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     Volume 4 Issue 49 | June 3, 2005 |

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About "Fear is the Key"
I have something to say about the article by Imran H. Khan about Bangladesh being portrayed as a terrorist nation in a computer game. I understand the point of representing Bangladesh in the international media, but NOT in that fashion. The world-wide media at present are controlled by western companies. They depict things from their political point of view. This is easily reflected in the news, movie or game industry. Companies like EA, Sony, Rockstars or Microsoft have developed many war games. Their latest trend in this area is focused on so-called "world terrorism". Through this, they are branding many countries as harbours of terrorists. I've seen a number of games where the enemy is a bearded person with a tupi (prayer cap) and the enemy infrastructure a mosque (enemy hiding place!). Can anyone imagine the situation where a western child is growing up playing these types of games and getting negative ideas about Bangladesh? This is dangerous in today's post-9/11 world. I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has done what should have been done. The writer has also mixed up the Germans of WW2 and Bangladeshis. Germans, unfortunately, have to bear the shame and blame in the media for their proven atrocities, but why Bangladeshis? The world canvas is larger than a computer screen. How dare a company labels us as terrorists?
Raihan Palton

In response to Tamal Basu's letter
This is in response to the letter "Unfair Criticism" by Tamal Basu published in a recent issue of SWM. Basu made some comments on Shila Parvin's letter that expressed the horrific scenario of the Indian dish channels that show the programmes that are to an extent pornographic. I would like to inform Basu that he has every reason to fly high as his country India has been making remarkable progress and when it comes to the field of cinema or television channels they are really outstanding. But the fact remains that most of the channels do show some programmes that are highly vulgar and obscene. By mentioning that India is a liberal Hindu country he's proved that he's a fundamentalist. I hope he'll agree that there is no religion on earth that advocates obscenity or vulgarism and none will go for it just to promote their entertainment industry. Basu's letter was flippant and vulgar in nature. I can't help quote Maxim Gorky for people like Basu: " Stupidity will not kill you but it will make you sweat."
Rafiqul Islam Rime Agrabad, Chittagong

On Galloway
I would like to draw the attention of your readers to the recent Senate hearing of the British MP, George Galloway. The hearing concerns accusations that Mr Galloway personally profited from the oil-for-food programme in Iraq.
I have not always trusted Galloway, because I have always considered him a very canny politician (maybe too sharp!). But his battle with the American senators is a more clear-cut case in favour of Galloway. Whether or not he has benefited from the alleged misdeeds remains to be seen (I am not sure about that myself), but it was shamefully undemocratic for the senators to have tried and convicted him in absentia, without even allowing him an opportunity to defend himself.
And so, when Galloway was rather belatedly given the opportunity to defend himself, it was a pleasure to watch. Apart from his robust defence of his own behaviour, he was able to articulate forcefully the feelings that many of us have over the illegal and immoral conflict in Iraq, which was not only based on false information, but also violated international law. Perhaps American politicians, lulled into a false sense of security by their self-censoring national media (note the recent retraction by Newsweek), have forgotten that real political debate and real press freedom still exist in other countries!
For that reason alone, regardless of the final findings on these accusations against him, I must salute Galloway. He has dared to say the things that anyone who believes in democracy should say to the American government, and that is a brave thing to do!
Eeshita Rahman

On Ghuznavi's piece
Farah Ghuznavi (May 20) notes that the memory of the Holocaust has been kept alive by Jewish survivors. First of all, nowhere does she mention the fact that the victims of the Holocaust were initially the handicapped, then the Gypsies and Jews. We don't recall the first two groups at all, do we?
It was only after the war of 1967, when Israel became America's chief ally in the Middle East, that the Holocaust Industry (the name of Norman G. Finkelstein's book) began. After the war, West Germany became America's ally in the Cold War and the Holocaust was completely forgotten. Still, Germany paid out some $60 billion till 2000. Therefore, it was not because of public awareness that the Germans paid. But to whom did the money go?
Finkelstein's mother, a survivor, received only $3,500 from Germany: only 15 percent of the money given to the Claims Conference benefited victims!
The memory of the Holocaust has served to enrich a few, dehumanise Palestinians abroad and demote black Americans at home. Does Ghuznavi still "envy the tenacity with which all of us...are regularly reminded of Nazi atrocities"?
Iftekhar Sayeed Dhanmondi

In response to Tamal Basu
This refers to the letter written by Tamal Basu printed in the May 20 issue of SWM.
In my opinion the tone of the said letter was both condescending and misleading. I'm highlighting some of the misleading statements by Basu. He claims that India "as a huge nation have so many things to show in our country that we don't need to get channels from any other country." He also claimed that people in India "do not have any television (channels) from Pakistan or Bangladesh."
Therefore, according to him, cable channels such as HBO, Ten Sports, etc., which are hugely popular in India are of Indian origin! However, we all know for a fact that this is not the case. As a matter of fact, Indians regularly view various cable channels that are not of Indian origin and I'm personally aware that Bangladeshi programmes are available to cable viewers in Tripura, Mizoram and West Bengal (and the last time I checked, all these states were part of India!)
While I admit that people will always have different perspectives on the entertainment industry, refuting someone's observations through misleading statements is the wrong way of trying to prove one's point.
Asif Choudhury

On the Indian entertainment industry
Tamal Basu said that the Indian entertainment industry has been criticised. Well, as far as criticism is concerned, I have a few remarks: Bangladesh has been a liberal Muslim country since 1971. We Bangladeshis also have every right to present our individual opinions. Since Bangladesh, India and Pakistan share similarities in climate, culture and history, people of Bangladesh prefer watching Indian channels -- not Thai.
True, India has its 356 channels running and does not need channels from other countries but it is also true that Indian programmes and films are copied from western shows and Hollywood movies and therefore deserve little credit themselves.
Previously, Rabindranath's writings won him the Nobel Prize and Satyajit Ray's films still play an important role in the history of Indian cinema. Lagaan got nominated for the Oscars -- vulgarity had no credit there! In fact, the modern form of the Indian entertainment industry has led nowhere but to increased crime, sexual harassment and AIDS which have become major problems in the country.
Liberalism for viewers with different perspectives has to exist but nowadays obscenity and indecency play a major part in Indian entertainment. Should an Indian be proud of Tagore's Nobel Prize and Ray's Golden Bear or the current vulgarism that haunts Indian entertainment?
Sabiha Mowla

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