Image by Rezwan

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

The World Cup Goal-E Project

This street in Bangladesh has a colorful world cup celebration

New Chum Hill Ruins

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

March 30, 2004

Sheikh Yassin vs. Rachel Corrie

Shahed Amanullah the editor-in-chief of alt.muslim writes an article in the Daily Star of Bangladesh titled "Why are Muslims so 'shocked and awed' by Yassin's assassination?"

This is dubbed by Niraj as probably the most sober perspective by a Muslim writer on the killing of Hamas 'spiritual' leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin.

Shahed concludes:

Yassin's death makes it clear that violent opposition to the occupation will ultimately fail. The tactic of suicide bombing should be buried along with him. If we are to see real progress towards the restoration of Palestinian rights rather than a march towards self-destruction, then Palestine will need more Rachel Corries and fewer Sheikh Yassins.

March 29, 2004

Outsourcing, unemployment, taxes etc.

There are lots of discussions around the blogosphere on the outsourcing of US jobs to India.

Buermann thinks:

Bush gave massive tax breaks to the rich who are spending their windfall in overseas investments, creating jobs everywhere but here and leaving American workers with dirt, basically. Outsourcing is the most visible symptom of what is bad all around.

Another interesting logic given by Jon H for offshore outsourcing:

The tax code is written in a way that allows companies not to pay the full 35% U.S. corporate tax rate on foreign income when that money remains invested overseas.

Do the math yourself. Which is better?

� a) A factory in Lowell, Mass., that will generate $100 million in pre-tax profit that nets $65 million, or

� b) A factory in Lowtaxistan that will generate $100 million in pretax profit that nets $80 million.

Yes this is more visible via this graph.

Read the report.

Dave writes an intersting post about how the poor and middle class people of Michigan are being taxed in all aspects and forced to go to other States because of unemployment.

March 28, 2004

Bumper food grain output

This year the government of Bangladesh predicts that they will achieve a bumper food grain output according to this report. The half of the cultivable farmland of the country have been cultivated with high-yielding varieties of Boro and IRRI rice and wheat this year (which is 15% more than last year). Scarcity of fertilizer and low rainfall did not have much affect in this achievement. You see this is the marvel of our "Sonar Bangla" (Golden Bengal). This land is as fertile as ever. Yet our road to prosperity is not smooth as their is widespread misuse and corruption. Lack of proper management is one of the main obstacles.

However there is a danger in trying to achieve higher yields. Cropping intensity in Bangladesh has increased more than four times in less than two decades. Farmers now till their farms four times a year including some unfamiliar items, such as maize and vegetables. The overuse of fertilizers and land is bound to make some adverse effect in the fertility of the land.

Lack of foreseeing the future impacts can really make this present success a failure in future.
Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize Stolen

This is very sad. People have no clue who could have done this. Perhaps it could be some crazy collector's initiative.
Matir Moina

I watched the much acclaimed film Matir Moina (The clay bird) yesterday in Public Library auditorium. This was long due for me and I wonder how did I miss the chance in last July when it was released in public Theatres.

Joe had previously commented about the film. If you click the link to the films website on the title, you can learn many things about it. However most unfortunate was that Bangladesh govt. censor board banned the film at first. But when it had achieved the following awards/nominations:

2002 Cannes Film Festival, FIPRESCI International Critics' Prize for Best Film
2002 Marrakech Film Festival (Morocco), Best Screen Play Award
November 2002: Nominee, best foreign language film in the Academy Awards

and on public protest, the govt. had to lift the ban.

Here are my 2 cents on the film:

The film depicts the life of madrassa students (religious schools) in the pre liberation period (1970-1971). The script mocks the rational of general people, who are engrossed in the dilemma of fundamentalism and liberal spirit of Muslims. It does not portray Madrassa schooling negatively as these give refuge to orphans and undisciplined youths. Rather one of the school master protests (timidly) the headmaster's sermons which is politically motivated (Jihad etc.). In his view, education should not be tainted with politics as all he wants that the madrassa students grow up to be decent citizens. He protests the Pakistani Army & fundamentalists effort to forcefully establish Islam in Bengal. He narrates: Islam was established in Bengal by Arab and Persian nobles & sufis not forcefully but in its own merit. So why Islam is in threat that everybody has to defend it forcefully (how true in today's context). When one village boatsman was termed as "blinded by religion" (fundamentalist) he argues, whether it is Islam, Christianity or Hinduism, true faith in religion opens people's eyes, not blinds it. The film mocks about the sacrifice of Eidul Azha. At the end of the film, a character says, "your Muslim brothers have killed them," a phrase that sums up the objectives of the film.

As the director says:

The film is essentially about the conflict between rigidity and openness, about relationships between people blindly or naively stuck with a belief system and people open to life. Such contradictions and such relationships exist in all societies, within families, at social and cultural levels, in politics, and even within strict institutions like madrassas. Denouncing madrassas as breeding grounds for Islamic militants neither portrays the reality in Bangladesh, nor helps these children. I wanted to address the 'Islamophobia' of the wealthy Western nations, and also to explain to our upper middle-class, more-Western-than-Western, secularist intelligentsia the complex role of madrassas in our society. It simply cannot be perceived in black and white.

Although the end is enigmatic like a short story, the film's strength is in its dialogues full of irony. The camera work is superb with the beautiful scenes of rural Bangladesh. The film contains some baul (sufi) songs which also have some message. The actors, being relatively inexperienced in the field will keep you glued to the film.

The message of the film is that there is a difference between true faith and fundamentalism. Fundamentalists (read opportunists) do not represent the real Islam. They interpret Islam in their own way. People often forget it. That's why war against terrorists become war against Islam.

In all I am very much pleased to watch the film. Hats off to the pair Tareque & Catherine Masud. It is as classic as "Muktir Gan", their first venture. Don't miss the chance to watch it if you ever find one.

March 25, 2004

The Black Night Of March 25th 1971

This is a night to remember for all the Bangladeshis.

On this night in 1971, the Pakistani Govt. launched "Operation Search Light" against the unarmed Bengalis. The Dhaka University was attacked and students exterminated in their hundreds. Death squads roamed the streets of Dhaka, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. It was only the beginning of a nine month long war of independence, which left with left millions of Bengalis dead and a country in ruins. On March 26, the nation started an armed struggle against the Pakistani occupation forces following the declaration of independence by Gen. Ziaur Rahman, on behalf of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Tomorrow (Friday), Bangladesh will celebrate the 33rd anniversary of its independence.

Some examples of the atrocities of the Pakistan Army from an eye witness:

The incessant firings from cannons, mortars, tanks, machine-guns and automatics continue throughout the night. On the morning of the 26th the Pakistani killers began to go through the hall rooms and residential apartments and began their orgy of murder and looting. Raging infernos everywhere; the slum was burning, the cars parked around the residences were burning. The heaped bodies of the dead from the slum were also set on fire near the Nilkhet rail gate petrol pump. The sound of shells bursting and guns firing, the smoke and fire, the smell of gun-powder and the stench of the burning corpses all transformed the area into a fiery hell.

Some remarks on the genocides:

"This genocide has been even more terrible than the Nazi gas chambers." - Madame Isabella Blum, the head of the World Peace Commission

"I have seen atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during World War II, but the brutality I have witnessed here is even more terrible," - Andr� Malreaux, French writer

Ahmed Salim, poet and activist of Pakistan tells the story of war criminals.

To learn more about the history of Bangladesh's Independence click here.

March 24, 2004


I had a long chat with ALICE. It was very fascinating and she is awesome.

Hint: ALICE is an Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity. She was created by Dr. Richard S. Wallaceat Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on November 23, 1995. She was developed on the theory of reductionism, which is the philosophy that all psychology reduces to biology, all biology to chemistry, chemistry to physics, and finally physics to mathematical logic. Therefore, according to reductionism, ALICE can understand you by means of logic alone without having a human brain.

I bet you won't ever be bored chatting with her. Click here for more of these hotbots.

Via : Sassan.

March 23, 2004


Man is made to adore and to obey: but if you will not command him, if you give him nothing to worship, he will fashion his own divinities, and find a chieftain in his own passions.

- Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881, British Statesman, Prime Minister

Religion is doing; a man does not merely think his religion or feel it, he ''lives'' his religion as much as he is able, otherwise it is not religion but fantasy or philosophy.

- George Gurdjieff 1873-1949, Russian Adept, Teacher, Writer

All religions have based morality on obedience, that is to say, on voluntary slavery. That is why they have always been more pernicious than any political organization. For the latter makes use of violence, the former -- of the corruption of the will.

- Alexander Herzen 1812-1870, Russian Journalist, Political Thinker

Give us a religion that will help us to live -- we can die without assistance.

- Elbert Hubbard 1859-1915, American Author, Publisher

March 22, 2004

Remittance black market

Bangladesh is among the top 10 recipient countries of workers' remittances. It has received over $2190 million US dollars from the expatriates legally during first eight months (July- February) of the current fiscal year (2003-2004). But this does not include the remittances made through illegal HUNDI system. A study published by local newspaper The Independent in 2002 found that 40 percent of remittances were being sent through the hundi system.

Usually the Hundi system operates in this way:

A person goes to an unlicensed remittance agent in Country A to send $1000 to a collection point in Bangladesh ran by another unlicensed remittance agent. His assignee collects Tk. 60,000 from that point. Here the exchange rate is usually higher by Tk. 1-2 than the current market. But the remitter doesn't mind as the process is safe and seldom there are greater surety of transferring the money. And if you are guessing how HUNDI agents make this happen, then you must know that all the smugglers and the exporters/ importers who use under-invoicing to avert higher tax, does their transaction in HUNDI system. If that Bangladeshis agent has $1 million payable to the agent in country A, then the Bangladeshi agent can pay this HUNDI remittance in Tk. in Bangladesh and deduct from the amount payable. The agent in Country A will do vice versa for a similar transaction. So the illegal trades between country A & Bangladesh make this HUNDI thing work and they can easily avert taxes. Another example.

Under legal system, The remitter can send a bank draft via airmail to his/her relatives. There are rackets now active in Bangladesh to steal those letters from post office, which contain bank draft/cheques and encash it in Hong Kong or another point falsifying identity. A remitter cannot wire transfer money to a person who does not have an account. And in remote places there are no banks within a great distance. And even if a person gets a check/draft from the remitter, it usually takes more than a month to encash it and with immense hassle.

So the Hundi system is reliable for those who does not have access to banks.

The global official remittance market is estimated to be worth 95 billion dollars. So you have an idea how big the illegal market is.

Raids carried out on hundi centres, especially in the United States and Britain, contributed to the sharp increase in the formal flow of remittances between 2001 and 2002 in Pakistan, from 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion dollars, according to an ADB newsletter. The US efforts to fight Money Laundering is facing many challenges according to this article.

The Bangladesh Government has taken many satisfactory steps to encourage citizens working overseas to make use of official banking systems to send money home. The crackdown on the hundi system in Bangladesh, as well as a reduction in the commissions on remittances, improved banks' efficiency, while incentives to workers who sent money through banks boosted the official remittance flow by 21 percent between 2001 and 2002.

But unless there are enough banks with wire-transfer facilities in the rural areas, there is no hope for a outright change in the habits of sending remittances through HUNDI. If the govt. cannot provide security to the drafts sent by Airmail, how can they expect people to send the money through legalized channels.

There is another option: the banks can license some agents, through which remittances can be sent to peoples doorsteps in the remote areas with a reasonable charge.
Bangladeshi street vendors in NY City complain of police harassment

This isn't fair:

When police come to us, they don't give us respect, they don't ask us nothing. They just come to us, maybe they stay inside the van and say "hey food guy, bring your license." They write the ticket without even getting out of the car. Sometimes they are even smoking while writing tickets.

Last year I got 27 tickets, from $300 to $2,000. They are usually for being less than 20 feet from a store entrance, but I�m 26 feet from the door. I have a tape measure but the police don't want to measure it; they just take the license and give the ticket.

Full Article.
A little relief from debt burden

Japan recently relieved Bangladesh of repaying a debt of Tk 8,395 crore ($1.46 billion). The Bangladesh government has been exempted from the repayment of principals and interests for the loan agreements signed with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) before 1988. Japan has proved itself a great friend of Bangladesh in need. The Japanese ambassador said:

"The people and the government of Bangladesh have made great efforts towards social and economic development of the country. There are a number of challenging issues for furthering good governance, law and order, public sector reforms, economic growth and poverty reduction, and social development. The Government of Japan has been observing and respecting the efforts made by Bangladesh"

However to have an idea of how much Bangladesh is indebted to other countries, here is an analysis of its 2003-2004 Budget:

The total outlay of the budget is TK 51980 crore where the total revenue expenditure is Tk. 28969 crore (1 US$ = Tk. 59 average). The main source of government earnings is taxes. In FY 2003-04 from taxes government has proposed to earn Tk.27750 crore of which indirect taxes constitute 22478 crore which is 81 per cent of total National revenue Board earnings, while 5273 crore taka as direct taxes. In FY 2003-04 total revenue receipts fixed at 36171 crore Tk, but government total expenditure fixed at 51980 crore taka. For filling the gap foreign grants, loan and borrowing from domestic banking system have been liberally proposed. This is not therefore surprising that interest payment accounts to 22% of the total revenue expenditure (Taka 6437 crore). The amount proposed for foreign loan and grants comes to 10301 crore taka. According to the Economic Association of Bangladesh and other studies 75 per cent of foreign loans and grants have been looted and used for private accumulation by the local and foreign vested interest groups during the last three decades.

There are not many friends as Japan who would waive loans unconditionally. But each day every Bangladeshi wake up with their additional burden of the national debt.

March 20, 2004

Blog Survey:
Expectations of Privacy and Accountability

Fernanda Viegas of sociable media group, MIT media laboratory has conducted the above titled blog survey in which I was one of the 486 participants. The period of the online survey was from January 14th to January 21st, 2004.

Some excerpts from the report:

- the great majority of bloggers identify themselves on their sites: 55% of respondents provide their real names on their blogs; another 20% provide some variant of the real name (first name only, first name and initial of surname, a pseudonym friends would know, etc.)

- 76% of bloggers do not limit access (i.e. readership) to their entries in any way

- 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they have written on their blogs

- 83% of respondents characterized their entries as personal ramblings whereas 20% said they mostly publish lists of useful/interesting links (respondents could check multiple options for this answer). This indicates that the nature of blogs might be changing from being mostly lists of links to becoming sites that contain more personal stories and commentaries.

- despite believing that they are liable for what they publish online (58% of respondents believed they were highly liable), in general, bloggers do not believe people could sue them for what they have written on their blogs.

The study also shows that bloggers usually have some idea of their �core� audience (readers who post comments on the site) without really knowing who the rest of their readers are � in many cases, this latter group makes up the majority of their readers.

75% of respondents said they have edited the contents of their entries in the past. Even though most respondents explained that they usually edit typos and grammatical errors, 35% of respondents said they had edited for content as well: entries they decided were too personal, entries they thought were �mean�, some respondents mentioned having gone back to entries to obfuscate names of people.

Read the whole report here.

March 18, 2004


* Another Indian Blogmela is up at Shanti's blog. A nice collection of recent posts by Indians.

* Whoman explores the roots of islamic terrorism and asks "How would you have fought the war on terror?".

* US Military blogger Bob Zangas died last Wednesday in an ambush south of Baghdad. You can post your condolence here.

* Scientists are developing an early disease warning system combined with field data and satellite images.

They expect to be able to give warnings of high disease risk for a given village or area up to a month in advance.

Via Worldchanging

* Welcome SEDNA, our solar system's 10th planet.

* How News Travels on the Internet.

March 17, 2004


Jivha has a fear, fear of being a normal person, a nondescript person who was born, lived and then died unnoticed. He fears insignificance, conformance. He fears normalcy and safety.

Then again he fears chance. Because the odds of him being "different" are quite remote. Read his thought provoking post.

I had this thought long ago. At a point of time when I was so involved with a cultural group and I had just started my job. I saw a vision that through cultural activities and propagating the voices of development I could help changing the society, uphold our values. I thought that I would need only a low-paid job to sustain myself and have plenty of time for my other activities. I wanted to prepare myself to be a star. I was so ready for daring to do something different, like perhaps marrying a hindu girl against all obstacles and completely devoting myself to my vision. But the reality is harsh. I somehow figured it out that I would be alone in striving for my visions. Because I found out that my idols are hypocrite. I feared being a lonely person who is defying all the obstacles to achieve his mission, which is not seen as a great effort by others. In this society, if you are not an established person, nobody treats you right. Your parents would be banging in your years that you are going ashtray. Even you can't get a good bride. So I couldn't cross the line. I pursued my career, studied MBA and have a so called normal life. I am still associated with some other activities, but get very little time for that.

I see this not as my weakness. I did not cross the line also when my friends tried to seduce me to drugs or even going to a prostitute. I just couldn't but I did not run away from them. I managed to let them understand that I was keeping my principle and could get along with them. I am not unpopular either. Its just the fact that I know what is right and what is wrong. And I did not make any decision in my life which would harm me or another person.

I sit down and think sometimes how my life would shape up otherwise. However, I believe that in a war everybody should not carry a gun and fight. There are other ways to establish your principals, your beliefs, and your contribution. Perhaps I could one day contribute something to the society with this blog. And daring to do something different can also ruin a person. Your work will make you different not the intentions to be different.

Poorly lived and poorly died
poorly buried and no one cried

Why can't we be normal and yet be different?

March 15, 2004


Rifat from Chittagong starts a blog titled "Close your eyes and try to see". He is studying electrical engineering. Wish him luck and he wants your support too!

He tells about a wonderful tool with which you can mail in bangla from your existing web-based email account(like yahoo or hotmail). I have tested it and works quite well. Learn about the advantages of this tool from his post.

The tool can be found at Banglaexpress.

March 14, 2004


It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire and many things to fear.

- Francis Bacon 1561-1626, British Philosopher, Essayist, Statesman

There are only two forces that unite men -- fear and interest.

- Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821, French General, Emperor

When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation -- it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams.

- Les Brown 1945-, American Speaker, Author, Trainer, Motivator Lecturer

Fear is met and destroyed with courage.

- James F. Bell American Educator

Spaniards took the street of Madrid by millions last friday to protest the train bombings (aka 3/11) that killed 199 peoples. They have showed that they are not afraid of the terrorists.

They chanted amidst the rain:

"Cowards!", "Assassins!", "No to Terror", "Today Our Tears Reach Heaven.", "Who and Why?" and aptly "Send the terrorists to the firing squad!"

I believe that if people rise and protest every evil deed of the terrorists, the govt and the international community is bound to take prompt and right actions. It is the time when people really should take the streets to protest any violence, dominance, hatred and exploitation etc. by the terrorists or any evil force; whether it is in Dhaka, or Tehran or Newyork. This is required to show their courage and to let the terrorists know that people are not afraid.

Source: Powerline Blog.

March 13, 2004


I made a short trip to Chittagong yesterday with a group of people. We took the train in the morning to reach Chittagong. I like train journey because of its consistent pace and the continuous sound of the train moving over the joints of rail tracks. We started 20 minutes late. The first half an hour was depressing with the stenches and sites of slums of the city (thanks to the poor maintenance of the train, station, and the tracks by the Bangladesh Railway). It was like exposing your rotten infections and we were cursing our very existence. When we have gone past the outskirts of the city, things were looking brighter. The stenches were gone with cool breeze blowing and the sun signing like it wanting to burn all the darkness and shortcomings around you and your hope for a brighter living comes back right to you.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of Bangladesh, you have to go out of the cities. First of all most of it is plain land. The level is a little bit lower than the highways or the rail tracks (They are built that way to be safe from flood). The lands are mostly agricultural with cluster of houses or outlines of villages amidst them. One notable thing is that the lands are divided with mud borders (called "Eil"). You seldom see a long stretch of land. Because of the ever increasing population, lands are being being divided into small pieces to the inheritors. However this makes the whole seen more picturesque. You can see IRI's (a rice) and other crops growing happily, side-by-side. Because of the various colors of the crops, some by a shade of difference, the whole landscape looks like a vibrant canvass of Matisse. And the aerial view should be something magnificent. The cluster of houses among these vast plains should look like big dots among the cris-crosses of the eiles.

We had a nice time together, some were playing cards, some were gossiping aloud and some just dipping their thoughts in the newspaper/magazine columns. Foods were literally flowing among us. It started with the joke of whether one should put the Jelly or butter first in the bread we took. Then there were: eggs, nuns, chicken dopiaza, tea, boroi, shosha, carrots, oranges, bisquits, bananas and a few items more. We literally ate all the way to Chittagong.

After seven hours of a pleasent journey we reached Chittagong.

March 11, 2004


A stray cat sneaked aboard a domestic Bangladesh flight and later sent airport guards on a 2-hour chase around the runway before it was caught, reports AP. Read the whole story here.

Latest report is that 6 employees of the Civil Aviation of Bangladesh have been suspended for that incident. Nobody knows what happened to the poor cat.

After 5 years and 47 matches Bangladesh registered yesterday their 5th ODI victory against Zimbabwe at Harare. Bangladesh players as well as their fans in Bangladesh are simply overjoyed.

The Wisden verdict is that Zimbabwe's weak performance was due to complacency. But it was an all-round performance of the Bangladesh team. And Dav Whatmore, the Bangladesh coach says the win was no fluke.

This wasn't just a flash in the pan, they fought back like tigers to win this match.

I wish Bangladesh team to be more confident of their ability from now on and march forward. The Bangladeshi people woke up a little happier today.

March 10, 2004


Meet Bangladeshi girls Tarfia & Antora. The latter is less active. Considering the no. of active Bangladeshi bloggers, female bloggers are not far behind.

Shihab tells a tragic story about his fight with cancer. He fears chemotherapy and sad but the truth is that he has to embrace it soon.

Hiwamy had his birthday couple of days ago and thinks (sadly) that it should not be treated as a special occasion.

March 09, 2004


1) Laura has this wonderful post about the motivations she gets for helping others. Truly notable.

2) Faramin writes on "International Womens' Day" showing the grim figures about how women have been and are still being treated in this world. He points to this striking truth:

In order to see how terrible this (the atrocities against women) is, we all have to remember that our mothers are all women.

3) Jivha tries to discover why & how more & more Indian actors/actresses are turning politicians. One such actress turned politician's agenda:

I am going to tell the rich people to have more kids.

4) Dave asks for "Liberty & Justice for all". With all, he means people of all religions, races. His views:

In our country Islamic citizens are treated with anything but equality. They are viewed with suspicion and distrust. Few try to communicate with them or understand them...we want everyone to get along in the middle east. We just don't want to get along in the U.S. We stick our noses in everywhere it doesn't belong, like our neighbors bedrooms.

I pledge allegiance to the flag...and to the republic for which it stands...one nation...indivisible..with liberty and justice for all. If you can't be broad minded enough to treat your fellow citizens with courtesy and civility then don't call yourself a patriotic American in front of me. We are a multi cultured society now, whether you like it or not. Homogenizing the country may not be necessary or wise, but living side by side is not an option, it is reality.

You immigrants who have come here and become citizens, congratulations and welcome to the show. You are no longer Lilliputians, you are American's now. if you wish to be welcomed into this country's society you need to make some attempt to blend in. To fail at this is viewed as a snub of your new country's culture. There is nothing wrong with pride for your homeland, but if you are planning to stay here, then treat this like an adopted homeland. Learn about us and take the information home with you. Teach us about your homeland and act as an ambassador from your country would. That's it.

Fair enough!
The rise of the freepers

The freepers are also called the conservative click Guerillas.

Free Republic: Disturb, manipulate, demonstrate for the right thing

Read this "Der Spiegel" article to learn more about freepers and their good(?) deeds. You'll have to excuse the losses during translation.

Here & here are some of the proofs for the online vote manipualtions.

March 08, 2004

Depression blues

I am pretty much depressed these days. My loved one is in bed rest. She is recuperating but doctor ordered her to rest for a couple of weeks more. She is not going to work and thus is getting very much bored. I am quite a busy person myself but now I feel the urge to rush to home to be with her as soon as the office hours are over. The last weekend I spent all the time with her. The problem is that we can't go dining out, go to theatre or go visit relatives or friends. I am deffering many of my works so that I could give her some time. She wants to go out badly but I have to contain her. She's like a free bird in a cage.

There are also bad news everywhere. Nothing to cheer about.

March 07, 2004

Who we are?

An honest self exploration.
Anti-Semiticism revisited

This is an interesting article written by Hasnat Abdul Hye, whom I regard as a true intellect of the country. The bottomline:

The Jews themselves, particularly their organizations and Israel, must try to live down the image by which they have been associated and known. The problem is not with the term �Semitic�. It centers around what the Jews did in the past and are still doing.

March 06, 2004


The above is part of the lyrics of a commercial for Crown malt beverage. Recently two such beverages (Crown & Hunter) became popular among the young who have found the replacement of beer in these. I have also tasted crown and it looks & tastes like beer. I wonder why it is called energy drink. However Its alcohol content is 4.8% and so it is legally defined as malt beverages in the country. Any beverages above 5% is restricted in the country.

But recently there were protests by the fundamentalist parties (their coalition partners) that govt. is letting beers (Crown & Hunter) sold legally and these should be banned outright. The govt. has yielded to the pressure and The Board of Investment has banned selling of the products on the ground that the company had failed to obtain a certificate from the government food and beverage watchdog, the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute.

I know from a reliable source that these malted beverages are exported in the middle east, particularly in the Saudi Arabia, and the company is registered in the BOI as an export oriented industry.

Now here is the contradiction. If it is an alcoholic drink why it is not banned in Saudi Arabia and exported there? And if it is not, then why it would be banned (not with proper way) in Bangladesh, because the law (5% alcohol) has not been amended. I am not soliciting for these drinks, because I personally don't like them. But I am asking questions: why there would be these loopholes, by which another clever companies would cash on by selling beer in another name? And why the govt. easily yields to fundamentalist parties pressure? The time has come for the govt. to think about their coalition partners as there is a strong chance that they would be overwhelmed by the fascists power.

This is not good at all.

Words like ''freedom,'' ''justice,'' ''democracy'' are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.

- James Baldwin 1924-1987, American Author

The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved.

- Emma Goldman 1869-1940, American Anarchist

March 04, 2004


Bangladesh have won the final of the Under-19 Plate Championship by eight runs in a thrilling match at Fatullah, near Dhaka today. Well don't be surprised because its not the super league of the under-19 world cup and Bangladesh will only secure the 9th position of this tournament edging past Australia.

We expected Bangladesh to fight in the super leagues but unfortunately they lost the first match against New Zealand and India was too strong for them. They won all other matches.

But it is a pretty disappointing performance from Australia who were the past champs of the tournament. From 1 to 10 is a steep slide.
Shiite attacks

I got pretty depressed day before yesterday when I was watching the footage of the massacre of about 150 people in Iraq and 50 people in Pakistan. I don't believe that any sane persons would do this.

Tim Blair thinks if fundamentalists can't kill infidel westerners overseas so they are killing Muslims in the Middle East. He wants to know the "root cause" that these Muslims should blame for their deaths.

According to this news, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Iran's vice president for legal and parliamentary affairs thinks that it is an war on Islam and:

The reactionary al-Qaida terror group reached a conclusion ... that they have two enemies: the United States as the political enemy and Shiites as the ideological enemy.

Iraqi blogger Ali says:

They (these attacks) are terrorist crimes meant to stop or at least hinder the democratic changes and progress in Iraq, taking different ways each time selecting the most vulnerable and most (rewarding) target. There are still 2 types of violence: resistance (killing coalition forces) and terrorism (killing Iraqis).

We should not only be satisfied with condemnation of these killings. Its really everybody's fight against fundamentalist's terror. And we should also be careful about the biased media who distort the real facts to blame it to others. Iraqi Blogger Ayes says:

do you know what Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiah said ? They said that the bombs are from mortars or an ARTILLERY�! And they said who has the artillery in Iraq? Yes the American army�... nonsense.. I hit the ceiling when I heard that.. Damn� Damn .. I want to bomb those two channels..

March 01, 2004


Prominent editor Mahfuz Anam writes how Bangladesh govt. is becoming more repressive towards the opposition.

Some examples:

* The leader of opposition, Sheikh Hasina barred from going inside the Cantonment.
* Ex President Ershad and leader of Jatyio Party barred from going abroad, without prior notice.
* The home minister brazenly misrepresented facts in parliament about the attack on Dr Kamal's motorcade, saying that it was the latter's own people and he said it while an investigation is pending.
* Phones are tapped, income tax files recalled, people investigated and surveillance is ordered against the opposition activists.

Mr. Anam ironically points out:

Let us recall that of all the enormous executive power of the US president, Nixon fell on the rather small issue of wire-tapping of a few delegates to the Democratic Party convention at the Watergate complex in Washington DC in the late sixties and early seventies.

He concludes :

Khaleda's repressive measures are not going to solve the political crisis and only take us towards greater strife and erosion of democracy will be inevitable.

True indeed. I think the govt. should show some maturity and wit in dealing with the opposition. There is really no need for these kind of repression. Only hooligans want to show their power by showing these kind of behavior against their rival. The elected leaders (both ruling and opposition) should show proper manners in their activities.