for a better life
Once again, poverty leads youth to scavenge the other side
of the world, but in vain.
Right after the Mediterranean tragedy, where a few young men
had to give up their lives in the intention of leading a better
life, another event occurred where 24 Bangladeshi fortune-seekers
returned home a year after travel agents, promising them a
job in Italy, sent them to Mali instead.
Monir and Liton of Linkan Travels took Tk 6-7lakhs from each
of the 24 young men. According to the victims, they were promised
a better life and a job in Italy, but were taken to Mali on
a tourist visa and were kept in Bamako, capital of Mali, for
a month. They were then dumped into the Sahara desert where
they wandered for days with no food and water. The local police
lifted them on a helicopter only to send them to jail where
they stayed from seven to 11 months for illegally travelling
in the country.
Asma Akhter, operations assistant of IOM, International Organisation
for Migration (IOM) took steps to repatriate them and brought
the 24 Bangladeshi by a Biman flight from Dubai.
In another similar situation, 11 among 26 Bangladeshis who
with the help of a travel agency left the country on December
23 died of hunger and thirst in a boat on the Mediterranean,
en route to Spain from Morocco.
They, along with 15 other Bangladeshis ran out of fuel, supplies
and went without food and water for 10 days on the high sea
as the boatman lost his way and headed for Algeria instead
of Spain. It seems that each of them had paid Tk 6 lakh to
two brokers -- Reazul Islam Raju and Mostak Ahmed -- of Dohar
Travel Agency in Basundhara.
Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Mohammad
Quamrul Islam told The Daily Star that proper action would
be taken against the unscrupulous travel agents.
for Killing Kibria
The CID Assistant Superintendent of Police, Munshi Atiqur
Rahman, finally submitted a chargesheet accusing 10 BNP leaders
and activists for the sensational Kibria murder on January
27 in Habiganj. Habiganj district BNP Vice-President AKM Abdul
Quaiyum was named in the chargesheet as the planner of the
grenade attack that killed five including the AL lawmaker.
Quaiyum, who has been hoping to get the BNP ticket for the
next general elections, plotted Kibria's murder to ensure
victory in Kibria's seat.
Asma Kibria, wife of late SAMS Kibria, has however rejected
the chargesheet, saying the investigation was incomplete and
names of the people who ordered the killings were not exposed
in the investigation. She reiterated her claim for an FBI
probe into the grisly murder, which she believes would, unmask
the behind-the-scene criminals.
Interestingly, almost two months into the grenade attack there
is no sign of any FBI team, in spite of the government assurance
to invite FBI and allow them a free hand in the investigation
procedure. The delay seems to have resulted due to the negotiation
between the FBI and the Bangladesh government over FBI's reluctance
to work unless they are allowed to operate independently.
According to press reports, an FBI team is expected very soon,
but one wonders, even if they arrive will justice be meted
out to the families who lost there dear ones?
Love, not War
the US casualty in the war reached 1,519, thousands of activists
protested the US-led occupation of Iraq last Saturday. The
day also marked the second anniversary of the start of the
war against the oil-rich middle-eastern country.
The largest marches took place in Britain where around 1,00,000
Londoners took to the street to protest what the organisers
termed their country's participation in this brutal and unjust
war. Two former soldiers of the Royal army left a cardboard
coffin at the entrance to the US embassy, inscribed with the
words: "100,000 dead".
In Turkey, another US ally, 15,000 people marched against
Japan, which has 550 troops in southern Iraq, mostly in non-combatant
role, witnessed one of the biggest anti-war protests in its
recent history. Around 5,000 people marched in Tokyo. "The
self-defence Force [Japan's military] should withdraw from
Iraq immediately... and the occupation of Iraq should be stopped,"
demanded Ken Takada, a member of civic group World Peace Now.
In Australia, which has announced the deployment of a further
450 soldiers, thousands of protesters marched through the
streets of all the major cities.
In Greece, trade unions and Marxist groups gathered to protest
the occupation of Iraq. "Bush, the number one terrorist,"
said leaflets being passed out to marchers.
Bearing coffins draped in the country's flag, citizens took
to the streets in the US. Protests also took place in all
the major cities of Europe and Asia.
While the human rights groups are pressing for the body count
of the Iraqis, US-led occupation of Iraq continues to take
a heavy toll on lives. US causality, on the other hand, has
been increasing by day, as the occupation-forces are facing
a fierce resistance in the hands of Iraqi insurgents.
Though Bush and cronies blamed Saddam Hussein and his party-members
for carrying out numerous suicide attacks, the number of such
incidents has only been on the rise lately.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005