• Saturday, December 20, 2014

Freedom in the air

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Shipping minister's out of turn comments

    House Committee's reproach timely

    THE observations of the house committee on forest and environment ministry, deploring Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan's remarks that the oil spill in the Sundarbans would not adversely affect the world's largest mangrove forest and its biodiversity, echoes our feelings.   The shipping minister has been known for his out of turn comments. And oftentimes he forgets that he firstly represents the people as a minister and instead puts on his labour leader's hat. The most recent was his comment after the Shela river disaster that has put the Sundarbans in serious jeopardy. Shahjahan's statement was not only insensitive it has also exposed an abysmal ignorance on such matters. Fishing nets are not effective protection against oil seepage into the mangrove forest. It is irksome that not only has he made irresponsible comments after the oil spill, there was an abject lack of preparedness of his ministry to combat such an eventuality. There has been also lack of timely and planned response to stem the effect of the spillage. To see people, mostly on their own accord, cleaning the river manually, speaks volumes of the poor capacity of the ministry to effectively manage the post disaster situation. While the shipping...

Opinion

PROJECT SYNDICATE
AWAKENING INDIA

Thanking Bangladesh

THIS month, India's parliament took the first step toward a potentially momentous decision: to settle a boundary dispute with Bangladesh that dates back to the 1947 partition of the subcontinent. An agreement in this area would provide a major boost to the already warm bilateral relationship, not least by bolstering Bangladesh's position in the region. The demarcation of the India-Pakistan border by the British was a slapdash affair, concocted by a collapsing empire in headlong retreat from its responsibilities. The...

STRAIGHT LINE

Radicalised savagery and remedies

Radicalised savagery and remedies

THE savage attack by the Taliban militants that killed 132 students and 9 school staff members in the Pakistani city of Peshawar is the bloodiest massacre perpetrated by radical elements in recent history. If proof of continuing menace of radicalism was needed, Pakistanis have enough of it in the goriest manner. In neighbouring...

Formulating a national policy for cycling

ALTHOUGH two years ago only a few hundred cyclists joined the Victory Day Ride (bicycle rally) organised in Dhaka by BDCyclists, one of the prominent cycling groups in the country, this year the group claims that about seven thousand cyclists turned out at their Ride. This is a clear indication that there has been a great surge in the number of cyclists in Dhaka in the past few years. Only a few years ago, commuting by cycle was for the...

CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS

Does Lima fall a long way short to Paris?

Does Lima fall a long way short to Paris?

Climate negotiations with tempestuous bargaining ended in Lima, 32 hours beyond the scheduled two weeks time. It's now time to reflect on the gestation, meaning and implications of the 43-page, 23-item document titled the Lima Call for Climate Action, that includes an Annex -- 'Elements of A Negotiating Text' -- for finalising an...

Tragedy turning into strength

ON December 17, Barack Obama made a bold and courageous announcement that the US would establish an embassy in Cuba and open negotiations to normalise its relations with the communist country, ending more than five decades of, at times, and terrifying Cold War politics. In a speech at the White House the president urged...

US RAPPROACHMENT WITH CUBA

Dismantling last vestige of Cold War

PAKISTAN has been weeping since last Tuesday. We have wept many rivers of tears in just a few days. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced it would organise more attacks the very next day after the brutal massacre. Taliban militants proudly released pictures of seven militants who killed 133 young students in Army Public School...

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Letters

Letter To The Editor

Some suggestions on reducing road accidents

For heaven's sake, please help the citizens live their lives without further damage. Enough is enough, let no more journalists like Zaglul Ahmed or students like Wahiduzzaman Titu (of Islamic University) or anyone else die just because of the callous driving or irresponsible dropping of the passengers from the running buses on streets. Your report says 134 people died while 155 accidents occurred only in the metropolis this year (published on December 1). There must have been many more...

Letter To The Editor

Obama's pledge of $3 billion for GCF

President Barack Obama recently pledged $3 billion for UN's Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change which include tasks like helping vulnerable communities with early-warning systems, stronger defenses against storm surges and climate-resilient infrastructure. It is hoped that most vulnerable countries including Bangladesh will be benefited from the GCF programme. We want greater welfare of our dear earth and its inhabitants -- humans, animals and plants. Professor M Zahidul Haque Department of Agricultural...

Letter To The Editor

Heed probe teams' tips to curb road mishaps

We have lost people like Tarek Masud, Mishuk Munier, national cricketer Manjarul Islam Rana and recently journalist Zaglul Ahmed to road accidents. Roads are also not safe for the pedestrians. Investigation committees find out the reasons of particular accidents and propose deterrent measures, but we don't see any results. We hope the government will implement the proposals made by the investigation committees in order to save lives. Md. Al- Amin Jony School of Business Asian University of Bangladesh

Comments on news report

“Shipping ministry's no to permanent halt,” published on December 15, 2014 Afreen Please reopen Mongla -Ghasiakhali channel as soon as possible and ban this Sundarbans route as the environment ministry says. Sayed Rahman Ghasiakhali channel must be re-opened to save the environment. Although the traders as well as the minister are advocating its use for the sake of our economy, I think Sundarbans' ecology should be given the first priority. We should save our biodiversity for the safety of ourselves. Anwar The shipping minister probably...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Dastardly attack on schoolchildren

Dastardly attack on schoolchildren

At least 132 children were killed and several others injured in a horrific attack at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan on December 16. Gunmen entered the school premises and indiscriminately opened fire on innocent children who were attending classes and exams in the morning session. We have no word to condemn this barbaric...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 19, 2014
A crook's last trick to keep job

Wahidur Rahman, the chief engineer of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), resorted to a novel way to extend his service period for the third time (although it was reported later that he failed to do so). What he did was very smart; he presented a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) worth Tk. 3.5 crore to the LGRD minister using the funds of the Primary Education Development Programme-3 (PEDP-3). We have known from your report that he earlier extended his job...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Kudos to Malala and Satyarthi

Malala Yousafzai remains an inspiration for the suppressed people all around the globe in their fight against all odds as she is boldly protesting all forms of torture by the vested interest groups. In a similar vein, Kailash Satyarthi should be our role model for his supreme sacrifice and selfless service for the innocent, vulnerable kids whose immense potential get ruthlessly nipped in the bud. Indeed no kudos is enough for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for awarding due...

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Comments on news report

“Gift didn't work,” published on December 12, 2014 Saiekh Sohrauddin Legal procedures should be followed to immediately sue this man. Snr Citizen Just the tip of the iceberg. Goodbye, Wahidur Rahman. **** “CIA's odious torture tactics” (Dec. 12, 2014) Md. Golam Mortoza May the history be written with the facts and the leaders of the then-US government put in the right place. Hope eventually the people of the world will know what actually happened on 9/11 and onward and how the so called 'civilised' leaders came forward...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Save disaster-stricken Sundarbans

A tanker carrying 3.58 lakh litres of furnace oil sank in a Sundarbans river on December 9, 2014 spilling the oil over a vast area. It caused unimaginable damage to the world's largest mangrove forest. The hearts of sixteen crore people of Bangladesh also sank with it because Sundarbans is their priceless heritage. Now the mangrove forest is in grave danger. Creatures living in the water and on the shore have started to die; trees are withering away; people...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 18, 2014
''Human Rights or Human 'Farce' Day''

Thanks to Mahfuz Anam for his article on human rights published on 12.12. 2014. He is always special with his insightful writing which penetrates deep into the core issue. The writing under review chimes in with the reality of the time. The sorry state of our human rights situation is due largely to the impunity of members of some law-enforcement agencies are enjoying despite their dubious role in the cases of enforced disappearance and numerous instances of extra-judicial killing....

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Is this judicial independence?

This refers to the report, “Sisi sees new future for Egypt after Mubarak verdict” (Dec.2). One may or may not welcome the court's decision. But what is surprising is that some people protested against the verdict on the streets. The Arab revolution is all but dead. In the US, protests erupted as people thought justice was not done as the police officers involved in the killing of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were not indicted by the grand jury....

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Comments on news report

“Labour leader, not minister,” published on December 14, 2014 Anonymous Wondering if PM Sheikh Hasina even reads the newspapers. She must be really desperate to keep a politician like Shajahan in her cabinet. How can he be a labour leader and shipping minister at the same time? He should be facing multiple life sentences for killing thousands of citizens with his corrupt appointments and decisions. S. M. Iftekhar Ahmed Another example of the fact that in politics only money matters. ***** “Cold, killing design” (Dec....

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: December 17, 2014
Human rights violations in the US

Human rights violations in the US

It seems no black man is safe in the United States. Police shot many of them in the past few years. They don't even hesitate to shoot black men. Since the grand jury did not indict the police officers involved in Eric garner and Michael brown's death, which incited protests all over America,...

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Editorial

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Heinous attack on hills people

INDIGENOUS people of Naniarchar upazila of Rangamati whose houses and shops were ransacked and torched and temple looted allegedly by some Bengali settlers on Tuesday have refused to accept relief materials and cash provided by the administration. They rather demanded that before everything else, their houses and shops be rebuilt and given assurance against any further attack of this kind in the future. The local indigenous population's sentiments and fears are not without grounds. The nature of the damage done...

Editorial

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Field study without fund allocation?

THE so-called study launched by the forest department in an attempt to ascertain what impact the oil spill has had on the environment is turning out ludicrous. Not only has there been no financial allocation made for a serious impact assessment study to be conducted, we are told that the forest department is yet to take any real steps to arrest the continued degradation of the ecology of the Sundarbans. Precious time is being lost due to inaction. It...

CROSS TALK

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Going back to Bush and Saddam

FYODOR Dostoevsky writes in Crime and Punishment that it takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently. Those words rang hollow in the report on the CIA torture recently released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee. It confirmed that this resplendent wisdom was sorely missing in the hostility between the living former US president George W. Bush and late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Neither of them acted intelligently although both of them apparently used intelligence. The CIA report isn't about...

Published Date: December 19, 2014
A wake up call

THE recent oil spillage in the Sundarbans has already taken a hefty toll on the world's largest mangrove forest ecosystem. Animals have started to die and tree roots are under layers of oil. There is no denying that institutional incapacities and weak enforcement of laws in Bangladesh have aggravated the impact of this and many other accidents. The spill has drawn global attention at a time when world leaders at the Lima Climate Talks are specifically focusing on the...

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Record get-aways: Smooth as knife through butter

WITH crime and corruption incidence high, investigations derailed, arrests gone fugitive as accused with bloated chest roam free, and conviction rate the lowest of low, Bangladesh is a country of get-aways. This is a sad outcome of systematic de-institutionalisation. Of course, the number of institutions has increased over time. Yet, we are left with little of their integrity after two and a half bouts of military or semi-military rule for 17 years and political vendetta ruining them, ironically since restoration...

Published Date: December 19, 2014
The Taliban attack: Message Pakistan and the world can't ignore

MASS scale violence is sadly not uncommon in Pakistan, and the Tahrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has shown few scruples in attacking civilians in the past, yet the massacre of school children in Peshawar on Tuesday is unprecedented by all measures. The attack on a church in September this year, which cost 80 lives, and that on a Shia shrine a year earlier costing 120 lives were ghastly, but they pale in comparison to what happened on Tuesday at a school...

HUMOROUSLY YOURS

Published Date: December 19, 2014
Crying Over Spilt….

Crying Over Spilt….

THE ancient boat discovered in Kuakata is left unscathed. Lucky, considering that it is a recreational sport for us to beat to death any strange being coming out of the waters. So don't fret. Operation Fingers Crossed is powered by Taka 200,000 and 200 fishermen to scoop, soak, squeeze, sponge, store and then sell...

Commentary by Mahfuz Anam

Published Date: December 19, 2014
The massacred children are 'Ours'

The massacred children are 'Ours'

Ever since the massacre of children in Pakistan I have been thinking about the mindset of the people who carried it out. I was trying to understand what sort of a narrative could have made the assailants so barbaric and how could events have been so perversely interpreted for them as to make...

Editorial

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Capital flight triples in a year

THE Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in its latest study has found that capital flight from Bangladesh has tripled in the last year from US$1.78billion up from $593million a year ago. The country ranked 4th in South Asia and shows a disturbing trend which indicates that there is little confidence in the political stability of the country. The flight of such large sums of monies is also an indicator of how little control policymakers have over the transfer of such...

Editorial

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Carnage in Peshawar school

WE have no words to express our shock and horror at the carnage perpetrated by jihadist militants against schoolchildren at a military-run public school in Peshawar of Pakistan on Tuesday. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the dastardly attack on a school causing death of some 132 children and nine staff members including teacher.  Our heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families. By claiming responsibility for the monstrosity enacted, the Pakistani Taliban have once again exposed their evil face. Those...

STRATEGICALLY SPEAKING

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Extremism, Pakistan and the missing counter narrative

DECEMBER 16, 2014 is a sad day for Pakistan. But it is also a day of infamy for those who use Islam to justify evil actions, and a day of disgrace for those Muslims who choose to remain silent in the face of such barbarity. The killing of 146 students in a school in Peshawar run by the Pakistan Army is one of the most brutal and senseless massacres of innocent people in the hands of Muslim radicals. The Tehrik-e-Taliban...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Plight of our migrant workers

Plight of our migrant workers

WHAT does this year's International Migrants Day signify for around one crore Bangladeshi migrant community abroad? In many ways 2014 has not been a blessing for them. We have witnessed some horrible and callous migrants' rights violations in recent times -- rise in unnatural deaths of migrants, and cheating and beating of migrants in the destination countries. But the most grisly incidents are those involving trafficking and smuggling of thousands of Bangladeshi migrant jobseekers through the Bay of Bengal under false promises of providing jobs either in Malaysia or Thailand. An estimated 53,000 people from Bangladesh and Myanmar have voyaged to Malaysia and Thailand through the sea this year, says a...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
DMCH missed a golden chance

TDS (Dec. 6, 2014) reported the case of an unknown woman, who literally came back from the dead three hours after being declared “dead” by a DMCH doctor on December 4. The patient, with no one to care for her, then struggled to survive and died a second (?) and final time 26 hours later. The fact that the attending doctor had not done an ECG test but relied on “no heartbeat, physical movement and blood pressure” is of...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
THE GREAT WAR: A Distant View

THE GREAT WAR: A Distant View

How ironical, this use of the epithet “great” for things horrible. “The Great War”. “The Great Plague of 1665.” “The Great Earthquake of San Francisco.” We have “The Great Calcutta Killing”. But we Bangladeshis are hard to impress: the only event so far to observe the centenary of the start of The Great...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Impact on Nazrul

Impact on Nazrul

In mid-1917, the World War was raging in Europe and in the Middle East. The war seemed far from Raniganj, where an eighteen-year-old school boy at Searsole Raj H.E. School was preparing for his send-up exams. In May that year, he had been awarded a scholarship which would continue till his Matriculation in 1918. The school authorities had, however, not reckoned with the excitement that the recruitment of Bengalis for the army would arouse in the young man. It was the first time since 1857 that  Bengalis were being recruited for the army, perhaps to make up for the heavy losses suffered by the Allied troops – on July...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
The War in graphic art

The War in graphic art

  War is a dirty business. Except for liberation wars such as the one we fought in 1971, where, at the end of bloodshed and violence, a 'terrible beauty' is born, all wars are often waged on false logic, manufactured lies and skewed ideologies. Looking back at the 'Great War', one wonders what justified its sanction or continuation for four years. Exploring the narratives that the war has produced, one realises that the war was fought strongly on ideological grounds which, as we all know, never leave clear winners or losers. And as ideology has the power to mutate and change with time and exigency, the Great War was predestined to...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
The Influence on English Studies

The First World War was a truly momentous event; things fell apart rapidly all over the world after it; the centre seemed not to hold anymore; millions died or were traumatised because of it; and innocence seemed to give way permanently to massive disillusionment long after everything had become quiet on western fronts. Life became tragic for war survivors and their families; politically the Russian Revolution and Communism became unavoidable after it; feudalism in Europe was swept away, and...

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Men of Colour in the White Man's War

Men of Colour in the White Man's War

What is great about World War 1? For one thing, it set the whole world ablaze, resulting in 16 million killed and 20 million wounded. While Europe remained the epicentre of the man-made catastrophe, over 4 million non-Europeans were grafted into the War, who became the cogs in the Great War Machine. The most...

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
THE GREAT WAR

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Tagore's Letters

Letter to William Winstanley Pearson (11 October, 1915) A few nights ago I dreamt that I met you somewhere in some battlefield. You were standing on high land with a soldier by your side. Your face was deathly pale, full of profoundest sorrow. I did not know the reason but it seemed to me quite natural. I raised my hand to touch you but I found that you were wounded in your right arm.—I said to myself that death had...

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
THE GREAT WAR

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Bernard Shaw and the Great War

G.B.S., as George Bernard Shaw liked to sign himself, was one of the few men who foresaw the dangers of a looming Great War and when it finally broke out, he opposed it with all his might. His criticism of the government position was not accepted by the people and he was violently attacked. The patriotic British press suggested that his plays should be boycotted; people left the room which he entered; army and naval officers opined – “The...

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT
THE GREAT WAR

Published Date: December 18, 2014
Contribution of Bengalis in WW1

Since East India Company days, Bengalis were not recruited in the army for cogent political reasons and mistrust prevailing in the English mind. Further, Bengalis were unjustly labeled as “non-martial” race, and, as such, we find no Bengali Regiment in the Indian Army. The First World War broke out on 28 July 1914. Britain joined the war on 4 August. Loyal leaders and feudal lords of India assured the British Government of the unflinching loyalty of the people in this...

Editorial

Published Date: December 17, 2014
BCL activist shot dead

IT is deplorable that the unrelenting infighting of Bangladesh Chhatra League for establishing dominance over Chittagong University has resulted in the death of Taposh Sarkar, a first-year BCL activist, on Sunday. The factional divide has spiraled out of control over the last few months, as reported by the media, all but paralysing the university. Even the Prime Minister herself last month warned the members to stop the frequent infighting on campus. The murder of Taposh signals that even the primier's...

Editorial

Published Date: December 17, 2014
Barendra museum heist

ACCORDING to a prominent Bengali daily, as many as 185 artefacts including ancient statues, Terracotta, currencies besides countless publications, have been smuggled out of the Barendra museum which is administered by Rajshahi university. The appalling news was revealed at a special meeting held by the museum's advisory committee recently. Based on an investigation carried out by the advisory committee, fingers have been pointed at two former directors for their alleged involvement in removing the antiques. There have been several...

KALEIDOSCOPE

Published Date: December 17, 2014
Outrageous myopia

Outrageous myopia

WE cannot say that December 9's oil tanker crash on the Shela river in the Sundarbans was an unexpected accident. To be frank it was waiting to happen and the foggy morning of December 9 just proved to be the fateful moment. In fact, the condition for such disaster was created since April...

PROJECT SYNDICATE
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMY

Published Date: December 17, 2014
The real Lima deal

IT was the agreement that everyone wanted, yet that no one much likes. This year's annual United Nations climate-change conference in Lima, Peru, finally concluded in the early hours of Sunday morning, more than 24 hours after the scheduled close, after fierce argument in the final days. Negotiators from 196 countries patched together a compromise that keeps the world on course to a new global climate agreement in Paris next year; but almost everyone was left unhappy with some...

Published Date: December 17, 2014
He is talking through his hat

IT is not new for us in Bangladesh to suffer politicians who keep on constantly talking through their hats. And in this regard the stalwarts of the two parties are in a race to out do one another in talking gibberish. And an example of such garbage is the recent comment by the Senior VP of BNP which has caught our attention.   Tareq Zia is not known for his finesse when talking about Bangabandhu and he does not hide...

#ResearchMesearch

Published Date: December 17, 2014
To be or not to be funny

SO, there was a time when I wanted to be a comedian. But, I was told that I wasn't very funny.  Have they been fake-laughing all this time? Well, this -- being a comedian -- was different from cracking jokes amongst friends, I was told by friends, no less. But I was prepared; surely I deserve a shot! I had the customary making fun of my own education joke (borrowed from long time acquaintance/friend Daniel Rahman and Arafat Kazi): “I...

Published Date: December 17, 2014
Ferguson and beyond

Ferguson and beyond

IN a recent edition of The Colbert Report, the President Barack Obama, made an appearance in an effort to promote Obamacare. In an eventful seven minutes, the president went on to mock the Republican Party and indulge in carefully scripted self-deprecating humour. The skit was successful in appealing to its target demography of...

UNTOLD AND UNHIDDEN FACT

Published Date: December 17, 2014
The sudden disappearance of my dear father

The sudden disappearance of my dear father

EVERY year, when December comes close, I feel an urgency that I must recollect my memories and let the world know what we have lost in the war of independence. But from the very beginning, that is December 17th, 1971, the day we actually lost him, a question becomes very vivid in my mind. Will this write up bring him back to us? Every year when I take up my pen the same question haunts my mind and I can never proceed to do the work. The question may arise, why now? Yes, I feel and understand that though very late, it is better late than never. It was December...

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