imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


Sep 3,2007

Time for me to again distribute mishti on the net. Please help yourself…. Khaleda Zia, the ex-prime minister of Bangladesh, is to be the guest of the caretaker government for the immediate future. She and her son Koko have not been upfront about their various financial activities, and so it is hoped they will be helped to become more transparent in special quarters set aside for them. Here is Khaleda in earlier times thanking contributors - the general Bangladeshi population - for their kind donations.


Aug 31,2007

oooh I better not finish that sentence in case I get into trouble.

But opening the papers today has not been a joy. The “mental torture” and “blindfolding” of Professors Anwar Hossain and Harun-or-Rashid will trouble people of conscience everywhere. Hossain’s  apology  to the army makes for even more uncomfortable reading. Bizarre, is it not, that a remand prisoner is allowed to make public statements? Until of course you read the statement…

One piece of good news though - Madam Khaleda Zia and her extended family of tax dodgers and dodgy income hiders have had their bank accounts frozen. Hoo-bloody-ray!! This kind of “assisted democracy” I like very much. . And if we could get this part over and done with, maybe we would be better off for a while atleast? Corruption in poor countries is a concommitant of development. But Madam’s fault was not harnessing it sufficiently to overcome the missing markets and make things go easier. Yet I still ask - is it naive to believe that a bull can leave a china shop undamaged?

Evil forces??

Aug 24,2007

Anwar Hossain, Secretary of Dhaka University’s Teachers’ Association

Harun-Or Rashid, Dean, DU social science faculty

Do you, like me, get jittery when people talk about evil forces?

Quiet start to Friday

Aug 24,2007

Curfew at 10pm tonight. Darn it. And this morning, the heavy downpour must have favoured the authorities…And some miscreants have been chopping the internet lines in Cox Bazaar. Or so they say.


Curfew snaps

Aug 23,2007

Mobiles came back on last night, and I was thus able to check on the safety of my mates and colleagues. The administration intends to relax things depending on the situation. Here are some snaps I took with my camera phone this morning in Gulshan 2 - Gulshan  has been free of violence. Most shops and offices are closed, and there is nothing like the chaos I saw around 4pm yesterday.

No respite for the bostrobalika. These girls have to report for duty curfew or no curfew.

Garment Girls

These chaps told me they were as cheesed off with things as everyone else. When i asked them if they were getting double time…they snorted.

They stop the cars that have ventured out and usually let them go. The authorities have said that if you produce a passport and ticket it is sufficient to use as a “pass.”

Around 8.30am this morning


Riot gear.

Riot gear

Editors have been told not to publish photos of “bhangchoor.” However all kudos to them that they have. I guess the authorities didnt want too many Kung Fu Scenes like this from the Daily Star (yesterday) depicting a classic bengali attitude to the military.
Drop Kick

At least this stall holder didnt have to get up at the crack of dawn today.

stall holder

I doubt these day labourers ( who congregate at the top of Road No 35) will get anything today….funny, isn’t it, they always lose out when these things happen
Day labourers

Here we go

Aug 22,2007

I went out 30 minutes ago around 1600 hrs Bangladesh time. All the shops are emptying and the offices too in Gulshan 1 and 2. I get a couple of phone calls advising me to stay at home and avoid my usual nightly forays. There are rumours of a curfew starting around 5pm. Nothing on tv yet apparently but it seems no one is taking any chances. Sirens going here and there Picture below explains why…..Dhaka university finally in the picture…

Country-wide curfew from 8pm tonight until futher notice.

6.10pm UPDATE. All mobile networks are unavailable.




Pictures lifted shamelessly from Daily Star, Sangbad and News Today.


Aug 18,2007

Bus Shelter

Here is a bus shelter near Dhaka university and it is devoid of political posters. Before this current dispensation, it was of course a very different story.

Dhallywood posters, usually replete with buxom wenches and knife wielding gundas, are now much more sedate. They occupied the same public space as graphically violent political posters depicting killings and maimings. These too are no longer visible.

And gone too are packed luxury car showrooms. As I drove past the Volvo and BMW showrooms near Tejgaon today, I was flabbergasted that these showrooms were empty. One volvo in the volvo showroom and one X5 in the BMW showroom.

Aug 10,2007


Things must be looking bad if Hasina’s lot feel the need to engage a lawyer who is currently defending an accused Croatian Army general. Dr Payam Akhavan is a distinguished lawyer and his CV is sure to make lawyers in Bangladesh burn the midnight oil at double the usual rate. Until 2000 he was even an adviser to the prosecutor’s office for the Yugoslav and Rwanda war crimes tribunal at the Hague. So its a bit strange that he is now defending a person ( General Ante Gotovina) he must have helped indict ? …..I guess lawyers, at the end of the day, are just hired guns and of course money talks. And these croation thugs are not short of a bob or two ( Gotovina enjoyed the playboy life in the Canaries before his capture).  And neither is Hasina short of a bob or two - according to the present caretaker government!

My own advice to Payam is this:  You might like to know one thing about your client. She is responsible for inciting violence over a very long period. In this respect, your Lieutenant General client has something in common. So you have the unique and precise credentials to assist Hasina.


Jul 29,2007

I have been meaning to follow the celebrations around the 60th anniversary of the formation of India and Pakistan. However it seems the usual suspects have taken up all the available slots - Sanjeev Bhaskar, Saira Khan et al. Enough to make you yawn and switch the box off.  So when I opened the Indie this morning and saw Benazir had a piece in it, I was eager to see what bilge she was spouting. In her book, and in her interviews, she takes a very ahistorical view of Bangladesh. If you don’t know what that means let me explain - it means she was spouting bilge. The short interview in the Indie is an informal one and not a political one. I was scoffing from the start ( “The greatest role model is the prophet of Islam’s wife (Khadija)”) but I stopped soon. She writes “Exile has been valuable. It was unwelcome, but it meant I could give more time …. to my mother before she slipped into deep Alzheimer’s…” I admit I felt empathy there.

Jul 24,2007

The name “Heritage Foundation” is associated in my mind with dastardly deeds and thoughts. As a former anti-apartheid activist, I associate their name with terrorism. Indeed in my book they invented terror.  However it seems they have quite an interesting report on Bangladesh. I might even read it if i can find the link.

Jul 23,2007

How many did you ask? Ehm…six of them.


Jul 23,2007

“If it looks like a fraud, sounds like a fraud and quacks like a fraud, it is a fraud.”

That is what Paul Farelly MP had to say about the First Solutions matter in parliament. The story has finally been taken up by the mainstream press. There was a report on Channel 4 News the other day too. Money laundering has a “terror dimension” and so it is surprising it has taken so long for editors to pick up this story.

Justice for Sheika Hasina (sic) and Bangladesh Petition

Not only has the petition got her spelling wrong but there seem to be other odd things about this petition. ipetitions - the online petitions hosting service - is notoriously insecure. It does not check your IP address and prevent you from voting twice. It does not check your email to prevent duplicate voting. It does not seem to use cookies to prevent you voting easily in quick succession. In fact its a vote stuffer’s dream site. The redirection to a donations page and then paypal is indicative of the main thrust of ipetitions - to make as much money as possible out of the genuine and sincere people who go on to the site to register their petition.

Anyway, I was not suprised to find the petition signed by “Fred the vote stuffer” at no 65 ( at 0216 hours British time). That was preceded by Fred and Fred2. Come on AL, lets have a bit of finesse here.

Counterfeiting Luxury report

And how does one give one’s report the best chance of being picked up by the media? Link it to terror, stupid! So law firm Daventport Lyons ( these bloody lawyers….) have studied social attitudes to owning fake goods. And they say they have unearthed “a deeply concerning shift in consumer behaviour” because up to two thirds of people find it acceptable to have fake luxury goods (clothing, watches, bags). The purchase of fake goods apparently could fuel terrorism! Yes folks- bling fuels terror! And the magic word “terror,” I suspect, was enough for BBC online to publish the story So there you are, if you can’t afford the real thing, you must be supporting terrorism.

Behind bars

Jul 18,2007

Hasina behind bars

How prescient of us eh? A shot we took of Sheikh Hasina on her recent visit to London. Maybe we were thinking wishfully?!

Jul 16,2007

House of Lords, Committe Room 2, 11am-1pm, 24th July

The seminar will discuss the human rights situation in Bangladesh. Whilst attention has rightly been focused on the caretaker government’s strategy for genuinely free and fair elections; the reformation of the political system and the eradication of corruption, there is concern also about ongoing violations of human rights, including those of religious minorities. The aim of this seminar will be to review the human rights landscape under the caretaker government, and to identify the measures needed to ensure that Bangladesh complies fully with her obligations under the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Rt Hon David Drew MP, Chair of the Labour Group of Rural MPs
Ms Ann Maine MP, Chairman, Conservative Friends of Bangladesh
Abbas Faiz, South Asia researcher at Amnesty International
Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s director for Asia

The seminar will be chaired by Lord Avebury, Vice Chair Parliamentary Human Rights Group & Chairman of International Bangladesh Foundation.


( above from press release).