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 31, 2006


* Tourist of death.

* Wikia is the for-profit wiki company founded by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.

* Are we afraid of ordinary Muslims?

* Activists applaud advancement Of anti-sweatshop bill.

* A new challenge for Bangladesh.

* For Bengalis, a place in USA for culture to shine.

Earlier this month. Guess whose voice is it in the background?

The internet has evolved as a gateway to almost any information in the world. This fears some who want to dictate or suppress free flow of information. Now a day you are hearing about internet censorships, site bans, blacklists etc. But can you really censor internet?

Pakistani blogger KO dicusses the issue in the light of the recent ban of many websites by Pakistani government.
"Pakistan has 3 major internet links to the world, which consist of two submarine fiber optic links and a few satellite links. All of these are controlled by the Pakistan Internet Exchange, or PIE, which monitors all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic from Pakistan. The primary purpose of PIE is to filter content as the Government deems fit. A secondary purpose is to keep track of all incoming and outgoing e-mails, which by parliamentary order are kept for a period of at least 3 months."
And he provides the solution:
"if an address is blocked, than all you have to do is go through another, unblocked address. This computer is called a proxy server, and it acts as a man in the middle between you and the blocked computer. Any computer on the Internet can do the job of a proxy - so potentially, there are a billion ways of bypassing censorship!"
Read his informative article for details and many links to bypass censorship.

March 30, 2006


Tasneem Khalil lists the businessmen-turned-politicians who are already in the Bangladesh national Parliament or will contest in the next election. The current issue of the probe magazine has the detailed report.

No wonder why all the economic policies made in the parliament are in favor of the blue-blooded leaders' own establishments. E.g., we have to import low quality Indian cars (to profit some agencies owned by MPs) as reconditioned cars more than 2 years old are banned by the Government. Will Bangladesh continue to be controlled by the businessmen only?

President Jacques Chirac of France stormed out of an EU summit meeting because one of his fellow countrymen dared to speak English - quelle horreur!

IHT reports:
When Ernest-Antoine Seillière, the French head of the European business lobby Unice began addressing the EU's 25 leaders in English, Chirac interrupted him and asked why he was not using his mother tongue.

"I'm going to speak in English because that is the language of business," Seillière replied.

With that, Chirac, 73, stood up and left the room, flanked by his finance minister, Thierry Breton, and foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy. He said later: "You cannot build the world of the future on just one language and, hence, one culture."
Also in Germany leaders prefer to speak in German in international meetings although having good knowledge in English. This is a sharp contrast to the fact that the German version of American idol is full of local singers who sings mostly in English. The younger generation cherishes English songs.

English in some form or other is indeed a global phenomenon, but now a days big trading blocks are being established that bypass English speakers. In South America, the various economic partners have no need of English, neither do some Middle Eastern or East Asian trading groups.

Now, my question is, are the Europeans ready to face the challenging economic world linguistically?

"People see themselves—and have reason to see themselves—in many different ways. For example, a Bangladeshi Muslim is not only a Muslim but also a Bengali and a Bangladeshi, typically quite proud of the Bengali language, literature, and music, not to mention the other identities he or she may have connected with class, gender, occupation, politics, aesthetic taste, and so on. Bangladesh's separation from Pakistan was not based on religion at all, since a Muslim identity was shared by the bulk of the population in the two wings of undivided Pakistan. The separatist issues related to language, literature, and politics.

Similarly, there is no empirical reason at all why champions of the Muslim past, or for that matter of the Arab heritage, have to concentrate specifically on religious beliefs only and not also on science and mathematics, to which Arab and Muslim societies have contributed so much, and which can also be part of a Muslim or an Arab identity. "

- From an essay adapted from the book 'Identity & Violence' written by Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate

* Women around the world go missing by millions.

* The story of Abdul Rahman: the infidel. (the update)

* The photographic channel: photographic storytelling for electronic media.

* Conspiracy theory: Akhand Bharat – dangers of an expansionist India.

* The Life and Triumph of a Colossus: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman re-visited.

* Info about the Immigration protests in the USA.

March 29, 2006

"The European Union has recently issued a blacklist banning 92 airlines from operating in the region, saying they fail to meet international standards."(BBC)
I was surprised to see one Bangladeshi Airlines on that list, i.e Air Bangladesh. I have never heard or read about it before. Here are some pictures (a,b) of the sole aircraft of the carrier. The aged Boeing 747 has a lousy paint job, with no airline info in its body and it is currently 'stored' somewhere.

I was just wondering who is the owner of this airline and who gave the operating license? Biman may consider themselves lucky for not being listed taking into account its recent troubles.

March 28, 2006

(Crossposted in the Global Voices Online)

The latest happenings in Bangladeshi blogs around the world:

1) Demolition: Dipu, the "Spoony Writer" reacts on the news that Modhumita Cinema Hall, one of the oldest and popular movie theatre in Dhaka will be demolished.

2) Ranking: Sakib finds out that Bangladesh is the 31st richest country in the world considering the total GDP of the country's population.

3) Probe: Journalist Tasneem Khalil posts an investigative report on Hizb_ut-Tahrir — one of the most radical Islamist organizations in the world.

4) Arranged marriage: Like many desi girls in the West, Kia Abdullah is going through the nightmare of arranged marriage by parents. Read her blog 'Young, free and desperate?' dedicated to recording the process and pitfalls of arranged marriage.

5) Drama: Mahreen shares some pictures of the Rabindranath Tagore play "Tasher Desh" in which she performed recently.

6) Video: Shakia made a short documentary (2:04 minutes) titled 'seasons beginning' which is worth watching.

7) Pain: Scribbles got her first injection and describes her fears and emotions about it.

8) Law: Sadat Shahriar thinks that the anti-smoking law in Bangladesh is becoming a paper tiger.

9) Branding: Shafiur describes his recent experience that curries and celebrity sex are re-branding Bangladeshis in the UK.

10) Bangla blogging milestone: The bangla blogging platform ‘Bandh Bhanger Awaz’ has achieved 1 million page views within three months.

From the holy Quran:

1)"If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe?" (10:99);

2)"If they turn away from thee (O Muhammad) they should know that we have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message." (42:48);

3)"Let there be no compulsion in religion." (2:256)"

- Quoted from a letter of Mezba Mahtab, a Bangladeshi blogger in Toronto, published in the Toronto Sun.

This is awesome:
An anonymous Iraqi woman has become the first blog author to be in the running for a big literary prize for a book published between hard covers. Baghdad Burning, by a 26-year-old author who has won an international readership under the pen name Riverbend, is longlisted for the £30,000 Samuel Johnson award.(The Guradian)
Last October she won 3rd prize of the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage 2005 for the same book.

Congratulations to Riverbend (pseudonym).

March 27, 2006


Had I not read the Germany survival guide, I would not have known about the distinctive German toilets.
"Just go into any German toilet and you'll find a fixture unlike any other in the world. It has a cute little porcelain platform for the shit to fall on so you can inspect it before it whirls off into the watery abyss, and there is, in fact, no water in the toilet until you flush it. As a result German toilets have the strongest shit smell of any toilets anywhere."
I don't know if this story is for real but our home in Berlin is furnished with perfect flush toilets. And to add a desi flavour, we have introduced flower watering cans.

For the desis who are accustomed to the squat toilet should not feel out of the world as this type of toilet is also used in many parts of the world including Greece and Italy. And those who are cynic about toilets, they can always go for Japanese hi-tech.

* Europe's skills fall behind Asia.

* Sudden Jihad syndrome.

* Bush does the Bhangra.

* The best of Web 2.0.

* The next net 25.

* Life in the Googleplex.

* Bangladesh - the land of happiness.

March 26, 2006


"I think we need to recover the depth, the subtlety, the generosity of imagination, the respect for wisdom that so marked Islam in its great ages."

- Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Saudi Arabia's Imam Muhammad bin Saud University.

March 25, 2006


* Internet access spreads while computing power gets concentrated in wealthy countries.

* Thai Muslim killed after smashing Hindu statue.

* A powerful new militia dubbed "the Pakistani Taliban" has effectively seized control of swaths of the country's northern tribal areas of Pakistan in recent months.

* The Germany survival bible.

* Adhunika Blog - an interesting platform to share knowledge among women from every walk of life.

* Just Nuke It! - heights of modern e-commerce.

* A short history of Sri Lankan weblogs.

End winter...................... vs. ......................Early spring


Yes, that's the word all news sources are coining to describe Bangladesh cricket team's 4-0 series win over Kenya. Bangladesh has played convincingly in all the matches to show their class. They have won due to team efforts, not because of a few stars.

So we can say that it is going forward in the right direction. Let us hope that it plays competitive cricket in the next home series with Australia.

March 21, 2006


* Bangladesh: The official bribe list.

* La Police en photo.

* Problems of software developers in Bangladesh.

* Why the fight against terrorist financing is faltering?

* The cartoonists strike back.


The weather is slowly getting better here in Berlin. One fine morning I woke up and heard a bird chirping. I took Rianna at the window to inspect the situation. In our backyards there are many trees and a nice childrens park covered in snow. The ice on the branches have melted and we saw a couple of doves in a branch. The sun came out that day. Yes Spring is coming. I sang a rhyme to her:
"Cuckoo, cuckoo
welcome thy sung.
Fresh breeze is blowing,
winter is going,
Spring time, Spring time
soon will be here"

She could only speak the words cuckoo, cuckoo and sang with me.

Last Sunday we took the S-Bahn for sight-seeing. There are special S-Bahn (Street trains) with panorama windows, which go around the street middle in a ring to cover many parts of the city and provide some extra ordinary scenarios. I am sure we will get more beautiful sight of the city in spring or in summer.

I am still awaiting the DSL connection. The modem has arrived last week but sadly the connection will be ready only early next week. There was one computer fair in Berlin this weekend. I went there and bought a couple of things including an used ISDN modem PCMCIA card for my notebook (without manual). Unfortunately the modem did not work probably because of the complicated configuration system. I was depressed because I had to pay Euro 20 for it. S advised me to try to return it on the following day. I was really glad that I could return it without any hassle. I tried a few wireless hotspots but found that I need a credit card to avail the expensive connection. Will explore them once I get my credit card.

I have visited the Freie University Berlin to look at the options of higher study. The University faculties are dispersed in a wide area and I had to look at the maps and walk for a long time to find the information counter. I have had other adventures in the meantime. Like trying different transport systems and getting back home without getting lost.

These three weeks were like a real holiday for me. No 9-5 work, no deadlines, no distress, no tensions. I could give more time to my kid. But holidays usually don't last long. I should be busy before I get bored.

March 16, 2006


According to this news the American Peace Corps has suspended its operations in Bangladesh and evacuated its 100 odd volunteers. PC volunteer Kathryn reports that a couple of months ago the embassy of the United States informed the foreign ministry of Bangladesh of a plot by the banned Islamist organization Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh to kill the volunteers.

According to the US embasssy in Bangladesh:
"The peace corps in Washington, D.C. has decided to suspend indefinitely its programme in Bangladesh due to the possibility that terrorist elements might attempt to attack peace corps volunteers in Bangladesh, perhaps in relation for the recent captures."
If the US is concerned that the religious extremist threats are still there against their nationals, then it should be the govenment's prerogative to assure that everything is under control or is it not?

(Via Mac)

March 15, 2006


I was reading the horrified accounts of the actions of the Rapid Action Battelion (RAB) to catch the bomb expert of banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) Shakil alias Mollah Omar. They were living in a house called Jannatul Shafi or 'recommended for paradise' in Comilla. But the paradise turned into hell after the inmates refused to surrender and started hurling bombs to the RAB squad, who surrounded the house. The RAB started shooting in defense and after many shooting and bomb blasts when they entered they found the bullet injured body of Mollah Omar wired up to a detonator. In the next room they found blown up bodies of two children of Mollah Omar and his wife Shahida sitted facing to the wall with two pillows in both hands covering the body. Suspecting a bomb in body, the RAB members got out of the room and after a while another powerful bomb went off inside the house, killing Shahida instantly.

She is the modern Magda Goebbles who drugged her six children with morphine, and killed with cyanide capsules broken in their mouths to escape arrest. Magda & Joseph Goebbles were loyal to Hitler as Shakil (Mollah Omar) and his wife were against Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai, who were arrested earlier. It is very interesting to study the commitment and convictions to the cause by the extremists comparing to Nazism. The both ideologies inhibit superiority complexes.

It remains to be seen how fugitive extremists with these kinds of convictions and their supporters can be reverted back to normal life. Only then Bangladesh can win against extremism.

March 13, 2006


The saying goes that when you have nothing to talk with a stranger, you talk about weather. Well I am writing about weather first because it is dictating my outdoor activities in Berlin. We've got TV now so I am updated about many things. Heavy snow blocked traffic in Hannover, more than 300 accidents in a day. Zugspitze, Germany's highest point recorded the lowest temparature in 100 years and its all happening in just before the official start of the spring. We have seen more snow in the last couple of days than the start of the month. The ice in the balcony melted last week and now its about a feet high. There is a nice lake near our house but we are waiting for the right weather to explore it. And the weather didn't stop us from gowing outside to shop!

Well S's colleagues are very nice and helpful. The public transport system here is well organized and on-time. Within a week we have been escorted to all the big Pakistani and Vietnami grocery stores in Berlin. We could buy stuffs like 'Muri' 'Semai' and believe me you can get almost all desi things here. The Pakistani restaurant at Osloer str. had many kinds of fish from Bangladesh and they probably cater the 300 Bangladeshi families here. My mother-in-law is happy about it but I am not sure wheather everyday I will like to eat and drink the same things we have done back in Dhaka. I would like to explore many things here including cuisine.

We are thankful to Helge, who works at the embassy for his tips and assistance in many things. When he learnt that we were virtually living in an island with no outdoor contacts besides telephone, he lent me his radio and the next day a program list. He is a well travelled guy from East Germany and extremely nice.

My German is picking up and I can understand much more. I can't tell you the actual status but I am being really surprised when I am spontaneously entering into an conversation with the shopkeeper or say the bus driver and completing it successfully. Specially I have surprised some of the embassy staffs in picking the right choice of grocery packing written in German; who after many days of living in Germany, haven't learnt German. Well without knowing the language, you will have to face a lot of difficulties. For an example except for CNN & BBC, all channels are in German language. They show Hollywood & Bollywood movies here and you will be surprised how good actors like Shahrookh Khan speak German. So one should better learn German or miss many things.

There are no internet cafe in the vicinity of our house. I had to walk more than half an hour to find this cafe. I have seen many internet kiosks in the middle of the city. Lets see whether I can find many excuses to go there and be online. Signing off for today.

March 09, 2006


I guess this is the longest duration I have not updated my blog in last 3 years. I am typing from an Internet cafe and so far I had to cope with a lot of adjustments (like this is a slightly different keyboard and I had to ask how to type @). Reached Berlin a week ago. The journey was without trouble except for an episode in the Delhi airport. After a night's stopover at a hotel we were surprised to wait in line for 2:30 hours to check in for the flight to Frankfurt. Our luggage were booked directly to Berlin from Dhaka. But probably for security measures during the Bush visit in New Delhi, they kept us waiting to bring our luggage back from the left luggage department and carried out the security and the check in procedures again. Little Rianna protested a lot but somehow we could make it to the flight which was 1 hour late.

Germany greeted us with snow. We are slowly settling down in our new home in Berlin. Initially there were a lot of things to buy; groceries, crockeries, household goods and ofcourse a stairguard for the little Rianna which turned out to be expensive. S's colleagues at the embassy were extremely cordial and helpful in guiding us in every steps. But the past week was more like enjoying a holiday with the family in an isolated island. Still no TV, newspaper, radio or internet connection at home and life at times can be boring. There is seldom any news from home. We have missed all the excitements of the Bangla Bhai arrest. However Rianna had always kept us busy and smiling. It is hard for my mother-in-law to cope with the different atmosphere and crowd, who has termed our locality "Nijhum Puri" (barren land). We are missing people back at home. The phone calls often involved emotional outbursts.

Its snowing outside and the temparature is close to 0 degree . At nights the temparature goes below to minus 10 degrees. We get sunshine and the ice melts but it starts to snow gain and all is white again. But the good thing is we all are coping with the weather as the heating system in the house doesn't let us feel the difference. We have brought proper cloths to deal with the weather when we are outside.

The DSL internet connection will take minimum 2 weeks more(sigh). The first step was to open a bank account which is required for so many things. My notebook does not have ISDN modem so no luck with the dial-ups. I am getting wi-fi signals but don't know how to access it.

I am studying the maps to get to know the locality and the transport systems and to travel on my own. Will keep you posted. Auf Wiedersehen.