August 2007


Here are two statements, one from Dhaka university Teachers’ association leader prof Anowar Hossain, who has recently been arrested and the other one by the de-facto CTG spokesperson, Advisor Mr Moinul Hossain.

Prof Anwar says sorry to army
Staff Correspondent

The detained general secretary of Dhaka University Teachers Association (Duta) yesterday apologised to the army for the attack on them during the recent campus violence.

Also the dean of bioscience, Anwar Hossain made the public apology before the newsmen while being taken to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Dhaka.

“As general secretary of the teachers association and a guardian of the students I regret the incident that must have caused pain and hurt to every single member of the ranks ranging from a soldier to the army chief,” he continued.

“From the heart, we offer our apologies for the incident. And we don’t feel any shame, or anguish to do so,” added Prof Anwar.

“We are sorry for the humiliation and injury dealt to the reputation and esteem of the army personnel,” he observed.

“This army is the emblem of the state of Bangladesh, sovereignty and solidarity. And we can feel how much it pains an army personnel to watch an attack on their uniforms,” the detained DU professor told the reporters.

He also said, “We expect that every army man will accept the apologies, and forget the grievances they had suffered.”

And this is what the spokesperson this CTG had to say in his latest public speaking. He told this to BBC,

“….You have seen how they kicked a uniformed man belonging to the armed forces, how they burnt the effigy of the army chief. Its Ok as long as they criticize or burn the effigy of us, the civil leadership; but with what plan or how dare they kick a uniformed man or burn the effigy of the army chief?….”

You dare talk against the militray, they sure will beat the apology out of you. Just look at professor Anowar Hossain’s above mentioned apology. And even a a professor of Dhaka University is not exempt from the wrath of speaking against the military.

Moinul’s statement was far more dangerous. I am puzzled and still trying to grab what he actually meant. Isn’t the civil leadership still the supreme leadership and the authority over our state’s armed forces? Then how come, criticizing civil leadership may be OK, but criticizing the army chief is a big No No? Doesn’t our constitution protects you even if you criticize the God? Is Army, now, bigger than God for Bangladesh?

This picture makes me sad. Here, an apparently unarmed man is being subjected to public humiliation and physical torture only because of his profession. Nobody deserves this sort of treatment. This is ugly and cruel.

You all are aware that this now famous picture has been a subject and source of a lot of controversy and retribution. This is the bbc take on this photo.

duarmy

We all should protest this sort of treatment of a person only because of his professional affiliation. Similarly we also should protest and be sad at the torture and humiliation of the incidents, the pictures of which we didn’t see.  

Exactly in the same street, two days later, the professional colleague of the man being chased in this picture, came back reinforced. They imposed curfew, cordoned off the whole area, searched house to house, lined up all whose profession is student and beat them up in a manner that could be 100o times more ugly and cruel than what we see in the picture.

In addition to the magnitude and intensity of torture, there is another difference. The first atrocity was a job of un-accounted for, uncontrolled street mob. But the follow up event was a job of a trained professional force, who are armed, fed and dressed with tax payer’s money only to safeguard the country from foreign invasion.

Whatever disgusting the image may be, it surely sends a very powerful message. The message reminds us of 6th December 1990. There is no stronger human force than the peoples’ collective passion and anger.

Ok India is back again.

India is back to destroy this country, the economy and the progress.

Who says that?

Everybody.

The government says that via implanted news at local press. Read this , this , and this identical news items.
The following day our boss, the army chief, came up with his confirmation and conclusion ( concluded even before the justice`led investigatory committee started working) that the evil forces planned this and the design has been foiled.

Just scan through all the comments made in different blogs by all the militray apologetics you will see a general tendency of relating DUTA, India amd Awami League and even will selectively pick Ekushey TV behind the conspiracy.

And exactly on the other hand, the other side, anti CTG side, is using India freestyle also to make their case. The case that side is making is by connecting CTG with Dr Kamal Hossain, Daily Star, Prothom-Alo, Gen Moeen, geeti Ara Shafiya etc.

And a third side, seletively picking SaQa owned news channel ( and forgetting similar govt warning on Ekushey also), try to put the blame all on the evil of BNP. Like this one from a friend of mine, “Do you find it that hard to believe that Falu/Saqa/et al would pour lakhs into the streets to try to bring down the government? I would do the same.”

And while we use India at our own free will, I see a repetition of history. Do the combination of words, Dhaka university teachers, Indian agent, conspiracy, national integrity, India’s blue print, midnight arrest of teachers remind you of 1971?
Its a deja vu, my friend.

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This was how Dhaka univarsity student leader, JCD president Azizul Bari Helal was produced before CMM court this saturday. Prior to that he was held in undisclosed location for 40 hours.

Until even last week we though GTMO bay is a far away place. Thats not true anymore. While we continue our civil constructive discussion about the long term future of this 11 feresta’s government, worst incidents of human rights violations are taking place in Bangladesh. Promiment leaders`are being produced to court blindfolded, teachers are picked up from their homes at midnight and detained indefinitely, nonbailable cases are being lodged against 90,000 citizens.

It is extremely important that we protest these gross human rights abuse. If we fail to protest now, very soon it will be little too late.

My younger brother’s are being searched, identified, tortured and then taken away to undisclosed location.

 My country is under seige.

My people are without telephone, transportation.

My folks have no food to buy.

My fellow countrymen has all their rights curtailed.

My journalist friends voices have been gagged.

My poor marginalized people has just lost their last indulgance_right to express their anger.

My sick relatives can’t see a doctor, can’t buy a medicine.

How can I seat quite, either observe the situation or be a cheerleader of all these miliary atrocities?

How Can I not protest all these injustice?

Here are some pictures. However these pictures are not of those inexplicable, unacceptable,unwarranted, vandalism that was demonstrated all over Dhaka on Wednesday and that left the nation in a state of disbelief and shock. These are agrieved peoples’ mvement protesting price hike and power failue dring last government around 28 september 2006.

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The New Age Editorial

…..While it is only natural that the events of the last few days will be explained differently by different quarters, we strongly feel that the real causes of such dissent must be correctly identified by the present government. For the wrong diagnosis will only worsen the situation, and that will not desirable for anyone — be it the government, our armed forces, civil society, media or the general public. However, the official explanation that has thus far been provided — as can be discerned from the chief adviser’s address to the nation on Wednesday night — that university students’ response to a seemingly minor incident that had already been dealt with by the government was intentionally amplified by ‘evil forces’ and ‘self-seeking quarters’, appears to us to be not only simplistic but also incorrect. In our view, there is growing disillusionment with this government among the people at large, owing to the fact that this government, instead of concentrating on fulfilling the initial pledges that it had made, has been seen to be more busy with other activities such as trying to fracture political parties, expel political leaders, make arbitrary arrests, shut down factories and mills, evict slum-dwellers, etc. Also, instead of working expeditiously to bring about necessary political reforms through the enactment or amendment to electoral laws and rules, the government has given itself an open-ended tenure and has perceivably stalled the restoration of fundamental rights and return to elected rule. The disappointment and disillusionment with the government has, in our view, turned into anger, which found expression in the students’ agitation and the spontaneous involvement of the general public in the protests of the last few days…….
……we strongly and sincerely urge the Fakhruddin government to steer clear of conspiracy theories and to properly analyse the factors that led to the spontaneous street agitations of the last few days. We also urge it to immediately shift its focus back to the levelling of the playing field and on the holding of credible, acceptable and participatory elections in order to return democratic process to the country and to safeguard the army’s well-earned reputation as the symbol of our sovereignty.

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Yes the whole country is now under house arrest. Hundreds of thousands are being tortured. It is reported that army is beating people to death.

Mobile networks are snapped, so is internet. TV/Newspapers are gagged. Politicians/teachers are hiding.

This is the first time curfew has been imposed for so long since the night of 25th march. Like that of 26th March it is also relaxed for 3 hours. And never ever, the telephone system has been disconnected so massively anywhere in the world.

Talking about business loss. If demonstrators cause loss of 1 million taka, this military-chamcha government is now causing loss of 1 billion taka.  

And surprsingly the number of rajakars supporting heavy headed PAK action on 25th March was much less than the proportion of people jumping up and down to support this massive antipeople crackdown.

Although bloggers, both from Bangladesh and abroad are helping by spreading the word,  there is a serious lack of a strong voice of protest among the bloggers who live outside bangladesh. On the contrary bloggers from Bangladesh, who are writing in places like http://www.somewhereinblog.net or http://www.sachalayatan.com are writing more bravely. We could take lesson from our previous generation NRBs who stood up against PAK army atrocities in cities like London and New York.  

This is the time to protest the heavy handed action of Mr Fakhruddin’s government.

As of this morning, widespread chaos is being reported from all over Bangladesh. On the 3rd day of ongoing student unrest, its now looks more like an anarchy caused by a combination of student rage and anger/frustration of marginalized people like street hawkers/ slum dwellers or clever manipulation of student rage towrads a political purpose. 

Businessmen, civil society leaders, new and old, are complaining that student unrest will zeoperdize country’s business as well as democratic future.

Is it true? Is the chaos of last three days a total new low for Bangladesh? Before I go more into this episode of chaos, let me go back a couple of weeks and try to see how peacefully serene Bangladesh was.

1. Rangs Bhavan was evacuated within 24 hours notice, workers broke the huge glass walls and interiors in an exuberant public display of government sponsored destruction. Don’t know why there  was such a rush, even that could not wait for supreme court review petition. Now the building stands tall, precariously exposed after killing one worker and endangering thousands who live round the building. A demolition tender is being processed, Lord knows how many months,if not years, it will take to complete the tender process. And the much talked about road? Well RAJUK chief said, they are working on sending a plan to the planning commision!  Now we know there was no plan either!

How less anarchy was this rangs Bhavan demolition fiesta compared to the 20 cars students vandalized today?

We now talk about  scaring business community, what signal we sent to the community when evicting billion taka investment at different floors of rangs bhavan? How do government expect wholehearted cooperation from Rangs owner, who apparently happen to be a leading food importer?

2. At this time of emergency and ban on publics politics and internment of political leaders ( except those working for govt sponsored reform), the law enforcement leadership was induging in freestyle politics. The last in the series was the police super of Pabna, whose speech at local police event was full of scathing uncorroborated allegations against ex-home minister Babar, who is being tried at court now. And nation knows what politics our army generals , police chief and some advisors have been doing with flood relief over the last weeks.

What students did by demonstrating at different points is definitely a breach of law. But what the army number one, two and three as well as some advisors did in the name of flood relief was also breach of ban on politics.

When we blame the effect, lets blame the cause too.

And now, what’s next?

The options are, 

1. Full scale undisguised martial law. However history does not support an immediate martial law now. Martial law always comes when people are frustrated with politicians and wish an army takeover. 1/11 was one such time. Previous martial laws in Bangladesh and neighbouring countries always followed this criteria. The history of full Army tookover of civil power when the street was against army, is always catastrophic. I hope Army know that it is a little too late now.

2. After it’s peak on 3rd day, slow waning of the unrest and return of normalcy under a shaken and bruised CTG. Exit strategy may change and so called reform may be weakened. The days of gloating will be over. Opposition voices will be louder.

3. Hardline from current CTG. Closure of educational institutes, covert arrest of student activists, curfew etc. This will definitely contain current movement but will undermine CTG’s moral authority and perceived civil support. Probably thats why they have not closed the universities yet.  

Irrespective of what outcome we get out of this mess, it is getting clear that two years is too long for an unelected civil government. By being at the helm for two years, the current rulers have narrowed and complicated their exit options. And the ultimately the loser is Bangladesh and her democracy. And I feel really sad for peace loving people of Bangladesh, for whom social justice, rule of law, honest rule remains elusive.

Student anger again rocks Dhaka university campus and has recently been reported to be spreading to another campuses. The rage, this time, is against the member of nations’ defence forces camped in Dhaka university gymnasium. A trivial soccer field browl started this episode of student unrest.

While a heated debate goes on at Unheard Voices, not very surprisingly, there are quite a few voices against this student movement in favor of the military occupation of Dhaka University. This is in sharp contrast to the overwhelming public support any student movement used to enjoy in this part of the world.

Anyway, this movement begins at a time, when people started asking whether the once famous student power, the uncontrollable force of collective rage, is still alive and waiting to be awaken. Although the events of last night definitely answered the query-question remains whether this major student protest would have any impact to the political scene of Bangladesh.

We have to remember that this is simply an outburst of anger against a local problem, i.e. the army camp or merely a petty problem i.e. the student-soldier altercation over a soccer match. This is no way comparable to the student’s nationalistic or pro-democracy movements of 69, 71 or 84-90. The same stuidents who are protesting today, did also protest against the police atrocity in Shamsunnahar hall or mass rape in JU. However, in between these events, students remained carefully detached from more pressing national or civic issues or from the calls of national political leadership. Even in very recent past, when an army camp was set up at DU gymnasium, there was not a single word of protest against it. The violent protests of October/November and even of 1996 didn’t see student participation. So I remain skeptical of the immediate future of this movement to become an allout antigovernment agitation.

However, despite the intention and the cause, this student protest sends a very strong signal. This is the first time, at this term, military forces were again made aware a formidable force, which is not scared of them. In recent Bangladesh, in both military and civil circles, militray officers were near God. The events last night, when a CGS MAj Gen Jamali was chased at DMCH, or when another all powerful Brig general was physically assaulted ( By no means an accerptable form of protest), would make the defence forces look more mortal in public eyes.  The fear tactic will be less effective from now on. An unease will start taking shape in civil-military intercations.

[I wrote this piece for different yahoogroups on the day Ivy Rahman died, several days after 21st august attack on Sheikh Hasina. Although this reflects my immediate rage and shock and may be faulted to contain premature conclusions, most of the concerns still remained valid today. The leader of madrassa movement, Mr Azizul Haq, whom I blamed, later became friend of Awami League. So was Mufti shahidul Haq, who has recently been incriminated as a co-planner by a main suspect, Mufti Hannan, another Madrassa product.]

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Ivy Rahman

I grew up hearing of Ivy Rahman as a political leader. She had quite an unusual name for a politician of her generation. Ivy Rahman died early this morning. She was grievously injured on the bomb attack on Awami league meeting this week. That’s what always happen. The better ones always go early. In our nasty/corrupted political culture, and unlike many of her political colleague, Ivy Rahman or her husband or any member of their family have never been implicated in any sort of corruption or terrorism allegation. She spent her life in one ideological politics, and just ended it with the same idealogy.

Not this Time

With the injury and later death of Ivy Rahman, at least one stereotype could not repeat itself this time. BNP couldn’t blame the bombing on AL; no one would believe AL will kill a senior leader like Ivy Rahman for political gains.

Why BNP is to Blame

There would be a lot of finger pointing now of who did it. I, like Sheikh Hasina, don’t want to say that BNP did it, but I believe all responsibility goes to BNP. If BNP can spend highest national resources to pave smooth fun by Tareq Zia and gong in haowa vaban, I believe Sheikh Hasina deserves at least part of the security. It is quite plausible that if a portion of security measures was taken for the meeting as it is usually taken for Tareq Zia and his friends, this incident could have been prevented.

There are more. BNP is creating examples for others to follow. Only several months ago, whole nation watched how BNP openly harassed it political opponent Dr B Chowdhury and Mr Abdul Mannan. Wasn’t it a green signal for the groups who carry a little more extreme opinions?

Madrassa grown extremist groups of Moulana Amini kind has been issuing death threats to many intellectuals, journalists. Moulana Amini is a partner of this government and he became an MP with BNPs election symbol, sheaf of paddy (Dhaner sheesh). As BNP bears responsibility for the activities of any of it’s party members and MPs, BNP also bears responsibility for any activity/speech by Moulana Amini.

And again. What BNP did in the history to restrain these zealots? The BNP government went against calls from UN, USA, EU, Amnesty international etc. to comply with the demand of Amini and madrassa movements to ban Ahamadiya books. Will it be grossly wrong if I connect the dots in the following way. We all know these madrassa movements don’t like mazaar–they bombed Shah Jalal mazaar, they don’t like pohela boiushakh — they bombed Romna botomool, they don’t like Bengali culture– they bombed Udichi, they don’t like Communist party– they bombed CP meeting. I know I should not blame someone without proof, but I am allowed to suspect, isn’t it?
What BNP did? They arrested NGO workers(Proshika), Journalists( Selim Samad), Opposition Political leaders, intellectuals. In the meantime they keep on patronizing these Madrassa movement led by Amini, Azizul Huq etc.

So why BNP will not be held responsible?

Nature of Protest

We can rally, protest, blockade to express our anger. Why do we have to burn innocent peoples cars, or public buses or public property? Why can’t we leave behind the culture of sixties when protest used to mean anarchy? Can’t AL or Sheikh Hasina come up with a statement urging people to protest without burning property? How many more years we have to wait to become civilized?

The dead and the injured

As you will noticed, there has been a fundamental difference in Bangladesh media and international media on the media coverage of the events . BBC, CNN etc. website gave very high priority to this news. But none of these media outlets showed any picture of any dead or injured. Instead, e.g. BBC showed a much powerful picture of a wailing man in a barren Dhaka street. See what Dhaka media are doing. They are showing picture women-men lying on the streets and mingled bodies in the morgue. Even they are publishing the picture of some leader and asking in the caption is she alive or dead. Bangladesh newspapers are independent and maintain a high standard of journalistic excellence. But when they will understand that privacy is a part of journalistic etiquette also?

Ambulance and the the rickshaw van

A big part of international coverage mentioned that injured or the dead were being carried to the hospital with tricycle carts. It was a big niche in the story to show how savage we still are. After such an incident in the heart of Dhaka, police car or ambulance don’t show up. In this 21st century we still carry the injured with a manual cart, untrained passers by pull and hold badly injured bodies. And journalists take pictures of them.

Pizza Hut

We now have pizza huts in Bangladesh, people are proud to show that off. “Fast Food” courts are mushrooming everywhere, people are spending a fortune in those places playing pools and bowlings. We, the chattering Bengali, are talking relentlessly with our fancy camera cell phones. And those mingles bodies head towards the emergency room on a rickshaw cart.

[Slighly modified from my last years post at Unheard Voices]  

I grew up in the residential quarters in Sher-e-bangla Nagar around the Ganavaban. We used to play in and around the unde- construction Ganavaban, the future official residence of the prime Minister of Bangladesh. Later when the building was commissioned, we were not too happy as our free playground went off limit for us. Unlike children of these days, we were hardly confined to home, rather quite independently; we used to roam around the adjacent areas with gangs of boys and chatting with the guardsman posted at different gates of ganavaban. We also learned different kind of salutes from these guardsmen and were very much eager to test our salute skill on the dignitaries.

On one Eid day, probably that of 1974 or 1975, our chance came. Ganavaban was open to public; anybody could go and meet the prime minister. We also went in, me, Hasan and Shiblee, all of between 6 to 7 years of age and easily entered the huge hall room and walked straight where bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was standing and greeting people. We went forward and promptly resorted to our much practiced salute. I still remember the affection mixed surprise in Bangabandhu’s eyes. We hoped we could do ‘kolakuli’ like others, but we probably were too nervous and was intimidated by his tall stature, and as smart Hasan showed the way, we all bend on his foot and did “kadam buchi”. Bangabandhu promptly shouted to some of his aid to feed us with ‘shemai”.

Not too long after, Bangabandhu was killed along with all his family members. I was immensely saddened. It is more than 32 years, we lost this legendary leader. I still cherish my memory of meeting him in person. So far he is the first and last ruler of Bangladesh I ever met in person.

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There was a tree lined road between our house and ganavaban. At the end of the road, a two story red residential building was part of an army base. A high ranking army officer lived there with his three daughters. After visiting bangabandhu, our confidence was sky high. So we decided to visit his home to “salute” him. He also took us in and introduced us to his wife and daughters. This man was colonel Jamil. Most of us don’t know who he is. In 1975, he was the military secretary of the President. On august 15, when Bangabandhu was under fire, his sons were already killed, he desperately called maj general Shafiullah, who declined to help citing his inability. Bangabandu then called Col Jamil, who immediately responded to call of duty and was killed in Sobhanbag area on the Mirpur road, while trying to resort command and control on the unruly soldiers.

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Maulvi Sheikh Abdul Halim was the Imam of the mosque at Tongipara at Gopalganj who was asked to burry Bangabandhu without namaj e janaja and public viewing. But he boldly declined, on the face of the scary looking blood thirsty army personnel, to burry without namaj e janaja. About public viewing, he replied, “We can. But only if you declare him a `shahid’ (martyr).”

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Our ex-prime minister used to celebrated her 62nd birthday with much grandiosity. Even last year, she, with a queen Victoria kind of attitude, received greetings and flowers at her official residence. Chhatra Dal, the student wing of Khaleda’s party also celebrated the event at Madhu’s canteen with a 62 pound cake.

This year Khaleda urged not to celebrate her birthday due to flood. I do not feel flood is the only reason. It is historical fact that anyone will  lose a certain amount of reasoning once he/she enjoys absolute uncontested power. On many fronts now she is trying to correct her misdeeds and failures.

Mujib’s 3 and half year rule was marred with numerous misdeeds also. But, unlike others, he didn’t get the chance to correct himself. His last 3 and half years should not be on our way to pay him his due homage.

Wall Street Journal: Higher Food Prices to Hit Europe

The global rise in food prices is catching up with continental Europe, adding to mounting inflation worries…Rising global food demand, freakish weather and the trend to reroute crops for biofuels are pushing up food-commodity prices globally.

China Daily: Price rises take a toll in Shanghai

Inflation is touching the lives of nearly everyone in Shanghai. The price of a beef-filled snack at a store popular with office workers in the central business district has jumped from 1.5 yuan apiece to 1.7 yuan. Bottled water, found in many Shanghai homes, has risen to 17 yuan from 16 yuan just a week ago.

Domestic help has also become more expensive. Cleaner Cai Li said her hourly rate has risen by 30 percent to 10 yuan.

“I need the extra money to buy food for my family,” she said.

The average price of pork at the city’s markets has increased 25 percent to 26 yuan per kg and egg prices have averaged around 8 yuan per kg. Prices of fish and chicken have also increased 10 to 15 percent from the year before.

Hungarian Newspaper Portofolio: Food price hike revs up inflation forecasts in Hungary

New Zealand’s online business new site, Stuff.co.nz:  Food prices start to bite

Canada’s national post newspaper: Get ready for food-price spike

Soth Africa business report: Food price rises are a major factor behind the wave of strikes

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You may mistake the above commentary with a Hollywood disaster movied script, but these headlines, in fact, are real life events, all fed by google news withing a narrow window of last twelve hours.

I believe those above mentioned headlines did cover a representative section of the developed first world and bigger economies. Don’t forget the fact that, countries like those in Europe, New Zealand or Canada historically maintain huge buffer food stock and backup supply chain to prevent unexpected food price hike. That’s why we don’t see a significant variation in food price in the groceries of a developed country.

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It can be clearly presumed that the supply-demand discrepency did start quite a while ago and needed a long time to finally menifest as short supply and price hike in the markets of Germany or New Zealand. To the contrary, the market in Bangladesh barely manages and don’t have the luxury of a buffer and backup. So it can be safely assumed that the price hike that is menifested today in first world market place, would hit Bangladesh much earlier, just when the global supply demand discrepancy started. And exactly that happened in Bangladesh, price hike started early last year.

It is expected that in the first world market and bigger economies, with restoration of supply chain, initiation of backups; the price hike problem will correct itself. However in a third world economy, like that in Bangladesh, the market correction is not expected to be as quick and as automatic. The flood that destroyed millions of acres of cultivated land will further hamper the recovery process.

It is very intriguing to see how countries like China, Canada, New Zealand or EU are bracing the problem and what steps they are taking. In our case, we are still occupied with Tareq Zia theory, i.e. Tareq Zia’s corruption made the essential price so high and all pieces of evil in this planet. Our observers, analysts, experts rarely tried to dig in the real cause.

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Recently, in different blogs, I got excited at ritual Tareq bashing.  Rather focusing, exploring and analysing the problem, we try to demonize one single character behind all the vices that is happening to the country and then hope that, once that vice is gone all pain will disappear in one night and there will be continous happines. This is in fact our national trait. That’s why the nation went into sudden disbelief and confusion at the absence of drastic change after 1971. That’s why hyistorically we had the shocks of post independence famine, post Mujib chaos, post Sattar autocracy, post Ershad disappointment and post 1/11 market place inferno.
Tarek Zia has two kinds of problem. One I saw in my own eyes. Those are arrogance, stupidity, abuse of power and gross political mistakes. Other is corruption charges. For that part I am still waiting for the government show me some proof. It is impossible to believe that government won’t be able to show proof of one single corruption. Without that I simply refuse to join the corruption chorus. Whatsoever, I like to see him behind the bars for a longer time, at least for his political failure, abuse of administration for his own childlish adventures.

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Lets go back to price hike issue. China, Europe and all other are going all nine yards to find the root cause the supply demand breakdown. Europe has already identified the over enthusiastic bio-fuel cultivation behind lack of food supply. China is suggesting construction boom, diversion agriculture manpower, resources to construction, failing to expand agriculture with demand as potential causes.

We also need to go to the root of the causes. Our brighter minds can’t afford to remain obsessed with Tareq Zia. With no stock-supply buffer, high price in global market and destruction of crops by this recent flood, price of essentials is poised to take a worse course. It is extremely important we prepare ourselves for the storm that is coming our way.  

Moeen accuses politicians of trying to vex govt. Says it’s time to help flood victims, not for politics

The chief of army staff, General Moeen U Ahmed, Saturday accused the political parties of trying to embarrass the government by deliberately abstaining from flood relief activities.
‘The political parties have deliberately refrained from taking part in relief operations in the flood-affected areas in a bid to tarnish the image of the present government,’ he told a gathering after exchanging views with a cross-section of people at the deputy commissioner’s office in Manikganj.
Moeen said, ‘We do not have time for politics right now and relief operations have nothing to do with politics.’
‘Please, forget about politics! We have had enough of politics in the last 36 years. Let us now stand by the affected people,’ he added. The army chief urged all to stand by the marooned people and help them by every possible means.
Gen Moeen said, ‘Only a handful of people have come to the aid of the flood-affected people. But I would like to see more people coming forward soon.’
Source : New Age, August 5 2007.

General Moeen has cancelled his trip to India and Pakistan to be able lecture the nation about not doing politics with flood. Thank you general. By the way I have a question for the general, “What, in fact, is meant by doing politics with Flood? Can you explain it please?”

Cabinet decides to meet demands of flooded areas
Moeen U Ahmed, Masud Uddin attend

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Our Dear General Masud has finally got the flood promotion to the cabinet. We were just gettig used to seeing one general, the Army chief visiting cabinet meetings. Now lets start making it a habit to see the second baton weilding general in the cabinet meetings.

And the third M, Moinul Hossain, the only M without a baton, has also warned not do do politics with flood. According to him, let me quote him, in response to request for some monetray help, ” What you will do with money? Everything flooded, nowehere to spend money”. Then when asked to give food and shelter, he replies, ” Pray to Allah, He will solve the problem. ”
Good! Then why we need to do politics with flood. The nation have been so stupid for so long.

Bangladesh is now in the middle of an overwhelming natural disaster. At least 60 people (Much higher unofficially) has lost their lives and 6 million people have no food or shelter. Flood has devastated a big chunk of Bangladesh. Business, education, healthcare and normal life have been shattered in 1/4th of Bangladesh. Agriculture live stock loss is projected to reach billions of taka. People, women-children, old-youth are desperately looking for a dry land to rest or cook. The children are hungry. There is no food to eat, not place to rest, no transportation to move.

Finally after two weeks our CA visits a camp in Kurigram after landing in a ‘built for him’ heliport. And while the law advisor asks people to pray to God for reprieve and our generals compete with each other for a photo-op, a thousand hired workers hurriedly launch a crore taka budget demolition fiesta.

Yes, the fiesta to demolish Rangs Bhavan.

As Rangs Bhavan disappears rapidly, questions and concerns remain.
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The ex prime minister of the country did not pay taxes. Now, deposed from power, she attempted to take the opportunity of an amnesty. The tax Jihadi ex Finance minister too did not pay his tax dues. So he also tried to do the same. If one wants to remain on the right side of the moral watershed, he or she must condemn this sort of behavior and demand a punishment. And this event is a glaring tetimony of the moral bankruptcy our political and administrative leadership are often accused of. And naturally I support the NBR decision not to extend the amnesty to these big leaders. Let law take its own due course.

But the law also

1. Must be a pragmatic and practical law which is updated to the current standard. We can never expect a total religious compliance if we stick to a century old tax law enacted by British Raj. This specific law has evolved over the last century to support tax evasion rather to enforce revenue collection.

2. Treat all in the same way. If Khaleda Zia/ Sheikh Hasina’s tax returns are investigated, so also Fakhruddin Ahmed, Generals Moeen, Masud, all the advisors of the current government and their backers’ tax returns must be investigated with equal effort and vigor.

Law simply can’t be permitted to see two classes ( the rulers and the ex rulers)  in two eyes. What is mandatory for Sheikh Hasina must also be mandatory for Barrister Moinul or Tapan Chowdhury.  Also please investigate tax return of Dr Kamal Hossain, and all the newspaper editors. On what logic ACC chairmen rests the issue on the goodwill of the government advisors?

3. Must not be used as a tool to intimidate professionals work in favor of the government. There have already been serious allegations about government threat of tax charges to senior lawyers if they take part in high profile cases against the government.

4. Must be applied by very non-political, honest, professional trained government officials.  I am getting a little sick of the daily TV comic by NBR chief Bodiur Rahman.

And again, Khaleda and saifur confessed their tax evasion. As the national leaders, the national standard bearers, role models, they must not have done so. They committed a crime. If they can’t give reasonable explanation in a court of law, they must be punished.

We expect a moral standard in our highest constitutional positions. I hope the current and future standard bearers would uphold the moral standard and open themselves to mandatory extensive tax investigation.