October 31, 2007

Say "No" To Torture

Do you approve of this?


Then you shouldn't approve of this either.

Raise your voices.

Footnote: For muscular Western liberals (that's you Hitchens!), just contemplate it in reverse order.

If you think both instances justified torture, think seriously of committing yourself to an institution.

War Again Corruption to War Against Drugs

I hear that Delwar Hossain's son has been arrested on the grounds of drug possession. Are yaba khors the new kombol-chors? Stay tuned....

Up next: the War against Viagra and other Egregious Sexual Paraphernalia (ref: the Purbani director story), the War against Fundamentalists (no necessarily war criminals, just anyone with a beard), followed a few Wars later by the War against Bloggers (not necessarily bloggers, just anyone with an internet connection). I blame Bush's rhetoric.

As long as there are wars Wars to be fought, the CTG simply cannot relinquish power and its supporters will continue to point to its critics as: "corruptionists", "drug peddlers", "perverts", "fundamentalists" and as "bloggers".

So pre-emptively let me state this: this blog "internets" is drugs-free, sex-free, fundie-free and blog-free. Soon, like 'Desh, it might become critic-free too.

Apologies to everyone for mentioning the V-drug.

October 30, 2007

The Good Shepherd

Having spent most of the day away from any internet access, I came home to find that my chances of one day becoming a General Secretary of any major political party had increased tremendously. All I had to do was attend a general meeting organised by anyone connected or unconnected with the party, and there proclaim myself as GS, citing the flouting of constitutions and rules we witnessed today as wonderful precedents.

Happy at this positive outcome for Bangladesh and my career ambitions, I sat back to enjoy a movie I had watched about four times previously: The Good Shepherd directed by Robert De Niro. It is a fictional re-telling of the birth of the C.I.A. Since all is well and good in Bangladesh, I've decided to write about this movie and urge every Bangladeshi reader I've got to take a chill pill and watch it. Not once, not twice but over and over again. At three hours it's a bit long, but trust me completely worth it.

I might include a clip of it in the coming days, but for now I leave you with one small exchange, part of which you can hear from NPR's interview with de Niro @ 1:20 if you're interested. It's between General Bill Sullivan, the (semi-fictional) architect of America's intelligence agency played by de Niro, and Edward Wilson, his most promising protege played by Matt Damon.

Bill Sullivan: I have to tell you, I have some real problems with this whole thing despite how much we need it. I'm concerned that too much power will end up in the hands of too few. It's always in somebody's best interest to promote enemies real or imagined. I see this as America's eyes and ears; I don't want it to become its heart and soul. So I told the president for this to work there is going to have to be some kind of civilian oversight.

Edward Wilson: Oversight? How can you have a covert organization if you have people looking over your shoulder?

Bill Sullivan: You know who gave Hitler his power? The clerks and the bookkeepers, the civil servants. I have this one weakness: I believe in a just God. I always seem to err on the side of democracy.

Bill Sullivan: No matter what anyone tells you there'll be no one you can really trust.

Bill Sullivan: I'm afraid when all is said and done we're all just clerks too.

I'm a huge fan of de Niro.

October 27, 2007

The Only Words I Have for Mujahid

Mujahid doesn't deserve a response.

He deserves to be taken to Benapole or the Bay and tossed aside like garbage. Ditto for his supporters. Dhaka Shohor has a few candid words for him - in Bangla of course: when you're outraged swearing in Bangla brings the blood pressure down, but only if you're a non-Rajakar Bangali which Mujahid is not - but frankly they are not for civilised ears.

So excuse this small moment of anger: shala tor ***** *****. Imagine what you will but don't ask for clarifications.

October 25, 2007

"Bankgate" Picked Up by Daily Statesman of Kolkata

In what might not be an altogether unpleasant twist for the regime, the "Bankgate" story has been picked up by the Daily Statesman of Kolkata. The picture below was sent to me by an Indian Bangali friend residing in the U.S. whose father has a subscription to the print edition, and confirms it.

"Open American support goes a long way toward discrediting any Arab" - thus spake the Middle East expert, Professor Marc Lynch. One can paraphrase it thus: "Any Indian support goes a long way toward discrediting any Bangladeshi". Yet, the same reasons Arab democrats tend to look outwards - and not necessarily towards America - are now at work in Bangladesh: censorship, viewing all criticism as dissent and all dissent as "anti-state conspiracies". There is no nuance when it comes to government views of its critics, and probably never has been since 1971.

Thus, I predict that this will be a not altogether unpleasant outcome for the regime, given that it can now call all its critics "Indian agents" and point to this article as "proof". Although in the long run, how ensuring transparency in OUR government's processes and functions will help Indians is something I leave the more conspiracy-minded of my readers to imagine.

The other aspect of this is that it will now force the local media to respond to it. I doubt whether PA/DS will touch this with a ten-foot pole. New Age and Naya Diganta will no doubt jump up and down with anti-Indian rhetoric for the next few days, despite the fact that it was their complicit silence that allowed this to happen in the first place. But most of all, I await the Amader Shomoy response with great anticipation and will highlight it on this blog if/when it comes by.

Let the media wars begin and the truth be known!

October 24, 2007

Sheikh Rehana Effectively Exiled

I think we can for the moment lay to rest all speculations about an AL-CTG deal. The Daily Star and bdnews24 is reporting that an arrest warrant went out for Mrs. Hasina's sister Sheikh Rehana, who lives in England and visits Bangladesh very infrequently. Why this would be a priority case for ACC is beyond me given that he accused doesn't even live here.

Good night and good luck.

Update: Via Third Eye @ Sachalayatan, Sheikh Rehana's interview with Channel S. More than anything else, this will give greater relevance to the Mujib family as a political dynasty, the very thing that the CTG wanted to avoid. As she says, she has been out of the country for most of the years since 1975 and I have it from very good sources that her political ambitions are nil.

Sajeeb Wazed's BBC Interview

Mr. Sajeeb Wazed's interview with BBC in which he talks about General Moeen's speech and the questions he asked the General. Courtesy of Addabaj at Sachalayatan.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

Deshi Blogs and the Future of Citizen Journalism in Bangladesh

Say it with me: Deshi blogs have arrived. And with a tremendous bang.

Whether they will stay or not is another question altogether, and I'll touch on this question a bit more below. But I assure you that if you are a regular reader of Deshi blogs, you are not likely to forget these last five days. These last five days have seen the blogs break the news, discuss the news and perhaps even create the news. It started with Mash's post on E-Bangladesh and ends with Dr. David King, the KSG professor whose class the General was invited to speak to, responding to (unsubstantiated as far as I know and irresponsible I feel) accusations made against him on Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers. (h/t Addabaj @ Shocholoyton)

Deshi Blogger wrote:

Bangladesh government sought Dr. David C. King's advice for election reform and wanted to appoint him as special consultant during his visit to Bangladesh. For this reason he invited Gen. Moeen to come to his school and to speak to his class and probably finalize the deal of him working as consultant. Money talks .... There is a definitely a conflict of interest. But who cares?

To which Dr. King replied:

What are you talking about? I had no contact with General Moeen until he came to my class yesterday, and nobody ever approched me about consulting. Why didn't you just email me before posting?

He then left a second comment which I feel is worth thinking about. Not for a minute or so, but long and hard:

It has been interesting reading comments about the visit on various blogs over the last day. There are many conspiracy theorists among your community.

My students and I encouraged General Moeen to operate in a fully transparent way. I encourage everyone in the caretaker government to be transparent.

That applies, too, to the Bangladeshi diaspora. To my taste, too many blog posts include phrases like "rumor has it," or "it is said," -- or simply invent their own realities.

I'm not in Bangladesh, so I don't understand all of your ways. And I appreciate Moina asking the question -- but all anyone has to do is just ask. Goodness knows our students didn't hold back when asking General Moeen questions yesterday and today.

(Emphasis mine)

I can assure the professor that Bangladeshis are not naturally more conspiracy-theory-prone than any other people. But once the government starts witholding information and acting secretive, that is what you get: misinformation and disinformation. It's been said before and in fact, I've been talking against censorship so much over this summer that I feel bad for my regular readers. But that really is the core of the issue. If American media outlets felt half the pressures that the Bangladeshi media have come under since January 11th and started censorship under coercion or self-restraint, American blogs would have been filled with as much conpiracy-theory and rumour. Which might have led to further censorship of the more adventurous media outlets and de-legitimization of blogs on the grounds of "bad journalism", "endangering the national interest" and of course my favourite "conspiracy". Cliche it along with me: vicious cycle.

But the rest of what he says is very relevant too, if only to think about. Yes, with increasing attention being paid to blogs, Deshi blogs themselves need to do some soul-searching and make sure that they don't start peddling in half-truths that are easily confirmed or dismissed. It's the obligation that we have to our readers, and frankly to our country which deserves the best and not the truth bent to fit out ideological perspectives, be they AL, BNP, Jamaati or CTG/shongskarponthi (sorry to sound all deshpremi and December 16thy and a bit like the General himself!).

And then there is that picture of the Chief of our Army taking questions from students. Alas, had it been in his own country, from students of the premier institution of his own land - and without arguments, this is still Dhaka University -I would have been happier. Instead, we know what happened there, and I have no wish to revisit that dark moment in Bangladesh's civil-military relations and indeed its history.

"One flag, One Nation, One Country - Our Bangladesh" - then why not take questions - open, unfettered questions - from those students studying under our flag, belonging to our nation, living in our country, ie. BANGLADESHI students? I throw my question at an abyss expecting no answer.

Which brings me to my last issue, the different ways in which authorities deal with blogs. I leave you with this post on how governments deal with citizen media, aptly titled as "Engage, Ignore, Supress". The author gives examples of the good (engagement, the city of Buenos Aires' official blog, Democrats and Republicans answering questions to YouTube video-bloggers), the bad (ignoring, what's been happening to us -I'll speak for myself - me) and the ugly (supressing, Egyptian bloggers being arrested, Malaysian bloggers being called in for questioning or getting sued).

But most pertinently to our current situation the author says this:

And this, I argue, is exactly the view that government’s should be taking when it comes to citizen media: it’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity. A government, like any large organization, is a brand. Use blogs to engage your constituents, to answer their criticisms, to educate them about your strategy.

Thanks to The 3rd World View for sharing the story above. One of the oldest Deshi blogs - if not the oldest - for those who don't know!

Already, the gathering storm can be felt. There was the threatening of bloggers during Tasneem Khalil's detention. Every now and then, I can hear the "noise": "surely all these bloggers are paid by the political parties" (usual suspect is Mr. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, perhaps because he too maintains a blog, but I've heard variations) or "all you bloggers are related to corrupt politicians". Never refuting the evidence or arguments presented, always going for character assassination. That is the worst way to "ignore" someone.

From my previous experience with Bangladeshi political culture, I'm preparing for a campaign to delegitimise bloggers. A campaign whose magnitude will be proportional to how relevant they become. One just hopes that it dithers between the good and the bad, and never reaches the ugly. But as always with Bangladesh, one hopes for the best. And the best would be if our government engages us, frees the media and allows a much freer flow of information. It's the lifeblood of life.

October 23, 2007

The Bangladeshi Blogosphere - A Few High Points - Boston Brahmins Edition

Updated below
First and foremost, a pointer to Shadakalo's excellent, excellent post from yesterday on General Moeen's visit to Harvard. For the umpteenth time this year, let me say that blogs are doing the media's job. And in Shadakalo's case, doing it well! My humble thanks to the people behind that blog.

On that note: after my less-than-elegant-or-polite jab at the Daily Star editors and the media in general (no pun intended), I am happy to note that Mukti has a much more succint and pertinent list of grievances and questions for the media:

"Journalism without fear or favour? I hope the late SM Ali is not too disturbed in his grave....

"Second, will the media rethink its responsibility? I asked the editor of a major Bangla daily earlier this month about press freedom in today’s Bangladesh. He said a lot of things without answering the question. My brother mentioned something LK Advani said about the Indian media during their Emergency — the media was asked to bend, they chose to crawl. Ours seem to have taken supplication to a new low. How long before this changes?"

I urge everyone to read the entire post. Daily Star people, I know I'm getting hits from your offices, so come on, answer a few of our questions!

Update: Mash has finally cleared the air about whether General Moeen was Harvard University's Ash Institute's Kennedy School of Government's Dr. King's guest in this excellent post in which he reproduces an email exchange with Dr. David King himself:

"Dr. King confirmed that General Moeen was not invited by the Kennedy School of Government. General Moeen had instead been invited by Harvard University. That invitation was later cancelled, for reasons unknown to Dr. King. Dr. King had asked to "borrow" General Moeen to appear in his class before his invitation to Harvard was cancelled."

So to answer J@Shadakalo's question, "But why inflate something that is so easily proven to be untrue?": because the people on General's Moeen side are thin-skinned/afraid and thought that:

a) a Harvard speech meant some tremendous boost in prestige in the eyes of us poor, uneducated Bangladeshis

b) and therefore the cancellation meant a severe blow to his prestige, a "loss of face".

So it seems that while initial reports were right, the correction will be seen nowhere in the Bangladeshi media. I note that Amader Shomoy is still reporting that General Moeen is participating at a "seminar" on "Democracy in Bangladesh" at the Ash Institute at KSG. How this reflects on the Bangladeshi media, I leave readers to judge. Personally I hope that Amader Shomoy is right and would love to be proven wrong in placing my faith in the Deshi blogs over the Deshi media. [Update: Shadakalo reports that he was at a lunch/lecture with Bangladeshi students and community leaders. See link below.]

I hope this because press freedom could not have deteriorated so much in the last 9 months that blogs are blowing open stories that are within the media's grasp. As we can see from Mash, all it takes is one email.

And since I've written this, J@Shadakalo has also put up an email interview with Dr. David King that I'd urge everyone to read. Well done both!

Update 2: On another front, another speculative piece on Bangladesh Watchdog as to goings on in Boston. Of particular interest, complementing J's speculations [very first link on this post] for the real reasons behind the General's visit:

"It is rumored that General’s mission to the U. S. is to meet Sheikh Hasina’s family members. He visited Florida where his only son, his younger brother and also Hasina’s daughter live. At Harvard, it is rumored that he wanted to meet Sajeeb Wajed Joy. It is rumored that instead of a private meeting Joy suggested an open meeting. The General, therefore, have reportedly invited all the 4 Bangladeshi students of the KSG to have luncheon with him on October 23, the day of his departure to China. It is believed that after this meeting, he would decide as to how to deal with Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the AL party now under detention. It may be mentioned that as per media reports, Joy met Indian Foreign Minister during his trip to New York few weeks ago and that might prompted General Moeen to have a face-to-face dialogue with Joy."

I stress this is all hearsay till now as far as I'm concerned. If true - and I have reason to place high credibility on the author of this piece, which I should add is not the blog owner - I have to ask, is populist rhetoric and elite politicking the only way we can do politics? One hopes we grow out of it.

Meanwhile, on less murkier (?) grounds, Addafication has a post dealing with the nitty-gritty legal issues behind Bankgate. I give you no quotes because the entire piece is worth a good read for supporters and critics of General Moeen alike.

A small pat on the back for Deshi bloggers.

A Humble Request to the Caretaker Government

If you are going to establish "taskforces" whose composition, mandate and rules we are not aware of, at least have the decency not to change names every few months.

So far we have had:

"national task force against corruption"

"the anti-corruption taskforce" (personal favourite: plain, precise and to the point)

"joint task forces" when arresting the journalist Tasneem Khalil

and the latest and most laughter-inducing till date "the army-led Task Force against Egregious Crimes and Corruption".

The Navy has probably been left to deal with unegregious theft ....

A Letter For Arif

I am happy to report that unlike a few weeks back, the blogs are now reporting that Arifur Rahman is not in some "undisclosed location", but rather at Dhaka Central Jail. Unheard Voices has begun a letter writing campaign for the jailed cartoonist. Please write to him to show your support and solidarity at this trying time in his young life. The letters can be addressed to:

Mohammad Arifur Rahman,
Son of Mohammad Matiur Rahman,
re CR Case No. 2298/07,
Dhaka Central Jail,
Nazimuddin Road,

I would like to request my fellow bloggers to highlight this letter-writing campaign as well, especially in Bangla blogs. I'm almost ashamed to ask more from them given the superb job they've done since our local media lost all its spine in dealing with this issue!

One particular line from the UV post is worth quoting: "We also urge those offended by the cartoon to write to him, for compassion towards one’s adversaries is a fast-vanishing Islamic value in today’s world."

Very few will disagree with that.

October 22, 2007

Dhaka Shohor Predictions following "Bankgate"

Things I expect to happen in the next week in Dhaka with regards to "Bankgate" (thank you SA bhai!). All "might"s and "may"s, no guarantess and no money back:

1) This particular chartered accounting firm might lose a few employees. Some of the senior partners might even have corruption charges made against them.

2) A new aura of mystery will come to surround the banker's profession even as it has come to surround the soldier's profession over the last 32 years. In support of this, let me quote a managing director of a recently famous bank from a Pravda Amader Shomoy interview (h/t Shadakalo): "Those who are making noise about this do not know anything about banking". Yes, I agree. So as a banker, tell us why all this has been misinterpreted and give us the correct explanation. We're NOT bankers, true. But neither are we so stupid that we won't get it if you took the trouble to explain.

3) A certain prospectus dealing with an army-owned bank that recently went public might just go offline from the Stock Exchange Commission website.

4) E-bangladesh and the Stock Exchange Commission sites might be blocked from within Bangladesh.

5) The affairs of public companies might come under the Officials Secrets Act of 1923, and made public to foreign nationals only and not to Bangladeshi citizens. Yes, that is how twisted our sense of national security can be.

6) The use of the internet might be made illegal in Bangladesh, especially for business uses or to get information about potential investments.

7) "Tareque Zia made me do it!"

8) The teaching of accounting, banking and mathematics might be banned from Bangladeshi schools to make way for MANLY disciplines more applicable to "REAL life", such as theoretical physics, cellular biology and abstract mathematics. Political science, such as it is in Bangladesh, will be completely banned given that there will be no "politics" - a synonym for the AL-BNP katakati - to study anymore. And then we can all live happily ever after....

Pretty outlandish eh? But in the brave new post-1/11 world, I would not be surprised unless I were to see the following. Methinks that I will live to see Hell freeze over, but not the following:

1) Any explanation that is civil and acknowledges the right of citizens to ask questions of politicians AND public servants.

2) Any act even resembling "accountability" of public officials.

And thus we will stumble onto 2008 and beyond till the next 1/11, the next Messiah and the next bunch of sycophants crying "Hosanna".

October 21, 2007

Daily Star Editors Should be Replaced by Monkeys

From point-counterpoint section, we have our former President of the Republic sharing with us his knowledge of truth commissions, of the Republic of South Africa, of the constitution no less and sharing with us his grievances over the gold smuggling case. God bless his soul for making us laugh!


"South Africa is a country of Christian majority. In their daily life and even in state administration, the Christian religion plays an important role. In addition, they have the colour problem . Black leader Nelson Mandela was in jail for much of his life. Following continued protests, he was released and became the president of the country through a national election.

"Having coming to power, Nelson Mandela formed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission based on the principle and ethics of Christianity. Catholic Christians who so desire go to church on Sunday and confess their sins to the priest, wanting to be forgiven . The priest advises them to follow the path of truth, shun acts of sin, and lead a good life. Nelson Mandela was imbibed by the principles of religion when he formed the TRC."

As I found out from Wikipedia, Catholics as percentage of total Christians in South Africa according to the 2001 census: ~8%. Neither had I any idea of Mandela's Catholic affiliations. HME might of course be mixing him up with the Archbishop Tutu ("the colour problem" you see) in which case, there has been some sort of union between Anglicans and Catholics in South Africa that I was completely unaware of.

On second thoughts, I take it back: both Daily Star editors AND columnists should be replaced by monkeys. They'll get it right more often than this current lot.

October 19, 2007

General Moeen's Q&A in London

Update 2: General Moeen's interview with BBC can be heard here courtesy of E-Bangladesh.

He's talking about some bank loan controversy and I saw something similar in all the newspapers today, such as in The Daily Star, The New Nation and Amader Shomoy.

Unfortunately, since I read the newspapers closely everyday, I have NO idea at all what he is referring to. Surely a question as big as this would have been brought up by the free media and welcomed by the democracy-establishing and accountable government that we have enjoyed since 1/11. That way General Moeen would have cleared up the entire matter before leaving for the U.S. That is after all what accountability means.

Leaves me wondering why it didn't quite happen that way ......

Updates: Same press conference, covered by a UK-based channel. Plus another report featuring the General's dinner with a "non-political" outfit called Jago Bangladesh which also features Awami League protesters outside.

Would appreciate it if someone could point me in the direction of a video of his interview at JFK. Thanks!

Jago Bangladesh dinner and AL protesters.

Britain-based channel reporting on the same press conference

Channel i Report

Readers' comments only. Nothing personal please!

Squatter Communities aka Bostee

Robert Neuwirth a journalist who has lived in squatter communities in parts of Africa, Brazil, India and Turkey, talks below about how squatter communities develop (or could develop in some cases) into livable towns and then hopefully into cities of the future. First policy rule he outlines: do not evict! Anybody listening in Dhaka shohor?

I dealt with legal rights as a way of dealing with rapid urbanization and the informal economy it brings with it in the "Lungi Post" on UV a few months back. Neuwirth disagrees with De Soto, whom I quoted on that post, on the value of property rights. He states that a guarantee to not evict is the better option, combined with "access to politics" or political rights.

October 18, 2007

The Bangladeshi Blogosphere - A Few High Points

This last week saw the publication of two very important pieces without much precedent on the internet:

Mash's well-researched article rebutting Sarmila Bose's "scholarship"

Sid's tremendous piece on the artist SM Sultan.

Truly a privilege to belong to the Bangladeshi blogosphere!

Shubho Bijoya

Shubho Bijoya!

Image courtesy of Ishtiaque Zico used under Creative Commons Licence.

The Cartoon Saga One Month Later - Some (More) Thoughts on the Secular-Religious Divide

It is exactly one month since Arifur Rahman's arrest. 30 days. Arif has spent the better part of Ramadan in prison and has spent Eid away from his family. Even his exact whereabouts are open to question.

Let me take a moment here to note the absolute silence about him in the mainstream media. A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E.

Ask yourself: is this what the Prophet (SW) would have prescribed? Given the stories of his sense of generosity, forgiveness and JUSTICE we all grow up with, the answer would have to be a resounding "no"! But of course, this will fall on the deaf ears of the people who use the Prophet's (SW) name explicitly (and that means YOU Hizb-ut-Tahrir!).

I have complained previously about how "secularists" drive an unnatural wedge between the religious sphere and every other sphere of life. Let me say here that I've always regarded this is a two-way process: ek haathey shottiyi taali baajey na! Religious people - and Islamists in particular - drive just such a wedge by barring a cartoonist from speaking about religion (or in this case, what passes for religious practice in Bangladesh).

When you bar your creative people from talking about religion, you cannot then come back and complain that they have become "so secular and worldly"!

Free Arifur Rahman and let him live with security and dignity.

October 12, 2007

Eid Mubarak!

.....and for expatriates missing the Eid atmosphere - and perhaps family and friends back home - here's some small consolation or maybe further aggravation of your nostalgia:

I tried to get the one with the little kids signing and swaying that we're used to watching on BTV to make it perfect. But you can't complain too much about Ferdousi Rahman and Shakila Zafar singing this classic.

I wish you all - Muslims-non-Muslims, Bangladeshis-non-Bangladeshis, expatriates and delta-dwellers - Eid Mobarok!

The Tragedy of Our Lives - Rahat Dewan Khan: RIP

On the 26th of September, a NSU lecturer was murdered by suspected muggers. "Tragic" might be your response. Perhaps you will recall: there but for the grace of God go I. I humbly request you to reconsider.

Tragedy occurs when fate conspires to deal a blow to human beings. But when human beings cause each other to suffer, it's called something else: stupidity, carelessness, even criminal negligence. I reproduce below the account of one of the students of the late Mr. Karim who accompanied him to the hospital. I urge you all to take five minutes to read it in full.

I found it on this facebook group dedicated to his memory, and here's the link to the original if you have facebook. The author wishes to remain anonymous.

I have almost little idea about the state of our healthcare sector or our emergency response services. While we spend so much energy worrying about phantom conspiracies and what our netris are eating in jail, these "unimportant" issues get no attention whatsoever.


Reading the first few lines of this article will probably get you thinking that this is one of those same old boring articles trying to get a point out to the world, blah, blah, blah…. I assure you this is nothing like that. It takes a lot of nerves to sit down right now and write this article. Let me tell you why. I just came back home from the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Not some place anyone would like to go everyday, but unfortunately some of us are unlucky to end up there somehow or another.

Since you already heard the word hospital you can guess this is not going to be pleasant. Well I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have been left with no other choice. A couple of hours ago one of our respected teachers has passed away. Everyone must go when their time comes, I’m not arguing about that. But how does it feel if that person is a young man in his early thirties? To make things worse he had no physical complications. The reason why he has passed away today is because he was murdered. Yes!! I repeat HE WAS MURDERED. A simple man living his day to day life was returning home, but he was unlucky to become one of the victims of our well known hijackers.

Do you know how people in distress are treated in Bangladesh? Let me help you if you don’t. Mr. Dewan Rahat Karim was a lecturer of North South University. He used to teach us accounting and management. He was a fun loving person. Someone you would love to become friends with and believe me when I say this none of his students will disagree to that statement. He had Iftar with our honorable Vice Chancellor and then took class from 7 till 8:20 pm. After classes he doesn’t roam about but rather goes straight back home. A couple of hours went by and his family members started to worry. His father-in-law went out to search for him. Tragedy struck when he found sir at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

The police said they found him near the army stadium, but there was no reason for him to go in that direction, he lives in Dhanmondi. When his relatives arrived at DMC they found him locked in a room with no doctors or even nurses to aid him. His brothers cried for help. They looked everywhere for a doctor but no one came. The doctors have already announced him dead. His students ran and got oxygen for him. Some of them even said they could feel a pulse, but who cares? They tried to take him out to another hospital, they weren’t allowed. Apparently it’s the law ?. Funny, isn’t it? We have a law to take a person all the way from Uttara to DMC regardless of whether that person could have survived if he received treatment a few minutes earlier.

Two hours went by and a doctor finally came. But its no use he’s already long gone. Are these people actually doctors? Who gave them their degree? Oh opps maybe they are doctors with a degree and all but you know what I’ll let you in on a little secret. They’re not human beings.

Anyone reading this right now would agree with me right now a person’s life comes above all else. I guess the doctors at DMC disagree with us here. To them its already too late, “what’s gone is gone” I guess. Well what can we do? Nothing I guess. All of us just sat there outside the room and watched as Sir passed away in front of our eyes.

If you haven’t stopped reading yet I suggest you spend just 5 minutes of your life and read the rest of this article. This is a humble appeal to everyone out there – men, women, children, it doesn’t matter. Help us. Help us change the situation of this country.

What would you want to do if your brother, God forbid, passed away. Wouldn’t you want to wash his body and make all preparations for his burial? Poor Mr. Dewan’s family isn’t that lucky tonight. They have to wait till the morning when someone performs an autopsy. Why cant they just do that now? Well there’s no one to do it. Ridiculous isn’t it? Why’d you keep the hospital then? There’s no doctors to attend the patients, there are no doctors to perform an autopsy, there even isn’t someone to get a freaking oxygen cylinder!!

As we stood there weeping. A police van came along. They brought three men in handcuffs. One screaming at the top of his lungs in pain. They were brought here for medical treatment. Now here’s the interesting part. Let me take you through the procedures. The men stood there as the police officers shook hands with numerous people. Then they went and filled up some register books and then everyone just stood there. 20 minutes already gone by. No one came to treat the men. Guess it was too much to ask for or they’re criminals why should they be treated?

As for the people who did this to our beloved sir I hope you’re literate enough to read this. How could you be so cruel? How could you do something so inhuman? You want the cell phone? Take it. You want the wallet? Take it. Take everything for god’s sake, but why do you have to kill someone for it. Doesn’t anyone ever think about the consequences? What will happen to his wife? They were married for just a couple of years. What will happen to his father? His mother? Will all her screams and tears bring her loved one back?

Sir was strangled to death and then dropped in front of army stadium where the police apparently picked him up from. They found spices in his eyes I’m guessing the muggers rubbed it in so that he couldn’t see their faces. Hijacker did what they had to. We know they dont belong to the society and their activity is not something we should monitor. But the POLICE & the DOCTORS are the part of society & itz a shame for us. POLICE & DOCTORS are the killers of our honorable faculty member. Not the hijackers. If it was a developped country both of these two groups would have been punished. but since its Bangladesh, they wont even have to bother. I doubt whether our university will protest these shame of the society's behaviour or not. It's us who should protest.

As for NSU congratulations you just lost another great teacher. Keep taking the money from the students for your NON PROFIT business. Cause you know as long as you people pay, someone will come to teach & others will forget about what you do when it comes to the benefits of your faculty members. A safer transport system for the faculty members throught out the semester would not cost you not more then the Semester fee of 10 students. but still thats a huuuge amount for you I guess.

-Written by a nsu student

October 10, 2007

Birongonas - A Fitting Reply to an Undeserving "Scholar"

Here's a small hate list:

I hate self-hating Indians who decide to take it out on us.

I hate self-hating women who feel the need to undermine the pain of their sisters.

I hate people who decide to undermine the pain of others.

I REALLY hate people who decide to overlook the pain their fellow-Bangladeshis suffered.

I hate, simply hate having to go through this drivel over and over again.

So thankfully, someone else has done it for me. Please read Mash's knockout punch reply to Sarmila Bose. Thank you Mash!

October 09, 2007

Dr. Badruddoza Chowdhury Calls for a Government of National Unity

(Update below)

Stunning, absolutely stunning:

"President of Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) Prof AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury yesterday called for a “government of national consensus” for next ten years comprising all democratic and patriotic political parties that believe in common development programmes.

"In order to bring peace and prosperity in our country and to prevent hartal, demonstrations, damage of public property and bloodshed in the post-election period, we need a government of national consensus for at least ten years," Badruddoza Chowdhury said at an iftar party at city's Sheraton Hotel.

The former president arranged the iftar party in honour of leaders of political parties and civil society and diplomats.

Political party leaders including Awami League (AL) acting President Zillur Rahman, Jatiya Party (JP) chairman HM Ershad, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President Hasanul Haq Inu, and BNP leader Lt Gen Mir Shawkat Ali appreciated his proposal of bringing unity among the political parties."

(Emphasis added and with reason!)

I hear Anwar Choudhury is highly "patriotic" being brown and Bengali and all that.....

I'm stunned, but not surprised since the grapevine was talking about Dr. B Chy being more likely to head the "national unity government" than Dr. Kamal I've-never-won-an-election Hossain anyway.

But ten years? That's a bombshell and a half. Well maybe not if you've been reading our (metaphorically) castrated friend Mr. Motiur Rahman regularly...

Plus, exactly how will this national government be formed: elections or elite politicking at diplomat-attended iftars? What form will it enjoy: parliamentary or presidential or a mixed one? What relation will it enjoy with the judiciary: separate as promised or superior as always? What about the NSC which is yet to be outlined or even discussed? And lastly, where exactly does a former washed-out corrupt dictator fit into the scheme of things?

All these are questions left unanswered and in this terrible media environment, unasked.

Update: Saif of Addafication has also written about this iftar. But even more interesting is his under-appreciated piece labelled "Command and Control", which tackles the problems of non-democratic governments from pure efficiency angles without ethical rhetoric:

"The tendency is to think about “controlling” such unrest through centralized decision-making. The centralized decision maker, in this model, decides what emotions are worth conceding to and what emotions deserve to be crushed. May be it’ll work, for a while, who knows? But surely, when your system is composed of 150 million individuals living in 147570 sq km, it has to be conceded that no centralized decision-maker has or ever will have enough information for effective decision-making over a sustained period of time. The only workable alternative is a value-infused decentralized system with accountable nodes of decision-making. And to be able to perform the necessary work of information-gathering and processing effectively, the system has to be a participatory one."


October 06, 2007

Bangladesh's Orwellian Nightmare

Update below

I apologise to my readers for not updating this blog enough, but I confess that I do have real world commitments and passions that extend beyond this blog. And I confess readily that I'm having personal trouble in dealing with the Tragedy that has been Bangladesh2007. Tragedy in the sense that Macbeth is a tragedy.

In the latest twist, it seems that the all-wise CTG has decided to monitor internet activities of its citizens. Now we all know what branch of the government has had wet dreams about this for the past 16 years, so I don't feel the need to elaborate there.

I'm not asking people to think about this in terms of rights, because there are (thin) arguments in that direction. Think about this in terms of the impact it will have on the economy, business and entrepreneurship. Strictly in terms of that and the potential of government agents to hamper that activity to suit themselves.

The 3rd World View has details. Expect more in-depth analysis later.

Update: In what is the best indication that the state of the Bangladeshi blogosphere is about a thousand times better than the state of the Bangladeshi mainstream media (MSM), we have Shadakalo disagreeing with what the letter and the raids are hoping to achieve. Excellent, excellent dynamic at work here in which bloggers can double-check and triple-check each other until the truth comes out in a way that the newspapers just cannot seem to in "our times".

I'm waiting for more information to come out on this issue and the techies among us to tell us what this is all about.

As noted in The 3rd World View post linked above, the MSM have been conspicuously quiet about this. Which, after reading Shadakalo's post, surprises me. If this were only VoIP related, then why the silence from the papers? I'm genuinely asking and would appreciate some responses. I do not have the time to scour all Bangladeshi newspapers, so if someone has seen something somehere has seen something, let me know.

October 04, 2007

Free Burma!

I've dealt with the current crisis last week and I'll leave further thoughts on this for another day. For today, two simple words: FREE BURMA!

October 02, 2007

Video: A History of Violence

"Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don't redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history." - Susan Sontag.

The video argues (slightly) otherwise:

October 01, 2007

That Sweet Feeling

Ahhh that sweet feeling of vindication.