Echo

A recent international news on Bangladesh was presented in a very positive light - the world's largest clinical trial of a cheap oral cholera vaccine will be conducted in Dhaka, which can save tens of thousands of lives every year. The reports do not contain much except that the study involves nearly 250,000 people near the capital. This will be a cheap alternative to the currently available vaccines and two-thirds of the 250,000 people involved in the trial will receive two doses of the Indian-made vaccine and the rest will receive a placebo.



A cholera hospital in Bangladesh. Image by Flickr user Mark Knobil. CC BY

Blogger Judhisthir followed [bn] the news and was surprised that the local media was silent on this issue:

একমাত্র প্রথম আলো ছাড়া আর কোন পত্রিকায় এটির কোন খবর খুঁজে পেলাম না, প্রথম আলোতেও পাওয়া গেলো ১৮ই ফেব্রুয়ারির পত্রিকায়, অর্থাৎ কর্মসূচি শুরু হবার একদিন পরে, তাও তৃতীয় পৃষ্ঠার এক কোনায়। উপরের লিঙ্কগুলো খেয়াল করলে দেখবেন বিদেশি সংবাদ মাধ্যমগুলো এ খবরটি দিয়েছে একদিন আগে বা ঘটনার দিনে। স্বাস্থ্য মন্ত্রণালয়ের ওয়েব সাইটে কিছু পাওয়া গেলো না, সেটা আসলে আশা করাও উচিৎ হয় নি।

Except for Prothom Alo, I did not find the report in any other newspaper. In Prothom Alo they published the news after one day of the launch (18th February, 2011) and it was placed in one corner of the 3rd page. If you follow the above links you will notice that international media covered the news on the day of launch or before. I did not find anything in the health ministry website, of course I should not have expected that.

So the question comes why is this silence? Judhisthir finds out some stunning facts:

২.১. ভ্যাকসিনটার নাম হলো ShanChol। নির্মাতা ভারতের Shantha Biotechnics, যেটি ফ্রান্সের Sanofi Aventis-এর একটি প্রতিষ্ঠান।

2.1. The name of the vaccine is ShanChol, made by Shantha Biotechnics of India, a subsidiary of Sanofi Aventis.

২.২. ভারতের স্বাস্থ্য বিভাগ এটি অনুমোদন করছে,কিন্তু বিশ্ব সাস্থ্য সংস্থা (WHO) এখনও করে নি। চিন্তার বিষয় হলো, ভারত সরকার ভ্যাকসিনটি ব্যবহারের অনুমোদন দিলেও জাতীয় পর্যায়ে বিশাল আকারের কোন কর্মসূচী নেয়ার কোন পরিকল্পনা তারা অনুমোদন করেনি।

2.2. The health authority of India approved it, but it was not approved by WHO. The worry is that the Indian government has approved the use of the vaccine but did not approve plans to conduct national campaigns with it.

২.৫. ShanChol এর প্রাথমিক ডোজের কার্যকারিতা বছর দুয়েকের মধ্যে অনেক কমে যায়, এবং তখন বুস্টার ডোজ দেয়া জরুরি। [..] প্রশ্ন থাকে বাংলাদেশের মত তথ্য অব্যবস্থাপনা আর স্বাস্থ্য অসচেতনতার দেশে এই বুস্টার ডোজটি নিশ্চিত করা কতটুকু সম্ভব সেটি নিয়ে।

The effectiveness of ShanChol reduces much within 2 years, then a booster dose is required. In a country like Bangladesh where information is poorly managed and people are not aware about health issues, how can the booster doses be ensured, the question remains.

And these raise more questions:

৩.১. প্রথম প্রশ্ন, ভারতীয় কম্প্যানীর তৈরী ভ্যাকসিনটির ব্যাপক আকারের ট্রায়াল ভারতে হলো না কেন? ভারতের তৈরি টীকা বাংলাদেশে পরীক্ষা করাটা শুনতে ভালো লাগে না, যখন ভারত নিজেই এই পরীক্ষা করতে চায় না। ভারত কিন্তু কলেরামুক্ত কোনো দেশ নয় যে তাদের এই পরীক্ষা করার দরকার নেই।

3.1. First question, why this significant trial of an Indian pharmaceutical company was not carried within India? It doesn't sound good that an Indian vaccine is being trialed in Bangladesh, when India refused to test this in its soil. Is India a Cholera free country that it doesn't need such trial?

৩.৩. দেশের সংবাদ মাধ্যমে আর জড়িত প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর ওয়েবসাইটে এই বিষয়টি প্রকাশ না করাটাও বেশ বিরক্তিকর। এটা কি বাংলাদেশি মিডিয়ার উদাসীনতা? নাকি এটা ইচ্ছে করে গোপন রাখা হয়েছে?

3.3. This is really irritating that the newspaper reports and the websites had a news blackout. Is this negligence of the Bangladeshi media? Or it was willingly suppressed?

৩.৫. ভ্যাকসিন ট্রায়াল নিয়ে সারা পৃথিবীতে কেলেংকারি কম হয় নি। বিশেষ করে প্ল্যাসিবোর ব্যবহার নিয়ে সবসময়ই বিতর্ক আছে। তবে আজকাল মানুষকে সাবজেক্ট হিসাবে ব্যবহার করা হলে ন্যুনতম কিছু নীতিমালা পালন করা হয়। সাবজেক্টের কাছ থেকে সজ্ঞান অনুমতি নিতে হয়। [..] প্রশ্ন হলো, ভ্যাকসিন ট্রায়ালের ক্ষেত্রে এরকম এথিকস কতটুকু অনুসরণ করা হচ্ছে? মীরপুরবাসীরা কি জানেন তারা একটি পরীক্ষার সাবজেক্ট? যে ৮০ হাজার লোক প্ল্যাসিবো পাবেন, তারা কি জানবেন যে তারা কনট্রোল গ্রুপের সাবজেক্ট মাত্র? নাকি আমাদের দেশের সরকার আর অন্য দেশের ভ্যাকসিন নির্মাতারা আমাদের ভালোটা আমাদের চেয়ে ভালো বোঝেন, তাই এসব খবর মীরপুরবাসীদের না জানানোই ভালো?

3.5. There were many controversies in the world regarding vaccine trial. Especially the use of placebo always ushers in debates. Now-a-days a guideline is followed whenever a human subject is used. The subject has to approve this in sane mind. [..] The big question is what guidelines are being followed for the vaccine trial (in Dhaka)? Whether the residents of Mirpur know that they are subject to a trial? Those 80000 people who will receive only placebo, will they ever know that they are the subject of a control group? Or whether the government and the foreign pharmaceutical knows better, so the Mirpur residents need not know?

Jason Kerwin at Methodlogical points out:

Basically, most vaccines have to stay cold so bacteria and other microbes don’t grow in them. To stay cool (and safe) from the factory to the patient, vaccines require an effective cold chain.

This isn’t a problem in most of the U.S., where vaccines are shipped cold from the factory, in refrigerated containers, and kept cool at clinics and hospitals. But it may be a challenge in places in like Bangladesh where infrastructure is not as developed. The result is either spoiled vaccines or vaccines that don’t make it to rural, isolated populations.

S. M. Mahbub Morhsed, a commenter in Judhisthir's post says:

আমেরিকায় একটি নতুন ঔষুধ ডেভলপ করতে এক বিলিয়ন ডলারের মত খরচা পড়ে। স্বভাবতই তাই এরা গিয়ে ভারতের মত জায়গায় ঔষুধ ডেভলপ করছে। এবং বাংলাদেশকে বেছে নেয়া হয়েছে গিনিপিগ হিসেবে।

In USA, development of a new drug will cost one Billion dollar. Naturally they went to a place like India to develop the medicine. And Bangladesh has been selected as a guinea-pig.

Another commenter Safi says:

নাগরিক অধিকার বা মানবাধিকার জাতীয় শব্দগুলো আমাদের জন্য প্রযোজ্য না

The terms like Citizens Rights or Human Rights are not applicable to us.

Now the big question is who will answer the above questions.

Also Published in Global Voices Online.

Meghdol performing live near Charukola  

Posted by Rezwan

Mirpur Stadium under floodlight - wonderful settings #cwc11 #cricketworldcup #cwc2011  

Posted by Rezwan

Only if the home team could put up a better show. Popular belief is that the jinx was selecting Ashraful in the team. He scored only 1.

BAN Vs. IRL - And the game starts #cwc11 #cwc2011 #cricketworldcup  

Posted by Rezwan

Bangladeshi Fans in colors at Mirpur stadium #cwc11 #cwc2011 #cricketworkdcup  

Posted by Rezwan

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat. Looking forward to see Tamim Iqbal in action.

Bangladeshi fans waiting for the big match #cwc11 #cwc2011 #cricketworldcup  

Posted by Rezwan

Ireland team practicing before match #cwc2011 #cwc11 #cricketworldcup  

Posted by Rezwan

First look from my seat at Mirpur Stadium. Wonderful atmosphere. Fans are trickling in. Looking forward to the game.

At the Mirpur stadium #cwc11  

Posted by Rezwan

BAN Vs. IRL - This is the moment I have bee waiting for  

Posted by Rezwan

Ladies and gentlemen I am in euphorea thanks to a friend from Germany. She handed me a great gift - a ticket for a World Cup match which I could not manage in Dhaka (I haven't tried black market).

See you at the stadium. Looking for some live blogging.

Participants of Bangladesh Conference #bd11  

Posted by Rezwan

The blogging session...

Writing From The Bangladesh Conference  

Posted by Rezwan in

The Bangladesh Conference aims at helping institutes in Bangladesh and surrounding countries to develop effective research infrastructures by strengthening information skills of a target group of 60 students, researchers, policy-makers and individual practitioners in the field of global development studies and research.

The Bangladesh Conference also aims at establishing a group of local experts who will continue the work of the conference: promoting the latest information sharing and collaboration tools among students, researchers, policy-makers and individual practitioners in global development research and studies. This continuation is made possible, because the Focuss.Info Initiative (www.focuss.info) is sponsoring peers in the Africa, Asia and South America by awarding grants.

More at the website

You can watch the live webcast here.

Bangladesh Cricket - Never Stop Believing  

Posted by Rezwan in ,






ESPNCricinfo has published some amazing pictures of Dhaka. Don't miss them.


People cross the Buriganga river covered with hyacinths using a bridge made of boats
Image credit ESPN Crticinfo

Global State of Social Media in 2011  

Posted by Rezwan in , ,




Social Media Week (SMW) is a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media. During February 7-11 the conference took place in London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, São Paolo and will also expand to Paris, Rome and Hong Kong.

Here is a presentation of Tom Smith, founder and project leader of Trendstream, a consultancy dedicated to understanding trends in technology adoption, showing the Global State of Social Media in 2011:


The important findings of this report are:

* Social Media has reached maturity - 70% of UK population are involved in Social Media
* Micro-blogging still leads the top (35%), managed social networking follows (29%), blog story (7%)
* Conversations are moving from discussion boards/forums to Twitter.
* Blogs lead in Asia - China, South Korea, India
* Facebook dominates in Social Networking
* Young people (16-24) leads in usage
* Mobile/Mobile Apps On A Parity With Desktop
* Social Networking is driving different source of trust

Ekushey February: Observing International Mother Language Day  

Posted by Rezwan in ,






Poster for International Mother Language Day 2011. Graphic Design: Stephanie Pilar and Marine Leopold. Courtesy UNESCO.


Language is an important aspect of our life. We explore the world through language. The world occurs to us through language. To promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism worldwide, International Mother Language Day is held annually on 21 February.

For Bangladesh, 21st February has a different symbolization. It is a national day of Bangladesh to commemorate protests and sacrifices to protect Bangla (Bengali) as a national language during Bengali Language Movement of 1952. Anushay describes a bit of the history:

On this day in 1952, after the “Principles Committee of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan” announced that Urdu would be the only state language of East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan, a huge wave of protests erupted in Bangladesh where the majority spoke Bangla.

Politicians joined students in their demonstrations and the Pakistani Government responded by violently cracking down on the protesters. Over the course of one week ((February 21-27, 1952), they killed student demonstrators, some directly in front of Dhaka Medical College. [..]

On February 29th, 1956, Pakistan added Bengali as the second official state language after Urdu. Bangladesh won its independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Mamun M. Aziz shares [bn] in BDNews24.com Blog about how 21st February became officially recognized:

১৯৯৯ সালের ১৭ নভেম্বর অনুষ্ঠিত ইউনেস্কোর প্যারিস অধিবেশনে একুশে ফেব্রুয়ারিকে আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবস হিসেবে ঘোষণা করা হয় এবং ২০০০ সালের ২১ ফেব্রুয়ারি থেকে দিবসটি জাতিসংঘের সদস্যদেশসমূহে যথাযথ মর্যাদায় পালিত হচ্ছে।

21st February was declared as international mother language day in the Paris session of UNESCO on the 17th of November 1999. Since 2ist February, 2000 this day is being observed in all the nations under UN.

View slideshow of pictures at Shaheed Minar here.

The day's festivities include laying flowers at the early hours at Shaheed Minar, an iconic sculpture situated in the place of the massacre. Mohamed Arif Raihan Mahee was there this year. He writes:

হাজার হাজার মানুষ লাইন ধরে দাঁড়িয়ে আছে, কারো মধ্যে কোন তাড়া নেই, পরিবারের সবাই মিলে এসেছে মহান আন্তর্জাতিক মাতৃভাষা দিবসে ভাষা শহীদদের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা জানাতে।

Thousands of people are standing in queues, nobody is in a hurry, they came with family members to pay tribute to the fallen on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day.

Jerome D'Costa at Bangladesh, Canada and Beyond celebrates the day with an innovative idea. He started posting depictions of Bangla alphabets in his own blog to introduce them to the international community.



See all the 51 depictions by Jerome here.

Asif Mohiuddin at Somewhereinblog platform writes about the power of the language to shape nationalism:

পৃথিবীতে এই পর্যন্ত যতগুলো জাতিরাষ্ট্র দেখা গিয়েছে, ভাষাভিত্তিক জাতিরাষ্ট্রের দার্শনিক ভিত্তি সব সময়ই অন্যান্য সকল জাতিরাষ্ট্রের চাইতে উন্নত বলে দার্শনিক সমাজে স্বীকৃত। ভাষা মানুষের এক ধরনের আত্মিক বন্ধন তৈরি করে, যেই বন্ধন অন্য যেকোন ধরনের বন্ধন থেকে শক্তিশালী। [..] একটা জাতিকে একত্র রাখার জন্য চাই অভিন্ন জাতীয়তাবোধ, যা একমাত্র ভাষাই দিতে পারে। একক সংস্কৃতি, একক জাতিগত চেতনাই মানুষকে একত্র করতে পারে, ঐক্যবদ্ধ রাখতে পারে।

Among all nations we have seen, the countries that are united by language fare better than other nations, as indicated by the philosophical communities. Language creates a kind of bond among souls which is stronger than other bonds. [..] To keep a nation united you need common nationalistic attributes, which only language can pacify. Common culture, common nationalistic ideologies can unite people and keep them together.

According to mb.com.ph:

More than 50 percent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 percent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 percent of the world’s population.

Akhtar Hossain opines [bn] that like Bangladesh 21st February can be declared as a public holiday all over the world so that everybody can be more aware of the significance of this day and it probably can save more languages from dying.

Sochol Zahid at Sachalayatan Writers Forum informs [bn] that on the 25th of February a speedchat will be introduced by the International Center at the University of Alberta to celebrate the diversity of language on its campus. Here are two videos introducing the event:





How did you celebrate the day?

(Also published in Global Voices Online)

Beautiful Bangladesh: Welcome to the School of Life  

Posted by Rezwan in ,




The opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup 2011 was awesome, specially in the context of Bangladesh. Many were impressed by this promo by Bangladesh Tourism Corporation:




Credits:

Red Dot Productions
Producer and Director - Gazi Shubhro
Colorist - Ziaul Paikar Jewel
DP - Khosru
Production Manager - Zahed (R.I.P)
GM - Rony
AD - Tonu, Dip, Manna, Joyonto, Ashraf
Editor - Jewel and Prodip
Agency - Grey Bangladesh
Client - ICC & Parjatan BD
Music - Adit, Prithwi and the others

I wonder what took them so long to produce such a convincing promo.

Live Blogging World Cup Cricket opening ceremony in Dhaka  

Posted by Rezwan in ,



Via Unheard Voice:

Live Blogging World Cup Cricket opening ceremony in Dhaka






Bangladesh Ready For The Cricket World Cup  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Bangladesh's capital Dhaka is all set to inaugurate the Cricket World Cup2011. The one and half month of cricket action will be spread across 13 venues in three countries (Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka). The tournament will feature 14 teams and 49 matches out of which 29 will be in India, 12 in Sri Lanka and 8 in Bangladesh.

The Thursday's ICC World Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony will contain 135-minute long extravaganza of song, dance and laser shows at the renovated Bangabandhu National Stadium. The likes of Brian Adam and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy will keep the audience captivated.

Here are some pics of the practice for the big event taken today and shared via Facebook:



Photo courtesy: Mr. Rafat
Album courtesy : Maroof Rahman

Click here for more pictures

Dhaka has gone Red-&-Green, and the authorities are going some extra miles to make everything right. The are offering a "bite-free experience" for the spectators on the ground by killing mosquitoes in and around the venues. Even their ambitious attempts of keeping the streets free form beggers have created controversy.

This is being referred as Bangladesh's Olympics and the government has declared half day holiday on the opening day. 22 kilometers of road have been decorated with lights, posters and others stuffs. Educational institutions in the Dhaka and Chittagong will remain closed during World Cup matches help ease the traffic.

On another note players and officials have been barred from using social networking site Twitter during World Cup matches apparently to avoid match fixing and corruption.

I personally did not have luck as I could not find any ticket as people had to queue long to fight for ticket - I simply had no time for all this. I am keeping my fingures crossed as a friend from abroad has bought tickets online is coming to Dhaka to see some matches and I may get one.

How Social Media Helps Media  

Posted by Rezwan in ,




This is how Social media works. I posted a facebook status about Shakib Al Hasan's more than 100,000 fans on Monday and today I see that Arafat from Deutsche Welle (who is on my Facebook friends list) publishes a detailed report on Shakib's Facebook fans.

I am assuming there is a connection between the two, if not there is no reason why it cannot happen. Long live social media.

Chobi Mela - Challenging The Western Hegemony In Photography  

Posted by Rezwan in ,




Chobi Mela (Picture fair) is a biennial international festival of photography being held in Bangladesh since 2000. Organized by Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala - South Asian Institute of Photography, this festival showcases the work of Bangladeshi artistes alongside the most exciting works of photographers from the rest of the world.

Sri Lankan photographer Chulie De Silva provides the history of Drik and the Chobi Mela:

Shahidul Alam
The Drik Picture Library was started in 1989 as a small homely business, driven by a need to change the identity of Bangladesh as an icon of poverty and also challenging the western hegemony in photography. “The audacity of it wasn’t an issue. We knew the rules of physics could be bent,” says Shahidul Alam Managing Director and founder talking about the setting up of a world class photo library in the hinterland of photography. It wasn’t that he was not aware of the challenge – but Alam, a pugnacious critic and activist wanted change desperately – a change in how Bangladesh’s story was being told and controlled by the Western media, a change and opportunities for his marginalized people. The story, he strongly believed had to be told by Bangladesh’s own people who understood the issues and felt the pain and suffering of their people.

As with many of Drik’s ventures the first Chobi Mela (Dec.1999-January 2000) was set up on a shoestring budget but has become the most demographically inclusive photo festival in the world. Drik gave space to local photojournalists and emerging artists to share the platform alongside the likes of Salgado, Reza and Parr who had all generously provide their work. The evening seminar sessions were boisterous and vibrant and have become a meeting point for national and international artists.

From Chobi Mela's Wikipedia entry:

Chobi Mela is considered to have the most diverse participation of any such exhibition in the world. While most major festivals are situated in the West or are organised by European organisations, Chobi Mela is unique in having been developed and launched in South Asia and has now gained respectability through the variety and quality of the work exhibited.

Chobi Mela VI banner

On the 21st of January 2011 Chobi Mela VI started offering the itinerary of 29 print exhibitions, mobile exhibitions on 10 rickshaw vans, 33 digital presentations including two films and one play. The opening events were broadcast live via streamed video.

Andrew Hussey captures photos of the traditional march towards the opening ceremony with a marching band, singing and dancing in the street. Here is a video by Jeremiah Foo depicting various events of the exhibition. Shahidul Alam compiles the media mentions about the event.

Photographer and blogger Sabhanaz Rashid Diya writes about the influence of Pathshala students in Chobi Mela:

This year’s Chobi Mela features more students and ex-students from Pathshala than in previous years, and this is only a reflection of the high quality of work that is being produced in the institution. The new breed of photographers is more dynamic and experimental, breaking traditional approaches and encapsulating intimacy and personal connection in their respective stories. [..]

Chobi Mela VI represents a tremendous journey – not only in terms of the festival, its exhibitions and the visiting artists, but also the students of the institution and the art of photography.

Sabhanaz also interviews internationally reputed photographer Pedro Meyer and new generation photographer Sohrab Hura.



Chris Riley shares his experience of attending Chobi Mela by pointing out to the impact of internet distributed media:

The media that defines the future of photography is a digital internet distributed media. It is the hybrid of and tension between the past and future media that will create new work and new forms of photographic storytelling.

The new technologies, as Drik so aptly demonstrates, is changing the audience from being secluded in a region to being global in influence. From Dhaka the stories must be different, they must be from a different perspective and in a different form. This is the Chobi Mela challenge: to emerge into the world and change it. The context for creativity is a large part of creative energy itself.

Another Chobi Mela participant Carlos Cazalis posts "a visual series of images of the mass urbanization occurring in Dhaka and its consequences" in Mega Cities blog.

You can get more information on the exhibition at the Chobi Mela Blog and Shahidul News.

Image Credit:

1) Shahidul Alam, photojournalist and activist, director of Chobi Mela. Image from Flickr by fuzheado. CC BY-SA.

2) Chobi Mela VI at Drik Library. Image from Flickr by Maruf Hossain. CC BY-SA.

Also published in Global Voices Online.

South Asia: Impact Of The Egypt Protests  

Posted by Rezwan in



Hundreds of thousands of people flooded to Tahrir, the Liberation Square in Cairo. This is the largest demonstration in a week of unceasing demands for President Hosni Mubarak to leave after nearly 30 years in power, Egypt. Photo By Mohamed Elmaymony. Copyright Demotix.

The news of the recent protests in Egypt is being discussed in the South Asian blogosphere in different perspectives. The bloggers are keen on the developments of the uprising. Sri Lankan blogger Indrajit Samarajiva shares this eagerness:

I’ve been watching the Egyptian Revolution like it’s a cricket match, checking the score throughout the day. Right now it’s the people 1 million, Mubarak one.

Pakistani blog PK Politics draws parallel with the protests against former Pakistani dictators:

Tunisian wave has sparked Egyptians to rise against a dictator that was holding absolute power for decades. The dictator Hosni Mubarak is repeating same sequence of mistakes that Pakistani military dictator performed in his last few years and refusing to accept the voice of nation.

Nepali blogger Paramendra Bhagat asks how many people could Mubarak kill:

The point is it is a finite number. There are only so many people Mubarak could kill. We did this in Nepal in 2006. The king of Nepal issued a shoot at sight order, and the people braved the bullets. About two dozen people were shot down before the regime collapsed.

There are only so many people Mubarak can kill. The brave people of Egypt have to not stop. This can be done. Democracy is not an American export. Liberty is an export of the human heart. It comes from inside. This is nothing to do with America.

You don't need no internet. You don't need no mobile phones. You don't need Twitter. All you need is air. You pack the energy into the air. All you have to do is be able to feel the ring of freedom. This is not about technology. This is about that which rings from every human heart. It comes from within.

Indian blogger SM hopes that Indians will take courage from the Egyptian protests to fight against corruption:

The revolution and protest may not succeed today, but people will realize the power of Twitter and Face book and the power of unity when Innocent citizens join hands and come on Road.

Today our Indian Situation is also not good corruption is increasing day by day, I hope government will stop the corruption before the people come on road to protest against corruption.

Afzal Rahim Khan Yusufzai wonders whether Pakistan is ripe for a revolution similar to what Egypt is experiencing:

Most Pakistanis would love to be that nation, hoping that Tunisia’s revolutionary ripples, already rocking Egypt and nudging Yemen, will reach Pakistan too. Enduring raging inflation, malignant corruption, dilapidated public services, an ultra-incompetent, dishonest government and an extra-insincere opposition, ineffectual judicial remedies, brutal feudal lords and tribal chiefs, lynch mobs, daily drone and terrorist attacks, assemblies of cheats, tax evaders and fake degree holders, surely Pakistan is ripe for revolution? Sadly not!

The blogger states why Pakistan will not join the revolution bandwagon:

The ingredients for revolution are simply not in place. Pakistan has sharp religious divide, low levels of literacy and a general feeling of apathy and defeatism in the population and additional factors which militate against a revolution: deep and multiple ethnic, linguistic, tribal and sectarian fault lines; a paucity of alternative intellectual narratives, radical leaders or strong unions; and an elected government and freedom of speech. Past experience suggests that it is likely that the events in Arab countries will leave Pakistan unchanged. Protests only become spontaneous after a certain critical mass is reached. Before that, they are contrived.

Nitin Pai at The acorn suggests how the Indian government should react to the situation:

New Delhi would do well to avoid taking sides in this conflict—leaving it to the likes of the United States and Europe to pay up for dishes they ordered. At the same time, the Indian government must signal that it will do business with whoever remains or comes to power.

Bangladeshi blogger Sirat at Sachalayatan blog analyzes what the post-revolution phase of Egypt promises:

পশ্চিমা রক্ষণশীল পর্যবেক্ষকরা মিশরীয় সমাজে ইসলামের পেনেট্রিশন নিয়ে বেশ ভীত। আগে হোক, পরে হোক, তাদের মতে ইসলামপন্থী একটি সরকার আসবেই।

কিভাবে?

হয় সেনাবাহিনীর পতনের মধ্য দিয়ে, যেটা যে কোন মুহূর্তেই হতে পারে হঠাৎ এক রক্তস্নাত বিকেলে। তখন আর মুসলিম ব্রাদারহুডকে থামায় কে?

বা সেনাবাহিনীতেই ক্যু এর মধ্য দিয়ে। বা নির্বাচনের মধ্য দিয়ে - মুসলিম ব্রাদারহুড মিশরের সবচেয়ে জনপ্রিয় দল, মুবারকের সরকারি দল ছাড়া। তখন আমেরিকা-ইসরায়েল-মিশর ভারসাম্যের কি হবে?

The Western conservative spectators are afraid of the penetration of Islam in Egyptian societies. Today or tomorrow an Islamic government will come to power.

How?

It may be by defeating the army, which may happen in any blood-filled evening. Then Muslim Brotherhood will be invincible.

Or it may happen through a coup-d'état by the army. Or through election - Muslim brotherhood is the most popular party in Egypt, barring Mubarak's ruling party. Then what will happen to the balance of the USA-Israel-Egypt axis?

Pakistani blogger Sepoy at Chapati Mystery translates a poem of renowned Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (first published in 1979) as a tribute to the protesters:

Tell, the Rulers
You take account, now
of your deeds
when we rise,
with the will to discard our lives
then you will confront the chain, the prison
here, right here, will be reward, retaliation
here, right here, will be punishment, bendiction
from right here, will rise the din of judgment
Here, right here, will be the Day of Reckoning.

The blogger concludes with:

Violence has erupted in Tahrir as I post this. Violence of Mubarak’s goon squad on the peaceful demonstrators. Yet, Obama and Blair will continue to protect Mubarak. No matter, the will of the people of Egypt will prevail.

The post was first published in Global Voices Online