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.

1 comment:

tacit said...

Good post, useful at tying various strands of the matter together. Very helpful.