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

November 29, 2004


The caretaker system of governments has been effective to hold a free and fair election in the rigging prone Bangladesh elections since 1990. The main opposition has asked for a reform in the system and the ruling party is cautiously planning to keep the chief justice of their choice, who will take the helm the caretaker government raising the retirement age bar. Then there is the tradition of outburst of our defeated political parties of not accepting the results of any election citing irregularities and rigging. So it is unlikely that whether you will ever hear of any free & fair election in Bangladesh under any neutral body.

However, One thing I must say about the previous caretaker governments, that it has proved to be functional in Bangladesh because a single political party could not win all the successive elections in Bangladesh since 1990. An editorial in the Financial Times comments:

The caretaker issue has the potential to become explosive for anti-government campaign. The government has to face the opposition with logical arguments and not on the basis of two-thirds majority.

For the benefit of all, the caretaker form of government should be intact in the upcoming 2007 election. If any reform is really needed that must be with the consensus of all the parties. Let not this be a lame opposition issue to desparately win election.

It's too late for you to arrive now, love
It's too late for you to come now, life
It's too late, it's all too late…

I met him in person long ago. He was public relation officer of an insurance company and I went to him for an advertisement for one cultural organization. I knew that he was a famous poet but his behaviour did not reflect any showiness. He was just a calm and quiet human being and was very helpful to me. Now I read about him that he lived a very careless life. Its usual that to be creative, poets/painters and the likes have to search for new meanings of life. They try to experience life more intensively than others and usually are very sensitive and emotional human beings. I pray that he lives in Bangladesh through his poem eternally. Rest in peace, Tridib.

November 28, 2004


The central Bank says in an annual report that the GDP growth is likely to be 5.75% in 2004-2005, only a bit less than the projected 6%. It is remarkable that despite the country suffered from a devastating flood this year the country has managed to keep itself in the track of growth. There were other impacts like the oil price increase and political unrest but exports and remittances in FY05 has bettered the situation.

But millions in the garments industry sector, which earns more than 70% of the country's export revenue are anxiously waiting for the post-2004 quota-free global trade regime starting from 01 January, 2005. The Bangladesh garments export sector is likely to face severe competition in the international market. This might have a negative impact on balance of payment, productivity and employment and all the equations of Bangladesh economy may be in disarray.

November 21, 2004


I am shocked and outraged too like Natasha hearing the news of the execution of Margaret Hassan. Attacks on aid workers have increased rapidly in recent times. The persons who sacrifice their secured lives to save others in distress end up as a target of hate by the persons who are supposed to fight for the distressed. This is a real heart breaking irony and these acts should be condemned by every sane human being.

But we see a glaring double standard by some people of the world, which does not follow any logic. As Jane Novak writes in a column in Arab News:

"The Arab world is enraged over the shooting of a wounded, unarmed Iraqi insurgent by a uniformed US soldier. There is no similar outrage for Margaret Hassan. Is it because she was an Anglo, a woman, or because a Muslim killed her?"

There is still no news of the abducted Bangladeshi truck driver Abul Kashem. The killing of Margaret Hassan will diminish hopes for his release. Because those insurgents are monsters and not freedom fighters as they claim. And shame on the people who endorses these killings for the sake of anti-Americanism. And in the end I would also request the Americans to ponder, why they let the anti-Americanism still growing. Why can't there be any reconciliation? Would that hurt their ego?

November 20, 2004


Hello there. I am almost 2 months old now. I can recognize the difference in people's faces. Ma is not sure whether I can remember faces but I can surely distinguish Ma & Baba from others. Life seems great when they are around. Now, my daily schedule includes exercizing by throwing my arms and legs around. Baba thinks I will be a good dancer. I do sometimes watch TV in Baba's lap. I can't tell you much about the programs, but certainly the most colorful ones are my favorite. I can see that it is a colorful world out there. I do not like mistuned music.

The most awful thing in my life happened when I was shaved bald recently (The picture above was taken earlier). Baba was against it right from the start. But in absence of him Ma, in conspiracy with granny did it despite my protest. They said that it has cleared the germs from Ma's womb I was carrying in my scalp. I felt very bad. But Baba discovered a new kind of beauty in me in the prominent eyebrows. It was a solace for me when everybody agreed that I do not look so bad after all.

I got my first shot of vaccine. Well I must tell you one thing, here in Bangladesh many babies like me get immunized from 6 deadly diseases (BCG, Polio, DPT, Measles etc.) virtually free of cost. Thanks to the effort of Expanded immunization Program (EPI) taken by the government with the assistance from international organizations like WHO and World Bank the infant mortality has been drastically reduced in Bangladesh in recent times. Do you know that it costs less than $15 to provide these immunizations which makes the difference? I was taken to one of the 278 full time community clinics fully sponsored by USAID and was amazed by their quality of service which is free. Here, with a nominal fee they provide all kinds of immunizations like Hepatitis A, typhoid etc. in hygienic conditions

I celebrated my first Eid with the family. I had many dresses to wear and got many visits. It was really wonderful seeing a lot of people. But I didn't like others squeezing my arms or cheek.

I like going outside and watching people. But when I am hungry, I get very annoyed when Ma is not around. Everybody comes rushing in hearing my intense cry. Baba tries to feed me Baba's milk (infant formula) which I take occasionaly and only from Baba. But the taste is really awful. There is no match for Ma's milk.

I gotta take a nap. See you around.

Related readings:

* Rianna Update I
* Welcome Rianna

At last Wizbang brings this year's Weblog Awards. Should be fun to follow! Don't forget to nominate your best choices among the various categories and please do vote (which begins around December 1, 2004).

November 18, 2004


The word "Toilet" may be a taboo in discussion etiquette but they matter in a big way. The 4th World Toilet Summit 2004 was hosted in Beijing recently and Jack Sim, the founder of World Toilet Organization said:

"The construction and management of the toilets in a city reflects the civilization of a country and also reflect the comprehensive strength of a country and living standard of the society."

Delegates from 15 members, including China, US, Russia and Japan, attended the summit discuss how quality of life, tourism, management and economy relate to toilets.

Let us try to make the toilets of our houses hygienic, prudent in water consumption and artistic.

* Jeanne of "Body and Soul" is outraged over the desecration of mosque in Falluja by the American soldiers. She says: "I am not a Muslim, but the violence done to any holy place hurts."

* Dan is estimating civilian deaths in Falluja and comments: "Civilian casualties outnumbered insurgent casualties by three to one. Applying this ratio to the supposed 600 insurgents the Americans claim to have killed and you have a civilian casualty rate of 1,800 - in just five days. That's one innocent civilian killed every four minutes! It is a massacre."

* Winds of Change posts a comprehensive briefing on "The battle of Falluja".

* Owukori reports a review of American forign policy which says: Following the 9/11 attacks Bush's foreign policy became even more unilateral and international law was spurned. "There is no dialogue, merely a presentation of a 'take it or else' proposition to friend and foe alike."

* The left right debate is trying to make a balance.

* The Diwali edition of "Bharatiya Blog Mela" hosted by Opti Mystic links to some interesting posts like: "Indian farmers are using carbonated drinks as pesticides."

November 17, 2004


Ugur of the Turkish Torque brings up this interesting question:

If the Muslim countries cannot agree on something as simple and elementary as the beginning date of a very important annual celebration, how can anyone expect them to agree on more serious matters like the future of Iraq, Cyprus or Kashmir?

I have lost the interest to track the news of the warfare in Falluja. It is the repeat of same old guerilla fighting, tragedy, sufferings of innocent people and accusation of human rights violations by the coalition forces. The bottom line is more people are dying and cities demolished. Daniel Brett looks at the US tactics of warfare in Falluja and concludes that "failure to engage in urban warfare tactics will have serious political repercussions for the Americans, if not at home then certainly in Iraq and across the world".

There had been many discussions going on whether the US marine shot the wounded Iraqi out of self defense or not. I feel sorry for the US soldiers who are exposed to these moral questions and I remember this story:

One valiant soldier comes back from the war and finds his country in economic crisis. His son is starving for food and food is scarce in the market. He went out to buy a bread and finds that another person has purchased the only bread available. He requested that person to hand over that bread. The person refused and he shot him. Later he was apprehended and the judge asked " Do you know that it is an offence to kill a human being?" The soldier asked "Why?"

War always brings humanitarian crisis and it is wrong to try to defend the legitimacy of the atrocities of the war (by any of the party). The eyewash of the trial of the accused US marine is really a farce. He is guilty of following the order.

It seems the haters like Mr. Kamath are growing in number in the neighborhood. See the venoms in the same re-rolling tape, to make false accusations like "Bangladeshis occupy Indian land; Bangladeshis pour into India in millions and Delhi looks the other way" on the basis of some unrelated events. Well Mr. Kamath shouldn't undermine India's homeland security by his statement. It has defended well the threats of religious extremists. Even a child would know that the statement is vague. I am wondering whether these types of articles of hatred are part of a big plan. Who would benefit from the frail Indo-Bangla relationship? The truth is out there and it will come out.

I had a great vacation. I have not been fortunate like many of my colleagues to go to a holiday spot during the 6-days-long holidays. This year I mostly stayed at home and close to my daughter. This is her first Eid and we have began to take her out with us to shopping malls, groceries, to relatives houses etc. I should have used this vacation more wisely, reading from the thick Eid & Puja magazine volumes, preparing for the upcoming Java exam, do a bit of blogging or watch some Eid special programs in the TV. But I have spent rather a good time doing nothing of these things.

According to Qeta "Eid only signifies an occasion to have a bunch of people over (the more to make boring small talk with!) and to consume a prodigious amount of food". My Eid would have been close to that if I hadn't had my daughter to play with. Her latest habit: watching Television quietly lying in my lap.

On the other hand the traditions of numerous Eid visits in the family and friends circles can also be beneficial for us. Because in our busy lives we can have some get-together and see faces of kin which are hard to find in the whole year. And you know for some celebrating Eid away from them is more painful.

So hope you had a wonderful Eid too!

November 14, 2004


The burial of Arafat was a widely televised event. Many people of Bangladesh were glued to Television to watch his last rites and special prayers were offered in religious institutions. He was very popular in Bangladesh because of his love for Bangladesh. Whenever he would visit some country near Bangladesh, he would make a stop in Dhaka and he was proud to feel at home in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi people could understand his struggle for a free Palestine state, because they had to undergo also a long and bitter war of independence. Bangladesh was one of the first countries to recognize Palestine.

My take from the print & electronic media here is that, irrespective of religion and age people of Bangladesh unitedly paid there respect for Arafat refuting the claims of Israel & some of the Western countries that he was a terrorist, a monster. Some would say that he promoted Islamic Jihad and Intifada. But its baseless as he was more a christian than a Muslim. He married a Christian, and he wanted to be the leader of Palestinians irrespective of religion and race. Yes he had some draw backs, he had no control on the extremists terrorist factions, who exercised offensives against the innocent Israelis and sometimes he deferred peace agreements with a view to striking a better bargain. But he had only one goal, to establish a state for the palestinies who were driven out of their land. Those who name him terrorist ignore the fact that the Al-Qaeda recruits are brain washed with the very videos of atrocities of Israelis on innocent Palestininian civilians. Violence begets violence. Don't judge some wrong acts of terrorists as a deed of the whole nation or blame it on the leader. Don't they see where the hatred comes from? As the Jews were once brutally ethnic cleansed, oppressed in Europian countries, I fail to understand how could they turn their eyes off the plight of the Palestinians and reach some sort of a peace deal. Don't they feel the pain of being the minority?

The mutual co-existence and one-nation theory is not viable for many reasons in the current circumstances eventhough it must be hard for the Palestinians. So the two nation theory and right share of the Palestinians land has to be ensured after the era of Arafat to establish peace in that region. Bush & Blair has said with a smile that they would want a Palestine state within 4 years. It remains to be seen what is behind that smile and how the Palestini leaders lead the world events.

We are in the middle of six days long Eid holidays. The moon was not cited in Bangladesh yesterday and that means we are having another day of Ramadan here. Eid will be celebrated tomorrow. It is rather strange where most of the Middle Eastern countries had Eid yesterday and Pakistan today. Usually Eid in Bangladesh follows the day after the Middle East celebrates Eid. If you are wondering how Eid is celebrated in Bangladesh, read my last year's post.

I wish every person in the world irrespective of race, color & religion that everybody touches the festivity of the Eid. Let everybody find peace, happiness and prosperity, even for a day and stop the daemons of hatred, atrocity across the world. Let us bring our attention to the genocidal ethnic killings in Darfur, help and pray for the people distressed in hunger and famine. Let us pray for the hundreds of people taken hostages in different places of the world by terrorists for their early and safe release. Let the war stop even for a day in Iraq (specially in Falluja).

Let us raise our hands and pray to the Almighty for peace, for a world free from hatred and terrorism.

O Lord! Keep us alive with the peace
And enter us into the Abode of peace
Blessed is Thee; O our Lord!
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where, there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;And where there is sickness, joy.

November 11, 2004


I wrote about it last year. Cheap Chinese products have flooded the Bangladeshi market resulting in a rise in Chinese imports by about 42 percent last year. Instead of giving protection of the local manufacturing industry, the government has nodded to let Chinese set up a large wholesale market of Chinese goods in Bangladesh. The government would describe it as a part of its go east policy at the expense of local manufacturing industry and millions of jobs.

I received an appeal from Dr. Richard L. Benkin (Who wrote Dear Bangladesh ) to demand release of a Bangladeshi journalist Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury, who is apprehended by Bangladeshi police on false charges, while he was going to Israel to attend a seminar. The details are in this website http://freechoudhury.com.

The appeal goes as follows:

Last November, I wrote "Dear Bangladesh" lauding Bangladeshi tolerance and potential for bringing Mideast. Soon after, my Bangladeshi colleague and friend, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, was taken by security police and has been in custody ever since, for his journalism and his advocating dialogue between Bangladesh and Isreal, Muslims and Jews. I am determined to help him, but my feelings about Bangladesh and its potential remain unchanged.

For the sake of its good name and its future, injustices such as the false imprisonment of Shoaib and other journalists must stop. Shoaib must be freed. The Prime Minister has twice ordered it, only to be ignored by the Home Ministry. Bangladesh can attain a prominent place in the world and become prosperous, but must rectify injustices such as these and live up to those traits that define Bangladeshis as the open and wonderful people that they are.

Please contact the Bangladesh government and demand Choudhury's release.

Dr. Richard L. Benkin (drrbenkin@comcast.net)

November 09, 2004


I am confused by a couple of news. One says its "famine" another says its "totally baseless and a figment of imagination". I am wondering is free press helping propaganda & yellow journalism? Well don't worry the government is saying that nobody is dying and the riches in the capital are cherishing the millions of Taka road beautification program. The world is so cruel.

November 08, 2004


We earnestly appeal to all Iraqi groups for the release of our compatriot, Mr. Abul Kashem Faruk. On behalf of the Bangladeshi people and ourselves, we urge and plead for the release of Mr. Faruk in the name of our common humanity and brotherly compassion.

We call upon various Iraqi groups to have mercy on Mr. Faruk and release him because he is a civilian who had neither any intention of nor had any part in harming the Iraqi people in any manner.

We believe that the kidnapping of an innocent Bangladeshi civilian does not serve the cause of Iraqi resistance or the country's freedom from foreign occupation. Mr. Faruk is a truck driver from Bangladesh. He went to Iraq in search of a livelihood so that he could support his family in Bangladesh with his meager remittances. Unfortunately, he is reported to have been recently kidnapped by some Iraqi group.

We urge the Iraqi people and Iraqi civilian groups to exert themselves for the release of Mr. Faruk. We request all those involved in this matter to do their utmost to have Mr. Faruk released as soon as possible and end the anxiety of his family and friends.

We also urge all Iraqi groups to end the kidnappings of civilians. These bring bad and hurtful publicity for Iraq's rightful bid for freedom from foreign occupation.

We like to point out that the people of Bangladesh, in solidarity with the people of Iraq, have consistently and vigorously opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the cultural and historical pride of us all.

Our country, Bangladesh, is a member of the Non-aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Conference. Bangladesh is one of the world's most important Muslim-majority countries.

Bangladeshis of all religion and faith have served in the past as professionals, military advisors, doctors, engineers, and workers in Iraq and have made their modest contributions in the service of and to the development of Iraq.

The people of Bangladesh have always favored peace and understanding among the nations of the Middle East and have resolutely opposed unjust wars and illegal foreign occupations. The government of Bangladesh, for its part, had also worked for resolving the Iran-Iraq conflict years ago. It has vehemently opposed foreign aggression during both Gulf Wars and the genocidal UN sanctions against Iraq.

The people of Bangladesh wholeheartedly support Iraqi people's struggle for freedom from tyranny of occupation and their claim for adequate reparations and full reconstruction of Iraq.

Bangladeshis believe that it is the Iraq people who rightfully ought to exercise sovereignty over their country and have full control of their rich resources.

We hope and pray that the concerned Iraqi groups will release Mr. Abul Kashem Faruk and all other civilians kidnapped in accordance with the pledged values of Arabs and Muslims that civilians should never be harmed.

The release of Mr. Faruk would be considered a magnanimous humanitarian gesture by the Bangladeshi people.

Therefore, we urge the concerned Iraqi groups to release him and earn the gratitude of us all who stand with Iraq shoulder to shoulder in its hour of crisis.

We pray for the safe return of our compatriot.


(This appeal is posted on request of Mr.Tanweer Akram of Drishtipat, a Bangladeshi human rights organization. I have forwarded the petition to the Iraqi bloggers)

November 06, 2004


The next election of Bangladesh is still two years ahead. But amidst strong opposition movement the ruling BNP has already started preparations for the battle. Expensive Iftaar parties are being hosted by the party for the leaders and activists of grassroots level, whereas there is an influx of destitute people in the capital from the famine infested Northern region probably in search of some Jakaat from the rich. The opposition are also preparing battle grounds for the oust government movement. They are as usual also ignoring the destitute people's plights sleeping in kerbs. If they succeed to force early resignation of the government, there will be fresh election sooner than 2007.

Now I have something to say about the election candidates seeing the role of money and media in the recent US election. If we do not mend the fundamental flaw in nominating the wrong candidates, there is a strong chance of BNP winning again with majority and the current situation will prevail. Who are the usual candidates chosen by parties? They are businessmen or corrupt professionals nominated by the party leaders for their money and influence, but not for their merit and political ideology. These peoples irrespective of parties are the root of all problems Bangladesh is facing. These peoples' ideology is to accumulate own wealth screwing the people and the country. The poorest MP in the current parliament was Awami League's Ahsanullah Master, who was killed by vested quarters for his strong political ideals and popularity. Otherwise most of the MPs have accumulated wealth beyond imagination in a short time.

Usually the grass root workers and honest, meritorious leaders are victims of exploitation. They will do the ground works and the party will nominate some business magnet with little political knowledge who will spend millions of Takas for the election. These candidates do not have any feeling for the common people and or the grassroot workers. They will see all the events in their business interest.

Now here is an appeal to the common people of Bangladesh. Please be vocal against all the politicians deeds irrespective of parties and personal likings. Reveal the secrets about them. Ask questions what is the source of income of the prime ministers son's investment in Malysia? Ask how Awami league's Mayor Hanif has made a fortune out of nowhere? Ask how Jatiyo Party's Ershad has so much assets.

And next time please do not vote any business magnet like Salman Rahman again even he wears some party cap. Choose leaders from grassroot level and those who have integrity. And don't let the parties nominate the incompetent candidates. Above all please vote the right people irrespective of the party they are representing.

Remember, we don't need a monarchy of only one political party. We have different ideals and let there be an exercise of true multiparty democracy where the problems of the country would be seen apart from nepotism and acrimony. Have you ever calculated the time cost of a lawmaker? If they are occupied in backbiting amongst different parties, its our great loss. I believe all that can be possible if we choose the right candidate. We need to keep in mind the idioms like "Money is the root of all corruption" and "Who goes to Lanka, becomes Raban" . Poet Rabindranath Tagore said "Believe in people". I still believe in our would be leaders. I know there are true politicians who think about the country more than themselves. I know there is a change lurking somewhere. We need to act logically to find it.

Its a bit of surprise by Jammat after keeping mum for long years regarding the issue of oppression against Ahmadiyas. The party chief Motiur Rahman Nizami tells press that his party does not support the application of force on any religious community. He also said that Islam does not prescribe force to repose faith on Allah, there is no scope for militancy and imposition of force in Islam. Islam also does not support taking up arms or the law into one's own hands.

I hope Jamaat means that and they keep the extremist radical parties like Islami Oikya Jote from making more offending remarks and oppressions against Ahmadya and other minorities. This can bring back some of the people's trust for them. We have heard many long talks and promises from the country's politicians but they have a tradition of doing the opposite in reality.

November 04, 2004


* It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.

- Walter Benjamin 1982-1940, German Critic, Philosopher

* The press and politicians. A delicate relationship. Too close, and danger ensues. Too far apart and democracy itself cannot function without the essential exchange of information. Creative leaks, a discreet lunch, interchange in the Lobby, the art of the unattributable telephone call, late at night.

- Howard Brenton, British Playwright

* The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control -- ''indoctrination,'' we might say -- exercised through the mass media.

Noam Chomsky 1928-, American Linguist, Political Activist


Many Bangladeshis (and many in other Muslim countries) would be disheartened to see Bush winning the second term. But it doesn't matter to me as I had no personal grudge against Bush. Because I believe the countries decisions are not taken by the president himself, rather it depends upon the policies of his party, the advisers and the country. He can just influence some decisions. I thought Kerry was a good candidate and supported him because I wanted to see a change in US foreign policy and hoped that the sense of insecurity among the general US citizens because of increasing enemies created by the policy would disappear. But history has its own scriptwriter who does not listen to others.

This election proves that media plays a greater role in US society. The multimillion dollar Bush campaign brought the results. Some points finger to the Laden video just before the elections. Some debates that Iraq or terrorism was not the top issue but moral value. But its true that the war on terror and homeland security played a bigger role in peoples minds. There is a debate going on whether the nation is divided by this close election. My friend Dave writes this emotional note after Kerry defeat. He summarizes "See you in hell, I'm already there".

Now Bush has a huge task in his hands. To change the US policies in the Middle East and to unite the country. The carrot of "large threat to US by Al-Qaeda" will not last longer. Their previous threat the communist regimes fell in the nineties. Now the so called "axis of evil" is there to ride on. These are stimulants to utilize and replenish the huge ammunitions and firepower US possesses which do have a shelf life. If we like it or not oil and globalization will shape up events in future.

We are just some tiny individuals with hearts and minds. I am having the pain to write this post because I feel for my friend Dave and many other Americans. I do not want US to increase more enemies in the world. I want peace in this world. Some would say that Bush can prove everybody wrong by doing everything right in the next four years. Well he can start it with annihilating the Al-Qaeda et al. which brought misery to many people in the world and maligned Islam considerably. But I doubt he would ever do it. Because 9/11 shaped the world differently and they are one of the reasons for Bush to succeed.