imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for April, 2007

Invisible Apartheid

Apr 30,2007


The Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Julia Unwin, has spoken about the reports her organisation published today, showing what the Commission for Racial Equality calls an “invisible apartheid separating modern Britain”.

The reports claim that ethnic minorities find it harder to gain work, and are then paid less for it, than their similarly qualified white British counterparts. “Although the past decade has seen some improvements, there are still some very serious problems which remain unsolved,” she said.

The foundation is calling on the government to change its policy and focus on improving lives for ethnic minorities.
“This research shows how policies need to address the different situation of each group and be followed through on a practical level,” she said.

“We need an urgent rethink from government and employers so that minority ethnic groups do not miss out on opportunities in the workplace and higher educational attainment is properly recognised.

Apr 23,2007

I was concerned that a Liberal peer like Lord Avebury could make a statement seemingly favouring a character like Sheikh Hasina ( see my earlier post). So I wrote to his Lordship enquiring whether he knew about Hasina’s recent political activities . I give my text first and then his reply:

Dear Lord Avebury

How is it possible that you go to an Ahmadiyya reception one day and then a few days later meet with a politician - Sheikh Hasina - who only a few months ago (23 December 2006) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bangladesh Khilafat Majlish, a vocal anti-Ahmadiyya organisation? This outfit is known for espousing shariah, fatwas and other things but pertinent to this discussion is the fact that they are very anti-Ahmadiyya.

Sheikh Hasina faced widespread criticism for this electoral pact even from within her own party. In her desperation to acquire power she was willing to accommodate an extremely sinister and problematic organisation. Awami League were forced to scrap the MOU this year - yet she alone of the AL bigwigs continued to defend the original decision to sign a pact.

When you met her did you raise this issue with her?

Yours sincerely

And I received this reply from Lord A:

I didn’t raise the issue with her last Friday, because the pact between the AL and the fundamentalists was terminated, but I can assure you I did protest about it vigorously at the time. I think the AL is not in fact anti-Ahmadiyya, but they were prepared to collaborate with the fundamentalists for reasons of expediency.

On a related issue, it is of course significant/expedient that no member of the British government has said anything or met with Sheikh Hasina.

Shown the exit

Apr 23,2007

Here is the video of Sheikh Hasina in Heathrow.

The Heathrow Hustle

Apr 23,2007

“I am the daughter of the father of the nation”….I have every right to create mayhem in Bangladesh and here in Heathrow.
Heathrow rumble

Sunday morning confusion

Apr 22,2007

Do you like me feel confused on sundays? Today I feel even more confused than usual. And these bits of news don’t help: is breaking with the news that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Hasina, Nasim and Malek. Three fugitives apparently.

And confused thinking here by Suranjit Sengupta and Hafiz Uddin.

I am off to have a shower. And later this morning I am going to buy a sports car.

Apr 21,2007

A press release from the International Bangladesh Foundation:

Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Awami League, met Lord Avebury, Vice Chair of Parliamentary Human Rights group at the House of Lords on Friday. She told Lord Avebury that she will be flying back to Bangladesh on Sunday. She added that while she and her party had welcomed many of the actions of the caretaker government and agreed with the caretaker government’s effort to reform the political system and stamp out corruption, she considers that elections should be held much sooner than the end of 2008. She intends to contest the charges made against her, which she says are manifestly ill-founded.

Lord Avebury said that under international law, a person cannot be denied entry to his or her own country [Article 12(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Bangladesh is a signatory]. He hoped that no impediment would be placed on Sheikh Hasina’s return.

Apr 20,2007


Imagine you are a prime minister one year and the next year you are being kicked out of the country. Bloody traumatic i would say. The hurt, the humiliation, oh the agony of it….yet Khaleda’s uppermost thoughts seem to be on avoiding Bangladesh Biman flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?? Yes its true ….read HERE (penultimate sentence). BB has many operational and management woes but surely the national carrier did not need this final insult from the country’s most recent PM?  I wonder which carrier she will favour. Emirates? Possibly…they have excellent on board cuisine. And an excellent range of wines and spirits to steady the nerves.

Scary Granny to stage comeback

Apr 18,2007

Hasina Wajed

Scary Granny Hasina is baring her teeth at the military backed caretaker government and insisting that she is going to come back to Bangladesh despite the warning issued to her today by the government.
” I haven’t done anything wrong,” she told the BBC. Causing general mayhem is after all a perfectly normal thing to do in Bangladesh - she could have added but didn’t. Lets see what the boys in Khaki do now.

Hasina: don’t come back

Apr 18,2007

The government is playing out the script well. No punishment for the corrupt and violent leaders like Hasina and Khaleda - only cushy exile in Saudi and the USA. Here is the press note concerning Hasina.

I wish the government had the capacity to deal with these people at home. But it isn’t to be it seems. They risk trouble down the line but I guess short term decisions are easier to make if big brother is breathing down your neck. It is as if they are acting out a script given to them to manage the situation. And the script is faulty.

And what of Hasina? Last year she was in her element calling hartal after gherao after hartal. She had no care or concern for the young activists who got killed or maimed or injured. Indeed she made sure her son and heir was there for the provided photo-opps . One day she would receive a Mother Teresa prize, the next day she would be calling for more blood. So is exile in the land of the free to be her fate? Real justice would see her locked up.

Apr 18,2007

A few years ago I gave up reading The Guardian because of its take on Blairite things. I started getting The Indie. It chimed with my anti-war and anti-Blair thinking. However I have to put up with a lot of environmental scare-mongering including headline titles like the one above.

This article is a spread with several photographs if you have the printed version.

Khaleda to become nomad

Apr 17,2007

Well the big news is that the country is going to expel Khaleda. The main reason is that no one can stand her coiffure anymore, and she is being asked to go to a country where her bouffant will need to be encased in a hijab or some such. She has been hesitating thus far because naturally she is reluctant to hide her incredible head of hair and moreover she fears haircare products may be difficult to come by in the desert state of Saudi Arabia. What broke the camel’s back, in terms of her decision making is not clear. Was it Coco’s brush with the agencies or was it the recent visit of a renowned dandruff expert to Saudi? Who knows…?

I wonder if Khaleda will go and pay her respects to Idi Amin? He died in exile in Saudi. Have any of you seen the recent film about Idi called the Last King of Scotland? It won a few gongs recently.  Well whatever… lets hope Khaleda is the last queen of Bangladesh.

Here is a picture of her hairstyle at its glorious best a few years ago

Khaleda hair

Out of Control

  • Filed under: Misc
Apr 16,2007

The 38-year old third well of the country’s biggest gas provider Titas Gas Field in Brahmanbaria yesterday went totally out of control with an uncontrolled release of gas at the rate of 15 to 18 million cubic feet a day (mmcfd), highly placed sources said.

Read the story HERE

As I wrote on 20 March, it is incredible that this thing has been ignored….and now it has happened.

But the caretaker government apparently did not pursue the matter with utmost seriousness and left the matter to be dealt with by people lacking capability to do so, alleged an expert.

Bostrobalikara on TV

  • Filed under: Cinema
Apr 16,2007

The documentary on garment workers - Bostrobalikara: Garment Girls of Bangladesh will be shown on Bangla ATN on May 1st. Worker’s day! Make a date folks.

And to all those of you still waiting to receive your complimentary copy - I am sadly STILL WAITING for the barcodes to go on the covers….

What a week

Apr 14,2007

Moudud Ahmed

What an incredible sense of schadenfreude this week: yesterday Moudud Ahmed, the most slippery of politicians, was arrested. It was 1993 when I was the sole voice at Oxford University railing against his fellowship at Queen Elizabeth House ( a centre for the study of development)! It was incredible. Both he and his wife got short term fellowships at Oxford. How did he pull that one I enquired? I was met with silence…

Paul Wolfowitz

Yesterday also, Paul Wolfowitz, neocon bastard extraordinaire and one of the principal architects of the Iraq war, was revealed to have been practising precisely what he has been castigating third world countries for: corruption and neo-conning the World Bank. His mossolman girl friend (oh yes religion matters here), Shaha Rizvi, has managed to do (sadly, not intentionally) what countless people throughout the world have failed to do - make the bastard grovel and apologise.

And of course dear old Hasina. I shan’t put a picture of her up - it might be too much for the constitution.
First came the news of her extortion case. And then very, very justifiably her role in the violence which gripped Bangladesh last year came under the spotlight. As is typical of her self-righteousness, she responded with these words:

“The government thinks it can intimidate me, but it has forgotten that members of my party successfully fought against another military government during the Bangladeshi war of independence in 1971.”

It is this mind set which allows her to overlook the violence that she has brought to the country. Fighting Khaleda had become a holy grail for her - her liberation war, and any bloodshed was seen as a prerequisite for this liberation and therefore entirely sanctionable. The end ( that is of Khaleda) justified the means.