imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for March, 2007

Thursday
Mar 29,2007

Dana “Dino-farts” Rohrabacher, the US politician and member of the House of Represenatives is the man responsible for delaying the deportation of Major Mohiuddin, the condemened killer of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Dana is well known for popularising the idea of dinosaur flatulence causing global warming. Interestingly he is a rabid opponent of illegal immigration and has proposed, amongst many other things, that people who are unable to prove their immigration status are denied emergency medical help. In March of 2006, according to Wikipedia, he “decried a guest worker proposal as “the foul odor that’s coming out of the United States Senate.”" He has obviously got a thing about smells?

The fact that Mohiuddin himself is an illegal immigrant ( he has overstayed his US visitor’s visa by many years) did not deter Dana from seeking a stay on this self-proclaimed killer’s deportation. Smells fishy to me.

Saturday
Mar 24,2007

Dawood Ibrahim

Dawood Ibrahim is a big time underworld Don and has apparently had cosy dealings with the Bangladeshi uber-Don Tarique Rahman. Now the shock news from a Mumbai based bookie is that there was something unexpected in the betting patterns on the recent India-Bangladesh game:

“Dawood Ibrahim’ brother Anees and henchman Chhota Shakeel were monitoring the two matches from Jamaica. While there was Rs2,000 crore (20 billion) which includes bets placed in India, Pakistan, London, Dubai, and other international betting circles and riding on the Pakistan-Ireland tie, nearly thrice that amount was placed by punters on the India-Bangladesh match. It is no coincidence that both teams lost their matches the same day.” a leading bookie, who operates out of India told ‘DNA’ newspaper.

My moral compass is going round in circles now.

Tajuddin Ahmad: Unsung Hero

Friday
Mar 23,2007

Tajuddin Ahmad

As the country prepares to commerate its anniversary in a few days, Tanvir Mokammel releases his new documentary (25th March, Shahbag Auditorium, 7pm for the public) about Tajuddin Ahmad, Bangladesh’s first prime minister. That official title reveals very little about Tajuddin, and the many intrigues of those fateful days in 1971 and 1975. Go along and see it if you are in Dhaka.

Facts about Bengali drug users

  • Filed under: Health
Thursday
Mar 22,2007

No1. In the east of London, bangladeshi users (kids from bangladeshi backgrounds) smoke rather than inject Class A drugs.

No2. Some parents send their kids back to clinics in Sylhet. This practice has had some unintended consequences (more later) including increased drug abuse in Sylhet!

No3. Drug therapy in the east end of London may involve “re-connection” with Islam. Again more later…

Commonwealth head welcomes coup

Wednesday
Mar 21,2007

Don Mckinnon, sec gen of the commonwealth, in his visit to Bangladesh welcomed the military backed caretaker government. Clearly Bangladesh is showing the world how to get the military to take the reins and still be considered kosher. Soon it will be a model like Yunus’ microcredit scheme for others to emulate. Don even visited ex-military dicator Ershad at his home in Baridhara.

Titas madness

Tuesday
Mar 20,2007

Bangladesh’s largest gas field, Titas, is about to blow but there is not much hullabaloo about it. Maybe if we ignore it, the problem will go away?

And more madness in March with the release of Amazing Grace on 23rd - a film about William Wilberforce the ’social reformer’ and anti-slavery campaigner. What is mad about it? That people can get away with producing an abstracted indeed distorted and highly skewed take on the whole matter and then make money and careers out of it all. Read Peter Linebaugh’s trenchant critique of the thing HERE.

And anything but madness from Havi Carel writing about her medical death sentence. I have gone through the same emotions.  And she writes what I have said over and over to my family and friends:

The first rule I made for myself is never to ask “Why?” Never say, “if only”. Never think that things could have been different.

And though the loneliness is overwhelming, I desperately hope she is able to hold on to this in the years to come:

Illness breaks down the neutrality and transparency of our bodily existence. But it has also given me perspicuity. I observe my life and the lives of others and see them for what they are: brief, full of emotion and agony, activity and joy. I see people arguing over nothing, worrying about wrinkles and careers. Illness makes you immune to that. From the loneliness into which my illness forced me, I became able to see the world anew. My horizons and expectations shifted. I was made aware of the many healthy years I enjoyed. I cherish the things I can still do, like cycling along a canal in summer, the visceral joy of fresh smells and colours.

Yunus’ mouthpiece in London

Saturday
Mar 17,2007

Nagork Shakti UK

Bangla Mirror, a rag which claims to be the “First English Weekly for Brit Bangladeshis.” looks set to champion the cause of banker and nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus. The March 9th edition of the paper has a news item on a meeting organised by the Greater London Nagorik Shakti. And it seems the office bearers of this organisation are the top dogs of the paper. Adbul Karim Goni is the editor of the paper and joint convener of Nagorik Shokti Greater London Branch. The Executive Editor of the paper Sarwar Morshed is also a member of the committee etc. Being newspaper men, they have difficulty with spelling. The printed version uses both spelling forms : Shakti and Shokti, Nagarik and Nagorik. Whilst their spelling might be inconsitent, these fans of Yunus are uniformly consistent in their arse licking. The meeting was apparently to discuss the “future of Bangladesh under the leadership of a globally celebrated visionary personality like Dr Mohammad Yunus.”

This is the first time I have seen the paper. And it was a very interesting read - particularly the ads which feature in it. There were ads claiming success in curing baldness; ads by outfits offering financial services for those who are bankrupt or have county court judgements against them and those with poor credit history; and the usual ads for Tandoori chefs. The first two ad types are sadly entirely relevant to my case. And I dare say I could give some Tandoori chefs a run for their money in terms of quality of cooking.

Nutters in UP

Friday
Mar 16,2007

want to chop off this head:

Taslima

Good riddance?

Thursday
Mar 15,2007

Bye bye Hasina

Indemnity?

Wednesday
Mar 14,2007

Four years ago, in early January 2003, the Khaleda government had just finished a grab em and bash em operation called “Clean Heart.” Activists, local party leaders, alleged criminals were picked up - thousands of them - in the three month operation and roughed up and/or killed. Immediately after the cessation of the operation, the government indemnified all those involved in this operation for their involvement in “any casualty, damage to life and property, violation of rights, physical or mental damage” between 16 October 2002 and 9 January 2003.” State crimes were to be simply swept under the rug.

Will the present caretaker government declare (or have they declared?) that no members of the armed forces or police will be provided with indemnity for human rights violations committed during their current deployment?

Tuesday
Mar 13,2007

The blanket acceptance the present military backed caretaker government has enjoyed is fraying at the edges. The uprooting of small shops and other so-called “illegal occupiers” in the drive against corruption has left a lot of people disgruntled. The total suspension of political activity, as I wrote earlier, is also troubling.  Unaccountability and arbitrary behaviour is not going to do the current dispensation any favours. In this context, news from the CHT - a special area in every way - needs careful consideration. And this morning, an email flew in from CHT News with some disturbing news. I quote in full.

Appeal for your kind action

Recently, using the state of the emergency, the military forces have increased their suppressive actions against the indigenous Jumma people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Particularly the joint forces led by army have been arresting PCJSS (Parbartya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti) and PCP (Hill Students’ Council) activists charging them in connection with terrorist activities. To materialise their allegation, the joint forces have been showing arm recovery from arrestees’ possession putting their (army) arm and lodging false arm case against them. On the other, though the government is conducting drive to capture the corrupt politicians and godfathers, but arrest of PCJSS leaders is fully politically motivated as because there is no such allegation and even case against the arrested PCJSS leaders. As prevailing emergency in the country, the Jumma people could not organise protests against these suppressive actions. For instances-

(more…)

Tuesday
Mar 13,2007

The sheer pleasure to be derived from the thought of Tarek or Tarique, that arrogant young turk, weeping/sobbing in the dock is something else. The image of him arriving in court wearing a RAB flak jacket and helmet is enormously satisfying.

Tarique

The image is beautiful in an ordered pair. Here below is its binary partner:

Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Bangla bhai

However this feeling of joy is fleeting. Suspension of all political activity, even meetings indoors is strange and suffocating (well, at least to someone sitting five thousand miles away). A crisis of democracy surely can only be resolved by the practice of democracy. Or maybe thats too rational? The spectacle of arresting high profile crooks, impounding luxury cars and recovering hoarded loot seems to have the purpose of legitimating whatever they are doing…And sooner or later it won’t wash. Rooting out corruption and violence in the political process is exactly that…a process. Lets not suspend it.

Monday
Mar 12,2007

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has asked the
Bangladesh government to declare the Urdu-speaking Biharis as
Bangladesh citizens and include the eligible ones into the voter list.

Read More.

Islam and technology

  • Filed under: Misc
Saturday
Mar 10,2007

It is of course ridiculous to suggest that islam rejects technology and science. Indeed technology in islam is at the heart of the relationship between a man and a woman. Only this last week, my old mate the Grand Mufti of Dubai Ahmed al-Haddad confirmed that a muslim man can divorce using mobile phone text or SMS. What an insightful application of doctrine to modern life.

I remember reading in the past that Malaysia and Singapore both allowed this practice for a while and when the divorce texting got a bit out of hand their courts blocked the practice. But the crazies mussalman of Dubai know better.