Before the Tourists Come
Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
I would like to congratulate the Star for writing a cover story on something related to outside Dhaka. Tourism is indeed of rising interest to Bangladeshis and looking critically at the domestic options is very important for people to make informed decisions about where to go and what to expect.
I am personally a little saddened to have read this article after having just returned from a week in Cox's Bazar and St Martin's Island. The article correctly captured the feeling I shared with my wife last week, that it was just a shame how little there was to do during our beach holiday. I would have been very interested to try out parasailing – something I attempted 10 years ago with my son in the USA! I am thrilled to know the activity is being made available in our country.
I have had the pleasure of visiting the eco-resort and recommend it to anyone wishing quality service and a serene getaway. They are busier on weekends, making weekdays wonderfully peaceful and private. I have travelled to a handful of countries in my lifetime and can say that eco-friendly travel is a most satisfying way to visit a place. I do wonder however whether original and alternative travel options will ever become mainstream enough to survive in a country like Bangladesh where change seems to be met with 'it can't be done here' or 'it'll never work'. This is the biggest hurdle our tourism faces – people's belief that things cannot improve or become more interesting. Our streets are always dirty with garbage or dust and people are indifferent enough to think 'what's the point of using a bin, the next person won't'. This way of thinking needs to change; we need to embrace variety like eco-travel, nightlife and other things that make tourism in south-east Asia a success.
Capturing the Fragile
I am thankful to the Star for once again bringing out a rare and interesting issue of focusing on this year's Chobi Mela, published on 1 February. We are proud to say that DRIK, a multinational company based in Bangladesh, took the initiative of arranging the first photography festival in this part of the world in 1999. This year the photography festival has a new dimension on account of the participation of 24 countries. Obviously, the foreign amateur and professional photographers will come to our country to establish a lasing connection with our own photographers.
We know very well that a piece of photography is worth more than a thousand words. It speaks to people on various subjects. Its importance is vast in the changing world of ours today. The war-pictures of Vietnam in the last century against the Americans depict the whole history of the struggling Vietnamese for liberty and freedom. It is also true in our struggle for freedom against Pakistan in 1971. The photographs of the Liberation War of 1971 are the real index to the genocide and violence carried out by the Pakistani soldiers.
This photography festival will provide our younger photographers (both amateur and professional) with the vast scope of experiences of foreign photographers, with their journalistic skills and artistic accomplishments in taking photos capturing real life. The inside pictures of the cover story reveals the beauty of photography to last a lifetime in the history of mankind.
Photographs depict man's sorrow, joy, love, faith, despair and agonies at the different stages of his/her existence on earth. This issue of the Star magazine is unique in this way. Its readers will love to read it with great interest and for this reason I thank its writers very warmly.
Abul Ashraf Noor
Photo: Star File
The Movement of 2013
I am not in Bangladesh at the moment, when great things are happening in this beautiful country that I call home. The young generation, my generation have risen; they are fighting for what is right but it has never been easy. I wish with every fibre of my being to be there, to support them, and to shout with them in Shahbag “tui Rajakar, tui Rajakar” (you are a traitor). Unfortunately I can't, as I am thousands of miles away but I still wish to say my piece. Many people are still saying that we have other more recent issues to talk about rather than what happened a long time ago but that is not the case, you cannot build a house when your foundation is unstable. We need to right the wrongs of the past and then think about the present so we do need this. We need to bring justice to our homeland. We need to correct the wrongs of the past and give justice to all those people who have waited for all these long years. It is not about politics, it is not about any agenda. It is about time we woke up and made the old students of Dhaka University proud, show them that we still have what it takes to fight and stand up for what we believe in. It is time to remove the label of the nation who did not respect their martyrs and freedom fighters. We will make a stand until there is change, until the world acknowledges that we are a nation that has not forgotten how it came to be.
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