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<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 157 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

June 4 , 2004

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On No Exit
Your cover story on the garment factories in our country was thorough and well researched. It vividly describes, in harrowing detail, how the garment workers are forced to work in cage-like factories. The owners of these factories are earning huge amounts of money every year, but they literally do nothing to improve the working conditions in their factories. The government has been doing nothing either, and this indifference is giving birth to one tragedy after another. Quite contrary to other Bangladeshi writers, who are in cases are unnecessarily pretentious, Aasha Mehreen Amin and Ahmed Hussain's writing style is surprisingly newsy. I was a great fan of Mr Afsan Chowdhury until he stopped writing for you. Now I get that same bold way of writing in the writing of these two SWM writers.
Lubaba Rukhsana, Chittagong

Might is Right?
These days we live in a world, where the proverb "Might is Right" is the most appropriate. Thousands of instances can be provided to prove this proverb. For example in March 2003, when the first paratroopers landed on Iraqi soil, US President George Bush claimed that he was trying to "liberate" Iraq. All the sensible people of the world had their doubts. Now, a year later the horrible pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse have come out, and the real face of the "liberators" are discovered. There is world-wide protest on the abuse. Still, nothing will happen as "Might is Right". Again, in Palestine, the mighty Israeli PM Ariel Sharon is driving the steam roller of oppression on the innocent and 'unarmed' [compared to the ultra-modern weapons of the Israeli Army] Palestinians. The entire world is watching with their "mouth-shut" and "eyes-closed". Some so-called Arab states sometimes condemn these killings which seems more like "lip-service" than anything else. Kashmir,Bosnia, Chechnia -- everywhere the scenario is almost the same. Still nothing can be done because "Might is Right".
Anis, University of Dhaka

Garment Factories or Jails?
I congratulate you on your accurate cover story on yet another garment factory tragedy. This is a regular disaster of our national life. You have so rightly pointed out that there are no exits in these factories. Truly speaking they are worse than jails, where young females work for minimal wage under the most inhuman and hazardous conditions. Most garment factories have very narrow stairways with an inadequate capacity for the number of workers. The main gates of these factories are invariably found to be locked particularly during the time of an emergency. Does this matter to anyone at all? Although you raise a very important question on whether it could have been avoided, the bottom line is that under most circumstances our perception, to a large extent, dictates reality.
Farida Shaikh, BAPA, Dhaka

Cruel World
"Saving Mostakina", the cover story of the May 14th issue just terrified me as it uncovered the brutal torture against innocent maids in our country. It is certainly a shame that we are living in a society where educated people like Dr.Fatema Doza and many others torture their domestic help. Being educated people how can we be so cruel knowing that our education, our principles and our ethics certainly don't allow us to do so. It is said that a doctor is a saviour of lives but what happens when a doctor snatches that belief away? Dr Fatema Doza has certainly disrespected her profession and made a mockery of herself. She fails to hold the dignity of such a noble position in society. She proves to us that to be a good human being, it does not only take an institutional certificate. What we need is to grow our conscience.
Farah Sharmin, University of Dhaka

On Slice of Life
I read the story that Richa Jha wrote in the "Slice of Life" section last weekend and after reading that I couldn't help writing this note to express my disappointment about this writing. I was requested by a friend of mine to read this story as she was disturbed by its content and said that she refused to read The Daily Star anymore. After reading the story, I as well as two of my friends found it really pointless as well and we thought we should let you know that the story does not go with the standard of The Daily Star.
I hope Richa Jha will present us more quality writing in future that won't be as silly as this one.
Arif Banani, Dhaka

Exclusive Cover Story
My special thanks goes to Shamim Ahsan, Kajalie Shehreen Islam and the Editor of SWM for making my Friday morning so enjoyable with your exclusive cover story about the brutal incidents involving Mostakina titled, "Saving Mostakina". It was a great piece of writing where we see that such barbaric torture is happening repeatedly. Through this cover story, we came to know about the brutality of a witch in the guise of a woman. Thanks a lot for telling us the real story. Hopefully these people will get severe and exemplary punishment for their crimes.
Reza, Kazipara,Mirpur

Definition needs amendment
Politics is the most lucrative business in Bangladesh now, as far as I am concerned. Politicians -- especially government MPs, only think for themselves but not for the masses. Democracy is now endangered and all democratic notions are lost. Politicians only believe in taking, but not giving and the victims are underprivileged people. In democratic Bangladesh, it is high time that we amend the definition of democracy. If Abraham Lincoln had been alive, he would have amended his quote after seeing the Bangla perspective. The new quotation may go thus: "Democracy is of the people, by the people, for the people" and from the people.

Sujohn Iftekhar, Gopibagh , Dhaka


Correction

The book review titled 'A Joy Ride into American University Life' printed last week (May 28, 2004) had some printing errors. The name of the company Mustahid Hossain works for should read as General Electric.


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