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     Volume 4 Issue 67 | October 14, 2005 |

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Four years of coalition rule: defeated expectations
It is highly frustrating that the last four years of the BNP-led coalition rule brought us nothing but chaos, nepotism at its peak and unholy politicisation of almost all sections of the government. More disturbing is the rise of religious extremism which is threatening the sovereignty of our independent republic. And of course there is the corruption at every level which forces us to bow down to foreign donors. Take the recent series of bomb blasts across the nation. The government hasn't been able to bring the criminals to book yet. The few top listed criminals who have been arrested should have sufficed in getting information about the criminals and punishing them. Regrettably, the BNP high command, it appears, has lost control over its activists and, more ominously, it seems to have been brainwashed by Jamaat. Random politicisation of government jobs, spiralling price hike of essentials and nepotism have brought the nation on the verge of collapse. The recent bomb blasts at Dhaka University, Brahmanbaria and the most recent blasts in Chittagong, Laxmipur and Chandpur are simply an indication of the vulnerability of the nation as a whole. At this crucial point one believes that all pro-liberation forces in the BNP and AL should become united and be on guard against the anti-liberation elements. Thanks to Shamim Ahsan and Ahmede Hussain for writing this invaluable cover story.
Rafiqul Islam Rime Agrabad, Chittagong

What a match
It seems that both the government and the opposition are making a joint effort to get benefits from the government treasury. They meet to introduce pension for lawmakers. It is very sad that they do not get together to discuss public interest. It is good news that a new pay scale is going to be implemented for government employees. But how will the masses benefit from all this?
Raqibul Alam Chawkbazer, Chittagong

Our eroding education system
The government is going to introduce a new system of education at the SSC level, which has already generated much confusion among people. Education is the backbone of a nation, but sadly, our country has not yet seen an effective, unified education policy. As a result, the quality of education is deteriorating. Political intervention does nothing to help matters. The government's recent decision to start a unilateral method of education should be widely discussed and a wide range of views and opinions taken into consideration. Through SWM, I request the mass media to investigate our education system and publish some in-depth reports on the situation. We have deep confidence in the country's investigative journalism.
Saleh Md. Shahriar
Department of Political Science
Chittagong University

Even in this day and age . . .
In this modern day and age, we can expect fair and equal treatment of both men and women. But do women really have equal rights? While the issue of physical torture often comes up, mental torture of women is rarely talked about. I am an Honours student of Dhaka University. I have been given many opportunities to build a career. But I have been suffering from immense mental pressure. According to many of my relatives, I am not a domesticated woman because I don't know how to cook. I always sit with my books and don't have any knowledge of how to maintain a family. I am very conscious about women's rights and whenever I talk about them they tell me that I am a woman and no matter what I do, after marriage I have to maintain a family, cook, etc., so why don't I start from now? These kinds of conversations create a lot of mental pressure on me. I have become afraid of marriage for it seems to me that marriage only means a lot of responsibility. One of my relatives is expecting. The father wants a boy because he believes to marry off a girl he has to spend a lot of money and a daughter won't be able to help him after marriage, no matter how well he may educate her. He is a highly educated man and has travelled widely but still thinks like this. The only support I get is from my mother. She is very courageous and optimistic. She has two daughters and wants her daughters to fulfil all her dreams. Whenever I become frustrated I remember her face and I feel brave enough to fight against the world. I want to be treated as a human being not as a woman.
Dhaka University

Go get 'em
SWM's cover story of September 16 showed that Bangladeshis are leading a life of uncertainty. Anytime, anywhere, we can be blown up by bombs planted by the fundamentalists. 17/8, when bombs exploded in 63 districts, is proof of this and shows the power of the extremists. Today, Bangladesh is known the world over as a nation of Islamic fundamentalists. Powerful networks throughout the country and led by highly-educated people like Professor Galib of Rajshahi University convince the people to join their "Islamic Jihad" and "Ahle Hadith Andolon". Our administration has been defeated by the fundamentalists. The role of the government and law-enforcing agencies is highly frustrating. Many political leaders are known to be patronising these so-called Islamic groups. Special force RAB has also been unable to nab militant leaders Bangla Bhai and Abdur Rahman. We must stop these fundamentalist activities and employ all our forces in doing this. They have challenged us to catch them if we can. We have to go and get them. Special thanks to Shamim Ahsan for the great story.
Department of English
University of Rajshahi

Crimes by RAB
Police in our country are corrupt, taking bribes and so on. Though I'm not endorsing their behaviour, I don't find it surprising as they are paid so little. But what about RAB? News of a RAB member charged of rape -- the most heinous of crimes -- and sent to jail was published in The Daily Star on September 30. The elite force was formed to eradicate crime from society which our regular police force had failed to do. Are they not adequately remunerated either? I think RAB officials are hypocrites in the guise of law enforcers. They should be carefully selected to ensure that they are good and dedicated, while those who commit such heinous crimes should be discharged immediately, at least to protect the reputation of the elite force.
Jamil Akhter
Government Azizul Haque College

Harassment of employment candidates
Corruption is rampant in Bangladesh. Despite protests by conscious citizens ever since independence, it continues to exist in every sector. In order to apply for jobs, photos, certificates and other documents must be attested by BCS cadres. Among them are MBBS doctors. Honest people go to doctors for attestation. But the doctors behave badly with them and don't want to attest the documents. Dishonest people, on the other hand, get their documents falsely attested. What does the government want us to do? I don't support attestation at all. The government should stop this system to free citizens from harassment.
Nayan Moni Roy

What are we waiting for?
The Arts Faculty of Chittagong University is on the verge of destruction. There have been discussions, processions and petitions on the matter but they have not been effective. It seems they have fallen on deaf ears. The suffering of the students is increasing day by day, especially in this rainy season. What are we waiting for -- devastation, death and destruction?
Rifat Munir Eti
Chittagong University

"Ladies first" at Banglalink
Cell phone company Banglalink advertisements are all over the place these days. Recently, I have noticed their ads for their "ladies first" package. It had a quotation of a woman saying something like women naturally talk too much. I protest this statement as being untrue. I think men spend even more time on useless talking over the cell phone. Banglalink has no right to stereotype women as talking too much.
Jafrin Jahed Jiti
Viqarunnissa Noon College

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