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

December 31, 2011

Nicco Park

December 30, 2011

The #fog situation has not improved. All flights delayed by hours.

Intense fog. The picture pretty much sums up the situation at the Delhi domestic airport..

December 28, 2011

South Indian Thali for dinner at Hotel Sarvana Bhaban

India gate at dusk

Red Fort, built by Emperor Shahjahan

Lotus temple ..a place for people of all religions

The dog isn't acting.. Just having a nice sun bath

Qutub Minar &Ala'i Darwaza

Qutub Minar, a marvel of 13th century

December 27, 2011

The Main entrance of Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

December 26, 2011

At a toll point near Jaipur

Azmer Sharif - thousands of believers flock in this shrine for their pilgrimage

Mustard field on the way to Azmer

December 25, 2011

Motidungri Fort in Jaipur

Water Palace @ The Pink City

Amber Fort ... So grande... So marvelous..

In the Pink City ....

December 24, 2011

Kolkata, Rules & Customer Service

Here is an update of our India tour. Yesterday was a day full of jinx. At one point of time we were wondering how worse can it get.

On the way to Benapole, our companion family's child got sick from food poisoning and vomited in the car. We had to stop for cleaning and then on the border it turned out the customs superintendent, who was supposed to give approval for enlisting the carnet de passage (permission to take the car across border) was not in the office. We were told that he will be coming but after half an hour it became clear that he is managing office from somewhere else and will not be coming anytime soon. It took a lot of effort including talking help of connections to make it happen without him. That contributed to further delays.

Passing through Bangladesh customs was easy, And in Indian side, because of our car they did not bother much about luggage. They did make us open the bonnet and check Engine nos etc.

And then it happened. The engine of the Landrover of our friend just died after driving through India for about half kilometer. We checked the fuses. double-checked the connections but the Engine did not start. We started panicking when we heard that there is no repair shops nearby. After a while we realized that this was not getting us anywhere and someone suggested that we tow the car to a nearby village of Bongaon (no break-down insurance available in these parts). A taxi helped us in towing which was a hard effort in dense traffic situations.

The mechanic told us that its a time-belt related trouble and he will need time to find out what happened. We, two families with three kids were stranded at that point with no food and toilet facilities. There were no decent eateries within one mile radius. After we pressed the mechanic to give us a decision, he declared he cannot fix this, mainly because parts are rare and even he finds the problem it will not be possible to get parts in the vicinity.

So we decided to leave the car there and carry on with a rented car. Finally we came to Kolkata in the night and half day was spoiled.

Today it was a busy day for us in Kolkata. My daughter kept asking whether we are in India because she found no difference with the traffic situation of Dhaka and Kolkata. The forrnar capital of British India (1858-1912) has changed much - highrises, bypasses more cars. But did it keep its glory?

Bengalis are not a rule based society traditionally. But I see that there are much efforts from government to instill rules. We were told that we cannot take luggage on the roof of a car, the driver of our rented car forced us to open all the windows in dusty conditions because he has tinted glass (which is said to be illegal). The taxis wont take extra person. You have to submit loads of documents including hotel receipts for a mobile SIM card - etc. But don't get fooled thinking these rules are being installed in the society. You can take extra person in taxi paying loads of extra.

And then there is the pathetic customer service. Here is a snippet of conversation with the person at reception desk of our accomodation.

Reception: Please right down all the 500 rupee notes in a paper and provide you name and telephone no.

Me: Thats so many, why I need to do that?

Reception: Because this is our rule.

Me: But why?

Reception: There are fake notes.

Me: Yes. But its your job to verify that and if anything needs to be written why I should be bothered. Its late and I don't wanna waste my time. Please excuse me.

Reception: Then I won't sign the gatepass. You wont be able to leave.

Me; Thats so rude. Moreover our passport details are with you. Why I should submit contacts again?

Reception: Its our rule. If you don't like it don't stay here.

Then reluctantly I wrote all the note numbers and provided my Bangladesh number to see what his his reaction. He did not say anything and that reminds me that they follow the rule blindly without thinking what are the implications.

From all these rules the human elements, the care about customers are missing. I don't know why, but Kolkata seems to be lacking these aspects.

Tomorrow we leave for Jaipur.. See you there.

Luxury comes first... Aesthetics later....our hotel In Kolkata...

Good Morning...... From Kolkata..

December 23, 2011

Waiting.. waiting... On the border..

Long line of trucks waiting to cross the Bangladesh India border.. @ Benapole

December 22, 2011

On a ferry crossing the eschuary between Padma & Jamuna

Innovative Bangladesh Flag on the wall. At Proshika Honey Processing Plant, Manikganj.

On the way to India

Today we have started our journey towards India. Its a sunny day today and a bit warmer than the last few days. Preparations are always hectic. Passport, visa, foreign currency endorsements are the usual process you have to go through. Now that all have been taken care of we are ready to go. Will be providing you updates..

December 20, 2011

Travel To India By Car

This year I had been put under a lot of stress because of work, volunteerism and family affairs. It was inevitable that a holiday was on the cards. I have been to India for a quite a number of time but my family was not that lucky. And we always wanted to be at the Tajmahal together. So India it is.

And we will do this differently this time. One of our family friends has prior experience of traveling to India by car and the family has joined us. We have decided that we will do it the adventurous way.

Image from Flickr courtesy Rainer Ebert
Travelling to India by car is not a common phenomenon, especially because of strict tax regime in both the countries. I read recently that a car of a Bangladeshi traveler who drove home after travelling across many countries was confiscated by customs because the validity of his paper ran out. He could not release the car as it is subject to huge import tax (105%-300% according to Horsepower and age).

But the process of getting a permission to take your car to India and bring it back without paying duty  is fairly easy if you know how.

You will need an International Driver’s Licence to travel to India (which is virtually surrounding Bangladesh). To take your vehicle across the border you need a carnet de passage en douane. It is a document from the motoring organisation in the country in which the vehicle is registered, which says you will not sell the vehicle abroad without paying import duties.

In Bangladesh this permission is dealt by the Automobile Association of Bangladesh (AAB) [contact information here]. We had to give a bank guarantee of an assumed value of the car in favor of AAB, paid a permit charge of BDT 10,000/- (roughly $130) and the International Driving License Fee - BDT 2,500 (valid for one year) which is issued against your existing valid driving license. The whole process takes around 10 days.

The Indian Visa process has become very complicated due to their new online system which is unable to handle loads of requests. We managed to complete all the formalities after a lot of drama (but will save it for a later rant).

Those of you who have experience of travelling to India by air and by road knows that there is a clear discrimination in the ways immigration and customs are handled in both sides of the borders. I always tell my acquaintances to avoid the road borders because it involves lots of delays, harassment etc. But you never know things may have changed in the recent years. So I will be posting updates about our journey and hope that I will not be put under stress during travel.  

December 16, 2011

No Google Doodle For Victory Day

Some Bangladeshi netizens started a campaign to let Google know that we want a Google Doodle for Bangladesh's 40th victory day. Their voices were not heard. But still we can share the proposal. No?

Via Forhad

40 years of victory day celebrations at TSC.. Rallies, concerts all are happening..

December 09, 2011

Twitter Made Easy For You

During the first Dhaka Tweet up we discussed why there are not many Bangladeshis Tweeting. First of all only Citycell offers sms based tweeting. Technically users of other mobile operators can send sms to any of these three long codes (UK, Germany, Finland) as sms costs the same for local and international (BDT 2). But that is still costly for some as there are not many viable package sms options. So people with smartphones with Twitter apps use Twitter. It can also be used directly in mobile browser (like me )- people rarely know this although many of the recent phones are internet enabled and Twitter does not take much bandwidth.

I think people need to start using it and they will get the hang of it soon and it will be popular in Bangladesh. Here is a guide Titled "Twitter tips, tricks and Tweets" written by Paul McFedris which will help the new enthusiasts:

And who to follow? You can start by following me and many Bangladeshi Tweeps on this list.

December 07, 2011

The first ever barcamp in Bangladesh

This was long overdue. We first talked about the need for barcamp during the recent Dhaka Tweetup in BASIS. Then in the E Asia 2011 conference the talk got wind and here we go.

The first Bangladesh Barcamp will take place during 11-12 December 2011 at FREPD auditorium in Palashi, Dhaka. The duration will be from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM each day. You need to register here and the fee BDT 200 (US$ 3) will be collected at the venue. the event is being organized by FOSS bangladesh and Ankur ICT Foundation.

Here are the links:

* Facebook page
* Facebook Event
* Twitter account @BarCampBD
* Event Page
* What is Barcamp? "বারক্যাম্প'??? !!! বিষয়ডা কি? খায়? মাথায় দেয়? নাকি...

I wish they could announce the event a bit earlier thus giving the international barcampers a chance to participate. Moreover this needed to be in the weekend thus enabling many people to attend. It will be difficult to arrange a leave within such a short time. But its great to see the Barcamp happening at last.

Meanwhile those who think Bangladesh is not ready, this video is for them:

December 06, 2011

Bangladesh: Lone Woman Shows Resilience by Peaking Summits

Bangladesh tops the 2010 global climate change risk index but its people are one of the most resilient nations to tackle the threat of global warming and rising seas.

Wasfia Nazreen, a rights activist and development worker quit her job to fulfill her dream to reach seven summits of the seven continents. She started preparations two years ago and she reached 300 meters to the summit of Mount Elbrus in Russia (Europe) in July 2011 and the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (Africa) in September 2011. She is now on the way to climb Mount Aconcagua in South America.

Wasfia will continue her expeditions in 2012 as she is set to conquer Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) in Asia, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Mount McKinley (Denali) in North America and Carstensz Pyramidin in Oceania.

Wasfia Nazreen. Photo by Tanvir Murad Topu for Bangladesh On Seven Summits. Used with permission
Wasfia Nazreen. Photo by Tanvir Murad Topu for Bangladesh On Seven Summits. Used with permission
From the Facebook page of the Bangladesh on Seven Summits Foundation the effort is a tribute to 40 years of Bangladesh’s independence this year:
Bangladesh on Seven Summits is a tribute to those women and men, who, through sheer resolve, overcame enormous ordeal for the birth of our Nation.

Bangladesh on Seven Summits calls upon the international community to act urgently - to meet the drastic "Temperature Challenges" of Global Warming caused by the emissions of industrialized nations. In terms of magnitude, she is one of the most vulnerable countries to Climate Change. The climbs will highlight the resilience of the Bangladeshi peoples, who continue to adapt, confront and tenaciously survive, instead of being mere passive victims of natural disasters.

The world must listen to Bangladesh, and hear her across the heights of Kilimanjaro to Denali, Aconcagua to Sagarmatha.
Chaitanya Kumar at 350.org blog says:
Facing grave dangers of rising sea levels and erratic weather patterns, the country aims to adapt to the changing climate and that will require great reslience and courage. Calling it the temperature challenge, Wasfia is being the image of a resilient Bangladesh by facing extreme weather upon these peaks.
Close to the summit of Mount Elbrus with Bangladesh flag. Photo by Wasfia Nazreen. Used with permission
Close to the summit of Mount Elbrus with Bangladesh flag. Photo by Wasfia Nazreen. Used with permission
Wasfia is constantly engaging people with Facebook and Twitter to spread the campaign, raise funds and share updates about her journey.

Here are a few updates from Twitter:
@BDon7Summits: strange happenings at the #russianembassy. hopefully visa by sunday and off we go to Mt. Elbrus! #mtelbrus (23 Jun)
@BDon7Summits: We are still trying to track @wasfia. Updates soon. Fund raising continues (10 Jul)
@wasfia back to civilization, back to training! one toenail from a frost-bitten toe about to fall off. overwhelmed w all the solidarity messages (20 Jul)
Wasfia in Africa. Image from Bangladesh on Seven Summits's Facebook page.
Wasfia in Africa. Image by Meredith Riley
#fitnesstraining. Follow up w reports again on Tuesday. Preparation for Kili continue (24 Jul)
@BDon7Summits Touch down in Moshi, Tanzania after missing flight/s, losing luggage, paying extra extra extra & a lot of drama!... http://on.fb.me/tu8Sz0 (26 Sep)
@BDon7Summits 2nd Oct, 7:29am in #Tanzania, #Wasfia Nazreen reached the summit of #Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing... fb.me/YjcAae1k
Wasfia reflects in The Forum (A publication of the Daily Star) on her feat in reaching the highest peak of Africa:
Africa, as a continent is rising rapidly from the ashes of that past... just like us, Bangladeshis, they are resilient and proud people!
She continues:
Kili made me realise, once again, that the tides, the Moon that swoons, the Soul and the Mind who whisper… all are in essence, intricately interconnected. In principle there are a lot of ideas that feel amazing, but in execution, not many of us accomplish the emotional hurdles. Kili renewed my faith, once again, that all barriers, essentially, are in our minds only. Can we not walk the Earth with dignity towards all beings, and all women, including our sisters and mothers involved in this (sex) trade?
Please keep on following the Facebook page, and Twitter accounts @BDon7Summits & @wasfia for updates about the great journey.

Full-blown Sunrise over Patagonia © 2011 Wasfia Nazreen
Full-blown Sunrise over Patagonia © 2011 Wasfia Nazreen
@wasfia: "Mama i'm home again!" Full-blown #Sunrise over #Patagonia © 2011 wasfia nazreen #Aconcagua #Dec #expedition http://pic.twitter.com/IRxSE29p (Dec 3)
@wasfia: Almost 8:30pm, #Sunset over #Mendoza mountain ridge in the horizon... blowing my being away!! Would be neat to have a #home here!! Please. (Dec 4)
First published in Global Voices Online

December 03, 2011

Afternoon session @ #eAsia2011 'Building your own cloud' - On the podium Shinya Kukita

BRACU Chandrabot on display at #eAsia2011

December 02, 2011

The award winners of #eAsia2011 on stage

@markhillary talking about positioning Bangladesh as a leading Outsourcing destination #eAsia2011

Session: Building a National e-Governance Architecture for Developing Countries

Green view - Dec 2, 2011 9:30AM

People arriving the #eAsia2011 venue - today is the 2nd day

November 29, 2011

Mark Hillary talking to Dhaka Tweeps #DhakaTU

@eAsia11 The countdown begins for #eAsia2011 conference

Countdown clock at SAARC fountain, Dhaka, Bangladesh. For more info visit http://www.e-asia.org

November 28, 2011

The World That We Live In

November 15, 2011

An exemplary Protest Against Dowry

For centuries dowry has been part of the social system in many parts of the world and in developing countries it is seen as a financial burden for the bride's family. In several South Asian countries it has been prohibited by law in the past century, but dowry is still widely and illegally practiced.

Each year we hear about dowry-related domestic violence which may end up in the killing of wives by some husbands. A recent protest against dowry is being much discusses and lauded in the social networks in Bangladesh.

11/11/11 was chosen as the dream wedding date of the bride Farzana Yasmin, who works in an insurance company, and the bridegroom Shawkat Ali Khan Hiron, who is a head master of a government primary school. The wedding duly took place last Friday [bn], but during the reception Farzana's in-laws demanded a TV set, refrigerator, motorbike and a few more things as 'gifts' from the bride's family in presence of the guests.

The bride was stunned to see that her new husband was voicing support for their demands and sent ripples across the country by divorcing him right at the wedding. The relatives of the bridegroom tried to solve the dispute into the night but Farzana stuck to her word.

The bridegroom later wrote in a Facebook status that the truth is that his marriage ended and he apologized to the guests. He also claimed that he did not ask for a dowry. He then launched a smear campaign [bn] against the bride on Facebook. Netizens widely protested this and the hate filled posts were later removed.

Farzana explained:
Dowry has become a cancer of society. I've read in newspapers about it and have always wondered why this happens. [..] When it happened right before my eyes, something happened inside me. I felt like speaking up against it and doing something about it.... [..] Maybe I haven't changed the lives of ten people, but I want people to take the lesson that girls can do something.
She asked that if she, being an educated girl cannot take this decision, who can?

Here is a video of an interview [bn] she gave to local media (uploaded by Priyochannel).

Unheard Voice blog posts translations from the interview:
So what if I got divorced? I don’t need it. I can live by myself. I can never build a home with a man like this… Girls think once you get married you can never leave. They make comments like, how could she get divorced. Why should I live inside a hell when I know it is… We speak against dowry, but it still happens. If I don’t protest now, another five women will not protest against this… You see all these protests, rallies, but it still continues. This society continues to be ruled by men. How could a teacher ask for dowry? What will society learn from a teacher like that? And he is a government teacher. And government talks against dowry. These people need to be punished, they need to be socially ostracized. I am proud to say I walked out, even though I was dressed as bride.

Farzana at the interview - by Kowshik

Kowshik was there during the interview and wrote about it in BDNews24.com blog [bn]

তার যুগান্তকারী ঘটনা শুনছি। ফারজানাকে দেখে সজাগ হতে হয়। এমন সাহসী সিদ্ধান্ত ক’জন নিতে পেরেছেন? যৌতুকের দাবী মেটাতে গিয়ে নির্যাতনের শিকারের ঘটনা আমরা অহরহ শুনি। কিন্তু এভাবে ঘুরে দাঁড়াবার দৃষ্টান্ত বিরল।

Listening to her remarkable story. One has to be amazed by her deeds. How many people can take such a brave decision? We hear about domestic violence related to dowry all the time. But such bold stand is a rare phenomenon.
Kowshik's post attracted many comments. Gias Uddin Bhuiyan congratulated her and said:
তিনি যে এই সাহসী পদক্ষেপটি নিয়েছেন তা প্রতিটি ঘরে ঘরে প্রতিটি মানুষের মনে রাখা উচিত এবং সকলের জীবনে তার প্রতিফলন ঘটানো উচিত। শুধু তাকে বাহবা দিলেই দায়িত্ব শেষ হবে না।
Every person in every home should remember this bold step taken by her and the lesson should be applied in our lives. The responsibility doesn't end only by congratulating her.
Pankaj Chowdhury said:
ফারজানা তোমাকে অনেক অনেক ধন্যবাদ। তুমি দেখিয়ে দিয়েছ মেয়েরা বাজারের পন্য নয়। মেয়েরাও মানুষ তাদেরও স্বাধীনতা আছে।

Farzana, many thanks to you. You have shown that women are not products at markets. They are also human beings and they are independent.
Muktadir S. Hossain comments on an article in the Daily Star:
This is just the beginning. For all those beggars who look for dowry, this is a warning.
Manzor H. sarkar writes:
My full admiration for this girl's guts and courage and her decisive refusal to the compliance with this century-old stupid tradition or practice of dowry in our sub-continent. She fully realised what type of marriage was going to be installed. It looked like more to a sale deed rather than a bond of matrimony based on mutual trust and love.
The reality is that Farzana is just one odd amongst millions of women who have to live through the ordeals of dowry. When will society wake up?

First published in Global Voices.

November 11, 2011


I hope I will look back at this day sometime in the future:


* 11ElevenProject
* 11Eleven Facebook Page
* Event in Dhaka on 11/11/11

November 01, 2011

South Asia: Celebrating the 7 Billionth Child

On the 31 October, 2011, the earth welcomed a newborn child named Oishi. Her birth in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka carried a special message - she is the 7 billionth child of the world.

The Editor.net reports:
The 7 billionth child of the world is here in Dhaka. The lucky parents of the child are Mohsin Hossain and Tonni Hossain. They had hoped for a boy child as their third child. And this 3rd child is the 7 billionth child (symbolic) of the world.

The beautiful girl child was born on 12:01 AM at the early hours in Azimpur Maternity and Child Care Hospital.
It is difficult to identify exactly which child is the 7 billionth one, so a symbolic celebration is happening around the world. UNFPA selected Oishi to carry the honor in Bangladesh.

The website adds:
This birth was celebrated publicly - with cake and candles. The hospital was crowded with people who gathered to catch a glimpse of the child. Sponsored by the 7 billion action program, this program was a publicity event.
Posha Pakhi at group blog Somewhereinblog.net carried the news with a post titled "The 7 billionth child was born in Dhaka". The post attracted many comments:

Journo opined [bn]:
Welcome the the 7 billionth child from Bangladesh. Hope she will live as an enlightened person.
Mithapur wished the child and questioned the justification of selecting her and mentioned jokingly [bn]:
One question: How did they calculate that she is the 7 billionth

If the line would read -

The world's 7 billion (instead of billionth) children born in Dhaka

It can happen one day, isn't it?
Atiq cannot tell the difference between 7 billion and 7 billion plus one:
I don't understand all the fuss between 7 billion and 7 billion plus one numbers. Why so much discussion on this? Everybody is born with a number everyday.

My prayers for every one of them.
Although the world cheers at Oishi's birth, it did not cheer her parents much. Because Oishi is a girl child. Her parents wanted a boy this time [bn] (the first two are girls).

Sri lankan mother Danushika Perera cuddling her newly born baby
Sri lankan mother Danushika Perera cuddling her newly born baby. Image by Rohan Karunarathne. Copyright Demotix (31/10/2011)

Not only in Bangladesh, similar celebrations took place in many countries of the world. In Sri Lanka UNFPA celebrated the birth of Muthumani, the girl child of Ishara Madushanka and Danushika Dilani Perera.

Similarly in India Plan International celebrated the birth of Nargis as the 7 billionth child of the world.

LiveIndia.Com reports [Hi]:
In Lucknow, the capital of Uttarpradesh state in India, a baby girl named Nargis was the symbolic seven billionth child to be born during the early ours of Monday. She was named as Nargis.
Although the growing number of world population has been seen as a wake up call for the world, Muthumani, Oishi and Nargis give us the message that the girl-children should not be neglected in the future.

Translated from Bangla. Original post by Bijoy at Global Voices Bangla.

October 22, 2011

#OccupyDhaka: Joining The Global Movement Against The 1%

Occupy Wall Street, the peaceful protest against financial corruption and capitalism that started last month in the New York City's financial capital, has already spread in many countries of the world. People have joined under the motto: “We are the 99% who will not tolerate the greed and corruption of the remaining 1%.” And the statement is also being resonated in some streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

In a photo essay in Demotix Safin Ahmed reports about a protest in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street Movement in Dhaka on October 19, 2011 :
The People Solidarity Movement from Bangladesh gives solidarity to the global occupy Wall Street movement by holding a protest.

The People Solidarity Movement from Bangladesh gives solidarity to the global occupy Wall Street movement by holding a protest.
Activists chant and wave placards and banners supporting the global movement against the banks, and corruption. Image By Safin Ahmed. Copyright Demotix (19/10/2011)
Blogger Rasel Parvez writes [bn] about the need of such protest and asserts that the movement should be non-violent:
আমাদের জীবনযাপনে রাষ্ট্রের আরও সক্রিয় আন্তরিক অংশগ্রহনের দাবীতে আমাদের একমত হতে হবে। আমরা ৯৯% মানুষ রাষ্ট্রের ক্রমাগত উদাসীনতা, উপেক্ষায় বিক্ষুব্ধ এবং আমাদের ভেতরে এই অভাববোধ বিষয়ে সচেতনতা জন্মেছে এটা নিশ্চিত করতে হবে।

একই সাথে সহিংসতা এড়িয়ে চলতে হবে। অকুপাই ওয়ালস্ট্রীটের অবস্থানে অংশগ্রহনকারীদের সবচেয়ে বড় সম্পদ তাদের শৃঙ্খলাবোধ, গত ১ মাসেও তারা সহিংসতা দেখান নি।

We have to agree on the fact that the government should be more active and earnest in ensuring our livelihoods. We, the 99%, are outraged by the the long negligence and ignorance by the state and we are now building awareness.

We have to avert violence. The greatest asset of the occupy wall street movement is their discipline, they have not resorted to violence in the past month.
Soon more organizations joined the cause and planned a "Occupy Dhaka" [bn] movement on October 22, 2011 at Teacher and Student Center (TSC) square inside Dhaka University Campus which was promulgated using Facebook and Twitter.

The Poster for We Are 99% (Occupy Dhaka)

Renowned teacher, economist and activist Anu Muhammad urged everybody [bn] to join the protests to take back Bangladesh:
Click image to view the leaflet
দেশে দেশে একই শ্লোগান দিয়ে মানুষ উঠে আসছে রাস্তায়। শ্লোগানের মূল কথা দুটো; একটি, নিজের পরিচয় ঘোষণা: ‘আমরা ৯৯%’। আরেকটি, আন্দোলনের লক্ষ্য ঘোষণা: ‘দখল কর….’! কি দখল? দখল ক্ষমতার কেন্দ্র, দখল নিজের দেশ, দখল নিজের জীবন। প্রকৃত অর্থে নিজের জীবন, সম্পদ ও দেশ দখল করেছে শতকরা ১ ভাগ লুটেরা, দখলদার, যুদ্ধবাজ সন্ত্রাসী। লক্ষ্য এসব দখলমুক্ত করা। কেননা দেয়ালে পিঠ ঠেকে গেছে।[..]

ক্ষমতার কেন্দ্র অটুট রেখে সরকারের বদলে কিছুই বদল হবে না। এটা যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের শিক্ষা, এটা বাংলাদেশের শিক্ষা। মানুষ এখন তাই দখল করতে চাচ্ছে ক্ষমতার কেন্দ্র। বাংলাদেশেও মানুষকে বাঁচতে হলে, নতুন ভবিষ্যৎ নির্মাণ করতে হলে, দ্বিজোটীয় বিভাজনের ঘোরে লুটেরা, দখলদার সন্ত্রাসী শতকরা ১ ভাগের যে শৃঙ্খল, তা থেকে মুক্ত হতে গেলে এই মেরুকরণকেই নতুন রাজনীতির কেন্দ্রে আনতে হবে। বাংলাদেশে এই লড়াই নতুন নয়, জনগণের শতভাগ মালিকানায় দেশ ও তার সম্পদ প্রতিষ্ঠার চলমান লড়াইয়ের অন্তর্গত শ্লোগানই হল: আমরা ৯৯%, দখলমুক্ত কর বাংলাদেশ।

A placard. Image by Kowshik Ahmed
In every nation people are coming out in the streets chanting the same words. The slogan has two parts; one, identify ourselves: 'We are 99%'. The other part; set the goal of the movement: 'Occupy..' Occupy what? Occupy the center of power, occupy your own country, occupy your own lives. In reality your lives, natural resources and country are being controlled by 1% looters, acquirers and war mongers. Our goal is to free those because we are pressed back at the wall.

Changing the government keeping the power centers intact will not change anything. This is the learning from the US, This is the learning from Bangladesh, too. So people want to occupy the center of power. If the Bangladeshis want to live, build a new future, get themselves free from the two feuding, corrupt and occupier political alliances then they have to re-polarize the politics. This struggle in Bangladesh is not new, if the citizens want that their country and the resources will be controlled by them then the slogan of the movement is applicable to them: We are the 99%, free Bangladesh from occupation.

Kowshik Ahmed posts pictures of the protests in BDNews24blog and in a Facebook Album. He also posts a video showing the rally.

Bloggers and online activists expressing solidarity at TSC. Image by Kowshik Ahmed. Used with permission
An anonymous blogger at Sachalayatan describes about today's protest in Dhaka:
হাজার হাজার মানুষ ওয়ালস্ট্রিটে অবস্থান নিয়েছে কর্পোরেট তন্ত্রের প্রতিবাদে। আজ শনিবার ঢাকায় টিএসসিতে সেই আন্দোলনের সাথে সংহতি জানিয়ে একত্রিত হয়েছিলেন কয়েকশ উচ্চকন্ঠ মানুষ। [..] আজ বামধারার রাজনীতিকরা এই প্রতিবাদের সামনের সারিতে আছেন। কিন্তু এই জায়গাটা এমনকি তাদেরও না। এই জায়গাটা আমাদের। আমরা যারা বিকল্প ধারার মিডিয়াতে- ব্লগে, ফেসবুকে সচেতন হয়ে উঠছি ক্রমশ, সেই আমাদের। বাম মানুষগুলোর সাথে, তাদের পুরো দৃষ্টিভঙ্গির সাথে সহমত না হবার পরেও, সেই সচেতনতার ছাপ তাদের মধ্যে দেখতে পেয়ে, আজ আমরা 'অকুপাই বাংলাদেশ' এর সাথে সংহতি জানাচ্ছি।

এই প্রতিবাদগুলো, এই স্লোগান আর মিছিল সফল হবে কী হবে না আমার জানা নাই। ফেসবুকের ওয়ালপোস্টে আর ব্লগিঙে গতি পেতে থাকা এই নতুন প্রজন্মের আন্দোলন আগামিকাল বা পরশু সাফল্য নিয়ে আসবে কি না জানা নাই। কিন্তু একটা বিশ্বাস আছে। একদিন, ঘুমিয়ে থাকা মানুষেরা জেগে উঠবে। একদিন সবাই রাস্তায় নেমে আসবে। একদিন ১% মানুষের হাতের পুতুল হবার বদলে, ৯৯% মানুষ নিজেদের মতে চলবে। সেই দিন জেগে উঠে তারা দেখবে, তাদের আগে আমরা ছিলাম। আমাদের উপর দায়িত্ব, তারা জেগে ওঠা পর্যন্ত এই প্রতিবাদ সামনে এগিয়ে নিয়ে যাওয়া।

Thousands of people gathered in Wall Street to protest against Corporatism. Today Saturday a few hundreds of vocal Bangladeshi citizens expressed solidarity with that protest. [..] Today the left leaning politicians are in the fore front of this protest. But this place is not even theirs. This place is ours. This place is for those who are becoming aware by sharing the news and expressing themselves using the alternative media - blogs and Facebook. We do not share the ideology of the left, but we see the awareness in them. So we are with them in solidarity with the "Occupy Bangladesh" movement.

We cannot tell whether these protests, these slogans and rallies will be successful. We do not know whether this movement of the new generation generating Godspeed by posting in Facebook or blogs will bring success in the coming days. But we believe in one thing. One day, the sleeping citizens will be awake. One day everybody will be in the streets. One day, instead of being a puppet of the 1%, the 99% will be on their own. That day they will rise and realize that we were before them. Our responsibility is to carry this movement till they wake up.

First published in Global Voices.