June 28, 2007
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibr Rahman’s sister Asia Khatun breathed her last yesterday. Not much is known about her personal traits. However some events of this person’s very personal life and her losses has been intricately associated with that of the nation.
On that night of August 15 1975, this mother, grandmother and sister, lost both of her brothers, her eldest son with the whole family and almost 20 other members of her extended family in political massacre. She didn’t have the scope to mourn all the deaths during that time of devastation. She had to become strong to protect, hide and safeguard her surviving sons. And she did what she had to do out of her maternal instinct.
32 years later, yesterday, when Asia Khatun departed the world, as a result of another political storm, the son she protected with all what she had, was not with her. He was in jail awaiting trial.
This probably is the typical fate of a subcontinental politician family. In ths subcontinent, power and politics tends to run down the family and so is the sacrifice, personal loss, debacle.
Politicians enjoy enormous power at the good times, no doubt. But they are the one who also pay equally. There is hardly any political family in the subcontinent which has not lost one or more of its members to political assasinations or which has not been subjected to prolonged persecution/jail/deportation or asset confiscation etc.
I write this note at a time when politicians are being subjected to a freestyle demonization. And while doing that there is a concerted effort to hide the fact that corrption is a disease that polluted the whole environment and it is not something that is confined to the politicians only. And it is not fair that only selectively some selective politicians will have to pay for the crime committed by all.
[[Cross Posted at Unheard Voices]
June 26, 2007
If the wise men and women under the leadership of Princeton PhD Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed believe that what they are doing with some corrupt political somersaulters like Manann Bhuiya or Amir Hossain Amu, is the needed political reform for Bangladesh, we have really bad days ahead of us.
According to this reform our political future is at the hands of,
1. Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, leftist to NAP Bhashani to Jagodol to BNP. When Salam Talukder, ex landlord of Sharishabari died, Khaleda not very happy with the Zamindari styles of Salam Talukder, wanted to recruit someone from a poor background. Mannan Bhuiyan, living out of party welfare, was the perfect one for Khaleda Zia to pick out of obscurity. Now 10 yrs later, leading the most corrupt ministry (LGRD) as per TIB for five years, owning Houses in Gulshan, making frequent medical trips to Singapore (each one costing at least a million Taka), looting LGRD owned dairy Milk Vita to its destruction, this Mannan Bhuiyan is the pick to salvage Bangladesh politics!!!
2. Amir Hossain Amu. I had personal knowledge of corruption of two ministers in Bangladesh. One is the rampant corruptions of Amir Hossain Amu while he was food minister and the other was the corruption of Dr Khondokar Mosharraf Hossain, the immediate past health minister. There are many politicians who have been given harsh punishments for indulging in a fraction of Amu’s corruption.
Now should I believe that Dr Fakhruddin will depend on these corrupt disloyal bunch to implement a healthy political atmosphere in Bangladesh? Am I out of my mind? Or is Dr Fakhruddin out of his mind?
I believe nobody is out of their mind. What is being shown like a reform strategy for now, is, in my opinion, is a shrewd exit starategy. This government of Fakhruddin, Moeen, Moinul, Matin, Masud et el know very well that their back skin is very much vulnerable if AL or BNP under current leadership returns to power. And they do not want to make the mistake of handing over power to any of these parties. Then who they would hand it over to? They themselves were not sure a third king’s party will fair against BNP or AL. Or least they probably don’t want to take the chance. Hence this new exit plan comes up.
It seems according to this new exit plan, the power will be handed over to the winners of a mock election contest between a BNP and AL redesigned by the CTG and led by Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, and either of AmuMukul/Rajjak/Suranjit etc.
A good exit strategy is fine. But sadly this exit plan exposes a real lack of commitment towards a positive democratic reform and a fair election in Bangladesh. Otherwise why there will be double standard in dealing with Amanullah Amn and Jahiruddin Swapon or between Abdul Jalil and Amir Hossain Amu?
Dear people of Bangladesh, worse time is ahead of us. Be prepared.
June 20, 2007
Prothom-Alo editor Motiur Rahman must be a very brave man. Looks like he is making enemy spanning the whole spectrum of Bangladeshi cahttering class. His takes on AL governmnet during their last rule has irreversably angered AL supporters. He could not alleviate that anger despite hardest services to the AL cause throughout the BNP regime. And now again after using AL for making 1/11 happen, he is in a crusade against both AL and BNP. His takes against JP/Ershad has been cruel, if I say it lighly. Looks like finally it touched some nerve somewhere. Today Ershad had an angry piece dedicated against Motiur Rahman in ex JP paper Inqilab. Boy, Ershad is angry, I don’t know what he will do if he get’s Motiur Rahman in front of him. Read this here.
June 18, 2007
Maj (retd) AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed, an accused of Bangabandhu sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder, has ultimately been forced out of USA to face the death penalty he was awarded in abstentia in Bangladesh. Preceding his deportation, there was an intense debate about his involvement and his real crimes. I personally avoided this debate. I was torn from inside on this issue. All my life I wanted to see Bangabandhu killers get punished. But at the same time I abhore death penalty. For me it was emotionally demanding to see Mr Mohiuddin deported and at the same time very destabilizing to see a loving father or husband snatched away from his family to be killed by the establishment.
Anyway, not going back into that discussion, let me explain what I understood the root cause behind this stubborn deportation of Mohiuddin despite very high profile, strong and effective pressure not to do so. This America is a changed America after 9/11. Now America is dead against any sort of subversive activity like coup etc. Robust new laws have been enacted in this regard. The reason for repeated lose of Mohiuddin in appeals court is the news laws. Because the fact that AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed was admittedly part of a coup, he did not receive any mercy or consideration in the eye of US law.
An irony is that this deportation of Mohiuddin came at a time when Bangladesh hasn’t yet stopped cheering another coup. Whatever our media or the government says, 1/11 happened as a result of direct military action against the civilian leadership. This verdict of the world community has been made clear repeatedly by the outgoing US ambassador Ms Patricia Butenis.
Whatever Mohiuddin did or did not do in 1975, he and his gang were cheered by Bangladesh mass people for years. Still there are a lot of people who support the activities of the majors. Similarly whatever the current CTG is doing, there is a considerable public support for the military leadership responsible for 1/11 event. The same mass see Gen Masud, purportedly the mastermind of 1/11 and known for his famous or infamous slap on the face of President’s civilian press advisor breaking his nose, as the hero.
The deportation of Mohiuddin will definitely cause a feeling of discomfort among the popular heroes of today. The lesson they could take is that even they are wildly popular today, even all the plans may sound full-proof, even if they don’t foresee any real obstacle in their future plan, in the eye of the civilized democratic world, a coup is a coup and it is reprehensible act. They alreday have broken military ethics and oath, the civilized world has alreday decided, in other instances, not to tolerate. In this context, what Mohiuddin faces today, some current coup leaders may face the same fate tomorrow. However in the eye of a professional military standard, definitely the magnitude of the infringement is not the same between Mohiuddin and Masud and the retribution is not expected to be same either. And most importantly, Mohiuddin or may be even our ougoing leaders like Khaleda, Hasina are rousing examples that popular support may turn into public hatred in a day. I hope the junta running Bangladesh now takes this into account.
June 16, 2007
The chatterbox advisor Mr Moinul Hossain is trying to reset the mandate of this interim caretaker government. Initially promised election by 2008 is apparently not the goal, Mr moinul says. According to him, they are walkingt a roadmap of democracy.
And definitely Mr Moinul has already shown us some landmarks in the road map. Hannan Shah was arrested for talking too much. Talking too much is against Mr Moinul brand of democracy. And the ex-mayors Hanif’s sone, new member of Hanif dynasti Syed Khokon was taken to joint forces custody, and unlike others, released the following day. And two days later this Syed Khokon hosts a political meeting in his upscale restaurant at Banani with the new party the Mr Moinul’s government is helping found. And remember indoor politics is banned in Bangladesh and Politicians are all in hiding.
While Mr Moinul and his agents in different political parties are shouting day and night talking against familycracy and corruption, nobody now talks about reported Billions of Taka corruption by Hanif-Khokon or Khokon being the son turned political heir.
On the other hand, looks like the noose against Sheikh Hasina is tightening slowly. Until very recently Sheikh Hasina’s main drawback was her talkative nature and making of irresponsible spontenious remarks. However lately her trademark saber rattle has become the last remaining hope for Bangladesh. This is the time when there is no one left in the country who would dare speak up against the current interim caretaker government.
I cant tell how much I disliked the coments of Sheikh hasinha. But now a days I keep waiting to hear a word fron her. Among all the insanity, shortsightedness, jabs against politics and democracy, Sheikh Hasina remains the last prson standing. I wish her all the best.
June 14, 2007
Courtesy : Daily New Age
Lately the chamchika census in Bangladesh has suddenly shored up. And they are seen trying to kick at the two elephants temporarily stuck in the ditch.
I do not know what will happen to this chamchika class if the elephants somehow manage to come out unhurt from the ditch.
But I do know what will happen if somehow these chamchikas succeed in eliminating the elephants from Bangladesh political scenario.
Recently I saw a national geographic documentary on Hyena. A bunch of hyena united together in hunting down a wild elephant. But the moment the elephant finally succumbed to the relentless attack of all the hayenas together, these hyenas start fighting between themselves in deciding who will first put a bite at the elephant. That was a hellish ugly fight.
And definitely in Bangladesh, the moment the two elephants will be taken down from the throne, I can bet another ugly fight will begin between those chamchikas for the party leadership exactly like those hyenas.
But the question that is yet to be answered is whether these hyena style fighting is an intended outcome of the impasse. The person who will stop these post elephant hayena style self mutilation within the political parties will apparently be the new leader of the country. That is probably the planned end point of minus two plus one formula.
One thing everyone forgets is that people’s will, wish and power did and will never be guided by any blueprint. At the end of the day, ppeople will decide their own future.
June 11, 2007
Photo: Moshiur Rahman [ I know this picture hurts. And exactly that is what I want]
All babies look kind of similar when they sleep. If you look at the picture, you will notice that overwhelming all the mud and dirt, a peaceful sleep glows all over the face of the baby. The baby was probably sleeping while the whole family were buried alive during the landslide. Now the baby has slipped into another sleep never to wake up from.
This little child was supposed to live a full life. Very unfortunately the life has been shortened. And it happened all because… because what?
Is it because the bay was born in a poor family? Or because the parents could not afford a crib, let alone brick house in a residential area or an apartment in a bay view high rise?
June 10, 2007
Posted by Rumi under Journalism 1 Comment
Veteran and very successful editor Naimul Islam Khan had this to tell about his colleague Bangladeshi journalist in his regular column named exactly as this title at daily Amader Shomoy.
The reason I am posting it here because I endorse in its entirety. I already discussed about the irresponsible activist journalism in Bangladesh in my several previous posts.
In addition to that the cheap childlish tone of ”gotta’, or take a kick of revenge at those who are in hole as result of the current state of political turnover is very much prevelant among our newsmen lately.
Rajshahi Mayor Minu and Daily Prothom alo do not have the friendliest of relationship to start with.
In the past this daily was snubbed by the court for publishing stories on Minu which later turned false. So as Minu got arrested yesterday, Prothom-Alo could not hide their joy. They just published a first page 3 column report on Minu. When the reporter was Tipu Sultan, I expected a better reporting. The use of derogatory language, unsubstantiated allegations, truncated unfair use of Minu’s wife’s interview were definitely not upto the reporting standard we expect from Tipu Sultan.
Then the Laptop story involving Joy, Tasneem etc. which was published in Manabjamin’s weekly Janatar Chokh. In that sory my fellow activists and bloggers Asif and Naeem were wrongly implicated in a sinister way. When a protest note was sent the editor point blank refused to publish it and was not at all apologetic.
We are all hoping that 1/11 cleanse our political mess, but I do not know what will help the nation come out of this journalistic mess.
Update #1. AL leader Mr Obaidul Quader was produced in the court tpday. In the court, under oath, he denied making any statement about the 12 death in bus burning case. A weeping Obaidul Quader was very bold in his statement dismissing all the quotes attributed to him as false.
And no surprise, the newsppapers, including Prothom-Alo, didn’t bother to give this news any treatment comparable to the treatment given to the alleged reports quoting him about all the misdeeds of Sheikh Hasina.
June 8, 2007
Posted by Rumi under Bangladesh  Comments
(Courtesy Focus Bangla)
June 7, 2007
Giasuddin Al Mamun is the typical fortune hunter, refusing to remain in the class he was born in and determined to elevate him to the upper elite wealthy class of the society. To materialize his dream, he didn’t miss the first opportunity that came his way. He made his way to come close to first kid of the country and very soon although he was simply a salesperson of a street side family drug store, he started visiting the house of the country’s president and eventually started living there. The rest is history, within the next 25 years; he ruthlessly made use of the proximity with the son of prime minister and ex-president and turned into one of the wealthiest business tycoons of the country.
During this journey he allegedly did many wrongdoings. These may include,
1. Abuse of his friendship of First Kid Tareq to get bank loans.
2. Intimidating other businessmen or government officials who posed any obstacle to his business blitzkrieg.
3. Blackmailed corrupt businessmen and government officials.
4. Misappropriation of government property by abusing his connection.
However what he has never been accused include,
1. Murder or terrorism.
2. Rape or Torture.
4. Destruction of public property tec.
If you are asked to find some positive things about him you can say,
1. This guy did spend the ill gotten money in Bangladesh, building industries, hotels, resorts, professional TV channels.
2. His money probably was not siphoned out of the country to pay for princely livelihood of his kids. Many government high officials are siphoning millions of taka every month for their kids.
Anyway, this guy was convicted yesterday. Not for doing what public believe he did. But for doing something what public do NOT at all believe in. And this verdict came after he was remanded (questioned in custody) total of 60 days so far, which is a record breaking high in the history of Bangladesh.
June 6, 2007
Last September I wrote about the coup detat in Thailand and its possible implication in the future of Bangladesh politics.
Ten months later the current events will judge whether really the Thai coup had any implication on Bangladesh politics.
However again, the new political developements that just came out of Thailand, may have a strong similarity to the percieved future of Bangladesh politics.
June 5, 2007
Nation was divided into two feuding and mutually hating groups. One group was supporting Awami League and the other group was sympathizers of BNP. The hatred between these two political party supporters/ loyalists is so intense that both the groups have an intense desire to see the other side wiped off from the face of the earth.
The trademark moment of this hatred is Paltan Maidan on the 28th October 2006. The world witnessed how stick wielding activists were beating their opponents to death in broad day light or how gun shots were being fired indiscriminately.
Then came the state of emergency. The so called 1/11. The talk of the town was of a new powerful 3rd party and attempts were underway to make the two old feuding parties irrelevant. Minus two theory came. Execution Plan A failed, now looks like the plan B of the execution of the minus two formula is heading towards a sure success.
June 2, 2007
A domestic law enforcement force called RAB ( Rapid Action batallion) was formed during the tenure of the last elected Government. Although this forces was very well organized, efficient and technologically savy, it turned very controversial because of it’s encounter killings. By encouter killing, it used to kill alleged criminals soon after they were apprehended. Following day statements used to be made with stories like how the criminal tried to run from custody and at the same time the gangs of the accused started firing at the RAB and in cross fire the accused was killed. Similarly stories were fed to the news outlests about all the criminal activities of the deadbody when he was alive. Newspapers used to publishand the public used to love those.
At the end of the day, we used to have an alleged crime, a suspect, a deadbody, a repeatation of the allegations and a cheering group of public. What was misisng in the whole chain of event was any opportunity of self defence/ clarification for the accused who is already killed.
Now we are witnessing this “criossfire” style journalism in Bagladesh. Our newspaper headings are now filled with accounts of confessions of the jailed political bigwigs. And definitely the confessions are being published without any mention of a source and as if the confession was made to the reporter. And newspapers are lining up along the party divide to decide whose confession they would publish and how they would change the story.