imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

A lovely day

Jul 3,2006

Here I am in Singapore, and my first task was to go and see Saifuddin Manik. I am happy to report to all those who know him that he is doing very well and is in very high spirits. It was really lovely to see him looking so well. Of course he is not out of the woods yet but the signs are good.

Apr 17,2006


I am in Glencoe, Scotland with my family (pic above of my kid in front of Buchaille Etive Mor). An easter treat after weeks of incarceration at home…What allowed me to do this was the knowledge that the scottish mountains are pretty much well covered by the mobile phone network. I could take calls if there was an emergency at home (my parents are both very unwell) even if I was at the top of a mountain… And so I couldn’t help thinking about how the local and foreign media cover Grameen’s mobile telephone initiatives in the rural areas of Bangladesh. They cover it uniformly as a great success story helping to alleviate property and ushering in a new prosperous dawn for rural women . Undoubtedly Grameen is bringing about significant change with the opportunities it creates and its many programmes. However it is the unjustified, unrealistic and uncritical assessments which claim that poverty is just about to be swept away with microcredit or indeed grameen’s lending for mobile phone programmes that irritate me. The structural factors contributing to poverty are hidden in such simplistic discourses.

I wonder what Grameen are doing to bring their mobile phone network to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). How come their considerable lobbying power is not able to overcome the government’s refusal to allow mobile coverage in the area? If mobile phones are now considered a basic necessity to promote development, what about introducing them in that area? Surely this area more than any other in Bangladesh needs it?? Or maybe it is a different issue we are dealing with here. Maybe it is one about security. Or maybe it is about concealing events news management - like for example what happened a few days ago when violence broke out between settlers and indigenous people leaving people seriously injured and missing?