imperfect | world | 2010

Archive for July, 2007

Jul 31,2007

still from documentary

This bizarre practice of finding spouses for Brit-Bangladeshi kids back in Bangladesh is explored in Simon Chamber’s documentary tonight at 10pm on channel SBS.  Synopsis here.

(How the heck do I get channel SBS? Anyone tape it for me?)


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.

High price for cheap UK clothes

  • Filed under: labour
Jul 19,2007

An article by Karen McVeigh in Dhaka (for the Guardian) about the sweat shop trade in Bangladesh.

They get tuberculosis, kidney problems, diarrhoea, problems with their hearing and there are a huge amount of skin diseases caused by the dust and fibres. People here boil water before they drink it but the garment workers do not have the time to do that. There are also mental health problems brought on by constant stress.

I was in Germany when this story hit the stands and some friends were expressing the need for German companies  to be similarly exposed.

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).

Jul 9,2007

I learnt with disgust that Dr Fazal Mahmud, or Dr Fraud, as one blog calls him owns eight houses in London. His lackey Nazrul Islam Bashon owns three. I also hear on the grapevine that his outfit might have been involved in money laundering for the likes of Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the extremist Jamaat politician. I wait for the fog to clear on this. In his interview with Angela Saini Dr Fraud pleads that its his moral, social and religious duty to reimburse those hapless people who lost the money they thought they were remitting to Bangladesh. Well it sounds like Mahmud has a ready made solution. Given the value of London properties, he shouldn’t have any problem in returning the money should he?

Sigma Huda

Jul 8,2007

Sigma Huda

She was on a list I drew up of people I had to interview at the earliest possible opportunity concerning migrant labour and trafficking. Sadly for her, she was also on another list. A list of suspected corrupt individuals drawn up by the caretaker government. And it seems I will have to hang on a bit before I will get the chance to talk to her because she has been jailed.

A UN Special Rapporteur, among other things, she was perhaps the most prominent of activists concerning the trafficking of women. I am not competent to say what impact her work has had but clearly many foreign organisations valued her work. Indeed here is a somewhat desperate press statement released by Janice Raymond (pdf file), Co-Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International in protest at Sigma’s treatment. It is written as if Sigma herself dictated it, and gives a time line of events concerning Huda and her family’s recent troubles. I would have thought it would have been more prudent and effective if the tone was more measured. Still there it is. Judge for yourself. I put it up because, as I say, it seems to give Huda’s perspective. Something you won’t find in the press. Nor indeed in Adhunika blog which had her as a “hero” until the “suspect list” was published when they promptly removed her name - as if she never existed or did all the things they had previously eulogised! I should make it clear I neither support nor oppose her jail sentence. My interest in her is narrow and lies elsewhere - that I failed to interview her about her work!

Odious blogs

Jul 6,2007

I came across a particularly odious Bangladesh related blog recently. I could only read one article and so really I cannot comment on the rest of this cretin’s blog. The particular post I refer to is entitled “What kind of culture embraces wrestling but rejects toilet paper?” He is on a PRA exercise in Sylhet with his NGO and makes this puerile and stupid observation. I guess he wants to appear funny and smart to his mates back home.

It was many years ago when I first read Robert Chambers’ eloquent critique of PRA techniques. They are a move away from traditional and fruitless methods used by geographers, anthroplogists, economists etc but like any social technique there are inherent weaknesses. And with people like the cretin above, deeply mired in prejudice and his own “values,” such methods don’t have a hope in hell.

Jul 5,2007

Everyone complains about it. Now take a look at this analysis by Save the Children:

New research from the British charity Save the Children, shows that if a Bangladeshi family wanted to eat a simple nutritious diet, they would have to spend three times their salary on food. That’s like the average British family - which according to official figures has an annual income of £29,000 - running up a £1,700 bill at the supermarket each week.

The research calculated how much a healthy diet, based on local produce and allowing for seasonal factors such as flooding or lean seasons, would cost in four impoverished countries and then worked it out as a proportion of the average national income. The ratios were multiplied by the average British income to cast it in terms with which British consumers could identify.

Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh

Jul 3,2007

Britain has decided to ban this group.

The apologist Muslim Council of Britain changes its tone?  Condemnation of the Glasgow airport fiasco by Bari.

For the first weekend in many, I did not travel to Glasgow last weekend. It turned out to be a sound decision because, as you all know, the local arab medical fraternity decided to pack a Jeep Cherokee with gas cannisters and slam it into the airport building.  The bastards.

Buy Bostrobalikara DVD

Jul 2,2007

Whilst we wait for the DVD to be listed on Amazon, you can purchase directly here. Click the button in the About section.