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     Volume 8 Issue 81 | August 8, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  Special Feature
  Current Affairs
  Food for Thought
  Straight Talk
  One Off
  Book Review: Songs   of Lalon
  Book Review
  Star Diary
  Write to Mita
  Post Script

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Awami League Council
Awami League is one of the biggest and oldest political parties in our political arena. This year it has celebrated its 60th anniversary. Since its inception it has proven a party of mass people -- from the historic language movement to the liberation war its contribution is matchless. However in its recently concluded council it failed to produce intra-party democracy, which is essential for the practice of democracy as a whole. The strength of a political party and how far it is democratic depends on its exercise of internal democracy. The councillors unanimously approved Hasina as president and Asraful Islam as general secretary uncontested. On the other hand councillors also gave authority to the president to select 43 members out of the 76-member central committee, which is undemocratic. Such a move will establish dominance of party president and general Secretary in the AL. As a result of this, the party would be the rubber stamp of president and general Secretary and will weaken the party in the long run. Many new and less experienced leaders were included and many veteran politicians were axed from the executive committee. In my opinion this is an ominous sign for the party. Inclusion of new faces is far sighted, but it must be done gradually giving priority to experienced ones.
Md Zonaed Emran
Dept. of Political Science
University of Dhaka

Terror and Terrorism
Your contributor Faraz Rahman (Star Magazine, 31/7/09) makes some valid points about international political hypocrisy, but confuses the words 'terror' with "terrorism". The latter is a specific internationally recognised term for violent actions against civilian populations by non-state parties to achieve political aims. He is correct, however, to say that violence sponsored by state parties for political aims, including covert state support for terrorist organisations, has been equally, if not more devastating for civilian populations, past and present, than those perpetrated by non-state parties, and may indeed have inflicted more terror.
Dr Penelope Schoeffel
Fairfax Rd, Bellevue Hill, NSW, Australia 2023

Dhaka Needs Baby Taxis

It is estimated that two million people in Metropolitan Dhaka belong to so-called middle-income group. They are facing tremendous trouble to move from one place to another. Private car is out of their reach. Taxicab service is inadequate and also costly to them. When a family likes to join a marriage ceremony, it needs a low cost vehicle to go to the community centre. When a patient is to be shifted to a hospital, an affordable baby taxi is needed. If a family wants to go shopping to celebrate a festival a baby-taxi is required. To appear in a public examination hall, a student needs the service of a baby-taxi. It is the reality. One cannot move to all desired places using the bus service available in Dhaka city today. But it is unfortunate that the past administrations ignored the acute need of two million middle-income city dwellers. Rickshaws are barred in most of the main roads in the city. Then how will the middle class move about? The decision makers in administration are either availing private car or government vehicles. They do not understand the acute problems of the people. A lot of restrictions are imposed to bar import and registration of low cost CNG driven baby taxis or scooters. Awami League has assumed power after a landslide victory in the last national election. It must take measures to solve the problems of the city dwellers. A baby taxi occupies less space on the road compared to a sedan or jeep but can carry same number of passengers that would contribute to lowering traffic congestion.
As a middle-income city dweller in Dhaka I urge the government to withdraw all sorts of financial and administrative restrictions against import and registration of baby taxis.
Md. Ashraf Hossain
8/A, Ramna, Dhaka-1000.

Love For the Sake of Love
Today in the newspaper I read about the death of a doctor Salma Khatun. While performing her duty as a physician, she was stabbed to death. A question that naturally arises in my mind is if there is no security for the doctors in the society, how can the common people feel secure? Doctors and teachers are the assets to the society. Government should pay heed to the security of these two sections.
The accused claims he was the lover of the victim and also adds that as she refused to marry him, he decided to kill her. As a humanist I believe that love means sacrifice. But lovers of today have become very possessive. Consequently, love has become an act of slavery where one person dominates and the other is submissive. Why don't we love for the sake of love?
Pradip Das

Our Cultural Mosaic
The international day of the world indigenous people is not only a day for celebration but also a day to rejoice in the richness of their respective cultures. We must remember and acknowledge the contribution of the indigenous people to the human family as well as to make the voices of indigenous people heard more clearly around the world. But in Bangladesh it all seems to be a “Drama” because still the indigenous people living in Bangladesh have no constitutional recognition. We should build a world where every person can cherish his or her individual culture.
Kungku Chakma
Dept. of Finance & banking
University of Chittagong

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