated to tarnish specific groups image relieving others and I will show you how.

In Asia Tribune she write a "Bangladesh next Afghanistan" style article where she claims the nine month liberation war of Bangladesh "is the To my knowledge, it is the shortest ever war of independence in the world history for any nation to get independence". Well she should have consulted this before.

She criticizes the present caretaker government for blaming BNP government for the present power shortage. She says:

"The figure being looted by the previous government in five years was somewhere in One Billion dollar as per statistics provided by the interim government. Now experts are raising questions as to why the present government could not even add a single mega watt of power in past fifteen months, when it is believed that nothing was looted at lest by them?"
She even calls Bangladesh a failed state.

She accuses the military without any proof or fact:
"As the food crisis in Bangladesh is already moving towards the alarming state of famine, corruption within administration and involvement of some of the millitary officers along with their family members in various crimes including grabbing of properties, harrassments, blackmailing etc., are increasing very fast."
Now she writes another article in the Global Politician where she starts the sentence with "People of Bangladesh are possibly witnessing the come back of horrific days of 1974, when the entire country was affected in a devastating famine killing numerous people."

Silent fame is being uttered by some think tanks now so I decided to give her the benefit of doubt. But she started some statements without giving source:
Bangladesh Awami League follows socialist structure as its party's principles. Fortunately, in personal lives neither Mujib nor his followers are practicing such failed policy. Most of the Awami League leaders are rich enough to fit the affluent classes. Sheikh Hasina's only son Sajib Wajed Joy is one of the richest Bangladeshi youth in United States while her daughter Sayma Wajed Putul is no less rich. Mujib's youngest daughter, Sheikh Rehana lives fabulously wealthy life in United Kingdom. Many of the Awami League leaders are holding accounts with foreign banks, where they have reportedly deposited huge amount of cash, secretly.
Now one can expect what is to come:
"Ziaur Rahman is considered to be the only honest ruler in Bangladesh, although there are numerous questions about his political honesty."
Still the benefit of doubt as she starts describing about corruption of Ershad.

But then it stops. She says nothing after 1990, the rampant corruption of the two tenures of BNP government and one tenure of Awami League. She did not ever mention one name from the corrupt BNP politicians who are now being convicted one by one.

So you can easily realize who sponsored her to tarnish the image of Bangladesh.

When speaking about the silent famine she could have investigated why Indian government increased export price for rice from US$ 350 to US$ 1,000 per ton in last couple of months.

Update: Sunita Paul is on a roll here. Now she claims:
And, according to latest reports, Dhaka's present rulers are even in worst ever situation than their predecessors, as a large number of beauties (mostly wives of military officers) are becoming increasingly influential in the society. They can do almost everything. Grabbing properties, taking bank loans, blackmailing, and promotions – in short anything. Names of the wives of a number of top ranking military officials are in circulation in Dhaka, who is no less influential as well corrupt than any of the previous 'mighty beauties'.
She wrote recently:
Although Bangladesh got rid of one Giasuddin Al Mamun, it is gradually going into the grips of hundreds of such 'Mamun'. Recently, one woman named Liza, who is the wife of a major of Bangladesh army demanded cash ransom from a business house in the country. When the owners declined such illegal demand, this woman has lodged false cases against those businessmen and doing everything to harass them by using the influence of her husband. Despite written complaints lodged by the owners of the company, no action has ever been taken against Liza for reason unknown. This may be only one case in thousands. Many such incidents will even escape media's attention.
I wish she could present facts from legitimate sources in her claims. Without them these allegations will be treated as sweeping stereotype remarks and not less than a propaganda.

Human rights situation in Bangladesh  

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From the New Age tallying in the first quarter of 2008 by the human rights organization Odhikar:

* India's Border Security Force killed 21 unarmed Bangladeshis. 12 Bangladeshis were reportedly injured in firing by the Indian guards.
* Extra judicial killings went on in the quarter when 16 persons were reportedly killed in custody or in 'crossfire'.
* Under the state of emergency, repression on journalists continued. Seventeen such incidents were reported. Five journalists were injured and eight more were threatened. Pressure on journalists remains unchanged in connection with publishing factual reports.
* Ninety-five women were reportedly raped.
* Thirty-one persons were victims of acid violence.
* 68 women became victims of violence over demands for dowry. Forty-nine women were killed and 17 were tortured. Two women reportedly committed suicide as they could not bear the abuse any more.

Which nation is more Anti-Islamic?  

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World Economic Forum recently held a meeting with over 30 leaders of business, politics, religion, media and civil society in London to discuss a new report by the World Economic Forum entitled “Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue”. From a chart it is evident...

Kissinger's 1974 Plan for Food Control Genocide  

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On Dec. 10, 1974, the U.S. National Security Council under Henry Kissinger completed a classified 200-page study, "National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests." The study falsely claimed that population growth in the so-called Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) was a grave threat to U.S. national security. Adopted as official policy in November 1975 by President Gerald Ford, NSSM 200 outlined a covert plan to reduce population growth in those countries through birth control, and also, implicitly, war and famine.'

It paid special attention to 13 "key countries" in which the United States had a "special political and strategic interest": India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. It claimed that population growth in those states was especially worrisome, since it would quickly increase their relative political, economic, and military strength.
Read the rest of the article written by Josef Brewda

A famine broke out in Bangladesh in 1974 which is generally viewed as the direct result of inefficiency and corruption by politicians and civil servants. Possibly over a million people died in the Bangladesh famine of 1974, from July 1974 to January 1975, although the Bangladesh government claimed only 26,000 people died. (wikipedia)

Among the socio-political factors, Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that:
At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the US had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to ‘ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminals’.

The kiasu behavior of some Bangladeshis  

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"If you think Singaporeans are kiasu, then I think BGLs are being kiasu-in-action." - read the rest.

Zimbabwe election  

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It looks like the Zimbabwe government parties could not even get enough vote after rigging election. People are really fed up with them. Zimbabwe opposition claimed victory but there is a deafening silence in the election commission which is not releasing results.

Is Any body Listening?  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,

The above is is the title of a brilliant website of Drishtipat which addresses climate change issues in the context of South Asia especially Bangladesh. According to Drishtipat:

The threat of 1/3 of Bangladesh getting wiped away and creating 125 million climate refugees are very real. As expatriate Bangladeshis, it is our collective responsibility, to highlight the injustice of the whole issue where Bangladesh will pay the price of Western excesses that is destroying our planet.
Please bookmark: Is Any Body Listening?