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     Volume 6 Issue 6 | February 16, 2007 |

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Please Carry On, Fakhruddin
Fakhruddin's oath-taking as the Chief Adviser of the caretaker government has led to a new beginning. The new Chief Adviser has demolished illegally-occupied properties, is hot on the track to capture the major crime lords and is also in the process of reconstituting the Election Commission, which will conduct a free, fair and credible election. The Army, RAB and other law enforcement agencies are playing a pivotal role and relentlessly helping this new interim government to achieve its noble goal. On the 1st of February 2007, our new CA stated that a society free of black money, discrimination and corruption, would be set up. It will be a society where accountability, transparency and control over power will be ensured. Bribing, committing crimes and murdering only leads to chaos and should be stopped once and for all.
We hope our new CA will be able to create a congenial atmosphere to hold the next general election within a short time after making major reforms in the electoral system. We, the general people are behind him and wish him all the best for his journey towards making our society free from all ills.
Mahfujul Alam Russel
Jigatola, Dhaka

Rebuild the Nation
A non-communal and secular country was the dream of the people of the then East Pakistan that ultimately become an integral part of the Bangali identity. But today Bangladesh is passing through one of the most critical phases of its life.
The entire nation is divided. As a result, the evil forces of self-styled defenders of Islam with their ugly faces of religious extremism have once again raised their heads. Aggression of alien culture is also rocking the foundation of secular cultural values and traditions. We had nothing in common with the then West Pakistan except religion. Therefore, I do not think that religion can be the only uniting force of a state.
Moreover, we have replaced patriotism with self-interest. The young generation is suffering from an identity crisis. Why don't we all try again the way our parents' generation fought for freedom? Let it start from this month. Because, February 21st symbolises progressive ideas over fundamentalism, justice over oppression and courage over fear. We would like to salute those heroes who sacrificed their lives in 1952 and also Dhaka University as it was a vanguard of the language movement.
Jewel Rana and AR Bokul
BAU, Mymensingh

The Dilemma of the Hawkers
The cover story "Evicted" (February 2, 2007) tells us the pathetic story of the evicted hawkers. As an immediate effect of this Draconic drive Fatima will have to return to her village home with her two daughters, Razzak will beg or take up stealing as a profession, Monoranjan Karmakar will be subjected to be somebody's burden and Naznin Sultana, the school teacher, will have no choice but to do her shopping at a mall. But are all these stories convincing enough to let the one lakh hawkers block the few footpaths we have in the capital?
'They are poor'… if that is the line of argument then we should turn blind eyes to the people encroaching parks, car parks, fields or any empty places in the city to build slums. The purpose of having footpaths on both sides of the road is to ensure safety to the pedestrians and not to sell things. If you want to sell things, you have markets.
I think it would be better if the government allows 'Friday Markets' to operate like they have 'Sunday Markets' abroad. From my own experience living abroad I am sure it will be a good solution both for the government (as they get some money as tax/fee) and for the hawkers (as they can have a place at a cheaper rate to sell their things).
My point is not to be insensitive to the sufferings of the evicted people but it is that what they used to do was not legal at all and we cannot allow our emotion to bind us to dissect what is right and what is not. Moreover, Dhaka, this overpopulated city, needs some law and order to survive as a capital city. So let there be light of Law.
Kamil Khan

Striking a Balance
While reading the article "Shocking Schedules" (26th January, 2007), my conscience was tickled a thousand times. I am an English teacher involved in the much condemnable phenomenon of private tutoring and I do admit not putting the 'same effort' into my 'teaching at school'. I put much greater effort there, helping my students before and after assembly, during tiffin periods, in library classes and whenever else I can, so much so that I have managed to obtain a reputation for overdoing it. And yet some of my students require extra lessons.
Students who come to me for help from various English medium schools are preparing for an English Language as a mother tongue exam. Learning a language as a mother tongue involves listening to and speaking the language in a variety of situations on a regular basis as well as a great deal of reading and writing practice which is clearly missing in the lives of these children who don't even live in an atmosphere that would help improve their language skills. And yet they are burdened with parents' expectations of good grades which is difficult to achieve even for those whose mother tongue is English.
Though the whole situation seems to be a catch 22, I strongly believe parents can put a stop to this. If a whole class requires private lessons in a particular subject, it may mean the teacher is not teaching well at school in which case parents should talk to the authority in order to change the circumstances rather than falling victim to it. But more importantly, we should be happy with whatever our children are able to achieve without squeezing their brains and not send them to a school which teaches a curriculum that our home environment does not support. We have to strike a balance among our abilities, circumstances, and our expectations or our children will continue to suffer.
Jesmin Chowdhury

In the cover story 'Shocking Schedules' (January 26, 2007), Dr. Fahmida Tofail was quoted as saying that mental growth of children is multifunctional and cannot be measured or checked. The quote should actually have been, "And we all know mental growth is multifactorial and cannot be measured easily. Because it is difficult to measure or check mental growth most teachers and parents tend to forget it." The error is regretted.


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