Don't Indulge the West
Mahathir Mohamad's recent visit to Dhaka has caused quite
a stir especially after his fiery speech urging Muslim countries
not to trade in US dollars as it only strengthens the capabilities
of the US to develop and supply arms to Israel that 'they
use to kill Muslims'. This he said at a breakfast meeting
organised by the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) on
'Islam and the West'.
Mahathir asked Muslim countries to put aside their differences
and concentrate on developing their economic potential. Mahathir
advocated the strategy of selling oil and other raw materials
possessed by Muslims, in currencies other than dollars as
this would devalue the dollar. "If the US is poor it
cannot eliminate the world," said the former prime minister
of Malaysia who is known for his anti-West speeches. Mahathir
also renewed his earlier proposal of a new joint currency,
the Muslim Dinar, which could be used to boost trade and economic
cooperation among Muslim countries. He also warned that the
new powers dominating the world in the future may very well
be China, India, Japan and Korea. Thus the need for strengthening
the Muslim Ummah.
Mahathir stated that 'democracy' has been forced upon Muslim
countries by the West: "Democracy is a very good system
if you know how to work it. However we have seen that it has
weakened a number of our Muslim nations by splitting the polity."
One way of strengthening their position said Mahathir would
be to develop 'centres of excellence' at the very best universities
in the Muslim world. These centres would give scholarships
to the best Muslim students. He said that this would revive
the mastery of knowledge that Muslims had before the 14th
Mahathir, who is a popular figure in the Muslim world, was
conferred an honorary Doctorate of Law by Dhaka University
when he attended the institution's 42nd convocation.
mother and daughter
The news of
50-year old Sabera Begum Baby, the Headmistress of Siddheshwari
Girls High school,
and her 25-year old daughter Sharmin Alam Shampa's brutal
murder on Thursday December 16th, has been the latest shock
to the nation. They were killed where they were supposed to
be the safest--in their own home, on the fourth-floor of an
apartment in Baridhara. The questions as to who killed them
and why are yet to be known, but, the police believe that
the unidentified assailants were known to Sabera as they didn't
break into the house rather were allowed in. Johor, the security
guard, who was wounded when he tried to stop the killers from
going away, also said that one of them talked to 'madam' (Sabera)
on the intercom. Her husband Shamsul Alam Mridha and some
of her relatives suspect some of her colleagues and members
of the school's governing body, who, they added, had a conflict
with Sabera over teachers' recruitment and tender for the
construction of a new two-storied building in the school premises.
Sabera known and respected for her honesty had opposed the
corruption associated with the awarding of the tender and
recruitment of teachers which was allegedly manipulated by
two influential members of the school governing body. But
no one thought that enmity could lead to such cold-blooded
murder. The way the killers managed to kill two persons and
flee the scene almost unchallenged through the general belief
that the apartment dwellers are safer than others has proved
Mirpur road, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city
has been made off-limits to rickshaws and other non-motorised
vehicles from Russel Square to Azimpur. Similar attempts were
made earlier but all went in vain at the face of strong resistance
from the rickshawpullers. This time too rickshawpullers agitated
against the ban, but the authorities' persistence to keep
to their decision finally prevailed. One day after the ban
was imposed hundreds of rickshaw pullers and owners were advancing
towards Azimpur bus stand in a violent mood prompting the
police to swing into action. Very soon the entire area was
turned into a battlefield some 15 people were injured, glasses
of a number of cars were peltedat, and 7 rickshaw-pullers
were arrested. The angry rickshaw-pullers and owners called
a dawn to dusk hartal, as well as a 48-hour rickshaw strike
in Dhaka city but could hardly make it happen. BRTC has already
introduced 40 double-decker buses that would carry passengers
from Gabtoli to Azimpur free of cost to make sure that commuters
don't face troubles in the absence of rickshaws. Many have
appreciated the government initiative, but, some believe,
women and elderly people will find it difficult to get into
those crammed buses.
Mofakkhar Hossain founder of banned Purbo Banglar Communist
Party (PBCPML; Communist Party of East Pakistan Marxist-Leninist)
was killed in a so-called crossfire with the Rapid Action
Battalion (Rab) last week in Kushtia. The killing has put
an end to an era of dedication and struggle. After the death
of Mohammad Toaha and Abdul Haque, he was been the last old
guard leading any armed Marxist group.
PBCPML has been waging its self-styled "class struggle"
to overthrow the government to establish a Maoist people's
Mofakkhar, who also went under the noms de guerre of Mahmud
Hassan and Arpan, was hiding at a rented house in the city's
Rupnagar Residential Area. Acting on a tip off, a team of
Rab-3 cordoned off the house and arrested the 63-year-old
"As our men asked if he was Mofakkhar, he replied in
the affirmative," a Rab source told the Daily Star.
During interrogation at Rab headquarters, the PBCPM leader
had allegedly admitted to having taken some steps to settle
a feud among different other banned communist outfits operating
in the country.
The leader was later taken to Kushtia after, according to
the Rab, "he had confessed to having large caches of
arms and party cadres scattered in the southern and northern
regions. He also said that the outlawed operatives were scheduled
to sit at a meeting in Bhadalia area of Kushtia".
The team then took the blindfolded leader to Kushtia and handed
him over to the local Rab. When Kushtia Rab was on their way
to the alleged meeting venue in Bhadalia, PBCPM cadres ambushed
their microbus at Baliapara ground of the district. According
to a Rab press release, "Mofakkhar tried to jump out
of a Rab microbus during one-and-half hour gunfight and was
caught in the crossfire. He died on the spot."
Mofakkhar was born as Mofakkharul Chowdhury in Shunamjang.
In a career that spanned 33-years, he was arrested once in
1974. After getting bail in 1977, the leader founded Purbo
Banglar Communist Party, rejecting the country's independence
from Pakistan in 1971. Though its stance has been criticised
by leading Marxist theoreticians of the country, the party
has never changed its name. In its manifesto, the party adheres
to Mao Zedong's famous policy of armed struggle to establish
socialism and has so far allegedly killed 200 people including
many politicians and businessmen.
Many compared the PBCP (ML) with other armed "communist
factions" of the country that work as bands of thugs
The party suffered a break-up when a group led by Abdur Rashid
Malitha Tapan walked out and formed PBCM-ML-Red Flag.
The party deplored the killing and on a phone-call to a local
daily the spokesperson for PBCP (ML) vowed to avenge the leader's
death by establishing a socialist republic in the country
through continuous armed struggle. "Revolution will take
its own course," he said.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004