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     Volume 5 Issue 119 | November 10, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
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To Choose the Right Leader
The SWM deserves accolades for its issue on November 4 , 2006. It uncovered the story of the previous alliance government's corruption in all sectors, how it snatched away the autonomy of the state-run media, the unscrupulous foreign policy resulting to a shrunk labour market, and above all the despicable dynasty of a corrupt family. The elimination of all these is the cry of the nation. But who is to bell the cat? It is high time that the citizens of the country take a strong stance as the country stands on the brink of a national election. We have to choose the right person to lead us to build a prosperous country. Thanks to all the news agencies for doing a mammoth task of awakening the peoples' awareness.
K Hasan
Jalalabad Cantonment Area

A Modern Muslim?
I experienced a mixture of emotions upon reading the cover story “The Faith within”. Religion, in my opinion, is like science. It needs to be studied, understood, contemplated, debated and discussed before being decided. Sadly, it's mostly debated than anything else.
I was born and brought up in the U.A.E, one of the 'modern Muslim' countries of today's world. Most of the girls wear veils, have careers, speak English, are involved in sports, drive cars, and are independent! People flock to mosques and prayer rooms during prayer times. Not for once have I ever felt that these practices were a 'show' or 'physical demonstration' of Islam.
Perhaps this is the reason why I was shocked to learn a few bizarre views of our country people. “I don't have 'time' to pray”, “I'll wear the veil 'after marriage', pray regularly 'after performing Hajj'” (May God bless you to live that long!). To make matters worse those who do observe these are teased, looked down upon and tagged 'huzoor', 'molla', 'shibir', 'jamaat', 'Bin-Laden' and what not!!
Some actually believe it's enough that they pray every Friday, in the month of Ramadan, on the morning of Eid and on the night of Meraz! Did anyone ever realise that the time taken to pray five times a day adds up to not more than an hour, no prayer taking longer than 15mins? Is it really so difficult to dedicate this one hour to the One who has created us?
Folks, wake up and smell the coffee! It's high time we understand, practice and stand up for our religion now that it's facing its worst crisis. A quote from the HQ --"Allah will place NO BURDEN greater than one can bear."
Afroza Sultana
Dept of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

An Incomplete Balance Sheet
The title of the article “Khaleda's Balance Sheet” on SWM made me think that if electricity shortage, failure to fix wage for apparel sector comes under the last government's balance sheet then the following should also be included.
The famous investment company Goldman Sachs predicted that almost 35 percent of Bangladeshis are now aged between 15 years or younger. The past BNP government has created young leadership who will have better vision to guide this young population.
Bangladesh received $3.4 billion in remittance in 2004 compared to India's $21.7 billion. India with a larger population should have received $30.6 billion per capita remittance. The high in-flow of remittance in Bangladesh was possible because of the last government's positive step to lure the wage earner's to remit fund through official channels.
World media publicly suggested that developed countries should learn from Bangladesh's disaster management-after the KATRINA devastation in USA. The outgoing government should take this credit since any failure in this area would have been pointed at them.
The last government initiated major steps to reduce the percentage of child labour. According to UNICEF, Bangladesh has one of the lowest percentages (seven percent) of child labour compared to Nepal (31 percent) and India (13 percent).
The numerous credible data available to highlight the positive side of the balance sheet or the legacy of Khaleda Zia's last government which include drop in infant mortality rate; increase in female primary enrolment rate and growth in export earnings.
My point is that when a post mortem is done on the last government why should the good points not be disclosed?
Syed Durjoy Rahman
Mirpur, Dhaka

Saddam Sentenced
Finally the Iraq court has passed the death sentence on Saddam Hussain and two of his cohorts. Since the proclamation of the verdict, it was quite astonishing that no Arab leaders had the guts to say anything officially against the above.
The uneasy silence of Middle Eastern leaders was first broken by the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who is considered to be a regional heavyweight and a top US ally. He warned that if the verdict is carried out it will severely heighten the violence. Hanging Saddam will transform Iraq into blood pools and lead to deepening of the sectarian and ethnic conflicts.
The Syrian information minister said that the whole trial has been conducted under the influence of occupation forces hence they reject the verdict since the Iraqi people rejected the occupation in Iraq. Whatever the case is, we all know that Saddam Hussain and his cohorts had not been given a free and fair chance to defend themselves. The hasty trial also raised many question towards the transparency and impartiality of the judgement.
Furthermore, if Saddam should be convicted what about President Bush? Does he not fall under the same fold of massacring millions of unarmed Iraqis by exerting force under a false pretence that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction which ultimately proved to be a lie?
Humayun Hyder

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