• Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wide Angle

Leaving for Beirut

Published Date: July 11, 2014
Leaving for Beirut

  On a winter night in 1981, Momen left for Beirut. When I met him the day before, his 17-year-old eyes twinkled with the excitement of joining the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). He pulled out his air ticket -- probably of British Airways, memories wane so fast -- and said: “Dosto, Ami Chollam. Torao parley ai...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
A man ain't nothin' but a man

A man ain't nothin' but a man

John Henry was a man and yet larger than a man. In the history of human struggle against discrimination, John Henry has come to represent the nature of conflict, of the kind that has pitted the exploitative class against an army of the exploited. Human nature, Henry seemed to be informing his fellow workers, was not exactly of the edifying kind. And from that exposition of the truth sprang thoughts of liberation from exploitation. And what better way to bring the exploited and the deprived and the desperate together than through the symbolism of the hammer and the sickle? For the very first time in history, one might as well...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
The song remains the same

The song remains the same

He's a hero to Woody Guthrie, a warning to Mississippi John Hurt, an inspiration to the chain gang. From verse-to-verse, generation-to-generation, the story changes to suit the singer. The name and steel-driving solitude stay the same. He is John Henry, the man who "Died with a hammer in his hand”, who knew “a...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
On the track of the working man's hero

On the track of the working man's hero

The story of John Henry, told mostly through ballads and work songs, travelled from coast to coast as the railroads drove west during the 19th century. And it has become timeless. The main ingredient required for any story or song about John Henry is the fact that he worked on a railroad as a...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
The Ballad of John Henry

The Ballad of John Henry

When John Henry was a little baby Sittin' on his daddy's knee He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel And cried, "hammer's gonna be the death of me, Lord, Lord Hammer's gonna be the death of me" Now the captain he said to John Henry "I'm gonna bring that steam drill around I'm gonna bring that...

The First World War Espionage

Published Date: April 25, 2014
MATA HARI

MATA HARI

For most of human history, people serving in combat were overwhelmingly male.  It is only recently that women are getting a more prominent role in armed forces. But there is a long history of female involvement in espionage, even in ancient times. Espionage knows no gender and in fact being female could provide less...

Published Date: April 25, 2014
Into the world of cryptology and intelligence

Into the world of cryptology and intelligence

At the outbreak of the war, many nations had weak or fledgling national intelligence communities. The French government and military both maintained trained intelligence forces, but no central agency processed intelligence information, or facilitated the distribution of critical intelligence information. Russia had special agents of the Czar, and secret police forces, but its...

Published Date: April 25, 2014
The real James Bond

The real James Bond

Sidney Reilly's name may not be that fearsome, but his nickname is a whole different kettle of poison darts: the Ace of Spies. He is considered to be the first super-spy and the most likely real-life inspiration for Ian Fleming's James Bond. His life is shrouded in mystery, myth and maybes, but that's exactly what you want from a spy, isn't it? Born in Odessa, Russia, in 1873 or 1874, as either Georgi, Solomon, Shlomo or Sigmund Rosenblum, he made his way to Britain by either faking his own death and single-handedly saving a British intelligence expedition in Brazil or robbing and murdering two Italian anarchists in Paris for their...

Published Date: April 11, 2014
SONADIA

SONADIA

    Cox's Bazar sludge flowing into the sea smelt terrible. Our speedboat revved and took a sharp turn through the black sewage. It flashed past the wooden fishing trawlers moored haphazardly. The fishermen were lazing on the deck after the night's catch. They looked at us uninterestedly. In two minute's time, the channel water turned green....

Green initiatives near you
HAVE YOU NOTICED?

Published Date: March 28, 2014
SMALL UNITS, DOING BIG

SMALL UNITS, DOING BIG

Go green! Save energy! These are the advices you get free every day. You hear a lot about green energy, recycling and protecting this and that. From government officials to NGO workers, activists, donors and film stars, from the media to multinational companies and world leaders -- all look worried about environment these days....