December 2005


Eliza Griswold wrote an article at slate.com

……..nation of 152 million—the world’s third-most-populous Muslim country—does not become another Afghanistan or, more aptly, another Darfur, where the rebels whose presence the government has long tolerated have seized virtual control….

Militant islam bites everywhere, it did here in USA in 9/11, it did in UK, Spain, Indonesia, Jordan, India, Pakistan and many other places. Afghanistan, Darfur reference never come in those cases, why every little thing in Bangladesh brings the Afghan/Darfur reminder? When terrorism stikes them, they become victims, when the terrorists attack us, we become Sudan-Afghan! Hah!!!!

During a hartal, leaving one’s house is forbidden, and anyone traveling on the roads runs the risk of being killed. It is impossible to go to work, to school, or even to the hospital.

She needed to do a better investigation before making this report.

To most of us, Bangladesh seems like a remote mess—poor and devoid of natural resources. The country has been plagued by sectarian violence since its independence, but the nature of that violence is changing, and we ignore the rise of militant Islam there at our own peril. The jihadists will continue to do their best to make our civil intervention look dangerous and impractical. Our disinterest is their most effective weapon.

…..”civil Intervention”…..!!!

What Bangladeshis want, he said, is continued international pressure on the BNP to distance itself from the militancy.

..So…intervention again!!!…

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Griswold is partly correct; Partly very wrong.

While quite a significant portion of Ms Griswold’s article is correct, she is gravely mistaken in her assessment of Bangladesh to be a future Afghanistan or Darfur.
Yes, religious persecution is there, but they are limited to a handful of small rural communities. Not as violent as systematic as widespread as it is in Gujrat or other parts of India. They are by no means govt sponsored. Govt ineptitude may be a factor.

The religious militancy that has grown in Bangladesh over the last several years, are limited to an extreme minority of madrassa trained mullahs. Events in the aftermath of the suicide bombings clearly show how deep is the anti militancy feeling in Bangladesh. Almost every religious institution, preacher proactively came forward against this sort of violence.

Bangladesh has outperformed even many developed countries in women’s empowerment. Starting from micro credit dependent rural small businesses to the top leadership of the country, women are very well represented.

Bangladesh has steady and very resilient growth in GDP over the last decade.

Bangladesh has a fiercely free media, majority of which is anti government.

Bangladesh has a very vigorous and loud opposition.

And most importantly Bangladesh has a democracy which at least ensures a smooth transition of power. Over the last fifteen years, all three governments came to power purely on people’s verdict.

Ms Griswold, despite you are correct in your depiction of Bangladesh brand of Islam, sociopolitical setup in Bangladesh, you painted a much exaggerated grim picture of Bangladesh. This is unfair.

–Rumi

The international community would be well advised to take note of the Islamist ascendance that presently imperils the country. Though Bangladesh is one the poorest nations in the world, it is strategically important to the U.S.-led “War on Terror.” This is why international pressure must be applied to the country. Bangladesh must be forced to dismantle the terrorist training and ideological infrastructure, something the current government has been unable to do effectively because its coalition partner is part of the problem.

The current crisis unfolding in Bangladesh must act as an early warning signal. It is a dark glimmer of what groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Jamaat-i-Islami do once they become part of governments. Advocates of allowing Islamist parties to enter the democratic process must take notice: groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Jamaat abuse their authority and dangerously push for greater powers and privileges which allow them to try and destroy democracy from within. Greater political responsibilities aren’t dissuading them from trying to violently implement Shariah law; they only embolden them. At the very least, recent developments in Bangladesh suggest that any serious discussion of counterterrorism strategy must include a country that for too long has been ignored.

This frontpage magazine story is definitely a reflection of what have been written in Indian and Foreign Media for the last several years and lately also in Bangladesh media. Considering the recent unfolding of events in Bangladesh, there is no room to doubt some authenticity of the report. However what strikes me is the stunning similarity of the tone in the reporting especially in the last two paragraph with that of the demands of the major opposition party in Bangladesh.

Why there is a need for foreign pressure to have things done in Bangladesh? Bangladesh is not America occupied Iraq so that America has to ensure that things are done right in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has a fiercely free and powerful media, a distinctively loud opposition, an effective democracy and an upcoming election. If the opposition and the media honestly focus on the firsthand criminals, Government will have no option but come down hard on them. Recent police/RAB successes against JMB is such an example.

Why there is a tendency to seek foreign intervention for every little thing in Bangladesh? It is already 35 years since liberation of our country, but how many more years we need before achieving the emotional and psychological liberation?

–Rumi

I went to see the new Spielberg movie “Munich” today. My pre-movie intention was to write on my observations of Hollywood’s changing tone on politics, especially middle east politics. But a dialogue of a movie character gave me a new question to think on.

In a scene, a character, referring to the plenty amount of food in dinner table, makes a comment, that is something like ” There is Enough food here to feed Bangladesh..”…

Well, the movie was based on events of early 70s. Bangladesh has just came out of the famine of 1974. The infamous comment, international basket case, is already well circulated. What Sub saharan Africa is now a days, Bangladesh, in 70s, was indeed an example of extreme poverty, misery, hunger, strife etc.

We would hope that we have moved on. That sort of stereotyping, hopefully, will not happen with Bangladesh again. Although Bangladesh is no longer the example of the most extreme, hunger, poverty are still there. In fact in international and lately in Indian media also, I see referrences like, ‘a desperately poor and impoverished country’, ‘very impoverished’, ‘hopelessly poor’ , ‘One of the poorest countries in the world’ etc when Bangladesh need to be mentioned for any reason.

My question, how many years it will take Bangladesh to leave behind the poverty curse? Will this happen in one generation?

-Rumi

I went to see the new Spielberg movie “Munich” today. My pre-movie intention was to write on my observations of Hollywood’s changing tone on politics, especially middle east politics. But a dialogue of a movie character gave me a new question to think on.

In a scene, a character, referring to the plenty amount of food in dinner table, makes a comment, that is something like ” There is Enough food here to feed Bangladesh..”…

Well, the movie was based on events of early 70s. Bangladesh has just came out of the famine of 1974. The infamous comment, international basket case, is already well circulated. What Sub saharan Africa is now a days, Bangladesh, in 70s, was indeed an example of extreme poverty, misery, hunger, strife etc.

We would hope that we have moved on. That sort of stereotyping, hopefully, will not happen with Bangladesh again. Although Bangladesh is no longer the example of the most extreme, hunger, poverty are still there. In fact in international and lately in Indian media also, I see referrences like, ‘a desperately poor and impoverished country’, ‘very impoverished’, ‘hopelessly poor’ , ‘One of the poorest countries in the world’ etc when Bangladesh need to be mentioned for any reason.

My question, how many years it will take Bangladesh to leave behind the poverty curse? Will this happen in one generation?

Anti-ahmadiyya Demonstration
Bigots clash with cops, 57 injured
Police stop marchers from reaching Ahmadiyya mosque; zealots vow fresh programme.

Read the full report

Jamaat is formidable and the ultimate obstacle to a secular and progressive Bangladesh. But Jamaat does not seem an immediate threat or annoyance.

Our immediate trouble are those madrassa based religious movements. Be it JMB, JMJM or Khatme Nabuwat or Amra Dhaka Bashi.

Time and again, I have been writing, we need to totally exterminate these entities.

I feel, highlighting Jamaat for the bomb blast and related activities is nothing but playing fiddle for the Awami election Politics, and unfortunately most of our progressive media as well as intelligentsia have fallen into this trap.

I am shocked to see these Khatme Nabuwat etc dare take an offensive against Ahamdiyas in a time when the national sentiment is against violence in the name of religion.

Why do they dare to do these? Because government is not as strong against them as they are now against JMB.
Definitely governmnet is to blame. But do the media or opposition share some of the blame who are using the bomb events for making political gains against ruling jote by breaking the jote. I was shocked to see desperate attempts in Prothom-Alo and daily Star to somehow relate the bombings to jamaat and a sympathetic tone in Prothom-Alo for these Amini, Mufti Shahidul Islam or other Muftis of Islami Oikyo Jote.

When will we understand that we are letting this madrassa based Frankenstein grow behind our backs , while our minds and conscience ae being used by a side in Awami league and BNP’s politics of power.

– Rumi

Anti-ahmadiyya Demonstration
Bigots clash with cops, 57 injured
Police stop marchers from reaching Ahmadiyya mosque; zealots vow fresh programme.

Read the full report

Jamaat is formidable and the ultimate obstacle to a secular and progressive Bangladesh. But Jamaat does not seem an immediate threat or annoyance.

Our immediate trouble are those madrassa based religious movements. Be it JMB, JMJM or Khatme Nabuwat or Amra Dhaka Bashi.

Time and again, I have been writing, we need to totally exterminate these entities.

I feel, highlighting Jamaat for the bomb blast and related activities is nothing but playing fiddle for the Awami election Politics, and unfortunately most of our progressive media as well as intelligentsia have fallen into this trap.

I am shocked to see these Khatme Nabuwat etc dare take an offensive against Ahamdiyas in a time when the national sentiment is against violence in the name of religion.

Why do they dare to do these? Because government is not as strong against them as they are now against JMB.
Definitely governmnet is to blame. But do the media or opposition share some of the blame who are using the bomb events for making political gains against ruling jote by breaking the jote. I was shocked to see desperate attempts in Prothom-Alo and daily Star to somehow relate the bombings to jamaat and a sympathetic tone in Prothom-Alo for these Amini, Mufti Shahidul Islam or other Muftis of Islami Oikyo Jote.

When will we understand that we are letting this madrassa based Frankenstein grow behind our backs , while our minds and conscience ae being used by a side in Awami league and BNP’s politics of power.

– Rumi

So many good news in a day. Am I dreaming?

JMB military commander Sunny heldHe was behind all suicide attacks; explosives warehouse found at Sabujbagh containing grenades, pistols, bullet dies, bomb-making gel; Ctg militant commander caught with bombs and ingredients

Better late than never.

Babar takes U-turn to term Yadav innocent.
In a U-turn from his earlier knee-jerk reaction, State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday said that Yadav Das who was killed in December 8 suicide bombing in Netrakona was innocent.

Gobu Montreer Bodhodoy. Qudos to Brave Bangladesh media.

‘The win is for the martyrs’Sports reporter from Karachi.
Everybody was on the edge of their seats as the clock was ticking towards the final whistle. The nervy Bangladesh tent at the People’s Sports Complex Stadium here went for frantic changes to buy precious time. It worked for the holders as they survived a late Pakistan pressure to eke out a 1-0 victory and a place in the final of the SAFF Championship for a second successive time.

Shabash Bangladesh.

Political consensus a must to root out militancy. Speakers tell roundtable.
Civil society members, political leaders and educationists at a roundtable yesterday called for a political consensus to stamp out Islamic militancy, which has threatened the national security and has been destroying the economy and social fibre. They also stressed the need for the unity among political parties and good governance at this critical period.

Al Presidium Member Suranjit Sengupta also wants political consensus.

World Potential EconomyBangladesh on Goldman Sachs ‘Next Eleven’ list
Goldman Sachs, a US-based investment banking and securities firm, in a report on world’s potential economies has placed Bangladesh on its “Next Eleven” list as a key member.
The report said, “Bangladesh, the world’s tiny economy with most corrupt brand, will power the global economy something of the magnitude of the BRICs economies.”
The “Next Eleven” is the second term the Goldman Sachs has coined to describe economies with high growth potential, such as the “BRICs” economies encompassing Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Probably Goldman Sach’s is positively impressed about the potentials of Bangladesh after observing the work ethics of some of its Bangladeshi origin leadership.

The New Nation. Bid to deny duty-free access Bangladesh warns of veto at WTO conference, By BSS, Dhaka, Wed, 14 Dec 2005, 11:00:00
There are indications that some developing countries are trying to figure out Bangladesh as an advanced LDC, not similar to other LDCs to deny it the duty-free and quota-free trade access to some of its products, more precisely to RMG products to the markets of the developed countries. It appears Bangladesh is being singled out to be punished for its success in global trading as an emerging exporter from the LDC group, experts here in Hong Kong said in their initial reaction to such an exclusion possibility.

Advanced LDC!! Doesn’t sound bad at all.

Sakib alone sufficesBangladesh clinch U-19 title beating Lanka
Sakib Al Hasan struck a swashbuckling hundred as Bangladesh clinched the under-19 tri-nation trophy in style with an emphatic six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at BKSP yesterday.

Please keep up the form as you grow, dear kids.

ADB transport and energy proposalBangladesh as regional hubIn our opinion there is a great deal of merit in the proposal that has been put forth by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help build up South Asia’s transport and energy infrastructure by means of developing Bangladesh as the sub-regional hub around which these sectors can pivot.

It’s snowing allover midwest. Let it snow. Leet it snow. Let it snow.
–Rumi

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