Dear Mr Miller
When you write your roving reports from Dhaka, as a member of the media entourage, you represent your team as well as your nation.
No doubt, as you see it, Bangladesh is a poor dirty corrupt messy third world country.
What else you expect from an impoverished country, when all her wealth had been systematically looted during the two hundred years of British Raj.
However, the British civilization also gave a lot of things to that part of the world, they spread education, they tought humanity, humility, modesty to the ill educated majority of the then India.
Now when you visit Bangladesh, and keep on acting exactly the opposite what your forefathers tought us hundreds of years ago, it is shocking to us.
Things may be bad or dirty in Bangladesh, you don’t have to write such stories with such vitreolic hate about those bad things in Bangladesh. You wrote about the fantasy kingdom. Did you have to? A history making test match is going to be started soon between the two countries. Lets make a good media gesture. Let me give you an example, rather than writing about the Fantasy KIngdom, you could write about Curzon Hall, named after the British Lord Curzon. This is a building in Dhaka university. You could write about this campus life, that represents Bangladesh youth who are playing and watching cricket. In your article about the fantasy kingdom, you guessed the hotel owner lied to you when he asserted about the Jaguar dealership. Do you know that just months ago, the BMW dealerships in Bangladesh were all sold out of their stock?
Andrew Miller wrote:
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2003 03:11:58 +0100 (BST)
From: Andrew Miller
Subject: Re: Your reporting from Dhaka
Thank you for your email. I’m sorry if you think that all I see in Bangladesh is dirt and squalor. Believe me, that is far from being the case. As many people have acknowledged in their feedback, I have been blown away by the warmth of my reception in this country, and have gone out of my way to put it across. Unfortunately, I am still a journalist, and as such I cannot sugar the pill – the fact remains that Bangladesh is a very poor country. My writings might seem like mockery, but really they are painting a picture for those people who have never been, and never will come, to the country.
Writing about fantasy kingdom was one of those things that happened because I happened to pass it. It was such an unusual place to find that I had to go and see it. I don’t regret what I said, but perhaps it was easily misconstrued. I have since been rather more selective in my writings. Last week I went to see the house where Bangabandhu was assassinated, and my article was deemed good enough and sensitive enough for reproduction in a bengali-language newspaper.
As for going to see Lord Curzon’s house. Nice idea, but surely that would lay me open to the (unfair) charge that I am only interested in researching my country’s colonial past!
All the best