imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for January, 2007

Tuesday
Jan 9,2007

Publicity material for Bostrobalikara documentary:

image of pdf

image of pdf 2

Monday
Jan 8,2007

Hasina meets christian group

And this is the picture of the week on the AL web site for the last week of December showing the great leader Hasina greeting a group of christians. Was this to balance the..er.. ecumenical act of Abdul Jalil who in the same week did a dirty with the Khelafatistas? Those guys who are a bit soft on the talibans and gaga about fatwa?

And AL have been adding to the english language too. Mahajote has been translated as “grand alliance” by english language newspapers. AL itself prefers - surprisingly enough - the term “mega-combine” to describe their alliance of confused lefties, ex-dictator types and, now, razakars. “Grand” suggests something wonderful and awesome. Perhaps AL realise that they can never fit either of those adjectives and in an act of self deprecation have opted for “mega-combine,” a term which is only size related?

Dhaka elegy

  • Filed under: Misc
Friday
Jan 5,2007

So here is Dhaka. Described unsentimentally, sceptically, passionately and dispassionately and even prophetically. Sharper than a photograph, and only faintly but excusably narcissistic - I present to you Azfar Hussain’s “Dhaka, tobuo tomakey”

[Freely translated from the original
Bengali poem ‘Dhaka, Tobuo
Tomakey’ by the author]

by Azfar Hussain

So where is history written/except in the poems?
—Audre Lorde, Our Dead behind Us
They have told me I only talk about politics now.
—Ernesto Cardenal, Zero Hour

Microcanto I
Forgive me if my accent keeps falling on the wrong syllable. Forgive me if my poem invites crude prose and even coarse statistics. And forgive me if I blurt out the unsayables in the middle of your darbari music or mess around with your late-night discourses on Zen. And forgive me if I miss cues and clues from your City Corporation or Stock Exchange for my reality check.

But I am no apologetic poet. I don’t tighten my lines taut like a bowstring so as to sling off words straight at a target from twenty yards out. And words are not machine-guns or even arrows, but there are some that hurt and kill. And, dear sir, I don’t fine-tune my sentences with humble submission to your style manuals. But, frankly, I rehearse the lines of my favorite poets whenever I get a chance. And I relish repetition, am madly in love with awkward alliterations, and occasionally reach for rhyme—full or half or para- or masculine or feminine, if never royal—depending on my stress.
And I swear.
(more…)

Thursday
Jan 4,2007

Happy smiles all round

Wednesday
Jan 3,2007

The headline news in today’s Daily Telegraph (London) is the rape and abuse of children by UN peace keeping troops in Sudan. The problem started almost two years ago, and was noted in a UNICEF report. The Sudanese government has been gathering evidence presumably as part of its challenge to the UN, and apparently has footage of Bangladeshi UN workers having sex with three young girls. The Sudan Tribune reprints the article and even carries a picture purportedly of Bangladeshi troops in Juba.

I wonder how the story will unfold. Whatever the outcome, one thing for sure is that newspapers should avoid the kind of hyperbole employed by a certain Lt Col Nazrul Islam in an article last year for the Daily Star. Not only is it totally over the top BUT IT IGNORES all that has been going on over the years in Bangladesh itself - namely in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Anyway, let me quote you the colonel’s words:

It is widely acclaimed that the most outstanding national achievement in independent Bangladesh is the name and fame earned for the country by the peacekeepers of Bangladesh Armed Forces. Despite negative publicity for the country as a whole, the indomitable valour, firm commitment, exemplary leadership, outstanding competence, unflinching patriotism, and superb discipline shown by the Bangladeshi peacekeepers have earned plaudits for the country.

It is also now also widely acknowledged that we are well-trained and highly professional armed forces, and that we are armed forces of a democracy, one that leads in pursuit of democratic values. Our quest for excellence and determination for upholding the ideals of peace and security will remain ever unflinching. …..blah blah blah

Tuesday
Jan 2,2007

Last month I went to the Star restaurant in Dhanmondi (diagonally opposite the Popular diagnostic labs). I was quite inspired by the prominent “No Beef” signs on the second floor. That was a first for sure. I went to the loo, and for balance I guess, I saw a shower attachment next to the urinals - for conscientious muslims to wash their willies? Again a first for me. I have of course seen these beside a toilet commode - but by a urinal? A definite first.

Things were looking good. Then of course came the shock news last week: the so-called secular Awami League had cut a deal on islamic fatwas. As part of its desperate and unfathomable calculations for the forthcoming elections, the Awami League sanctioned its dinosaur general secretary to sign an appalling memorandum of understanding with a bunch of religious nuts a religious outfit called the Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish, basically okaying fatwas. This outfit is soft on Talibans, AK-47s and its leadership like to travel to destinations like Afghanistan.

And today I read that only 11 women and 17 members of religious minorities are in the candidates list of the two main alliances. Of the 11 women, two spots are taken by Hasina and Khaleda!

Maj Gen C R Dutta of the Bangladesh Hindu Budddha Christian Oikya Parishad is quoted as saying:

We are aggrieved. We constitute 25 million people. The parties could have easily accommodated minority candidates in 25 percent of the constituencies.

Of Bangladesh’s 147 million people, 83 percent are Muslims and 16 percent Hindus. The other minorities, among them Christians and
Buddhists, add up to one percent.