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

May 30, 2008

Germany tourist attractions

One my photos (uploaded in Flickr) has been chosen for this guide. Know more about the Bellevue Palace here.

May 29, 2008

Return to the era of slavery

Bangladeshi migrant workers are having a tensed time in Bahrain where the government has banned issuing work permits for Bangladeshis and the right wingers want 90000 Bangladeshis expelled from the country. This reminds of the discriminations in place when slavery persisted. An attack on master is seen as the most outrageous of crimes.

From Bahraini.TV:
All Bangladeshis could be expelled from Bahrain by the end of this year if a proposal by a group of local MPs is approved by parliament, it emerged yesterday.

The proposal by Al Asala bloc follows the death of a Bahraini who was killed in an attack after an argument with a Bangladeshi mechanic at a workshop in Suq Waqif, Hamad Town on Friday.

The worker demanded BD1.500 for welding machine repairs, but Bahraini Mohammed Jassim Dossary insisted on paying BD1, sources told the GDN.

Following a heated exchange, the worker attacked him with a grinder.
The man should be punished for this crime. But we need to also know in which situation he had to take this action, what problems he faced in this country to keep things in perspective.

This report provides insight into the plight of the Bangladeshi workers.

And the strangest of thing is that for the crime of one person a whole nation is being punished.

Ayesha Saldanha compiles Bahraini bloggers reactions on this issue in Global Voices Online.

Leading Bahraini blogger Mahmood says:
The demand to expel and ban Bangladeshis because of the unfortunate result of a single person’s moment of anger is tantamount to our agreement to the entrenchment and even encoding xenophobia as our main Bahraini trait.
In Bahrain there are also unclaimed arson attacks against restaurants and shops frequented by expatriate workers. In the most serious of these, in March 2006, seven Bangladeshi workers were killed (Human rights watch).

Reeshiez comments on the post:
This is the most ridiculous thing that I’ve heard and is blatant racial discrimination. I can’t believe our government did this and that many people support this law. You can’t punish an entire nation for isolated incidents by their citizens. How would bahrainis feel if all arabs were banned from coming to the US because a random Bahraini killed an American citizen? I am completely disgusted.

May 27, 2008

The Arif Story

At last one journalist (blogger Omi Rahman Pial) was courageous enough to interview Arif , the condemned cartoonist who was charged by the state of profanity and sedition. His fault was to use the prophet's name in a cartoon.

The interview has been published in E-Bangladesh.

Some excerpts:
So what was the idea behind the cartoon? Why did you draw it?

Well, i never thought this was going to be such a big issue. The joke I used is a common one in our locality, infact in that zone. I heard it when as a kid and even when I grew up. My idea was to highlight the faulty religious teachings by some of our elders where they advise to put the name of our holy Prophet before every name, when they should also clarify where it shouldn’t be used. What surprised me, I learnt after my release that the same joke was used in a publication of Islami Chatra Shibir name Kishorekantha.

Did they (Police) hurt you?

No, they didn’t touch me, but scolded for defaming the religion.

What happened in the jail? I mean what was your experience?

Apart from two attacks, it was not all that bad in terms of experience. I was sad though. I had to stay away two Eids from my mom. It was painful.

What attack?

When I was in, they put me in the Amdani ward, which was for the newcomers. There some people attacked me. On the first attack they beat me with bamboo pole and some beat me with bare fists. Then again after a few hours I was attacked. One of them took a stick, put it in the toilet and then brushed it in my mouth. I was fasting then.

No one stopped them! Who were these guys?

Not at the start. But after some while others intervened. They were the JMB (Jamatul Mujahedin Bangladesh).

Only two attacks and then nothing?

Well after the attacks, I was switched to Manihar ward; there they came again after me. Then I was put in the ‘Choy Cell’ (a six room cell). There I had Arafat Rahman Koko (son of ex-premier Khaleda Zia), Professor Anwar Hossain, Abdul Awal Mintoo as cellmates. Because of the security reasons, I missed the Eid Ul Fitr Jamat, which I had in my room. Then in the Eid ul Azha, I attended the Jamat with others.

So many VIP’s. Any incident there?

Nothing you can call incident. All of them were good to me. Arafat Bhai used to recite the Hadith and advised me not to draw cartoons anymore since they are haram for Muslims. Anwar Sir used to take good care of me, he even gave me pen and paper to draw whatever I like.

Did you have any visitor? How did you know about your legal proceedings?

Barrister Sara Hossain came to visit me on the eve of Eid Ul Fitr. She told me not to worry. I didn’t have any visitor till the last days of my sentence. They used to take me to the Court; it was like going and coming from there. I had no chance to talk to anybody, not even my legal advisors.

Then how things turned?

After the resignation of Barrister Mainul Hosein from the Caretaker Government, things changed abruptly. I was sent a mercy petition application from the Prothom-Alo which I signed and then suddenly my case moved real fast. And at last I was pardoned for all my offences or dismissed from all the charges against me.
Read the complete interview for more such stunning news.

Photo and excerpts courtesy E-Bangladesh and used with permission.

May 25, 2008

Taslima Nasreen in Paris

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was in Paris recently to receive the Simone de Beauvoir prize for women’s freedom.

Here's her interview with France24 Tv channel. Here is another report in French.

Today's Links

* Bangladesh editors call for free press

* Un-intelligent manoeuvres: tales of censorship

* Bangladesh 'Rice Revolution' and women

* Iqbal Quadir: “Technology Empowers the Poorest

* Bangladesh H5N1 human positive begs more questions.

* Bangladesh: A rush to the election, then what?

May 23, 2008

Xenophobia and the blame game

A shocking development in South Africa (More at Global Voices Online):
Over the past few weeks, xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans, Malawians, Zambians, Ugandans, Rwandans, Burundians, Mozambicans, and many other African illegal (and legal!) migrants who are living near Johannesburg on the East Rand, have been on the increase.
The situation escalated after hundreds of thousands of migrants fled from Zimbabwe to have a recluse in South Africa.

I was wondering how is the situation different from the recent spat from the Indian media indicting Bangladeshis and immigrants in Bangladesh for every terrorist attack in India.

Naeem Mohaiemen writes a very good rebuttal against it:
“They let us cook rice-daal for them, let us raise their children, trust us with the keys to house-home-jewelry. And then they turn around and vote for people who call us terrorists and want to cut us into pieces and bury us inside the ground.”
– Bangladeshi taxi driver in Delhi (author interview, 2005)

BOMB blast in Jaipur. Round up the usual suspects. Calling Abdul, Rahman, Rahim, Karim, Salim. All you “illegal” Bangladeshi immigrants within our borders. Report to the newest detention centers. It’s not who you say you are, it’s what we say you are.

Bangladesh has emerged as the all-purpose “Nondo Ghosh” (joto dosh) for Indian intelligence agencies. Attack on train station? Defused bombs? Bicycle bombs? Bag bombs? It must be the ultra-efficient, tentacle-spreading spectre of “terrorist organisations based in Bangladesh.”

Within days, we are told that the “modus operandi” of the Jaipur blasts is similar to the Uttar Pradesh court blasts (November 2007), Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts (May 2007) and Malegaon blast (2006). Every bomb blast is similar to the one before. They are all connected, except when they aren’t. Working on these leads, police are raiding Bangladeshi localities at Galta Gate, Baghrana, Ramganj, Subhash Chowk, and Bhatta Basti in Jaipur. Very convenient.
The blame game is actually played to hide the Indian intelligence's failures to minimize these terrorist threats.

An Indian Muslim provides some sane arguments:
This reflects the hollowness of our society. Are all Nepalis criminals? Or, all Bangladeshis terrorists? Of course, the latter are mostly Muslims and have a different religion, which makes them even more an anathema for a large section of populace.

If Bangladeshis are infiltrating and living illegally, there should be a proper policy or they should be identified and given work permits, licences and allowed to live here. But you can't treat a poor person in this way just because he is desperate to feed his family and comes this far to eke out a living.

We all know that India is a target of terrorists. They attack mosques and temples, they kill Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Christians alike. And they ought to be caught. But that should happen. Unfortunately we don't see the real culprits arrested. We just hear jingoistic rhetoric and hysteria.
But the propaganda goes on. Brahma Chellaney of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi said about the bomb blasts, “Bangladesh is becoming a haven for transnational Islamists. It is in danger of becoming another Pakistan.” (Newsweek — May 26/June 2 2008). (Source Hana)

Pr3rna questions Naeem's article “Is it our responsibility to ensure that poor countries around us develop at the same speed?”

Here is part of what I commented in that blog referring this post and the South African incident which can be a reality in India against Bangladeshi immigrants:
The people in question are economic migrants who wanders because of displacement due to natural calamities and poverty(lack of opportunities). If the economy of Bangladesh becomes better and can come close to India they will certainly prefer home as their first choice and hit back home.

The problem with the influx of Bangladeshis in India were mainly due to population growth and increasing opportunities in India. The porous borders were also an added advantage (after the fencing the situation is better). Indian politics have played a role here too. Some Indian politicians want them to enroll as voters and vote for them and cry for deporting them when the election is over. They are the keepers of these migrants in helping them getting papers - a fact which the Indians should bother.

I know its unfair for Indians to be bothered by the neighbors shortcomings. But India is the country who set a commendable precedence in 1971 of accepting 10 million refugees during the liberation war of Bangladesh and helped Bangladesh liberate. These refugees went back after the independence of Bangladesh. If Bangladesh was not liberated where would these refugees be?

New Soul

Yael Naïm is simply refreshing. Here is the lyrics.

May 20, 2008

List of Bangladeshi Blogs

I know it has been more than a year since I last compiled the list of notable Bangladeshi Blogs. Bangladeshi Bangla Blogs have been growing at a exponential pace. However the blogs written in English did not grow much. As usual some good blogs have ceased to exist and some excellent blogs have surfaced.

So I have done some house cleaning and here is the list (arranged in no particular order):

Blogs in English:


* Or how I learned to stop worrying -USA
* Shada Kalo - USA
* In the middle of nowhere - USA
* Dhakaশহর - USA
* Inspirations and creative thoughts - USA
* Abeer -USA
* Sajeeb Wajed Joy - USA
* Lungis.com - USA
* Ashiq's Blog - USA
* the chronicles of rabab-ia - USA
* Anthology -USA
* Green, How I Want You Green -USA
* Ajaira Pechaal - USA
* Amra Kojon Around The Clock - USA
* My thoughts - USA
* Blog Cabin - USA
* First we take Manhattan -USA
* Words & Bites -USA
* Bid Chronicles -USA
* Jagrook Bangalee -USA
* The Muse -USA
* Universe of Disturbance -USA
* Tacit -USA
* Xanthis -USA
* Mezba's blog -Canada
* A sunshine too brief -Canada
* The Bengali Fob says -Canada
* ..>Insert clever title here<.. -Canada
* Captain Chaos - Canada
* Bangladesh Watchdog -Canada
* Only Three Notes -Canada

* Naeem Mohaiemen/Shobak.org - USA
* Life in Champaign - Urbana - USA
* Ahsan's rant - USA
* Optically active - USA
* Mudphud chickness - USA
* Sajjad's weekly blogs -USA
* Beyond my mind - USA
* My Days - USA
* Blissful days of my life... - Canada
* Ipshita’s blog -Canada
* Faruq Faisel -Canada


* Bangladeshi in Ivory Coast


* E Bangladesh -UK
* imperfect|world|2008 -UK
* Addafication - USA & UK
* Serious golmal -UK
* Past Present and Future -UK
* BangladeshWebBlogs - UK
* Bangla in use globally - UK
* Fug's Blog - UK
* My Dear Bangladesh - UK
* No more shisha - UK
* The Thing About This Is... - UK
* Journal of a Disturbed Mind -Norway
* Easy come easy go, little high little low - Sweden
* Tasneem Khalil - Sweden
* Skakia's spot -Sweden
* Gagan (From My Lil Window) - Finland
* The 3rd world view-Germany

* Cathersis -UK
* The color of rain -UK
* Me, myself and Bangladesh - UK
* Thought, and thereafter -UK
* Bangladesh and our thoughts - Ireland


* Mukti - Australia
* Ulta manush -Australia
* AuddieLand - Australia
* C'est la vie -Australia
* Tan Curve -Australia
* My World -Australia
* My Readings -Australia
* One Knowledge, One Work - Australia

* A sneak peek into Yawar's mind - Malaysia
* Glittergirl -Singapore
* Journey2Infinitive -Singapore
* Nadine Update -Singapore


* ShahidulNews - Bangladesh
* An Ordinary Citizen - Bangladesh
* Life in Eskaton - Bangladesh
* Bangladesh from our View - Bangladesh
* Tahmina's Weblog - Bangladesh
* Dhaka Dweller - Bangladesh
* Bangladesh Corporate Blog -Bangladesh
* Creating the Longest Marketing Idea Chain in the World -Bangladesh
* Bangladesh and Media -Bangladesh
* South Asia biz -Bangladesh
* Law Chronicles Online -Bangladesh
* The Bangladesh poet of impropriety -Bangladesh
* Shah Zaman Mazumder's Blog - Bangladesh
* Angelmorn - Bangladesh
* eLeCtRiKbLuEs - Bangladesh
* Dhumay Adda - Bangladesh
* The story teller -Bangladesh
* Bangladesh Blogger - Bangladesh
* Bangladesh Talk - Bangladesh
* Little dogs day -Bangladesh
* Scattered words -Bangladesh
* Himu's Window -Bangladesh
* Bitter sweet symphony -Bangladesh
* Black and grey - Bangladesh
* Conversations with an Optimist - Bangladesh
* Nothing to lose and Nothing to gain.. - Bangladesh
* Ideas for brighter Bangladesh - Bangladesh
* Why did Bangladesh cross the road? -Bangladesh
* BD Fact -Bangladesh
* Promethean Dreamer - Bangladesh
* Lifeless Ordinary -Bangladesh
* Dhaka (underground) -Bangladesh
* Ondhokar theke alor pothe -Bangladesh
* Khan is Khan - Bangladesh
* Cruel, crazy beautiful world - Bangladesh
* Of the world and boiled eggs - Bangladesh
* Monwar's Blog - Bangladesh
* Russel's cyber journal - Bangladesh
* Bunch of me - Bangladesh
* Abar Zigay - Bangladesh
* Desh calling -Bangladesh
* Life, dreams and reality -- Sohel's blog
* The crystal cave -Bangladesh
* Boolean Dreams -Bangladesh
* Hasan's blog -Bangladesh
* blog.sanjoykumar.com -Bangladesh
* Khorshed Khokon, MBA -Bangladesh
* The Urchin's Own - Bangladesh
* Ashraf's Column - Bangladesh
* Naz's Diary - Bangladesh
* Nawed - Fortunately Unfortunate or Unfortunately Fortunate -Bangladesh
* Shaon's Weblog -Bangladesh
* Hatti Matim Tim -Bangladesh
* Share the Magic -Bangladesh
* Maverick Tanvir's Journal -Bangladesh
* Back to Bangladesh -Bangladesh
* Global Experiences -Bangladesh
* pieces of me... -Bangladesh
* Shananaus -Bangladesh
* Nisshobdo Rati -Bangladesh
* Bangladesh: The Competent Land -Bangladesh
* Kapalicana - Bangladesh
* My Bangladesh - Bangladesh
* eduBangla.com, Education anywhere! - Bangladesh
* BanglaFootball.net - Bangladesh
* Joy Bangla Blog - Bangladesh
* Here I am… - Bangladesh
* EngineerRower in Bangladesh - Bangladesh
* Ahmad Ferdous Bin Alam - Bangladesh
* Arif's Blog -India
* Annabelle -India

* Adda - Bangladesh
* The song of my life - Bangladesh
* Close your eyes & try to see- Bangladesh
* Ahsan's Laboratory - Bangladesh
* Apache007 - Bangladesh
* Fun And Jokes with Morals - Bangladesh
* Ex Nihilo -Bangladesh
* Just another day -Bangladesh
* Spoony Writer -Bangladesh
* S Mehreen's digital portfolio -Bangladesh
* Mishuk’s Perspective© LIVE from Dhaka - Bangladesh
* Brainstorm - Bangladesh
* deshi Blog - Bangladesh
* Shawrav's Blog - Bangladesh
* Imran Hashim's Tech. Blog - Bangladesh
* Dak Bangla intelligence scan - Bangladesh

Organization Blogs, event blogs and journals on Bangladesh:

* Unheard Voices - A drishtipat group blog initiative -USA & UK
* Drishtipat Writers Collective
* The Progressive Bangladesh
* Joy Bangla: Events and Travel in Bangladesh
* BRAC Blog -USA
* Concern Worldwide, Bangladesh
* The Dhaka Project
* LiveJournal Bangladesh community blogs -Mostly USA
* Adhunika Blog -USA
* Shuchinta -USA
* Cehtona 71 -USA
* Onnesha.TK
* Disha Bangladesh -Bangladesh
* Free Sheikh Hasina
* Change Bangladesh - one step at a time -USA
* Bangladesh Military Forces Blog
* Somewhere in Dhaka
* Lamb School - Bangladesh
* BlueNote
* The Chobi Mela Files
* Global Voices Online on Bangladesh

Blogs by persons of Non Bangladesh Origin on their experiences in Bangladesh:

* The uncultured Project
* Morris the pen
* bideshi blue
* What's cooking abroad?
* Expanding Dr. Yunus’ Sphere of Influence…
* Haseen♥Mawa♥Views
* Akash and Nila
* Madame Boss
* MikeyLeung.ca
* The Dhaka diaries
* Window on my world
* Gabrielles Blog
* banglabravader
* Kristin Boekhoff
* Bangladesh Connections
* Wading Through Water

* A Whisper from the heart
* Root: Adventure in Bangladesh
* Bangers and mash
* Bangladesh backchat
* Dhaka diary
* Sarah's boble
* Dana in Bangladesh
* The Yacoub ramblings v.2
* To Bangladesh and back
* Kelly in Bangladesh
* Bideshi blonde
* The world around
* Bdeshini
* Bangladesh Barta
* Lucy in Bangladesh
* OrangenSaftNotiz.de -In German
* Aumi in Bangladesh -In German
* Alex and Jake in Bangladesh
* A Blank Page
* Benji Braves Bangladesh
* Lyndsay Hersikorn
* Adventure in Bangladesh
* Roland's Journal

Some notable Bangladeshi photoblogs:

* Nazzina
* Desher Chobi - The face of my motherland
* Dhaka Daily Photo
* M A K Photo
* Andrew Biraj
* Palash Khan

Blogs in Bangla

Blogging Platform, directories and aggregators:
* বাঁধ ভাঙার আওয়াজ-The largest Bangla blogging platform with thousands of blogs in Bangla
* সচলায়তন-Online writers forum in Bangla
* আমার ব্লগBangla Blogging Platform
* এভারগ্রীন বাংলা ব্লগBangla Blogging Platform
* প্যাঁচালী - বাংলা ব্লগিং প্লাটফর্ম
* বাংলা ব্লগস্ - list of Blogs in Bangla script maintained by Debashish
* বাংলা ইউনিকোড ব্লগ Bangla Unicode Blog Aggregator
* গ্লোবাল ভয়েসেস অনলাইন: পৃথিবী কথা বলছে। আপনি কি শুনছেন? - Global Voices Online Bangla Version

* না বলা কথা
* উত্স সন্ধানে
* …করি বাংলায় চিত্কার…
* ছেঁড়া পাতায় কথামালা
* আসিফ আহমেদ অনীকের বাংলা ব্লগ
* অমি আজাদ
* সসংকোচ প্রকাশের দুরন্ত সাহস
* আমি এবং আমার পৃথিবী
* পুড়ে ছাই ধ্বংসস্তুপ থেকে বেঁচে উঠি পুর্ণবার
* রয়েসয়ে
* নিরিখ বান্ধিলাম দুই নয়নে……
* বিবর্ণ আকাশ এবং আমি….
* ভয়েস অফ বাংলাদেশী ব্লগারস
* এইটা তোমার গান
* প্রাত্যহিক ভ্যাজর ভ্যাজর
* কবিয়াল
* অজ্ঞাতবাস
* ধৃসর গোধুলী
* সাধক শন্কু
* বলো গো
* মোকাবেলা
* খিচুড়ী ব্লগ
* আড্ডা
* ভালবাসা
* হাজার বর্ষা রাত………
* কাকশ্য পরিবেদনা!
* আধুলি জমানোর ম্যাচবক্স
* কীন ব্রীজে গোধুলি এল অন্তরালে কালান্তর ভোর
* দিল কা লাড্ডু
* অনন্ত ন্বপ্ন
* ..খেরোখাতা..
* যাপিত জীবন
* বাংলা ভাষী
* বাংলা ভাষা
* সুহ্রদ সরকার
* সম্ভাবনার মৃত্যু ঘটুক … নতুন সম্ভাবনার তাগিদে
* সীমাহীন সংলাপ
* যূথচারী
* আলী মাহমেদের ব্লগিং
* মাহবুব সুমন ও তার অগাবগা বচন
* শুভ্র প্রকাশ পালের ব্লগ
* অলস বিকেলের শেষ রোদ
* শেঁকড়ের সন্ধানে
* টকিজ
* খসড়া কবির খসড়া কবিতা
* আমার ভাঙা পথের রাঙা ধূলা
* স্বপ্নলোক
* হিডেন হার্ট
* ত্রসরেণু অরণ্যে
* গ্লোবাল মিডিয়া
* আমাদের কথা -নারী জীবন বাংলা ব্লগ
* New Gaul Order -USA
* Ontorjatra
* আলোকধেনু
* জিকোবাজি
* কাপালিকানা
* আবজাব
* মুক্তাঙ্গন: নির্মাণ ব্লগ

* স্লোগান দিতে গিয়ে
* আমার কিছু বক্কা
* খোলা জানালা
* মনের পাতা
* ট্রিভিয়াল বাইটস
* ধূসর ফিনিক্স …এবং কোমল গান্ধার
* বিবর্ণ কবিতা
* জীবনানন্দ দাশের কবিতা

More Bangla online Links here

And finally some Bangladeshi Blog and news aggregators:

* Planet Bangla
* EIN News Bangladesh readers picks
* Bdblogs.com, Home of Bangladeshi blogs

Previous update: (For links of stale blogs which I have removed)

This is not an exhaustive list. Please let me know in the comment section if you want to include more blogs here.

Update: Now we have a comprehensive Bangladeshi bloggers Directory called BDBloggerz. Check it out:

Technocrati tags: ,

May 17, 2008

Indecision 2008

Time for some good laugh.

May 16, 2008

Cashing in during load shedding

Engineered rolling blackouts or load sheddings is a way to manage short supply of electricity. Bangladesh is reeling under it.

But it also has a flip side.

Creating the Longest Marketing Idea Chain in the World suggests:
Traditionally, we are not big in board games. Let alone the likes of Monopoly, we haven't even developed a proper branded game that can help us pass some quality time with friends and loved ones. Ludu has always been the favorite one, but lost its flavor among the urban audience.

Thats why any new local board game brand can now move in and position themselves as the perfect pass time solution during load shedding. Reading books is out, watching TV is out of the question, IPS is expensive, going out is risky. What remains is spending 1 hour of quality close time with your family members playing any local board game. Good solution for a not so great problem - what to do during a load shedding?

May 15, 2008

From Russia with hate

Black Looks points us to the racist hate in Russia which is evident from the above video documentary by Christof Putzel. The hate is against colored immigrants not just blacks but anyone who is not white, browns or Central Asians. Immigrants are attacked without provocation and the video of the attack is posted in the internet to warn others not to come to Russia.
It’s bad enough that that racist violence is described as “out of control” but many of the skin heads have support from the government….One member of the Duma is interviewed condoning the violence because the “government is not doing enough [about immigration]”

Who eats more?

US president George Bush's recent remark that India's large middle class is contributing to rising food prices around the world met with resistance from the Indians.

(Graph: Courtesy IHT - click for a larger view)

Now they are blaming that the food problem has "clearly" been created by Americans, who are eating 50 percent more calories than the average person in India. More in IHT:
If Americans were to slim down to even the middle-class weight in India, "many hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa would find food on their plates." The money Americans spend on liposuction to get rid of their excess fat could be funneled to famine victims instead.

Americans eat an average of 3,770 calories per capita a day, the highest amount in the world, according to data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, compared to 2,440 calories in India. They are also the largest per capita consumers in any major economy of beef, the most energy-intensive common food source, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The United States and Canada top the world in oil consumption per person, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Coexistence or no existence

I have read a brilliant oped in International Herald Tribune on the 60th anniversary of Israel. The writer, Daniel Barenboim is a pianist and conductor and the music director of the Staatskapelle Berlin. He discusses about Israel, Palestine and coexistence of two nations, zionism, socialism etc. Some excerpts:
After 1967 Israel turned very much toward the United States - not necessarily to its own advantage. The traditionalists said, "We will not give up the newly occupied territories." The religious Jews said, "These are not occupied but liberated, biblical territories." And with that the end of Socialism in Israel was sealed. Since then the conflict in the Middle East has been instrumentalized by world politics.

Many Israelis dream that when they wake up, the Palestinians will be gone, and the Palestinians dream that when they wake up, the Israelis will be gone. Both sides can no longer differentiate between dream and reality, and this is the psychological core of the problem.

Yes, the Jews had a right to their own state, and they had a right to this state. This demand was made even stronger by the Holocaust and the guilt of the Europeans after 1945. It is all too easily forgotten, however, that there was a moderate Zionism, there were people like Martin Buber who said from the beginning that the right to a Jewish state must be made acceptable to the existent population, the non-Jews. Militant Zionism, on the other hand, did not develop any further in its thinking. Even today, it is still based on a lie: that the land that the Jews settled was empty.

Today, many Israelis have no idea what it must feel like to be Palestinian - how it is to live in a city like Nablus, a prison for 180,000 people. What has become of the famous Jewish intellect here? I am not even speaking of justice or love. Why does one continue to feed the hate in the Gaza Strip?

There will never be a military solution. Two peoples are fighting over one and the same land. No matter how strong Israel becomes, there will always be insecurity and fear. The conflict is eating away at itself and at the Jewish soul, and it has been allowed to do so.

We wanted to own land that had never belonged to Jews and built settlements there. The Palestinians see this as imperialistic provocation, and rightly so. Their resistance is absolutely understandable - not the means they use to this end, not the violence nor the wanton inhumanity - but their "no."

We Israelis must finally find the courage to not react to this violence, the courage to stand by our history.

The Palestinians cannot expect that we should have been able to take care of anyone besides ourselves after the Holocaust; we had to survive. Now that we have done so, we must both look forward collectively.

Essentially, we are no further today than we were in 1947, when the United Nations voted to divide Palestine. Worse yet: in 1947 one could still imagine a binational state; sixty years later, this seems unthinkable. Today, people in Israel speak of separation, of divorce in respect to a two-state solution: What cynicism!

Some of these things are exaggerated by the media, but I do as I do because it drives me crazy to see how much injustice we Jews commit daily, and how much we endanger the future existence of Israel.
He is co-founder with Edward Said of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together Arab and Israeli musicians. And he has just become my personal hero.

May 13, 2008

Bangladesh on course

Some good news on Bangladesh from the American Chronicle:
Bangladesh has been victim of devastating flood twice is last two years. A severe cyclone (Sidr) swept through Bangladesh in November 2007 which left over 10000 dead and half a billion USD damage. Yet economic data shows that Bangladesh in on track in its expected growth. That´s almost like a miracle.

Bangladesh's central bank said that the economy could grow as much as 6.2 percent in the current fiscal year, supported by a rebound in agricultural output following natural disasters and a pick up in exports growth.
The notable detriment to this success is that Bangladesh has been seriously affected by world wide rice shortage. However these news should ease the frustrations of the Bangladeshis, if they are implemented really:

* Bangladesh will buy record amount of rice for stocks.

* Bangladesh to spend 12 pct of budget subsidizing fuel, food, fertilizer.


Bangladesh caretaker government announces national elections by the third week of December this year. Highlights of the chief advisers speech:
1. The ninth parliament election will be held in the third week of December of 2008.

2. The ban on indoor politics across the country will be lifted tomorrow.

3. Formal dialogue with the political parties from May 22.

4. Relaxing the relevant sections of the emergency rules.

5. A “National Charter” owill be formulated.

6. Consensus before poll.

7. Against violent demonstrations by political parties.
The reaction of the political parties as listed by bdoza are erratic, whereas they should be having a clear road map how they will plan and proceed.

May 12, 2008

China Earthquake: Twittering the disaster live

China has been hit by a 7.8 scale earthquake. Video sharing sites and 140 character twitter messages are bringing the latest updates to the world from the citizen journalists on the ground. And they are more resourceful than the mainstream media who are only starting to react to the news.

Mathew Ingram says about Twitter:
In any disaster, one of the first things that people look for — not just journalists, but readers too — is the eyewitness account, the first-person description, the man on the scene. Whenever something like the earthquake happens, thousands of editors and producers at newspapers, radio programs and TV networks clog the phones trying to reach someone, anyone, who can provide a personal account: they call homes, schools, stores, friends, distant relatives. What was it like? Where were you when it happened? What happened next?

Twitter is able to supply all of those things — and it’s also self-directed. People can post messages about whatever they wish, rather than answering only the questions that a producer asks them.
Keep an eye on Global Voices Online which is bringing more and more news from the ground.

Publishing life as a book to counter surveillance

This is the amazing story of Hasan Elahi, a Bangladeshi-American who publishes his whereabouts to protest listing him as a terrorist. You can track him any time. More press reports here.

May 10, 2008


"Washington will not accept any military takeover in Bangladesh. Bangladesh must restore democracy. We don't think there would a good election under emergency. We think the emergency has to be lifted. We think the rules for political activity need to be opened up" - US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard A Boucher
Source BDNews24


Tons of food aids of WFP are waiting in Bangladesh to be flown to Burma for the Cyclone Nargis victims. Red tapes in visas from Burmese embassy are slowing the process of flying them to Burma.

Finally a plane carrying the UN relief was flown to Burma. Bangladesh Military had earlier sent two planes containing potatoes, biscuits to Burma.

Today we hear another low from the Burmese military rulers:
Burma's junta seized U.N. aid shipments Friday meant for a multitude of hungry and homeless survivors of last week's devastating cyclone, forcing the world body to suspend further help. The aid included 38 tons of high-energy biscuits and arrived in Burma on Friday on two flights from Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

"All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated," U.N. World Food Program spokesman Risley said.

"For the time being, we have no choice but to end further efforts to bring critical needed food aid into Myanmar at this time," he said.
It seems they want to take the credit instead:
Myanmar’s government acknowledged taking control of the shipments and said it plans to distribute the aid itself to the affected areas.

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, government spokesman Ye Htut said the junta had clearly stated what it would do and denied the action amounted to a seizure.

In a statement in the official media after Myanmar turned back a team of Qatari rescue workers coming in on an aid flight this week, the foreign ministry said Myanmar would accept ”relief in cash and kind” but not foreign aid workers.

Myanmar says it will accept aid from all countries, but prohibits the entry of foreign workers who would deliver and manage the operations. The junta is “not ready” to change that position.

May 09, 2008

Thoughts on Myanmar

Burma Copes With Aftermath Of Catatrophic Typhoon
Image details: Burma Copes With Aftermath Of Catatrophic Typhoon served by picapp.com

The cyclone Nargis was deadly as predicted and it caught Myanmar of guard. The figures we read everyday never seem to stop depressing you, from 22,000 to 100,000 - now 600,000).

Cyclone Nargis is a Category 3 storm packed winds of 190 km (120 mile) per hour. However BBC quoted a wrong info that It was the world’s deadliest storm in ten years. Only last November (2007) The hurricane Sidr made a downfall in Southern Bangladesh - it was a Category-4 equivalent tropical cyclone with 215 km/h wind speed and water surge of Tidal waves reaching up to a height of 3 metres (9.8 ft) were reported.

The cyclone Pundit Chris Mooney has details on why Nargis was so catastrophic:
"It had been a fairly weak storm, and then it just started exploding even as it headed toward the coastline. So people didn't even know there was a bad storm coming until maybe just 24 or 48 hours out. And it kept getting worse and worse and worse, and then it hit a vulnerable place."

(Image courtesy: The Intersection)

It may be noted that Bangladesh did prepare a lot for SIDR. A total of 2 million people in Bangladesh evacuated to emergency shelters. Otherwise the death toll would be catastrophic. Most of those who were dead defied the warnings and stayed home. The after cyclone relief and rescue operations were also swift. Over 40,000 Red Cross volunteers were deployed to order residents in the 15 affected provinces into special cyclone and flood shelters. In contrast to the Burmese situation, The Bangladeshi military forces played a significant role in providing helicopters and boats to reach to remote locations and of course helping in relief and rescue.

What did the Burmese Government do to protect its people? Eyewitnesses say that even no forces were seen to help cleanup the debris in the capital. And now slow relief work is not making the situation better for the victims.

This is the real tragedy of people when its ruler are so alienated from the people and are only concerned about their powers. God save the people of Myanmar.

Check Burma Cyclone for information, commentaries, links for donations etc.

May 07, 2008

Barack The Magic Negro

There are lots of efforts to stop him like calling him a magic negro but he is nearing the finish line despite all such twisted tricks.

May 05, 2008

The blame game

US President George Bush has joined his top diplomat Condoleezza Rice in suggesting that the growing prosperity of India's large middle class is contributing to rising food prices around the world (More in Economic Times).

While RediffNews quotes FAO's data to blame US for the global food crisis.

Indian blogger Aparna Ray coins her protest in a limerick:

"Prez George Bush, it has come to pass,
Has laid blame on our Middle Class.
It seems we have hurled,
The rest of the world,
Into crisis by not chewing grass!

Tech guide

* Using Twitter in emergencies.

* Video to explain Twitter.

* How to make short videos with your mobile phone.

* Facebook vs. LinkedIn: Which is better for business?

* How Google Earth ate our town!

* One page guides to social networking.

* Real people don't have time for Social Media.

Will international correspondents be redundant?

"The old cartoonish model of parachute journalism was a reporter from New York or London, with a crisis mentality and a short list of questions. The new model is hundreds, or thousands, of homegrown bloggers piecing together many perspectives — counting on a hidden hand of links to sort out differences and shape a “lede” on the story. Kenya and China present the most striking examples of how the new model is pushing back on the old one."

Christofer Laydon talks to Ethan Zuckerman and Solana Larsen of Global Voices Online on the future of Journalism among other things.

Click to listen to Chris’s classroom conversation with Ethan Zuckerman and Solana Larsen here (71 minutes, 33 MB MP3).

Mobile phones as a development tool

Grameen's phone lady concept is a decade old and now the mobile phones have become so affordable to the mass that the phone ladies are almost dead by now. Except mobile internet telecenters is there anything remarkable happening in Bangladesh using mobile technology?

In the developing world, especially in Africa more and more innovations are coming up to use the potentials of the cellphone networks. Mobile phones are now providing banking services to the poor, text messaging are being used for advocacy and communication. More and more citizen journalists are using mobile phones as a media to record and send videos, photos and text from remote areas.

Mobile Technology for Social ChangeThe United Nations Foundation and The Vodafone Group Foundation has published a report titled :"Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use" (click to download pdf -1MB).

This report examines innovative uses of mobile technology by groups working to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The report identifies emerging trends in "mobile activism" through 11 case studies, and highlights the results of a global survey of NGO usage of mobile technology.

Also check their first report "Mobile Phone Banking and Low-Income Customers Evidence from South Africa" (click to download pdf).

I wish NGOs in Bangladesh would learn from these studies to use the potential of the mobile phone growth in the country.

Cost effective water purification system

A much awaited invention from the creator of Segway. The $1000 eco-friendly water regenerator named Slingshot can take nearly any source of moisture -- including ocean water, urine or sewage--and quickly turn it into safe drinking water. And it comes to Bangladesh first:
"Iqbal Quadir, the founder of Grameen Phone, the largest cell phone company in Bangladesh, is collaborating with Kamen to provide this regenerator in his country in a field trial."

May 01, 2008

New Blogger

Welcome Dr. Mahathir Mohammad to Blogging.

(Via Global Voices)

Cruel politics with US presidential candidate McCain

Bangabandhu in Bollywood

Renowned Bangladeshi columnist Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury is producing a film on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Guess who will be playing the role.

Its Amitabh Bachchan, the legendary actor of Bollywood.

Reuters India also reports:
His son Abhishek Bachchan will act in the role of a young Mujib. Amitabh's daughter-in-law and former Miss Universe, Aishwarya Rai, and renowned actress Shabana Azmi will also act in two key roles.

Shyam Benegal, the only director to won India's National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi five times, will direct the movie.
Amitabh is a powerful actor and I don't have anything against the choice. But I wonder why we had to turn to Bollywood to produce a cinema on Bangabandhu. It remains to be seen whether the real history is altered through Bollywood style dramatization or not.

Sad but true that politicization of Bangabandhu's deeds (both by Awami League and anti Awami League forces) have alienated the true Sheikh Mujib from the hearts of many Bangladeshis. And we have to rediscover them through Bolloywood.

Update: Bachchan denies plan to play Mujibur Rahman

On Fathers Day

Today is Father's Day in Germany (I didn't know that its celebrated in different dates across the world). When you feel the love you know the importance of this day.