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

July 30, 2006

Bangladesh Blog Buzz

(Crossposted in the Global Voices Online)

The latest happenings in Bangladesh related blogs around the world:

* Society: The filming of the award winning novel ‘Brick Lane’ by Monica Ali has been stopped in one location in London, UK under protest from the local Bangladeshi community. Monica Ali’s writings have created much controversy and were accused for stereotyping Bangladeshis in UK . Razib Rashedin discusses the issue in details.

Drishtipat has more on this issue.

* Politics: Drishtipat laments on the decaying dignity of the politicians and the state of Bangladeshi politics.

Tasneem Khalil posts a brilliant article analyzing the upcoming Bangladesh elections and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism (causes and consequences).

* Technology: Rajputro tells about the advent of the electronic marketplace over the mobile phone in Bangladesh.

* Censorship: Rajputro reports that the information ministry of Bangladesh has suddenly shut down thirteen popular satellite channels including ESPN, Star Sports, Ten Sports, HBO, Zee TV etc. creating much outrage among the viewers.

* Religion: Sadiq of inspirations and creative thoughts discusses the guidance provided by scriptures of different religions concerning vengeance and retribution.

* Music: Kazi Rubayat Imam informs on the publishing of the much awaited debut album of the emerging Bangladeshi underground rock band Arbovirus.

Dipu has the history of Bangladeshi rock bands.

* Middle East crisis: Krishnokoli discusses among other things who’s fault the war is anyway.

Mezba raises a few questions on the evacuation.

* Tourism: Estonian Kristel Kadak posts some glimpses on Bangladesh in words and picture.

* Interview: Professional Bangladeshi blogger Razib Ahmed (SouthAsiaBiz.com and IndianRaj.com) got interviewed by the Blog republic. "Positive attitude towards blogging is a must if you want to survive and grow" says Razib who has gained much attention within a few month.


"The British Board of Jewish Deputies give full backing to Israel. These are the same people who always bang on about the Holocaust. Never again will I watch a Holocaust documentary, play, movie or TV special produced by Zionists Jews who clearly have no regard for the life of anyone that isn’t Jewish! You people demand sympathy, yet commit genocide? Shame on you and shame on those politicians who are too gutless to stand up to you."

- Samantha from Ealing, UK


I wish the above list was not true. But an Israeli air strike on a shelter in the south of Lebanon has killed at least 40 Lebanese civilians, including 21 children, in the village of Qana. Lebanese blogger forum says that more than 21 of the causalties were children.

July 29, 2006


A day of a maid in Singapore. A child is being abused by her. But why? Most maids in Singapore are abused by the arrogant Han Chinese who dominate that country. So in turn they abuse others.

July 28, 2006


We know about crickets well-documented rivalry between Australia against England and even India versus Pakistan. Since February 2004, The bottom two of the international elite cricket playing nations Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have developed their own version of rivalry.

Bangladesh is now in Zimbabwe promising an exciting series.

July 27, 2006


* Bangladesh may emerge as middle-income state by 2020.

* Sex in space. No, seriously.

* How a Muslim doctor became an Islamic terrorist and bombed hundreds in Mumbai!!

* Internet chases Mosquitoes away.

* Israel bomb kills 4 UN observers in Lebanon.

* Beirut: Illusion of a silver Porsche.


Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard is known for his explicit support for Israel. He points out that its OK to bomb Lebanoni civilians as they deserve the collective punishment for their collective guilt:
There is a vast difference — both moral and legal — between a 2-year-old who is killed by an enemy rocket and a 30-year-old civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets. Both are technically civilians, but the former is far more innocent than the latter. There is also a difference between a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism.
So all humans are equal, but some are more equal than others. Its interesting because terrorism is also commonly rationalized by its practitioners on ideas of collective guilt and responsibility.

And if you have just overlooked the big picture, Noah Feldman says:
Iran's support for Hamas and Hezbollah is already being cited as evidence by those who want the United States to intervene directly against Iran. If their argument prevails, then Israel's little wars with Hamas and Hezbollah will turn out to have been a pair of proxy wars leading to the big one right around the corner.
The Whiskey Bar takes on Dershowitz and Feldman:
What's the point of having a doctorate if it can't help you justify a few war crimes? Let's leave aside the fact that this was exactly the same argument made by Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda to justify bringing down the twin towers. We're all mature adults here and understand that war propaganda has always been the art of making my black look like the other guy's white.

If "democracies" can and do fight "democracies" -- presumably with the support of their citizens, who otherwise would vote the warmongers out of office -- then what exactly is the point of trying to spread "democracy" throughout the Middle East?
And on the issue of collective guilt:
I am — though I voted against the bastard — somewhat responsible for George W. Bush and all that he has done. But then America is a mature democracy (indeed we are so structurally stagnated that reform is nearly impossible, and corruption and fraud is systemic) that is absolutely in control of its sovereignty and territory, and so the calculus should hold an American much more responsible for the American government’s actions than, say, a Lebanese responsible for its fledgling democracy’s actions.


Via Shafiur of imperfect | world | 2006 we learn that Bangladesh is sending Lebanon relief materials including diarrhoea preventive saline, antibiotics, blankets, painkillers, tents, readymade garments and tea.

Shafiur says:
And then you get the other type of help. The type of help which extends support to american war policy but pretends to be with the people of Palestine and Lebanon. Step forward: Saudi Arabia.

And about 30 miles from where I am sitting, American planes are carrying bombs to Israel.

July 25, 2006


* Slate's the Middle East interactive buddy list.

* God's army has plans to run the whole Middle East.

* Redrawing the Middle East map.

* America to Israel: bomb on! (burn, Lebanon, burn)

* An Israeli Blogger puts herself in Lebanese shoes.

* The invisible refugees.

July 24, 2006


Israel passed by .. here !

(Hat tip: Lebanese blogger forum)

July 23, 2006


Result of an interesting survey done by the Pew research center on Muslims and christians of different countries:

Pakistanis are the highest among Muslims with 87%, who believe that their religious identity supersedes nationality. It may be noted that Pakistan was built on the basis of two nation theory, a state based on religion. Democratic Indonesians are the lowest, with 36%, whereas 39% Indonesians think that their nationality is more important.

Of all the Christian majority nations, nationality supersedes the preference of religious identities.

(Via Drishtikone)

July 21, 2006


* Robert Fisk: If the Lebanese dislike Hizbollah, they hate Israelis.

* The station that broadcasts nothing.

* Project for e-passport, I-card rejected.

* Think again: Al Jazeera.

* German spies in hunt for kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

* The German invite only MySpace: Lokalisten.

July 20, 2006


The Bild reports that at the G-8 summit the US President George W. Bush surprised the German chancelor by a shoulder massage from behind. Merkel was visibly anything but amused (Hat tip Mash). Mash reports that the LA Times claims that Chancellor Merkel "smiled". What do you think?

(Picture Courtesy the Bild via Mash)

July 18, 2006


YouTube is serving 100 million videos a day. Below are two videos from the lot.

Israeli attacks - 1st four days

Why We Fight - Israel, Hizbollah and Samir Kuntar

July 17, 2006


Indian bloggers in some parts of India have been facing a problem, which none anticipated would embark on a democratic country which upholds freedom of speech. Shivam Vij writes in rediff news:
"On July 15, Mridula Dwivedi, a teacher of management studies in Gurgaon first discovered that visiting any blogspot blog -- such as, say Mumbai Help -- returned the message, 'Site Blocked!' Her ISP, Spectranet, confirmed they had blocked some sites based on government directives.

J Grewal, Spectranet's Delhi representative at the National Internet exchange of India, told this reporter that, on July 15, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had sent ISPs a list of sites to be blocked. R H Sharma, senior engineer with MTNL, said the list ran into some 22 pages."
When Dr Gulshan Rai, Director of the Computer Emergency Response Team—India (CERT-IN) was asked by a blogger about this blockade, he replied: "Somebody must have blocked some sites. What is your problem?"

Dina Mehta has an updated list of ISP's banning blogs:

*Reliance Powersurfer / Infocom
*7 Star Cable Service

Blogspot.com has been blocked by all.
Typepad.com and Geocities.com have been blocked by some

Amit Agarwal gives tips to access blocked websites.

Indian bloggers are uniting themselves to exercise their rights. Sepia Mutiny and Within/Without are posting updates on the developments.

So why the Indian government is blocking the blogs? The Great Mutiny reveals:
"It seems that some blogs are being used by some terror units (read SIMI) to communicate. There is a crack down in place. IP numbers are being physically located and identified. All should come back to normal once this operation is over. There is no ban in place. Livejournal and Wordpress have been spared. No reason given."
But the move is like cutting the phone connection of the whole country because some terrorists are using phone. This is a big mess up and we are waiting to see what happens next.

Update: More news in Economic Times and Financial Express. The Hindustan Times publishes government reactions:
"Officials defended the decision saying, "We would like those people to come forward who access these (the 12) radical websites and please explain to us what are they missing from their lives in the absence of these sites."
They still don't get it that there are millions of bloggers out there.

Update II: Pro-Naxal bloggers scare the living daylights out of the Indian Government.

Update III: Blog blockade will be lifted in 48 hours (Shivam in Rediff). 17 banned sites listed. The ISPs blocked whole domain instead of subdomains while banning these.
"None of the sites seem to possess any direct security threat to India, or have any connection with the recent Mumbai blasts. DoT has not explained why these sites need to be restricted from viewing by Indians."
Popular US blogs the Jawa Report and one of its contributor's wife Vinni's old Typepad blog are among the list. They are bemused by this grand treatment unable to understand why.

Sabbah, a Palestinian blogger points out that the real aim for the Israeli offensive is to change the regime in Lebanon and to install a puppet government. He also wonders why Israel is always right according to the international media.

"See, the irony is what they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and its over."

- US President Bush told British PM Blair in a discussion before the Group of Eight leaders began their lunch.

Today a tsunami has struck the Southern coast of Java island sweeping away buildings at an Indonesian beach resort and killed nearly 40 people (Reuters). The two-meter high tsunami was triggered by a 7.2-magnitude quake that struck deep beneath the Indian Ocean approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) southwest of Java's western coast at 3:24 p.m. (0824 GMT), causing tall buildings to sway in the capital Jakarta and at least one other city (source).

Update: Reuters reports that the death toll has risen to 80. The number is expected to rise.

Photo source Lebanese Bloggers ForumThe war is on in full swing. A public opinion poll at Sky News reveals that 83% people supports Israel's attack on Lebanon. There is an interesting discussion going on in Winds of Change blog whether Israel was right to bomb Beirut instead of Hizbollah strongholds.

Photo source Pajamasmedia.com"Israel should not have bombed Central Beirut, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed my old neighborhood, which was almost monolithically anti-Hezbollah. They should not have bombed the Maronite city of Jounieh, which was not merely anti-Hezbollah but also somewhat pro-Israel.

Israelis thinks everyone hates them. It isn't true, especially not in Lebanon. But they will make it so if they do not pay more attention to the internal characteristics of neighboring countries." - Michael J Totten

Israel or Hizbollah whoever was right or wrong for these actions, the kid in Beirut (above left) and more in Haifa did not deserve to die like this. Israeli kids are taking shelter (above right) inside makeshift bunkers to be safe from Hizbollah rockets. What future are we promising these kids?

Photo source: Lebanese Blogger Forum and Pajamasmedia.

* Israel’s catch-22.

* why Hizbollah isn't israel's target.

* Guru Nanak in Tibet: a Buddhist viewpoint.

* Intel Core 2 Duo: what you need to know.

* How can bloggers from South Asia increase visibility in the Blogosphere?

* Amateurism, individualism and collectivism.

* Why BNP-Jamaat coalition is bad news for Bangladeshi muslims?

* Bangladeshis in east London: from secular politics to Islam.

July 16, 2006


" Israel invaded Lebanon twice in the past and occupied parts of the country for 22 years and in the end they had to leave.

We will build all what was destroyed by Israel but the sad thing is that too many innocent people including many children lost their lives in the latest Israeli brutality.

When I was 15, my favorite T-shirt was one that had a drawing of Israeli warplanes bombing Beirut. "Beirut will never die. It will survive forever," it read in English. More than 20 years later, I am confident that "Lebanon will never die and will survive forever."

- Lebanonian Journalist Bassem Mroue on a wounded and sad Lebanon

Germans are known in the world as industrious, thorough and punctual. But during my four months stay I had seen another side of German work force. There are some lazy people around here and the number is increasing day-by-day. This report# analyzes the root of this change. The results are (along with my explanations):

* The German workers are constantly complaining about stress and many remain in bad mood always.

* Earlier men used to go to football clubs, now they sit in front of DVD players.

* It was a custom to help the elderly neighbour by buying grocery for them, now Germans don't like to shop even for themselves, they order online instead.

* In old times they used to care for fellow citizens in need. Today they think that only the church or the state is responsible for the needy.

* A negative kind of social envy is forming in many German's minds. In the TV talk shows the social security holders proudly present the advantages of doing nothing. They feel that many working persons are almost naive to engage themselves in the job. These are influencing the workers a lot.

Believe me the social security holders here get enough money to live a decent life. I met a 52 year old person who lives in the street, proudly quoting that he gets more than Euro 1200 a month from social security and his dead wife's pension. A clerk earns much less than that.

Every citizen has a right to Sozialhilfe (social welfare) in this country. The amount of Sozialhilfe for a family of four is rumored to be a little less than 2000 DM per month, excluding rent. The rent for a reasonable (and often subsidized) apartment is paid by the government on top of this. No matter whether you are employed or not, you always have the right to a (limited) income. If you work for less, you will get the rest from the local Sozialamt, the social welfare administration, run by the city government.

* And out of those in job, some motivated ones work harder and compensated by meager overtime, while many choose to make it cozy at the desk, sit themselves the recession out or wait for the pension. Is the efficient one the stupid one?

* Germany is only behind Austria as leisure world champion. Where Japanese get annually 16 holidays days and the Americans get 25, Germans enjoy over 42 holidays. The average work time of the Germans are also sinking rapidly.

* From the around 4.5 million jobless people, about 2.5 million cannot be given a job according to their talent because they are simply unwilling. Many German firms cannot find suitable recruitments from this amount of job-less people.

* Some people find it their altruistic obligation to renounce the low quality jobs and remain as a 'lucky unemployed persons'. No wonder why in this first world country so much unemployment persists.

The signs of frustration are evident in many German workers. Right here in Berlin a postal worker who was caught with more than several thousand undelivered letters in his basement has admitted he was overwhelmed by the job but insisted he planned to deliver them soon.

So is their an anomaly in the job distribution or Germans are simply becoming lazy?

Update: My friend Anna puts her perspective:
The statement that Germans would be unwilling to help their fellow human beings - this is simply plain wrong and you can find plenty of examples that proove the falseness of this statement if you watch out for them a bit. For example, look at the millions of Euro the Germans donated for the Tsunami victims in 2004/2005. The world cup that everyone was so enthusiastic about would not have worked out without the countless German volunteers who greeted visitors, looked after them in the international world cup camps etc.

I am a trainer for future German volunteers going to developing countries and the wish to help and get in touch with others is strongly existing, regardless of xenophobic trends that shamingly do exist especially among lower educated people.
I could give you plenty of examples that proove the other statements wrong as well but that would lead too far now. All in all: The tenor of this post - or the article it is based on - that Germans are the personification of lazyness who just wait for their chance to live on welfare - is, in my view, simply plain wrong.
Anna is right in one context that it is wrong to generalize the whole country on the basis of some people's behavior. The article was published in the popular newspaper 'Die Welt'. I hope more and more Germans like Anna will prove this report wrong in the future.

# Hint: Non German readers can use Babelfish to translate the above report.

July 15, 2006


The recent UK visit of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the controversial lawmaker of the Islami right wing party Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh has caused much stir in the British press; Drishtipat reports. He is notorious for his hate speech against women, non Muslims and the West and is loathed by many in Bangladesh. Examples of his slurs can be found here. He may have gotten away with all these in Bangladesh, but I knew that he would face the reality someday.

The breaking news is that Sayeedi had been flown back to Bangladesh from UK. Any guess how he was extradited?

Bollywood rap

July 14, 2006


* The best of Germany 2006.

* Shock for Germany - Klinsmann quits as German Ccoach.

* Explosives used in India bombings point away from Al Qaeda, or does it?

* Take the Turkey test! Test your knowledge of Turkey.

* News and analysis from Israel: If we're at war, the IDF didn't plan for it.

* World e-book fair.
"War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of politics by other means."
A war has broken out in the Middle East. 'Israel has responded to the kidnapping of two soldiers by members of the Lebanon-based Hizbollah terror group by striking and blockading the country by land, air and sea' (Der Spiegel). Israeli aircraft attacked Beirut airport and killed 22 civilians in strikes on south Lebanon. Israel has also hit Hizbullah's Beirut television station. Hizbollah retaliated for "Israeli massacres" by firing 60 rockets at Nahariya killing one civilian. So Israel has opened a two front war, against the Hizbollah and the Hamas. Israel has also attacked the Lebanese Army. The situation is very much tensed.

Now the question is how far will Israel go? Israeli ambassador in Britain told in an interview with BBC TV that they will do everything to uproot Hizbollah. Israeli defense Minister Amir Peretz said, "We expected Hizbullah to break the rules, and now we intend to break them.

Israel blames Lebanon government for sheltering Hizbollah. The BBC reported that Israel struck 40 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, but an Israeli spokesman said "no targets are immune." (via Austin bay) Its like if you are not Hizbollah run for your life.

In another development US was the only one of the 15 U.N. Security Council members to veto an Arab-backed resolution demanding Israel to stop its military offensive in the Gaza Strip (also in Yahoo news). UN could bring out no more than a condemnation. France terms Israel offensives as 'disproportionate,' and joins Russia in 'condemning the escalation of the Middle East conflict.'

Is this going into an wider war involving Syria and Iran? The Israelis are blaming these two nations as supporters of Hizbollah and Hamas. Counterterrorism blog says that Hizbollah is provoking Israel for Iran and Syria. The reasons cited are:

1. Iran is concerned about the nuclear crisis and wants to deflate the issue away.
2. Syria is concerned about the Hariri murder investigation and wishes to postpone its results.
3. Hizbollah is concerned about the call for disarming its militias and therefore decided to flare up the conflict with Israel.
4. Finally, Hamas was sinking in crisis with Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. Thus a Jihad against Israel was the solution.

One more thing is to be noted that Isralei president Moshe Kastav is being investigated for a Monica Lewinski like affair with his secretary. Is this war a ploy to shift the focus?

Michael Ledeen thinks that this is the big one and the same one which is going on. You cannot escape the mullahs. You must either defeat them or submit to their terrible vision.

Austin Bay questions: have the Egyptians, Fatah, Saudis, and Lebanese governments given Israel an implicit go-ahead? The strategem: Reduce these violent factions (Hamas and Hezbollah) and then every one will re-set the chess table.

I think that this is the part of a plan, the same plan which has triggered so much conflict in this region. Sometimes there is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.
"More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars." - (Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882-1945, Thirty-second President of the USA)
The blogosphere covering the war:

* Pajamas Media has the updates of the timeline of the events and a round up of other bloggers' reactions.

* Allison Kaplan Sommer of 'An unsealed room' is liveblogging from Israel.

* Lisa Goldman blogs from Lebanon condemning the politicians in failing the negotiations.

* Hotair has also timelines and updates.

* Kesher Talk reports from the Arab side- the way things look the other way around.

* A post in the Daily Kos: Imagine a world without Israel.

* Slate magazine has also a roundup of different blogs covering the war.

July 13, 2006


* End this punishment of the Palestinians.

* Avoiding the backlash - The blasts in Mumbai are a challenge to Indian secularism.

* Rania Al-Malky comments on recent debates surrounding Islam and its (in)compatibility with theories of liberalism and the West.

* Destroyed Kali temple in Dhaka to be rebuilt.

* Pakistani militants nabbed in Bangladesh.

* Zidane to visit Bangladesh.

July 11, 2006


Seven serial blasts have rocked commuter trains today evening at rush hour in Mumbai. I am watching the horrible stories and scenes in CNN. 174 deaths and close to 400 wounded are reported so far and the figures are rising constantly. Another bomb was found and was defused instantly.

Heavy downpours are making the rescue works difficult. A militant Islami group based in Pakistan (Lashkar-e-Toiba) is being suspected. Indian Home Minister says there were intelligence information about the blasts but the security forces were not sure about the time and place.

The news updates can be found in numerous blogs:

* Gateway Pundit has lots of pictures.

* Gaurav Sabnis at Vantage Point has the timeline of events.

* Metroblogging Mumbai has first person accounts of the blasts.

* Pajamas Media has a round-up of the blog coverages.

* Indian blogger Varnam has more roundups of reactions.

* The Mumbai Help blog has resources, updates and tips how you can help.

* Journalist Amit Varma of India Uncut has many updates and links.

* Deep reports Maharashtra CM announces Rs. 1 lakh for the ones who have died (via NDTV).

* Counterterrorism blog has some indepth analysis.

* Dina Mehta reports that telephone lines were jammed - and she was lucky to be able use SkypeOut to make calls to family.

* Desicritics has list of helplines and useful contact information.

* Hot Air and Michelle Malkin have more updates and roundups.

* More views and updates with Ultrabrown.

* Neha sums up Indian blogger reactions in the Global Voices Online.

From my personal experience in Mumbai I can tell that the shuttle train network is the lifeline of Mumbai. 6 Million people commute via this network each day from distant locations to the heart of financial capital of India. And the majority of the commuters are from middle class to lower middle class. So what kind of cowardice statement these terrorists are trying to give by killing innocent people indiscriminately? Are they trying to disrupt the communal harmony in the worlds biggest democracy?

Dilip D'Souza writes:
I've travelled in these very compartments, at this very time of day. Hundreds of times. I know how packed they are, how people hang from every inch. What happens to those people packed like that when a bomb left by a non-human goes off in there?
Just imagine what these non-humans are turning this world into.

The most burning question in everybody's mind is "what did Materazzi say to Zidane?", which has prompted the notorious headbutt by the world's best football player. According to the victim Materazzi:
"I held his shirt for a few seconds only, then he turned to me and talked to me, jeering. He looked at me with a huge arrogance and said, 'If you really want my shirt I'll give it to you afterwards'. I replied with an insult, that's true." (ESPN Soccernet)
Zidane kept mum about what was said but his agent claimed that the reaction was due to a 'very serious' comment. The Italians did everything they could do to provoke Zidane.

Materazzi has however denied some of the more intense insults referring to his family members or calling him a terrorist. 'I did not call him a terrorist. I am not a cultured person and I don't even know what as Islamist terrorist is.'

If he was cultured, the incident would not have taken place.

Some suggestions: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

Update: Zizou speaks in a live interview on French television channel Canal Plus (see the comments in the link):

"He (Materazzi) pronounced very tough words about my mother and my sister. I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them."

The incident proves that Zidane is only a human being who made a mistake of biting back a dog who had bit him. I have seen his latest interview in Canal Plus. He has apologized to all for his behavior but he said that he can't regret what he did because it would mean that he (Materazzi) was right to say what he said. Hope his fans will not try to imitate him earnestly.

Another view about the racism on the pitch:

"Non-European (read non-white) players have a very rough time on European soccer pitches as is clearly illustrated by this ESPN special from just before the World Cup dealing with racism on and off the pitch. The European media and governments loath to deal with racial issues head on meaning that the onus of dealing with racism on the pitch has fallen on the players themselves. They have taken up the challenge and are tackling the problem head on and are asking the fans to help take down this monster that threatens to tear the sport apart."

There are numerous examples of how unfriendly Germans are. They do not smile if there is no reason. If you are not aware of this German attitude then you can easily get offended. But it’s nothing personal. The Germans are very straightforward. However some of them are allergic to foreigners and a colored foreigner can get discriminated sometimes. Your every mistake would be reminded as some fail to recognize a foreign culture or attitude.

They tend to speak in German only even though they know English very well. Only during the world cup I have been spoken in English (being a foreigner) in the streets without any request.

Yes, the Spiegel Online also claims that Germany's image has changed over the last four weeks of the World Cup, thanks to great organization and publicity of this wonderful event. Even British PM Tony Blair vouches:
"The old clichés have been replaced by a new, positive and more fair image of Germany."
The whole world is suddenly finding positive pictures of Germany along with their patriotism like never before after World War II.
"Never mind the final, Germans are the real World Cup winners," (Britain's Times newspaper)
Yes, Germany is still the world champion of their hearts. If you could just see how the Germans celebrated the Italian feat in the Final; as if they had won the cup.

Did the performance of the team united the nation beyond political and social disagreements? Or is it the multiculturalism of the football that broke away Germany's xenophobia? Nobody knows exactly but I hope that this change of attitude should shape Germany positively in the future.

I had a wonderful experience watching the world cup football final with about a million people in the Berlin fanmeile. The notable thing was the festive atmosphere which Germans and the tourists from around the world created. The language all spoke was football. The final match between Italy and France was not something very attractive and it died with an ugly headbutt by the best player of the tournament. But the fans didn't care, especially the hundreds of Germans who went out for a victory parade honking their cars along the streets of Kurfurstendamm causing traffic chaos. If you love to party and celebrate, the cause is really unimportant. This world cup showed that the Germans know how to celebrate without winning the cup.

July 04, 2006


* There is an alternative to Islam’s example.

* My wife, the fanatic.

* Achtung England - this is how to take penalties.

* In Israel, we are all the Shalits.

* Listen, World! The Palestinian sisters, mothers, wives and daughters of the Palestinian prisoners are all saying.

The Germany Argentina brawl which has cost Torsten Frings (8) a suspension and he will miss today's Semi-Final against Italy.

July 03, 2006

"A desktop in my browser on my desktop. My mind is going numb."
This is the initial reaction of an user of YouOS. That brings you the question: what exactly is YouOS? It is the initiative of four US college graduates. According to them:
YouOS is a web operating system that lets you run diverse applications within a web browser. Small applications like sticky notes or clocks. Large applications like word processing, mp3 players, and instant messaging. Even better, it's very easy to tweak an existing application or write your own.
Paul Boutin reviews it in the Slate Magazine:
When you launch it in your browser, the window turns into a desktop of its own, with sub-windows for e-mail, chat, and Web browsing. There are also links on the YouOS desktop for a sticky-notes program and a rich-text editor. But these programs aren't on your hard drive—they're running somewhere in the vast unknown Internet.

Its simplicity makes it a great demo. Anyone who logs on can instantly spot the big idea: You don't need Windows! You don't even need a PC! You can login and work from anywhere using any gadget with a screen and a keyboard.
Paul comments that the rumor of Google developing a web based PC that will change the world can really become true:
Check out YouOS for 10 minutes, then imagine the same project on a billion-dollar budget.
I am using YouOS and I am loving every bit of it.

" What is Tibet? Is it just another myth? Fact or fiction? A tourist paradise? "the Roof of the World"? Shangri-la? The argument continues on and on. But to be short and simple Tibet is a land; a land with an endangered culture currently at the verge of sure extinction. It is a political reality; of dominion, of colonialism, of hegemony.

Who is responsible for this? China can be the first answer. But is it true? Aren’t we too responsible? Our silence; our indifference…didn’t it caused this cultural annihilation! "

- Some stray thoughts of the friends of Tibet on World Tibet Day

The fountain of Sony center in Berlin's Potsdamer Platz (above) has been based to create the ZDF Arena (below). The motto for this arena is public viewing of world cup to all in big screen (actually with ticket). The central stage is also used as a studio for the analysts who moderate the live world cup presentations by the TV channel ZDF.


* Early Bengali science fiction

* Hirsi Ali row brings down government.

* Strange statues around the world.

* What's Up With "Al-"? The ubiquitous Arabic word, explained.

* Zidane: A living legend.

Just as when the authorities are planning to extend the successful fanmile (German: Fanmeile) for world cup celebrations at the Brandenburger Gate, a car went through the barricades today afternoon in a mysterious mad ride. Twenty one people were injured as the small Volkswagen Polo hit them at 50 Mph speed and eleven are hospitalized (Berliner Morgenpost).

According to TV news the 33 year old driver and his 55 year old women companion are German nationals of Indian origin. Their motive is still unclear. The police did not find any explosive in the car and ruled out any terror cause.

Luckily today there was no play scheduled today otherwise the incident could turn more disastrous. It is believed that around 700,000 people gathered in the fanmile during the match between Germany and Argentina.

Every Saturday the daily Prothom Alo publishes an interview of the homeless kids of Bangladesh who have no home. They usually earn their livings in various ways. I have noticed that their greatest problem is that they have no security for their valuable things, especially money as they live in the streets.

According to this news, a few child workers of Bangladesh have established a saving project of their own after all the banks turned them away. This kind of project can also be useful to these homeless people. Sometimes the solution to a difficult problem is very simple and it can make a strong impact. Any NGO taking note of this?

July 01, 2006


Bangladesh is constantly topping the list of corrupted countries. Do you ever wonder why the situation is not changing?

There are mainly three reasons. Firstly, the government effort like the Anti Corruption Commission is not functioning. Secondly there are still rampant corruptions among the high officials of the country.

Thirdly, and the most shocking of them all is that the black money earned from corruption can be made legal only by paying a 7.5% tax to the government. This special relaxation by the government has legalized more than 35 billion taka ($502 million) in the 2005/06 fiscal year. The remarkable side of this scheme is that no question will be asked about the source of the money.

So why would you earn legally and pay 10-25% tax to government? The black money legalization scheme is the greatest prize for the persons who are corrupt. Bangladesh is surely bidding for the top rank for the six year in a row.

The World Cup has changed Germany. Apart from boosting the economy like lowering the unemployment rate, Football has influenced even the behaviors of the Germans. Especially the recent success of the German football team, which has qualified to the semi-final, has really united the nation. Everyone is doing something to prove their patriotism. People are putting flags in cars, wearing German team jerseys, painting faces and hairs with German flag tricolor; even painting pets or the whole house for that matter. Where only decades ago one was deemed as a extreme right wing if displayed a flag openly. Germany simply did not have the tradition to display flags or honking.

Yesterday, after the win over Argentina, the celebrations in Berlin were just very elaborate. After the end of the match many people flocked to Kurfurstendamm in their cars gazing forward from the sunroofs with jubilation with flags in their hand. Most interesting thing is that everyone was honking! Even cyclists were carrying flags. They were shouting Deutschland, Deutschland. I have not seen Berlin like this before. The fan mile at Brandenburger Gate was crowded with hundreds of thousands of fans (see photo). Probably some had partied all night long.

Now the question is will Germany still be outspoken with this sense of unity and patriotism after the world cup? Will their display of patriotism remain prominent? Only time will tell. But I think they have no chance to recede to past as they still have their football team that succeeds over and over.

Alton Towers in Staffordshire, Uk's largest fun park has been hired by a Muslim organization 'Islamic Leisure' for one day to arrange the 'first national Muslim fun day'. Upto 28,000 Muslims are expected to purchase tickets from the organization to attend the event, which boasts prayer areas and Halal foods.

The Sun Online has this disturbing report that non Muslims were denied tickets for that day.
The event is widely promoted on the internet and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee declared it "exclusively for our brothers and sisters"
This is a clear case of promoting Islamic nationalism. We have seen the chaos and wars the Indian Muslim Nationalism produced. Islamic nationalism needs to be challenged. Yakoub Islam wrote in Alt.Muslim:
"Nationalism, despite its claims to unite, always divides - the 'natives' from the 'foreigners', the whites from the blacks.It divides people into groups like a farmer separates different breeds of cattle. Islamophobia is simply a reformulation of this colour-based racism. Nationalism is a virus of hate, and now it has infected Muslims. Those fanatics who support the London suicide bombings of 7/7 follow a mutated genus of this disease - one which swears allegiance to a reified ummah and a king-god, whilst rejecting other 'nations' as the spawn of Satan. Indeed, extreme Islamic nationalism is at the heart of the debased theologies informing all global khalifa movements.

As the Qur'an says, we were created so that we might know people different from ourselves. By Allah, let's do it!"
I suspect this can also be a case of exploiting Muslim sentiments for commercial gains by that organization. British Muslims should not go for such an explicit alienation and fall into the trap of Muslim nationalism.

The above is a title of a blog produced by some of the teachers and students at the International School Dhaka. They have produced probably the first video podcast from Bangladesh "The day begins in Dhaka". Enjoy!

Desh of Dristikone blog is surprised that crazy Bangladeshi football fans are repeatedly rampaging power stations as they fail to supply electricity during world cup matches. His sarcasm:
Funny thing is two totally stranger teams are playing (and your country is not even in the tournament ANYWHERE) and these folks end up destroying their own public property!!!
Well I guess he doesn't know about the severe power crisis Bangladesh is facing. Recently a farmer uprising in Kansat was forcefully tackled by the government, which turned bloody in the end. The irony is that the power crisis is the result of not taking adequate measures by the authorities in the right time. Nobody has been made accountable and the government is trying to keep it buried at the expense of peoples' inconveniences.

The limitation of democracy is that it deters any uprising of people, which can shake the base of the democracy. I guess football has united the people (else divided by party politics), who are showing their anguish against the power crisis in unity.

I personally am against the destruction of public properties. But unfortunately this is a mean of protest used by the political parties (especially the opposition) and applied ubiquitously in Bangladesh. When the leaders show you a wrong path, you should not only blame the followers for not going in the right path.