imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for May, 2007


  • Filed under: Misc
May 25,2007

I sing the song of equality
where all obstacles melt and all distances disappear
where merge as men, the Hindus and the Buddhists, the Muslims and the Christians the world over

The song of equality do I sing in joy

Who are you? Parsee? Jain? Jew? Santal, Bheel or Garo?
The follower of Confucius or the disciple of Charbak?
Say what you will, and be what you please!
Carry on your backs and breasts, whatever books and scriptures you like
and read what you will of the Quran, Puran and Vedas, Vedants, Bible, Tripitak and Zendabesta, Granth Sahib and so forth

But why rake your brain and haggle inside the shop?
Fresh flowers bloom outside.
Open your heart, and you will find in it all books and scriptures, and all knowledge of all times
In your heart lie all religions and prophets …..

Nazrul Islam, the rebel poet, born this day in 1899.

May 24,2007

When I was in academia I used a fantastic program called Endnote to sort out my bibliography. Now I have discovered an equally fantastic web2 product called LibraryThing. I was forced to do this because “friends” come and borrow books and I never flippin see them again ( Daoud - this includes you). So I searched around, and goodness me this product took my breath away. I have just added 85 books on Bangladesh ( about half my bangladesh collection) in the last three hours to my online catalogue ( SEE HERE) . It is incredibly simple. Punch in the author or title and if you are searching in the right places ( amazon and the library of congress did it for me) you get your book and the details about it within seconds. Click on it and there it is added to your own catalogue. As a web 2 product it is of course a social thingy and you can see other users  who have the same book etc ( if they have chosen not to be private). Incredible. It is an invaluable resource and only $25 for “lifetime” use. You can manually add books too - very useful for publications from bangladesh with dodgy isbns etc.

Bones as museum artefacts

  • Filed under: Art, Misc
May 22,2007

A little while ago, I took issue with the liberation war museum people in Dhaka about the display of heaped piles of skulls and bones. Actually I took issue with a whole host of things. Some small things got changed…..but on the bones issue there was silence. I think only two or three museums in the world do that kind of thing. One is in Cambodia. I understand it goes against some principles laid down by UNESCO. Anyway, here is a novel take on a related issue by an artist in England.

Museum offered head for shrinking

Bye bye Wolfowitz

May 18,2007

The World Bank has managed to shed itself of Paul Wolfowitz. Despite the face saving words of spin extracted by the US  for its favourite blood hound in the resignation statement, the fact of the matter is, as Americans say, his ass is fried. This man who is responsible for so much death and destruction personifies the unreal world neocon thinking inhabits. If you remember he was the man who predicted that US soldiers would be feted in the streets of Baghdad after invasion. The Iraqis answered him when he visited Baghdad by almost succeeding in putting a rocket up his arse.

I wondered what the neocon response is to this latest setback to their plan for world domination. And google reader kindly brought my attention to Melanie Phillip’s article  ( a brit gutter journalist) perfectly summarising neocon fantasies. You know what? Its all a Chinese conspiracy.

Here he is with another ambitious personage in a room which appears to require an urgent makeover.

Hasina with Wolfie 2005

May 16,2007

Kamal Hossain

The redoubtable Dr Kamal Hossain has said he will stage demonstrations outside garment factories if he sees garment workers emerging without umbrellas in the rain. His remark highlights the daily hardships suffered by garment workers in Bangladesh not just at the point of production but also outside of work. And though I reckon Dr Hossain will have his work cut out, if anyone has the energy to stage a demonstration it is Dr Kamal! His wife, Dr Hamida Hossain, has also been very active in the struggle for garment worker rights, and of course she features in our documentary ‘Bostrobalikara’ (premiered on Bangla ATN earlier this month).

I am interested to read also that Mirza Hasan launched his film at the meeting. I can’t wait to see it.

Jesus Camp

May 15,2007

I was feeling guilty a couple of days ago about the backlog of work I have to do. Under these circumstances, its best to ignore the work entirely and build up the feeling of guilt to bursting point. Then - under the pressure of deadlines and potential humiliation - creativity flows. So I avoided my pile of work and went straight to John Lewis and bought an archos 604 wifi. It is a fantastic wee machine. I immediately transferred some films to it. Given my lifestyle currently it is the only way I can keep on top of some brilliant new films. I watched Jesus Camp on it. What an utterly brilliant documentary it is. The directors, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (below), have made a very sensitive and thoroughly researched film. The camera work is also outstanding. In case you have not heard about it, the documentary is about evangelical christians and their children. Frightening and disturbing, for me it brings home how similar fundamentalists are to each other…. whether they subscribe to christianity or to islam or to judaism or whatever. See the web site here.

Ewing and Grady

And talking about reactionaries, fingers crossed tonight for the archangel of reaction in the US - Paul Wolfowitz - to be given the boot.

May 13,2007

A mammoth piece of work involving oral histories is being launched by Ansar Ullah’s Swadhinata trust this coming friday 18th May at Toynbee Hall. Sadly I will be thousands of miles away. I picked up a copy the other day in Brick Lane. I have glanced through it and hope to write a short review at some point.

Tasneem Khalil arrest

May 11,2007

The lack of capacity of the interim government is being exposed daily. And now we have the worrying and bewildering arrest of journalist and human rights campaigner Tasneem Khalil. Please try to make as much noise as possible about this.

Yunus cocks up again

May 9,2007

How does he do it? This man has gone to pots after his Nobel award. It is one thing not to want to enter politics but its another to pass on the chance of presenting a case for the Bangladeshi garment industry at the US Senate for duty free access…yes read that again…DUTY FREE ACCESS to the US market. Read HERE. The garments industry has employed expensive lobbyists and has banked all hopes on this access. And what does he do? He is too busy to go…..Its probably his night-in when he hand polishes his nobel award? The term “wally” does not describe it…..He is liked by all and sundry and especially the unthinking and uninformed. So it would have been a walkover at the senate. And he bottles it…

On second thoughts I will reproduce the article below because Daily Star links are notoriously ephemeral these days:


May 9,2007

The British government’s forced marriage unit has rescued an eleven year old girl from forced marriage in Dhaka. The unit was set up just over a year ago, and the government were careful to point out that : “Forced marriage affects children, teenagers and adults from all races and religions, including Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.  And it is not solely an issue facing Asian communities. We deal with cases in the Middle East, Western Balkans and Africa.”


May 7,2007

From Timothy Sowula

Two weeks ago, the generals in control of Bangladesh were on the cusp of completing their coup through the “democracy minus-two” plan, with the imminent exile of two previous prime ministers, Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina. This attempt to end their dynastic and allegedly hugely corrupt control over the country spectacularly backfired however, with the former leaders popular again, whilst the military-backed interim government has lost a huge amount of international and domestic support and legitimacy. Then on Tuesday May 1, three small bombs exploded in the three major cities, planted by Zadid al-Qaida. Political power and the responsibility that comes with it must now look far less attractive.

What is the basis of their (Hasina+Khaleda) popularity pray?? The question is will they able to put together a programme/reform package which would be acceptable and  would ensure that we don’t return to those futile days and thus pre-empt the so-called Pakistani model? Sure the military must not be given a free hand. Are the two grannies able to rise to that challenge?

May 6,2007

This is a sad story in this continuing saga: rehabilitated “biharis” from Bangladesh are being uprooted in Orangi (in Pakistan) by the town administration.

And as it happens I watched Amirul Arham’s Les Oublies Du Bangladesh today. It is a worthy effort though a little untidy. The footage needs better treatment but my goodness what footage at times!

The Sindbad of Bricklane

  • Filed under: Health
May 5,2007

He claimed he was an American Indian. I thought he was a Marooned Sindbad

Brick lane poverty contrasted by post-modern architecture of East London. The evening sun contrasting the dark Che Guevara beard of a young man. The group of wooden carts with metal bars resembled the destroyed ships of the Trafalgar naval battle. I was deeply moved by the sudden discovery of this space-age young man lost in his drug-dream dilemmas. He did not want to be photographed, but my cameras click-clacked. Needles here and there, cellophane everywhere. Water bottles with aluminium foils seemed more powerful than naval canons. The young man kept on talking his molten dreams while the city- noise boasted of the glories of modernisation. My comrade Shafi and the Nasaf drug-educationist pointed out the glistening pee and the dried human shit all around.

The young man was being motivated.

Back in Brick lane, caressed by a Sony Alfa digital, the meandering streams of pee suddenly made me remember Bangla monsoon rivers. The fumbling words of this drug Sindbad seemed to meander into distant Bhatiali thunders. In this backyard of Brick lane, he could be a probasee Bangladeshi. Like me.

Anwar Hossain / Photographer/ April, 2007

(Above: thoughts on a devastating encounter with a drug addict in the east end of London. )

May 5,2007

Yunus gives up

( As yet unreleased) It says:

I have flatulence. I need antacid tablets badly. Anyone got any?

This shocking letter comes after his 3rd letter which basically proclaimed that he was too good for the other farts who comprised his team.