June 2006


If you want to know the real meaning of the word arrogance,
this is what
that is called arrogance.

Israelis Batter Gaza and Seize Hamas Officials

Published: June 29, 2006
GAZA, Thursday, June 29 — Israel stepped up its confrontation on Wednesday with Palestinian militants over the capture of an Israeli soldier, battering northern Gazan towns with artillery and sending warplanes over the house of the Syrian president………………..

And these all for one kidnapped Israeli soldier. What about our American Soldiers, who are being kidnapped regularly, killed in Iraq or elsewhere? Is an Israeli soldiers life more important than the life of an American soldier? Isn’t it for Israeli occupation of Palestine that the American soldiers are subjectedto terrorism everywhere?

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Does martyrdom depend on which side of the history you have been or whether you have been on the side of the oppressor or the oppressed?
How does our contemporary history treat the millions of dead German soldiers during World War I and II?
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The journey Flight Lieutenant Motiur Rahman started 35 years ago, has just ended. He finally arrived where he ultimately intended to arrive when he hijacked the trainer aircraft from Karachi Airbase of PAF. Motiur Rahman is Bir Shrestho, the highest gallantry award winner of Bangladesh armed forces. He is our national hero; we have an airbase after his name.

And interestingly the man from whom Bir Shrestha Motiur hijacked the aircraft is Rashid Minhas. Rashid Minhas also posthumously won the highest gallantry award of Pakistan, Nishan e Haider. In Pakistan dramas are staged on Rashid Minhas, who is the national hero. And Pakistan also has a airbase named after Rashid Minhas.

In short, senior smarter and stronger officer Motiur Rahman stopped Minhas in the taxiway, chloroformed him, took control of the aircraft and tried to fly to India. Rashid Minhas, later regaining consciousness, tried to stop F L Matiur Rahman, and as a result the aircraft crashed, killing both.

A very very interesting discussion goes on this historical irony in a Pkistan Airforce Blog. This blog shows how divided pakistanis still are about the events of 1971.

One discussant puts it this way,

….Internationally speaking both Rashid Minhas (RM) and Matiur Rahman ( Mati) are equal in decorations, RM got the Nishan e Haider and Mati was given the Bir Shrestha which was introduced as the new country BD’s highest military award. Now technically speaking, RM will always be a hero to us and Mati a traitor and deserter; an enemy. For the other side RM would remain a symbol of tyranny or oppression or whatever and Mati the ultimate hero. Now no matter how we accept the whole thing or how Bangladesh accepts the past, and how we admit blame or deny it, these facts remain facts. Our rethinking or sympathizing, if at all, can not and should not make any difference to the fact that our hero was an enemy to them and their hero a traitor to us. Therefore, with all that accepted, we should move on to the next level of maturity and think in broader terms; In celebration of the spirit of soldiering and as tribute to the profession all armed forces respect the fallen of the enemy and acknowledge their valor when reqd. We’re not sure exactly how RM is regarded in BD but we can assure Bdeshis that Mati is surely NOT DISRESPECTED in Pakistan….

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While the remains of Bir Shrestha Motiur Rahman embarrasses two of our Ministers, who initially vouched for Rashid Minhas, the events proceeding bringing back of Motiur Rahman remains start a new era in Bangladesh politics. The sacred 1971, our liberation war has all along been a monopoly of Awami League to do politics on. Lately a matured BNP has embarked on the same theme. BNP’s venture on 71 based politics was also evident in BNP governments showing of highest honor to General Aurora when he passed away.

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Let me take this opportunity to remind ourselves of the location of other Bir Shresthas. I was told that the ministry of liberation war affairs has taken projects for construction of Smirity Stambah at the grave 7 Bir Shrestha Freedom Fighters and construction of school / college building at there permanent address. I don’t know how far the government project will go. And while we hope this project sees completion, let’s remind us where the other six are buried.

1) Birshrestha Shahid ERA Md. Ruhul Amin: Lakpur Sea food, Rupsha Ghat, Rupsha, Khulna

2) Birshrestha Shahid Lance Nayek Nur Mohammad Sheikh: Kashirpur, Sharsha, Jessore.

3) Birshrestha Shahid Captain Mahuddin Jahangir: Sona Masjid, Chapainababganj.

4) Birshrestha Shahid Lance Nayek Munshi Abdur Rauf: Burirghat, Naniar Char, Rangamati.

5) Birshrestha Shahid Sepay Mostafa Kamal: Mogra, Akhaura, B’baria.

6) Birshrestha Shahid Hamidur Rahman: Daloi, BOP, Kamalganj, Mauluvibazar

It’s like getting the opportunity to win a medal in the olympics or play in a winning team in the world cup soccer.

It is about publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Everybody, somehow involved in medical science have the same dream, the dream of publishing in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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The New England Journal of Medicine is worlds oldest ( established in 1812), largest and arguably, the best known medical journal. Every issue of NEJM, immediately after publication, gets intensely scanned by major news outlets like CNN, NY Times, Public radio, BBC, Reuter etc for the health news of the months.
While less than 1% all the academic physicians, scientist in USA, Europe, Australia, Japan, Israel and other developed countries could fulfil the dream of publishing in NEJM, a bunch of Bangladeshi scientists, who live and work in Dhaka, did it last week. A landmark research was performed in ICDDR,B, Dhaka and the results were published in NEJM.

Single-Dose Azithromycin for the Treatment of Cholera in Adults

Debasish Saha, M.B., B.S., Mohammad M. Karim, M.B., B.S., Wasif A. Khan, M.B., B.S., Sabeena Ahmed, M.Sc., Mohammed A. Salam, M.B., B.S., and Michael L. Bennish, M.D.
From the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh (D.S., M.M.K., W.A.K., S.A., M.A.S.); the School of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa (M.L.B.); and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (M.L.B.).

If you are in search of some Bangladeshi heros, here are some. May be our Bangladeshi media don’t even know what is NEJM, and what a real landmark research mean, these people are the one who Bangladesh people should celebrate, not the Brazilian or Argentine soccer players.

The sound of my pager breaks the silence. A text message flashes in my pager. . “Mr XX is now a donor”. An attempt by the resident doctor to keep me informed of my patients. This text seems apparently meaningless to anybody, but these words potentially carries a meaningful life for half a dozen souls.

A little background. Mr XX was in the neuro intensive care unit after a highspeed motor vehicle crash. His brain injury was increasingly too impossible for us to take care of, the hope of a recovery was fading rapidly. In the morning I had a long conversation with the family, the parents, the siblings. The family was in agreement, if there is no hope, the doctors can harvest the organs of Mr XX to be used to save the lives of others.

Now, as soon as Mr XX was declared brain dead, his status changed from being a patient to a DONOR.

An extremely organized donor agency then takes over the body. They work with supercomputer precision, speed. They keeps the body viable for better donation, do all the screening tests, extensive computerized database starts searching for possible recipients, arrange organ harvest and transplantation. All happens within hours. Organs are flown from coast to coast within minutes notice to the matched recipient.

A bunch of people receives their most awaited telephone call ever.
” Linda/John/Betty/Steve….your lung, heart, kidney, liver… is ready. Let’s get ready for operation within the next hour”.

Someone in california gets a much needed lung , heart goes to connecticut to renew a young girls life, the liver emergently flies to Nebraska to save a life. So are all other organs.

Each day, in USA, about 74 people receive organ transplants. However, 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs.

Between January to March of 2006, total 5207 organs were donated from deceased donors and 1,705 organs were donated by living relative donors.

USA, like any other developed first world ountries, only allows living relative donor of certain organs and cadeveric donors. NO PURCHASE OR SALE OF ANY ORGAN IS ALLOWED.

All of those 1705 living donations in 3 months between January 06 to March 06, came form family members, may be the loving sister, may be brother, may be the child or may be one of the parents.

This is the scenerio of this side of the world, The USA.

Now let’s see what happens on the other side of the world, in Bangladesh, our land of birth. We claim we have much better family values than the west.

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1. My friend calls from Madras, India and informs me that his elderly mother in law has just passed away. She received a kidney transplantation last week and has been critically sick since then. The young girl, the kidney donor, who was selected from a group of dozens of interested matched kidney seller, was doing fine.

2. Not too long ago I received a chain mail requesting financial donation for a BUET student, the mail was,

Our BUET friend XXXXX who lives in Ottawa, Canada lost both of his kidneys about two years ago. He is doing dialysis three times a week. There is a long waiting list(10 to 15 years waiting) in Canada for kidney transplantion since people here do not sell organs. He found somebody in Bangladesh who is willing to sell one of his kidneys. He needs to go to Madras with that person to do the transplantion. The whole process including recovery and rest will probably take three months and will cost around US$25,000. He does not have that much money

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I replied,the BUET student can live a meaningful functional life thanks to hemodialysis and Canadian healthcare system. But if I have to donate money, I’ll donate to that seller who is compelled to sell an organ out of poverty. And canadians donate their oragns for their family. Why can’t we?

3. If you happen to travel to Madras hospital district, you will face these repeating obscene events. Dozens of elderly out of shape man and woman, accompanied by equal number of young healthy people. The poor youth will sell their kidney and the older rich will buy it. One’s goal is freedom from disease and the others is freedom from poverty.

4. Most of us are not ready to donate part of our body for the loved one, we would rather buy a kidney from some else’s son, daughter, brother or sister.

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We probably won’t be able to stop organ trade. But Why?

Is this what we call world’s best family value?

At least shouldn’t we stop a 19 yearol poor selling kidney to a 80 year old rich? Shouldn’t we set up an age barrier?

At least shouldn’t we warrant life long treatment expenses of seller by the buyers family? Shouldn’t there be a legal umbrella?

Who, we will address our concern to?

Anyway, who deals with organ trading in Bangladesh? Is it the ministry of commerce? Or the ministry of health?

We call it soccer here, while the world calls it football.
World’s biggest sporting festival, i.e the world cup football begins in a day. But there’s absolutely no buzz here in the sporting media. May be here and there are some public radio discussion why American’s are not into this global game.

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However as I drive by, I still see kids playing football or soccer in soccer fields. Clad in bright addidas matching double layer jersy, shorts, Nike boots, socks, shin guards, head band, hand band, a bunch of little kids are trying to follow what the coaches are instructing. Yes, there are offensive coaches, defensive coaches.

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They would only play on sunday morning. That’s how it is scheduled. Around the soccer fieilds, are a band of soccer mum and some conscious parents. The efficient secretaries made it a point to remind these parents about their daughter’s/son’s upcoming soccer match.

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Yes American’s are rapidly coming up is soccer too. Kids, mostly girls are playing a lot of soccer in schools.

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But what I don’t see is the passion. Missing very much is the life of this game. Never did I see a kid dribbling a football on the street or even on the driveway.

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Regimented training will definitely make USA a top tier nation in soccer. Someday USA will be a contender for the top spots. But I am afraid game will be there, but the life of the game, the passion, will be lost.

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And while the world get’s together, leaving behind all the conflict and war, USA can’t afford to remain aloof.

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They are on strike again. Last month it was in Chittagong, this time the intern doctors of Sir Salimullah medical College Hospital, Dhaka has gone into wildcat strike imposing a reign of terror in the hospital. They refrained from serving poor and very sick patients, shut down the hospital forcibly by padlocking all the ward gates, vandalized different nursing stations to scare off the patients etc.

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What they call demands and I call ” Blackmailing” the dependence of poor people oo public medical college hospitals, are raise in salary and reluctance to vacate nine rooms required for constructing a new dorm.

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In todays newspaper report, the agitating doctors later forced out the patients and on-duty doctors at the outdoor section in the adjacent building and locked the section.

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Similar strikes paralzed Chittagong medical College Hospital last month.

These strikes have become a fashion of the trainee physicians over the last couple of decades. If some graduating class does not organize a violent strike, they are deemed too girly a batch in the eys of their counter parts in different other medical colleges.

While resorting to this insane means of prank, anarchy, these new medicos forget the responsibility being bestowed upon them by the society. They also forget the contribution of these poor souls on their education. They also forget that they pay only 9 taka a year i.e. total of 45 taka ( 60 cents) in five years for their heavily subsidized medical diploma where a student in USA pays a hefty some of $120,000 from thier on pocket for the same diploma.

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This is not the only anarchy the medical students/medical graduates do annually. Another trend among these fortunate class is to take the exam at their own collective will. They will never take the test as mandated by the college authorities or by the course curriculum. They will boycott exam, keep on postponing it, resulting in long session jams in medical colleges.

Father of medicine Hippocrates will turn in his grave if he is unfortunate enough to see his 21st century disciples have moved that far away from his oath.