• Sunday, January 25, 2015

Opinion

Democracy on the brink: Can we pull it back?

State of aspiring democracies Democracy, globally, has been facing a lot of challenges and setbacks in recent years. Two big, dynamic middle-income countries, Thailand and Egypt, where democracy was expected to consolidate, have returned to military rule as a result of political polarisation and intolerance. The democratic undertow has been particularly apparent in Muslim-majority countries. Arab Spring has given way to an 'Arab Freeze' in Egypt with the army's de facto political domination now constitutionally entrenched for some time to...

PRAFUL BIDWAI COLUMN

Europe in Islamophobia's grip?

More than two weeks on, the debate on the barbaric killings of Charlie Hebdo journalists and the freedom of expression has become a conversation across time-zones and political, cultural and legal divides. This is probably the first time that such a debate is taking place in a world connected by Facebook, Twitter and U-Tube. Serious doubts are being raised about the argument that the attack wasn't calculated, premeditated murder, or akin to other recent acts of terrorism; rather, it was...

Real concern for the nation

Strikes obviously affect everyone. Firebombing is useless and senseless and should be condemned in every case. Watching the targets each day in Bangladesh, the people of this country should start to consider the fact that apparently there is no pattern to the bombings and likely no forethought into the long term repercussions for this nation. The most recent example included two attempts to start fires inside Jagannath University campus. I wonder if the strikers have considered what strikes do to...

Which way to a sustainable solution?

Which way to a sustainable solution?

The voterless and non-competitive 'election' of January 5, 2014 had created an unusual and potentially unstable situation in the country. It is clear from the blockades, deaths and destruction of the past two weeks that the potential instability has already begun to turn into reality. Redressing this situation would obviously require holding a...

SHIFTING IMAGES

I cry for you, Bangladesh

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” said Marcellus, a palace guard, in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Marcellus was referring to the decay and corruptionz that prevailed in the kingdom. One could rephrase the quote (with apologies to the bard) to say, “Something is rotten in the state” of everything in Bangladesh. A country that is being pushed toward anarchy and chaos by the partisan squabbles and mutual recriminations of shortsighted politicians. Recently, when a member of the main opposition party...

Bitter Truth

Published Date: January 24, 2015
Agenda peaceful but consequences fatal

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's announcement that the blockade will continue until the government creates a congenial atmosphere for free, fair and participatory election has created further panic in citizens who are already facing death and destruction on the streets. Latest figure says that 28 people, mostly non-political persons like day labourers, bus helpers, rickshaw pullers, met tragic death on the roads. What is most appalling is that five children have fallen victims to this violent game of power politics. All...

Published Date: January 24, 2015
North East may emerge as a hub of trade, transit and connectivity

There is a growing realisation in India that it's once marginalised North East, which shares 4,500 km long international borders with China, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, has immense potential to develop as a key centre of trade, transit and connectivity. The Indian ruling elites remained indifferent to North East's needs and aspirations for long despite its abundant resources. The successive governments at the Centre hardly demonstrated political will to properly utilise the region's resources for bringing about economic growth...

Published Date: January 24, 2015
Much ado about little

The TDS report (16.1.2015) on recovery of a radioactive substance at Chittagong port makes interesting reading.  A 3 inch long, 300 gram radioactive substance got mixed up with 19,000 kg of steel scrap collected from industrial units around Dhaka and held in a transport container. It took 9 experts from USA, unknown number from Sri Lanka and our own experts to recover it. You cannot compare the operation to finding a needle in a haystack because needles do not give out...

Published Date: January 24, 2015
Do we need laws on public assembly?

Do we need laws on public assembly?

The government is said to be considering banning hartal (shutdown) with the support of the people according to Law Minister Anisul Huq. Talks of drafting said law have emerged as non-stop hartals and blockades have paralysed the country. Hartals have rightly been termed “economic boycott” and “constitutionally sanctioned economic terrorism” as the transport,...

Published Date: January 24, 2015
Will the moderate Muslims stand up, please!

The year 2015 started badly for the Muslim community worldwide. On December 16, 2014, we had witnessed in Peshawar the brutal murder of 134 school children by Tehrik-e-Taliban, Pakistan (TTP). It was an incident of unparallel brutality carried out by a terrorist group driven by a distorted ideology of Islam. Then on January 7-8, three French Muslim gunmen killed twenty people in two separate terrorist attacks before they were killed by the French anti-terrorist police. The Paris terrorist incidents...