July 26, 2008
An earthquake just hit Dhaka. The magnitude was 5.6 in richter scale. Everybody I know in Dhaka felt the jolt. Hence I re-post this blog two years two months later.
Thousands more die in Indonesia. Earthquake strikes once again. Poor Iran, Indonesia, these countries lie on the fault line. Historically most of the earthquakes happened on the fault lines. California is also situated on a tectonic plate border, the fault line. And all the structures in California are built earthquake safe.
Here is a map of all the major and monor tectonic plates of the world.
If you can locate Bangladesh in the world map, you will see two plate bounderies, i.e. two fault lines cross Bangladesh. On the noth, the Indian plate clashes with the Eurasian plate and on the east, Indian plate borders Australian plate and continues to Burma plate.
I am not a geology student and won’t pretend to know or understand the basics of the importance of these plate bounderies and earthquake possibilities.
Different newspaper reports inform us that many scientists have been warning about the probability of a devastating 8-9 richter scale catastrophic earthquake in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Bangladesh.
So, major earthquake is also possible in Bangladesh. Are we ready?
Can the authority in Bangladesh speak out with certainty that at least one, only one single rsidential apartment in Bangladesh have been bult to withstand a7.0- 9.0 richter scale earthquake?
We we talk about issues, a variety of issues. There is a word in english dictionery, ‘Priority’. Should we, as a nation, relearn the meaning and implication of the word?
July 25, 2008
It has been almost one and half year. The pressure started soon after the military coup of January 11, 2007 and it continues today. The pressure over the months has gotten astronomically uglier.
I am talking about a political leader and chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Two time elected PM Mrs. Khaleda Zia. I am talking about this person who ruled the country for over ten years, who lead anti dictatorship movement for nine years, who was the first-lady of the country for nearly five years and who was in Pakistan army custody during the nine months of our liberation war.
Now , thanks to a military coup, Mrs. Khaleda Zia is in jail. Even Pakistan army did not jail her. They kept her under house arrest. So did Ersahd. He did not dare that either.
The current government not only jailed her, they tortured her. They have arrested both her sons and tortured them inhumanly. And the military intelligence people ( Who affectively are the government these days) made sure that Khaleda Zia is informed of all the graphic detail of the tortures on her sons.
July 23, 2008
The military coup of 11 January 2007 is unique in modern history. This is probably the first of a kind where a military coup took place under an impeccable disguise of diplomat supported media sponsored military enforced civil society takeover. Martial law usually follows Military coups and this special constitutional provision of martial law usually provides the very important legal and political protection of the coup leaders.
The problem with 1/11 was that although the coup, thanks to co-conspirator media, was very easy; in the after math, the legal-political protection of martial law was not there. This was, IMO, was the most challenging side of the disguised military coup of 1/11.
There is no martial law; it means that the authority has to use the prevailing laws and processes to achieve the effect of martial law.
Initially a subservient chief justice served the purpose quite effectively. The state of affairs is a bit muddy these days with the ascension of a new chief justice. It will be a matter of time before we will know whether the new CJ will continue to follow the order of the General. (After all, you only can offer presidency to only one person, not two).
In the meantime, in addition to the hiring the chief justice to work as the military government’s button man, the ruling military authority has also engaged a multiple layer of safety network. The layers include, among others,
July 23, 2008
The current election commission in Bangladesh is, in my view, the worst and most biased election commissions in the history of Bangladesh. Today, they hosted a grand voter roll completion ceremony. Guest of honor was the army chief Moeen, his personal Secretary AKA Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed and a corps of diplomats. There was no politician, not a single one ( except Gen Moeen U Ahmed). Politicians were not invited.
EC should be thanked for at least exposing who they consider their real clients are and where their allegiance is. In an ideal world, EC is there for dealing with political parties and politicians. But this SH ( Shamsul Huda, Shakhawat Hossain, Suhul Hossain) election commission does not believe in that. Their decisions are made in the military intelligence office and definitely their allegiance lies there and it is also getting clear that they don’t want the politicians to participate in the elections they plan to conduct. They don’t care what the politicians say. For them it is more important what the diplomats say. Hence diplomats instead of politicians were invited in today’s voter roll completion ceremony.
The government, the election commission and their trumpeteering media have been boasting, for months, that how many less number of voters are their in this new voter list. Inferring an easy conclusion, the message our government/EC/ media cronies want to spread is that in this 2008 voter list there are 12 million lesser voter and this means this government has prevented registration of 12 million fake voters.
July 16, 2008
Central Vice President of BNP’s student wing JCD, and ex VP of Barisal BM College student’s union, Mr Moshiul Alam Sentu was arrested from Dhaka yesterday. It was reported in Newspapers yesterday. This second page small report in a vernacular daily described how he was picked up and taken to undisclosed location yesterday.
If Bangladesh media still retain the slightest trace of sensitivity, I feel Mr Sentu will get a better coverage in tomorrows newspapers from Bangladesh. He was killed today by RAB.
Just like that. That easy!
Members of the defence forces pick up an opposition political leader without any arrest warrant and take him away blindfolded. Then within several hours, without any court proceedings, any charges, any chance of defense, that man is shot and killed. And this is executed by members of government law enforcement agencies and defence forces. And that is not the end of the story. The tortured and mutilated body of the victim is then thrown in a public place in his own locality for public viewing.
Welcome to political season 2008-2009. Welcome to post 1/11 Bangladesh.
July 15, 2008
Then the Goverment backtracks, Frees Nizami…
This is clearly an attempt to weaken and isolate Khaleda Zia and put pressure on her into submission. And look at this garlanded national hero, Nizami. Thank you General Moeen U Ahmed.
And thank you General Moeen also to bring back the rule of law again. As a result of this new rule of law, fallen dictator, the corrupt of the century, most ill natured ruler Bangladesh ever had, HM Ershad gets his cases dismissed one after another. Just today he got cleared off the ENG corruption case. All thanks to a submissive judiciary, a friendly attorney general office and an order from Moeen U Ahmed.
So now we have an Ershad. A friendly Hasina after a done deal and now apparently Nizami joins the league of extraordinary people.
Whether this is the fact or not, the current developments lead us to believe that General Moeen, Sheikh Hasina, Motiur Rahman Nizami and HM Ershad are now on one side. A battle line is being drawn. On the other side is a lowly illiterate ignorant widow Khaleda Zia, matric pass, jailed in a solitary confinement. Both her sons are in captivity and brutally tortured.
I do not want to see Sheikh Hasina in the same eye with the other three in her league. And I still have the hope that someday she will wake up and understand what company she is aligning herself with.
Let’s keep hoping.
July 15, 2008
The current election commission in Bangladesh is, in my view, the worst and most politically biased election commissions in the history of Bangladesh. Today, they hosted a grand voter roll completion ceremony. Guest of honor was the army chief Moeen, his personal Secretary AKA Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed and a corps of diplomats. There was no politician, not a single one ( except Moeen U Ahmed). Politicians were not invited.
EC should be thanked for at least exposing who their real clients are and where is their allegiance. In an ideal world, EC is there for dealing with political parties and politicians. But this SH ( Shamsul Huda, Shakhawat Hossain, Suhul Hossain) election commission does not believe in that. Their decisions are made in the military intelligence office and definitely their allegiance lies there and it is also getting clear that they don’t want the politicians to participate in the elections they plan to conduct. Who cares what the politicians say. It is more important what the diplomats say. Hence diplomats instead of politicians were invited in todays voter roll completion ceremony.
The government, the election commission and their trumpeteering media has been boasting, for months, that how many less number of voters are their in this new voter list. Inferring an easy conclusion, the message our government/EC/ media cronies want to spread is that in this 2008 voter list there are 12 million lesser voter. This means this government has prevented registration of 12 million fake voters.
Last week one political leader of southers town of Barisal, young and very popular in his community, Mr Moshiul Alam Sentu was picked up by the members of government law enforcement agencies and defence forces. Within several hours, he was shot and killed and his body was thrown streetside in his locality for public viewing. It has been reported that sincce the undeclared martial law of 11 January 2007, Mr Sentu was hiding out in capital Dhaka out of fear of arrest. He was not able to go home. Like Mr sentu, there are hundreds of thousands of grassroots political leadership and activists who are living out of their locality as they are in constant fear of arrest by local law enfocement men if they go back to their locality.
Mr sentu was one of the 12 million less voter our ED is boasting of. Sentu could not go back to be registered as voter. Going to military camp meant risking life for him. The fact is that Sentu was not the only one citizen missing from the new voter roll. Those hundreds of thousands activists who are afraid to go back home are also missing from the new voter roll.
Additionally, there has not been any report on what percentage of rural- socially underprevileged citizens did go to the military camp set up for voter registration. And then also remained unreported is what proportion of the indigenous hill people, who are alreday in an uneasy relationship with the members of the armed forces, did go to the military camps to get enroled as voters.
Before the attempted 2007 election a strong and concerted effort was made to convince the nation that government was not ready for an election. Almost on daily basis, newspapers published stories about in which remote corner of the country, how many voters were not registered. TV cameras used to go to peoples’ homes and the members of the family used narrate dramatic stories on how no one ever came to their home for voter registration. As the election got nearer, a great hue and cry was started for printed voter list. Just research the print media of Bangladesh available online; you will see all these stuff. AL lead 14 party leadership, that murderer Ershad, civil society org Shujon/ CPD, some media all started the chorus, how dare you call for election schedule without ‘x’ number of printed voter list available for all the agents. And definitely we all heard, again and again and again that without participation all the major political parties, an election will never be acceptable.
Now let’s look at what happens at the present. Pro government media (These days in Bangladesh, there are hardly any anti government media) are giving daily headlines on how festive the nation is over the election. Military controlled TV outlets are starting their nightly news with elaborate and inflated images of the festive electioneering. Interestingly however, these time nobody talks about a printed voter list. We now have an election, but we do not have a printed voter list yet.
We also forgot the very premises this government is here. The premise was to ensure a fair, free and all party participated election. Isn’t this the reason 1/11 happened? And what we are having now, is it a fair, free and all participated poll? Where are our bloggers, where is the media? Something has seriously gone wrong with this nations’ conscience.
July 13, 2008
It has been inertia all over. A writer’s block has gripped me lately. So apparently is the case for most of the political bloggers who are usually vibrant on the net, I presume. And while we keep ourselves aloof, the black cloud looming over the horizon of Bangladesh gets bigger and darker.
[A facelift of the autocrat]
Since the military takeover of 11 January 2007, what we are seeing can be called a systemic reversal of the revolution of 1990. The spirit of democracy, freedom of speech and political rights, what we earned through a lengthy and bloody 8 years of struggle, are under serious attack.
First time since December 6 1990, the press has been controlled by this government, and again the police/military has brutalized the students, the senior political leaders are kept in jail for indefinite period without any charges.
And more interestingly, the fallen autocrat and his cohorts have suddenly gained back a strong voice. Convicted felon and corrupt HM Ershad started a political tour of the country and giving the nation lecture against the corrupts. Ershad’s lackeys are all over in the TV, other media, political stages, lecturing against the parties who fought and won against them to bring back democracy. It is extremely shameful to watch gleaming Ershad walking with demeanor of the impending savior of the nation. It is nauseating to watch corrupt Anisul Islam Mahmood, Shahidul Islam et el get high profile media coverage when they declare that BNP’s participation is not at all important.
And more ominously, mainstream media is slowly making case for Ershad. A good rebuttal by Syed Borhan Kabir (From an Awami League point of view) against some nefarious efforts to exonerate Ershad by trashes like Pir Habibur Rahman and Sunil Shuvoroy.
People tend to forget that this Ershad should have been dead many years ago. This scum has personally ordered shooting and killing of more than hundred people. Starting from the seven students killed in 14 February 1983, Ershad continued his killing spree until the final hours of his regime. In one single event, 24 January 1988 or 1989, police shooting at the meeting of Sheikh Hasina in Laldighi Maidan took away the life of 24 young men. This blogger still recalls carrying the body of Shamim, an activists of Sitakunda Thana Chhatra League, in an effort to hide it from being snatched by the army.
Ershad and all these Anisul Islam Mahmoods should have been given capital punishment quickly after December 1990 revolution. A democratic and tolerant government and society spared their lives. And now those demons, gaining back their power, are coming in full force against those democratic tolerant values that saved their lives.
Today, while these ghosts of a fallen dictator dances, there rises another dictator, covertly, hidden behid those black clouds.
July 1, 2008
Shahnoor Wahid is daily Star’s Senior Assistant Editor. For no reason this senior ornament always reminds me of Mr Tareq Rahman, who happened to be the Senior Joint Secretary of BNP. Shahnoor Wahid referred to Tareq Rahman’s ‘ailment; when he wrote this yesterday…
…Actually, there are various ploys that can land you in a cabin of a hospital with full-time AC, better food and toilet. But to earn all that, first and foremost, you will need to take a crash course on acting. No, you will not have to perform an act from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That would be beyond the grasp of your 14 generation. It is lot simpler than any such dramatics. What you will have to do is, firstly, eat a sumptuous breakfast, and then take the makeup of a very sick looking man.
Then, right before the administration officials, give your best shot … bend a little, walk slowly, cough a lot, grimace every now and then, distort your face, clutch your chest, shake your knees violently, roll your eyes and gasp for breath. Meanwhile, arrange for your party supporters to shout outside for sending you abroad for treatment. After that Oscar winning performance, nothing will stop you from getting the sympathy of the officials. You will earn full points and be given lengra aam and rosogolla as reward. There is more. You will get that cabin with a better toilet…
Tareq Rahman was a bad politician no doubt and many of his acts during 2001 to 2006 were despicable. There are many allegations of his tacit approval of some police brutality on opposition political leaders and activities. And Daily Star was the news outlet which brought all the news of his misdeeds to us. Daily Star was extremely vocal against political repression by Tareq’s party. Numerous times Daily Star editorial policy dubbed this activities as “torture” and condemned them in the strongest possible means.
However, with the changes of 1/11, the word torture suddenly disappeared from the Daily Star’s vocabulary. All the tortures on politicians are now called ‘ailment’. After a recent editorial on Tareq Rahman’s ‘ailment’, in yesterday’s issue Shahnoor Wahid resorted to mocking the sufferings of a torture victim. Mr Wahids may dislike Tareq Rahman, that is fine but the moment the whole editorial team publicly start celebrating extreme form of physical torture on Tareq rahman, The Daily Star does not put itself at the level of Tareq Rahman, it put itself in a place that is much lower than Mr Rahman.
While The Daily Star increase the intensity of their relenless bootlicking, another newspaper shines bright in the sky. While Daily Star editorial pages fill up with the diatribes like that of Mr Shahnoor Wahid, another young jouno at the New Age, Mr Shameran Abed, dare write this;
Our current army chief is not the first general to have unsuccessfully tried to bring about a qualitative change in a nation’s politics by giving it, in characteristic military style, short-term shock therapy. But strengthening democracy requires more than a messiah…
In fact you do not need an enemy to destroy a previously reputed newspaper like the Daily Star.When we have “senior” assistant editors like Shanoor Wahid as well as Mr Mahfuz Anam at the helm, this entity is destined for a rapid disintigration. Probably thats why when the New Age points out that “EC misses deadlines for three roadmap tasks” the Daily Star prints in its banner headline, “Whopping success for EC” .