January 30, 2011
74 blogs and 1821 comments posted in different blogosphere about this movie
14 op eds written in different news outlets
74081 emails were written in 3561 email threads involving 7003 people
… all within a span of a week
This is about a movie
which tells an ajgubi story of a love affair of Pakistani military officer with a Bengali girl in occupied Bangladesh in 1971
Which offended a great number of folks highly indoctrinated into Muktijuddher chetona
Which forced a number of ultra liberal folks start chanting slogan to ban the movie
Which was made by a young female director who happens to be the daughter of a rich man who is a minister of Bangladesh government
…this is the official statement of this blog about the great Meherjann movie debate that is blazing the Bangladesh blogosphere over last few days.
January 26, 2011
… will be rigged.
AL allowed fair elections in most municipalities because it thought it would win them. Even after BNP did so well in the initial stages of the municipal elections, AL didn’t rig them because it wanted to show that it can be trusted with free and fair elections. How else will it do away with the caretaker system?
But the mask came off on the last day, when it rigged Noakhali. AL just couldn’t handle the truth that it was no longer all that popular. And the same dynamic will come to play tomorrow. Official results will show that AL wins these seats by a bigger margin than it did in 2008. Unofficially, it will be 1973 all over again.
AL need not worry about getting rid of the caretaker system. It has Khairul Haque.
January 21, 2011
The recently concluded municipal election highlights several points about the current trend of Bangladesh politics and further fuels the debate about possibility of fair elections under a political government. But before going into the messages this election sent and what our democracy can learn form this election, let get a short overview of the results and other political issues relevant to this election.
1. In a snapshot, the overall results show a near equal number of victorious candidates from ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP). If one adds pended Cox’s bazaar, BrahmanBaria municipals in BNP column, Tangail to AL, the margin might go in BNP’s side. Then hypothetically if one adds 10 plus Stolen Noakhali/ Feni/ Barisal councils to BNP, the gap widens further in BNP’s favor.
2. This election gives a good sampling of Bangladesh. This election was neither one of the major city Corporation election nor totally rural Union Porishod election. This election samples the population where urban folks come in contact with rural Bangladesh. These are small towns of Bangladesh where villagers travel on almost daily basis to sell their produce or do necessary purchases. These are the perfect mixing bowl of urban and rural Bangladesh. Unlike Dhaka where major concern would be traffic or load shedding or the remote village, where people concerns mostly about price of seeds, fertilizer etc. — these city council election covers both sort of perspective.
January 20, 2011
While stock market plunges in record setting numbers daily, prime Minister’s adviser on Financial affairs declares that he can’t care less about the investors in Stock Market.
Celebrated Photojournalist, activist and founder of Drik, Shahidul Alam speaks about the recent sensational photo of Felani, shot by Indian security Forces and overall Indo-Bangladesh relationship.
January 18, 2011
Posted by দোস্ত দুশমন under BNP  Comments
BNP is back. Even Zafar Sobhan or Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury admits it. I am hopeful even Mozammel Babu won’t deny it.
It didn’t need to be this way. AL tried everything to derail BNP. Throw Begum Zia out of the cantonment house, use SQC as a bait, not to mention the countrywide repression of BNP rank and file. The idea was to force BNP into an andolon that could be billed as supportive of war criminals and militants, and then let loose the
dogs of war Bakshali Lal Ghora.
Zindabad to those people who worked hard to keep BNP on course.
Zindabad to Khondoker Delwar Hossain. He is not the right face for the party in this digital age. But he has kept the radicals and hot heads under control, and constantly counselled Begum Zia on rebuilding the party with those who remained loyal during 1/11.
Zindabad to Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Not only is he an articulate person who can present the party aptly in a hostile media environment, over the past year he has been slowly but steadily rebuilding the party from the ground up.
Zindabad to Moudud Ahmed, Shamser Mubin Chowdhury and MK Anwar. Yes, one has a weasely reputation and the others are boring as test cricket. But they have been instrumental in BNP avoiding the obvious traps set by AL, and are working towards creating BNP’s future governing platform.
Zindabad to Mahbubuddin Khokon, Shaheeduddin Chowdhury Annie and Jainal Abedin Farooqe — young parliamentarians who will make the front bench when BNP returns to power.
Zindabad to the Zindagoods.
January 16, 2011
Updated (January 21, 2011): Robert O. Blake Jr., Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs: “The investigation into the Nobel prize-winning Grameen Bank, however, has raised concerns. Secretary Clinton has urged the government to maintain its democratic values and ensure its investigation is impartial and balanced.” Please compare this with government press release regarding Hillary’s call.
Photo: Daily Star
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday. Since the only press release regarding this call has come from the Prime Minister’s Office, they understandably did not mention it, but Hillary was calling with only one message: “Don’t mess with Dr. Yunus.”
The phone call was not an isolated event. US Ambassador James Moriarty had also delivered the same message a few days ago. And just in time. The Government has annouced that it has formed a committee to investigate Grameen. It is headed by DU’s Prof. Monowar Uddin Ahmed, who has had a famously difficult relationship with Dr. Yunus. As everyone knows, once a committee is formed, you’re one step away from the death squads.
As an additional channel of attack, the Government has also started harassing Dr. Yunus through the courts. Obviously, the good doctor thought that op-eds in the New York Times are well and good, but Secretary Clinton speaks a language that our Premiere understands clearly. And with his first court appearance due Januarry 18, clearly the phone call was timed with some thought.
I have mixed feelings about this. I don’t like the government hounding Dr. Yunus. However, I also don’t like foreigners telling our Prime Minister what she should or shouldn’t do. Hasina took office with incredible support from Western governments; why she would choose to start a vendetta with the one person in Bangladesh with even better foreign support than herself is still beyond me.
January 13, 2011
Awami League 22
Rebel and Independent : 12
1. This time the result has less surprise factor.
2. Out of 19 local Governments in Barisal, only 1 went to BNP, rest went to Awami League. And this brings the most interesting part of this discussion. Barisal proper has never voted for Awami League in Independent Bangladesh. Even in 2008 election, while two Barisal Sadar seats went to BNP, rest two went to JP. AL won two seats in periphery remote Island districts. Even during last lcal government election most of Barisal went to BNP. This time, people wanted a change. Few factors worked. In Bangladesh, anti-incumbency will always be a very powerful factor. Also people in mariginal areas think that a government supporting candidate may do something for the locality.
3. Compared to Barisal Khulna however did not show much anti incumbency and all other 14 sats BNP won are from Khulna Division. Only in two major cities BNP won last election– they were Barisal Sadar ( Majibur Rahman Sarwar) and Khulna Sadar ( Najrul Islam manju).
4. More or less this is how the election result was expected. Rangpur was abig surprise. This time Barisal came as a big surprise and Khulna compensated and overall expected 30-19 breakdown is maintained.
January 12, 2011
A new year came upon us, so is the 3rd year of the government of Sheikh Hasina- HM Ershad- Hasanul Inu – Maolana Misbah-Ul-Islam- Comrade Moinuddin Khan Badal. Under siege by police and neo-gestapo RAB; the new years eve was fairly uneventful. At least there was no public display of sexual harassment in the form of a torn clothe student at Dhaka University Student center premises.
There were some upheavals though. The long line for the upcoming World Cup Cricket tickets were lead news/ talking point in the news media. The world cup ticket hoopla was duly followed by nearly 24/7 news coverage of the roller coaster ride of the stock market. TV news as well as the talk shows were all filled with footage of angry investors, bleeding from RAB baton Charge, rallying and pelting stones at nearby cars and government offices. The Government took the challenge politically and made sure that the following day the stock index rebound with a two fold vigor.
January 12, 2011
Results Published oline as of 3 AM BD Time, 4PAM US Eastern Time, 9 PM GMT
The Daily Star
Out of the 72 mayoral posts,
Awami League (AL) 18
Rebel candidates affiliated with AL got 6
BNP affiliated rebels got 3.
Jatiya Party 1,
All 72 local Government results are available:
Awami League 19
65 of 72 available
Awami League 16
Daily Prothom Alo website:
Awami League 16
Although one should not see too much political tide in the non partisan local government election, it is impossible to ignore the following facts
1. In 2008 election; BNP and it’s allies lost all seats in these two divisions except five Bogra seats and One SirajGanj seat of Mrs. Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku.
2. Rangpur Division was supposed to be JP stronghold. So, crushing defeat of of JP affiliated candidates in local governmnet election may herald the demise of Ershad’s clout in that area. And these results may put Ershad in a tough spot during bargaining for seat sharing during next Parliament elections.
3. Jamaat’s winning of 5 City Councils should not be very surprising. Jamaat always did good in local governmnet elections in border towns of North Bengal.
4. Victory of BNP affiliated candidates in more than half of total City Councils may be unexpected to many observers. Although BNP’s support base was good in Rajshahi division, BNP even did not have the bare minimal support in Rangpur divisions. The competitions used to be either between AL-Jamaat, Jamaat-JP or Jamaat-AL. Suddenly a lot of BNP affiliated leaders won significant amount of vote in former Ershad stronghold city councils.
Now lets see what happens tomorrow. Barisal and Khulna Division local government election will take place this day.
January 9, 2011
Showing us that all sorts of dynasties can coexist and flourish side-by-side in Bangladesh, Zafar Sobhan has very capably taken over the defense of Dr. Yunus (here and here) from his illustrious father. Mr. Sobhan’s main point is that this witch-hunt against Dr. Yunus hurts Sheikh Hasina’s international standing abroad, and detracts from what should be the Awami League’s real mission: the destruction of Tarique Rahman.
I absolutely defer to Mr. Sobhan on the ups and downs of our prime minister’s international standing. However, I am still left with some disquieting thoughts. Dr. Yunus is arguably the most accomplished Bangladeshi alive. He is certainly the most well-connected Bangladeshi alive. If all Mr. Sobhan is left with is appealing to international sentiments, one has to ask, is there no domestic constituency left in Bangladesh that can dissuade or counsel Hasina from this disastrous policy? The fifty-plus cabinet, the half a dozen advisers, too many MPs to count, the much-vaunted sushil brigade, and no one to tell or show Hasina that you can’t sink Dr. Yunus?
Instead, Mr. Sobhan is left appealing to the prime minister’s international standing. It’s not a completely futile threat. Joseph Stalin once asked, “How many divisions has the Pope?” Sheikh Hasina isn’t likely to be quite as flippant; she knows better than any of us the path that took her to Gono Bhaban in 2007 – 2008. However, it’d have been nice to be able to solve this one mess by ourselves.
Speaking of 2007 – 2008, we have fond memories of the glory days when the unbeatable troika of Messrs. Sobhan, Wahid, and Ahsan used to regale us with grand tales and lofty ambitions from the rarified perch of Daily Star’s op-ed page. However, as they say, all good things come to an end. Mr. Sobhan is no longer at Daily Star, and Mr. Wahid now graces Shah Alam’s Daily Sun. Syed Badrul Ahsan alone is left to educate and inspire us. But he has switched into over-drive recently; there are only so many rags that pro-AL tycoons will be able to publish in the next three years, and the plum editorial jobs aren’t going to land themselves. Thus, we got this gem:
Khaleda Zia’s vow of nullifying every act of the Awami League is a patent threat to all of us. If the threat comes to pass, the sunlight will go fleeing from our lives, the moon will lose its luster, poetry will die, politics will be no more, rivers will not run and good men and women will be fugitives in the wild woods.
Everything will pall. Everything will pale. Everything will fall.
If Mr. Sobhan is sending a message from the Awami League base to its leadership, Mr. Ahsan’s message is from the Awami League leadership to the people, and especially those who make up the readership of the Star: Yes, we are proving to be quite bad, and we have also started losing elections, but stick with us, otherwise, dum dum dum…
Yes, those currently in power have started thinking about the next elections. Which is good, because our opposition seems to find it difficult to focus on a time-window past the next two weeks. They should take a leaf from Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy, the eminent computer scientist “with graduation from Texas University at Arlington, USA” who, like many before him, has discovered the convenient advantages of one-party rule, as long as it’s his party doing the ruling. Another message from AL, and perhaps the most significant one yet.
January 9, 2011
From the Daily
According to Singapore newspaper
The Straits Times report, the court on Monday convicted and fined
businessman Lim Siew Cheng $900,677 (S$1.2 million) for
transferring Koko’s $3.17 lakh and holding the money in his
personal account upon Koko’s advice.
Lim Siew Cheng, 63,
should have suspected the money could be the proceeds of criminal
conduct and should have reported it to the Corrupt Practices
Investigation Bureau or the police. He did neither and on Monday he
pleaded guilty and was fined $6,000 each for the two offences under
laws to prevent money-laundering.
Two fines of
6,000 for a total of 12,000. Not 1.2 Million, or 1,200,000. But
hey, when the Zia family is concerned, exaggerating things
a hundred times is nothing new. Expectations of accuracy and
honest reporting from the Bangladeshi media? Not unless your name
is Dr. Yunus.
January 2, 2011
Total voter were 659, of which 623 members of Dhaka Press Club cast their votes to elect a new executive committee. This committee’s job is to manage Dhaka Press Club activities for the year. Candidates in the election were nations high voltage editors, journalist leaders. It is difficult to turn Bangladesh news television on without seeing their faces and their opinion – advise on every single issue in Bangladesh.
Like everything else in Bangladesh, this election was also contested on the basis of Awami League and BNP supporting panel. Although these TV personalities and editors regularly serve the politicians sermons with advices to improve their cultures, they themselves exposed their real face after the election. The panel that lost the election rejected the election, alleged vote counting irregularities and resorted to vandalism and violence.
For Gods sake, there was only 623 votes. How counting irregularity possible in such an election? The candidates know each single voter, it is not impossible to know 300 people who can vote or against.
It was shocking but not surprising to see iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Golam Sarwar’s real faces. Their thinking was, ‘we are ruling party supporting panel and how dare BNP wallahs win this election defeating us. We did not have enough vote, so what we will grab the verdict by force.’. This sort of attitude clearly exposes the standard and integrity of journalism these folks resort to.
And this election exposes the standard of another ‘once respected’ profession which is Journalism. Few days ago we talked about the standard of Dhaka University teachers and this election reminds us that University Teachers are not alone in this race towards infinite decline. God save this country.
January 1, 2011
Posted by দোস্ত দুশমন under Judiciary  Comments
… in today’s Bangladesh, don’t bother working hard, striving for excellence — okay, those old virtues had been out of fashion for a while — but even the ‘new formulas’ of bribing and using one’s maternal uncle to get the desired outcome, even that stuff is useless in today’s Bangladesh. If you want something in today’s Bangladesh, I suggest you do two things: find some way to blame Ziaur Rahman for whatever ails you, and then claim you are the victim of a vast conspiracy to foil the war crimes trial.
Consider the recent verdict declaring the 7th Amendment to the constitution illegal. Since Ershad now dreams Mujib’s dreams and believes in trying war criminals, some readers might not be aware of the background to this.
Bangladesh had a democratically elected civilian government on 23 March 1982. Abdus Sattar, a distinguished public servant and judge (and the election commissioner who presided over the historic 1970 election) had defeated Kamal Hossain, another distinguished legal scholar in the presidential election of 15 November 1981. There was functioning parliament, where the opposition regularly debated issues of national importance. Another parliamentary election was scheduled within two years. There was no anti-government andolon, no hartal-oborodh-gherao. In short, there was nothing like the political gridlock that the supporters of 1/11 claim to have justified Moeen’s coup, nor the stifling fascism that some claim to have precipitated 15 August. But this didn’t stop Lt Gen Hussein Muhammad Ershad from overthrowing the government, suspending the constitution, and declaring martial law. Then, in 1986, after a farcical election involving Ershad’s current leader Sheikh Hasina, the parliament retroactively amended the constitution to legalise Ershad’s military regime. According to Justices AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Sheikh Md Zakir Hussein, this retroactive amendment to the constitution is illegal.
So far so good. Now, how is this relevant to Ziaur Rahman? That guy was dead and buried (or his dead body thrown into the Bay of Bengal according to the Awami version of history) when all these happened. But it seems to me the two judges have ambition to become Chief Justice someday. After all, they saw how a partisan hack like Khairul Haque got the job by showing unrestrained hatred of Zia. How else to explain the Zia-bashing in the verdict?
And anyone pointing out that our judges are undeserving of any honour is routinely accused of being part of the conspiracy to save the war criminals. Don’t believe me? Ask the TIB folks.
So, dear reader, do you want to start a business and need some loan? Go to the bank and say how Ziaur Rahman betrayed the nation and if you don’t get the loan, war crimes trial will fail. You want a ticket to the World Cup cricket? Go to the counter and say Ziaur Rahman is a murderer, and you need the ticket to save the trial. Your girlfriend won’t put out with you, I am sure Zia is to blame.