Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[News Watch] Bangla Academy AGM rejects resolution on Shahriar's release

Expand Messages
  • BDesh Bishwa
    Comment: Bangla Academy recently held its annual general meeting. 40 out of 48, not all of them can be dubbed as BNP-affiliates or sympathizers, rejected a
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 1, 2002
      Bangla Academy recently held its annual general
      meeting. 40 out of 48, not all of them can be dubbed
      as BNP-affiliates or sympathizers, rejected a motion
      to be adopted by the meeting to condemn the arresting
      of Shariar Kabir and demand his unconditional release.

      Part of the reason probably is that Bangla Academy is
      an institution and its policy-making body should not
      get involved and be politicized in every such
      individual case. A more important reason might be that
      many of these people are becoming more aware that
      there might be a truly strong case against Mr. Kabir
      than originally perceived and that he may have
      seriously stepped beyond his so-called journalistic

      More people are realizing that his activist role far
      exceeds his journalistic role. After all, a journalist
      is not supposed to take any political side in
      elections, which he did. He campaigned for a
      candidate, but not just any candidate. Anyone
      remembers Joynal Hazari of Feni?

      The government is still dragging its feet in making a
      credible case in the court. Regardless of all
      allegations, the government is dutybound to uphold the
      law and the constitutions, which means that as a
      citizen, Mr. Kabir's inalienable rights are not
      violated, and at the same time, if he is guilty of
      treason, he ought to be prosecuted to the fullest
      extent of the law.

      The bottom line is that the rule of law must prevail:
      an innocent person must not suffer or a guilty (that
      is, not just accused, but proven guilty) must not

      Should not this be the basis of our approach to this
      case and other similar cases?

      Bdesh Bishwa is a news scanning and forwarding service

      focused on Bangladesh and Bangladeshi issues

      Bangla Academy AGM rejects resolution on Shahriar's

      Courtesy: Daily Star [December 29, 2001]

      A resolution condemning the arrest of Shahriar Kabir
      and demanding his immediate unconditional release was
      rejected outright in the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
      of Bangla Academy following protest from a large
      number of academy members yesterday.

      Sources close to the meeting told BSS last night that
      Prof Muntasir Mamun of Dhaka University, supported by
      three others, moved the resolution for adoption at the
      AGM for immediate release of Shahriar Kabir, arrested
      under treason charge recently.

      "Out of the 48 members who spoke at the AGM, 40
      protested the proposal while three spoke in favour of
      it," a member of the academy attending the AGM said
      adding that the proposal was raised in violation of
      the existing rules.

      "All of us raised our voice against the proposal
      saying this is an under-trial case and the issue is
      completely irrelevant to the affairs of Bangla
      Academy," he said.

      Neither Prof Muntasir Mamun nor the three supporters
      of his resolution were available for any comment in
      this context.

      Shahria Akhter Bulu, who attended the meeting, said
      Prof Mamun tried to infuse malice into the peacefully
      held AGM, chaired by Chairman of Bangla Academy Prof
      Anisuzzaman. She said the AGM ended formally in the evening.

    • Alochona Magazine
      Dear Alochoks: The 11th issue of Alochona Magazine ( http://magazine.alochona.org ) is out. The theme of the month is Media Watch . Special Feature George
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 1, 2002
        Dear Alochoks:

        The 11th issue of Alochona Magazine ( http://magazine.alochona.org )
        is out. The theme of the month is "Media Watch".

        Special Feature
        George Harrison - A Quiet Hero

        January Issue- Theme Topic: Media Watch
        2 articles:
        Article-1) Media Watch: Is it a Conspiracy?

        Article-2) Why Do We Need Media Watch?


        Alochona Choice
        Alochona Marching Ahead: Glorious 2001

        Interview :
        "Sabbash Bangali" -Dr. Hussam - Winning the Arsenic Battle –

        Politics :

        Article 1 - Presenting a Positive Bangladesh in Indian Media

        Article 2 - The Six Points Salvation Program for Bangladesh

        As always, news, fashion, technology, and other regular sections
        can be found in this issue. Enjoy the articles, share them with a

        Remember we are simply an email away at magazine@... . Tell us about
        your favorite writers, sections and topics. Our energetic team of volunteers
        will try to make it happen! Better yet, come JOIN us in Alochona Magazine!
        Together we will make Bangladesh better.

        Alochona wishes you all a very happy and joyful New Year. Hope this
        year brings more success in all our lives as well as to Bangladesh.

        Alochona Magazine
        "For a Better Bangladesh"
      • Mohammed Ahsan Rial
        The Six Points Salvation Program for Bangladesh Mohammed AHSAN Bangladesh has come a long way from the ruins of a war-ravaged country to the foothills of an
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 3, 2002
          The Six Points Salvation Program for Bangladesh

          Mohammed AHSAN

          Bangladesh has come a long way from the ruins of a war-ravaged
          country to the foothills of an opportunity to build the nation and
          steer it to the host of nations of the twenty first century. The
          recent developments marked by geo-political upheavals has also
          provided a unique opportunity to Bangladesh that can place itself to
          becoming the balancing force in the sub-continent with a voice of
          moderation and commonsense. No matter what, Bangladesh has proved to
          the world that democracy can work in the impoverished nation of 130
          million. We are going through a period of transition that is overdue.

          This transition is nothing more than an Identity Crisis. We are
          unable to make up our minds as to what do we represent as a nation.
          We are not sure as to where the crossing lines of our multiple
          identities are. The long drawn out dilemma of our national identity
          of being a Bangalee or a Bangladeshi, a Muslim majority nation or a
          secular nation, are a few questions that need answering at the
          earnest. The intelligentsia of our country is also deeply divided on
          these issues and have provided very little help in finding a common
          ground of minimum understanding. The intelligentsia has also failed
          to induce any objective dialogue between these dividing groups and
          bring about some sanity in the heads of the political leadership. I
          do not intend to put all the blame on the intelligentsia, given the
          heavy odds at their own hands.

          In order for the new government to make the best use of these
          opportunities, they have to have a blue print that would create both
          short and long term goals over a period of 10 years. These goals are
          to be drawn on a long-term vision of political liberalization,
          internal economic restructuring, and building an export-oriented
          economy. The long and short-term goals can be summarized as follows:

          Goal 1: Stamp out political and social violence

          This is one of the critical success factors leading to the political
          and social stability of the country. This must be done with the help
          of a task force represented by members of the Army, civil
          governments, political parties and the security forces. The task
          force will have sweeping powers for formulating and implementing any
          of the agreed on agendas. The Task force will have direct access to
          the President's Office without any interference from any of the
          government ministries or even the Prime Minister's office. The Task
          Force will need to create a paramilitary force that is better
          equipped and better maintained to deal with internal security
          problems of the country. The paramilitary force will not be under the
          jurisdiction of the interior ministry rather be part of the joint
          command of the Armed Forces and the Presidency. This new arrangement
          will need a constitutional amendment and should require a two thirds
          majority in the parliament. This paramilitary unit will initially be
          headed by a General from the Armed Forces and then be transited out
          to a full time officer from within the ranks in 10 years time. The
          Task Force will have powers to call on the police or the Ansar forces
          as required. The village police or the Ansar Bahinis will eventually
          integrate with the paramilitary forces under a single command unit.
          The police forces will continue their work in combating the petty
          theft and other law and order enforcement issues throughout the
          country, while the paramilitary forces will deal with extraordinary
          situations that deal with the national security issues.

          Goal 2: Create a Social Fund for Development to Alleviate Negative
          Impact of Economic Restructuring Program

          The economic liberalization and restructuring program will have
          tremendous negative impact on the job and earning situation whereby
          quite a big number of people will lose their jobs and would face the
          daunting task of maintaining their families. In order to alleviate
          these negative programs, the government will need to create labor-
          intensive jobs for the displaced workers through the use of donor
          money from the World Bank, the IMF and other donor agencies. The
          programs can include "Khadder Binimoye Khal Kata", "Town and Cities
          Clean-up Programs", "Adult Education Centers", "Community Development
          Programs", "Destitute Women and Children Rehabilitation
          Programs", "River Dredging Programs", "Fruit-Tree Plantation
          programs", "Road Paving programs" etc. The Fund can be centrally
          administered and maintained with out reach offices in rural areas.
          The towns can be served by an existing organization with similar

          Goal 3: Create Small and Micro Enterprise Development Programs that
          will focus on export related items..

          The backbone of Bangladesh economy can be driven by the small, micro
          and mid range enterprises that can be developed as an outsourcing
          unit for small spare-parts or intermediate goods. The need for such a
          development will require easy termed loans, grants, and technical
          assistance. This may be made effective by the formation of
          foundations in the major cities, targeting the mid to lower income
          brackets. The individuals coming out of the universities should be
          encouraged for entering such a program. The program will include a
          crash course orientation of business development for three months
          with emphasis on either leather, garments, agriculture, horticulture,
          fish, spare parts, jute products, and plastic products. Once they
          have completed such a program, they would be provided with a short-
          term loan from the foundation to embark on the businesses. The
          government will develop an industrial area where there would pre-
          fabricated units ready for the business to start. There will be
          appropriate tax holidays in these areas to motivate these new

          Goal 4: Initiate an Export Oriented Service Industry

          Bangladesh has to initiate and strengthen its service related
          industry that will help the industrial and business sectors become
          more international in providing its goods and services to the western
          markets. The major hub of the service industry will depend on the
          success of its information technology sector that will be the driver
          of the export development program. Bangladeshi embassies and
          consulates in the foreign countries have been very dormant in
          developing the international network required for an export-oriented
          economy. The Embassies should become more active in developing
          various markets for our goods and services. With assistance from the
          private sector, the embassies should become the front-end marketing
          piece in other countries. In order for such a plan to work the
          Government should develop a new ministry in the export development
          arena. The service industry should revolve around IT and health
          delivery services. The government should create a capsule based IT
          sector with appropriate incentives drawn out in the similar fashion
          as that of the SME program. This program would also include IT
          training facilities to train recent graduates from the engineering
          and other related faculties on systems analysis, systems integration,
          and programming facilities. E-Commerce should be given a high
          priority in the service development program and should be integrated
          with the Goal 2 and 3.

          Goal 5: Revitalize and Restructure Education Systems

          The education system of Bangladesh is at the heart of developing a
          robust workforce that can not only be productive internally but can
          also be exported to various friendly countries. Current, education
          system of Bangladesh is only good enough to create clerks and
          teachers but not the entrepreneurs and the executives. We have a very
          subjective education system that takes away the innovative senses in
          the early ages. Most of the education curriculums create negative
          attitudes in the minds and hearts of the students. Even the
          arithmetic curriculum focuses on the implanting negative attitudes
          including solving problems of tanks with leakage in the corners
          sucking away waters from inside, climbing the slippery bamboo trees,
          profits generated by mixing water with milk, and so on. There has to
          be a clear understanding of the skills and knowledge required for the
          national development. The curriculums should focus on the skills and
          knowledge development rather than a test of memorizing powers of the
          students. Element of fear should be taken away so that the students
          can become bold enough in taking calculated risks in life.

          Goal 6: Improve Morality and Civility among the Youth to bring down

          Our society is now plagued with intolerance and uncompromising in
          conflicts among various groups with varying philosophies. The seeds
          of intolerance in our society has cost us very dearly and has
          deprived the nation of a harmonic society. We have been corrupted to
          the roots and thus the decisions that are taken are often
          characterized by whims of negativity rather than objectivity. We
          can't build on what has been achieved by the others. We don't have to
          undo what others have achieved just because they have a different
          philosophy of life. The cycle of doing and undoing of what others
          have achieved is a painful vicious cycle of admonishing. The root of
          the intolerance and conflicts basically stems out from our corrupt
          minds, and therefore we have to improve our senses of morality and
          civility. The morality can be improved in two basic ways; one through
          a good education system and the other through the use of religion. We
          have to improve the faith-based institutions in our country that will
          focus on community-based programs to improve the morality. The
          government can't be effective in bringing about a moral change within
          the country with out a charismatic leader at the head. The faith and
          community based organizations should play a positive role in sewing
          the seeds of morality in our hearts. Government can definitely play a
          positive role in catalyzing the process.

          [M:MS] This article was published in Alochona Magazine http://magazine.alochona.org

          Send your comments to Alochona-magazine@yahoogroups.com
        • Rashad Chowdhury
          Reading the Washington Post from a few days back, I came accross this trivia limerick which was describing Bangladesh: Although I keep changing my name, My
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 4, 2002
            Reading the Washington Post from a few days back, I
            came accross this trivia limerick which was describing

            Although I keep changing my name,
            My culture and people are the same.
            I raise cotton and jute,
            When the flooding's not acute,
            From holy rivers that run through my vein

            The part about flooding caught my attention as the
            international media uses this word as a single word
            description for Bangladesh. And then I started to
            think because at times it feels like the media would
            rather use words like FloodLand or FloodDesh instead
            of the word Bangladesh! The word Bangladesh(or Bengal
            Land) has become synonomous with words like floods and
            disaster. And since her inception, Bangladesh has been
            potrayed by the international media as a disaster
            prone country.

            Bangladesh leaders have done a pretty good job of
            joining this bandwagon so there is more aid money
            flowing in. Unfortunately what the leaders and
            techonocrats failed to realize is that this 'give me
            aid' mentality created a perception withing the
            international media. Now the media only potrays
            Bangladesh as disaster prone and leaves out any
            balanced coverage.

            This mental picture causes Bangladesh to be at the
            bottom of the ledder for destination of foreign
            investments. I wonder who is going to put in their
            money in a country whose perception says flooded or
            sinking due to global temperature rise or thrashed by
            tornadoes or rotting under the arsenic poison?

            The question I ask is that aren't there countries
            around the world who face the same or more problems
            from the same ills? Isn't Arsenic problem as big in
            West Bengal or flooding as big a problem in Vietnam?
            Isn't Maldives or other island nations under immediate
            pressure sinking rather than Bangladesh! I am not
            suggesting that anyone just ignore the problem, but
            one should try to project the positives rather than
            exemplify the negatives first!

            Bangladesh-Americans should work towards informing the
            American media about more balanced coverage of
            Bangladesh, not just disasters. And those Bangladeshis
            scattered around the world should do the same. People
            should write to the press whenever we can about
            clarifications and negative potrayal of Bangladesh.

            Leadership of Bangladesh should stay away from the aid
            mentality and try to potray Bangladesh in a more
            prosporous light. Like the way poets of Bangladesh
            used to describe Bengal as the "most fruitful country
            in the world" or how the Moghuls used to describe
            their rich and treasured Banga-la as

            "The Paradise of the Nations".

            Rashad Chowdhury
            Rockville, Maryland

          • Rashad Chowdhury
            During pre-colonial times, Bangaldesh(Banga-la) used to manufacture everything from cotton, silk, ivory, wood furniture, gold and silver jewelery and other
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 4, 2002
              During pre-colonial times, Bangaldesh(Banga-la) used
              to manufacture everything from cotton, silk, ivory,
              wood furniture, gold and silver jewelery and other
              luxury items which were sought after from all over the
              world. Banga-la was well known to traders and
              marchants in those days all the way to the period of
              Greek/Roman era when muslin cotton were exported to
              that area.

              The innovative Bangalees used pre-industrial,
              environmentally friendly ways to manufacture these
              varied items. For example, to manufacture the thread
              for muslins, coconut shells were used as spinners and
              teeth of Bowal fish was used for thinning of the
              thread. To differenciate the humidity of the room, a
              whole would be dug in the room for water and covered
              with a cotton thread to control the amount of humidity
              necessary for the delicate weaving.

              Another example would be the Chouari roof which were
              also known as Bangla hut. The curved roof system shows
              that people were well aware of aerodynamic concepts
              for ages in Bangla. This was appropriate technology in
              a country were sudden storms are a reality at times.
              These technology were based on local know how, not
              foreign imports.

              Today, Bangladeshi traders/manufactures rely more on
              technology from foriegn sources then on home grown
              technology. Blind following of foreign technology can
              at times lead to disaster like the deep tubewell and
              arsenic disaster from the 70's. So local sources
              should be researched more for a solution to a problem
              or manufacturing.

              The following article on recent reintroduction of jute
              bags is a good example of how local technology use can
              benefit all. Especially the economy and the


              Rashad Chowdhury
              Rockville, Maryland.

              [M:SS]: Bengal used to be once the hub of commerce. Even to the end of 1960s, jute was a prime product used in the world. With other inventions, jute fell behind in its importance. However, Bangladesh has never caught up with its once prominence and economics, as personal politics and dynastic ruling have gripped the nation, and all other things have become secondary. Mr. Chowdhury's reiteration of the mighty Bengal economy is surely refreshing and inspiring to those who persevere for "The Paradise of the Nations."
            • Choudhury, Kamrul A
              Your observations are very real, though the perception of Bangladesh as a disaster prone country is nothing new. I don t think in the last quarter of a
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 4, 2002
                Your observations are very real, though the perception of Bangladesh as a
                disaster prone country is nothing new. I don't think in the last quarter of
                a century, that perception of Bangladesh has changed a bit in the western
                world. There was a time when a very few westerners could pronounce
                Bangladesh properly, and now that has changed by a large margin, though the
                country is seen in the same light today as she was in the early seventies.
                Except, as more people in the west now know about Bangladesh than in the
                seventies, thanks partly to the advent of the 24 hours news channels and
                satellite communications, people's perceptions of the country is now a part
                of the common knowledge.

                Unfortunately, Bangladeshi land is disaster prone, and I agree with you that
                many other countries are just as vulnerable as Bangladesh. The difference is
                that they can deal with their misfortunes, but we cannot. And yes, disasters
                do provide opportunities for our corrupt officials to take a cut out of the
                relief fund that are so eagerly campaigned for in the west. There are just
                as frequent foods in India, China and many other countries as there are in
                Bangladesh, but the stigma is only associated with us. Because we advertise
                our misfortunes and they don't, we solicit for funds and they manage on
                their own.

                The unfortunate truth is, if it took 30 years to create an image of the
                country, it will take just as long or longer to reverse it. Unless, of
                course, the people, politics and the economy drastically change somehow in
                Bangladesh, which will show to the world that the country is no longer what
                it used to be. But is that likely to happen so soon, especially with the
                level of corruption in the country? I am not certain, though I hope.

                I have seen corruption in the last election in Bangladesh. No, I am not
                talking about the customs officer at the airport who would hassle a
                passenger for a dollar of bribe, or the police who'd signal down your taxi
                for a bribe from the driver because his papers are not proper. I saw how our
                ex-finance minister, Mr. Kibria, spent Crores of Taka in the district areas
                to buy votes. There was no way in the world for Mr. Kibria to earn that kind
                of money being a civil servant, with the exception of the last few years of
                his working life overseas. Money came to him in a way that we can only
                imagine, and he is not even known as a corrupt official in Bangladesh. I'd
                be flabbergasted to imagine how wealthy are those who have reputations being

                We cannot change the nature but we could change ourselves. Before we do
                that, I doubt we could change how the others think of us. Of course, we must
                always try to improve our image.

                Kamrul Choudhury

                [M: SS]: This message is in response to Mr. Rashad Chowdury's message at http://groups.yahoo.com/alochona/message/4866. Alochona makes no opinion and takes no position or responsibility for Mr. Choudhury's opinion that the ex-finance minister, Mr. Kibria may have taken bribes. However, Mr. Choudhury's overall comments and observations are lucid and refreshing, and therefore, we are sharing them with Alochoks.
              • Abdul Momen
                To reduce terrorism, illegal property takeovers, looting, chadabaji, rape, hijaking, and murders in the city of Dhaka, the Bangladesh Home Ministry has
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 6, 2002
                  To reduce terrorism, illegal property takeovers, looting, chadabaji, rape,
                  hijaking, and murders in the city of Dhaka, the Bangladesh Home Ministry has
                  recently published a list of 23 TOP TERRORS of Dhaka city. The government
                  also offered an award of Tk 1 lakh for information leading to arrest of top
                  8 terrors and Tk50,000 for rest of the 15 terrors in the list. According to
                  newspaper articles and reports, out of this 23 top terrors, 19 or 82.6% are
                  of BNP or BCD activists/office bearers and 4 or 17.4% are the AL party

                  However, Mr. Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, a BNP-MP and the current President of
                  Bangladesh Chatra Dal (BCD) who reportedly appropriated Tk7 crore BNP Fund
                  without authorization is not in this list. He has recently been arrested
                  while he was engaged in disallowing others to submit tenders for the auction
                  of the Bengal Leather Industries, Ltd., Dhaka immediately after his return
                  from the Omrah Haj accompaying the Honorable Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
                  Neither State Minister Ahsan Molla (a BNP-MP) and his son Bacchu Molla who
                  forcibly appropriated the properties of a journalist and beat him up
                  seriously are in this list. Nor Mr. Monzurul Ahsan Munshi, (a BNP-MP) and
                  his son, Meshbauddin Rizvi [who live abroad] those who tried to capture a
                  government property near the Tejgoan BG Press are in the list.

                  The top terror in the list is Mr. Picchi Helal, Assistant Secretary of the
                  Central BCD and Joint Secretary of the Dhaka Mohanager BCD. He is already in

                  The other top terrors are: Mr. Kala Jahangir who appropriated Tk40 crore
                  through terrorism and looting and there are nearly 20 police cases of
                  murders, looting, etc. against him. Next in line is Mr. Subrotho Bain. In
                  1991 when Khaleda Zia beacme Prime Minister, he emerged as a top Masthan and
                  appropriated crores of taka. When the AL government came into power, he was
                  jailed. At the time, he converted to Islam. His current name is Fateh Ali.
                  There are nearly 17 police cases against him. Kala Janagir, Subrotho Bain
                  and Masud Mollah have formed a very powerful terrorist network in Dhaka
                  popularly known as "Seven Star" Bahini.

                  Next in line is Tokai Sagar... his actual name is Amin Rasul. He was a
                  bearer at the Zohurul Huq Canteen of the Dhaka University. He is a
                  multi-millionaire now. He is the Assistant Joint Secretary of the Dhaka
                  Mohanager BCD. There are more than 11 police cases against him that includes
                  the murder of Murgi Milan of Dhaka. His area of operation is the Zia
                  Airport, gold and foreign exchange smuggling, chadabaji and property
                  takeovers. He along with Khurshed Alam Rofu are reportedly absconding now in
                  the United States of America.

                  Next is Mr. Suhel alias Freedom Suhel. He is very close to former President
                  of BCD, Mr. Habibun Nabi of Rangpur. Terror of Ramna area is Mr. Khurshed
                  Alam Rasu. He was a Chatra League cadre. Later joined the Freedom Party and
                  then switched to BNP. Next is Mr. Imam Hussain, top leader of the Titumir
                  College Chatra Dal party. He is a close associate of BCD President
                  Nasiruddin Pintu, MP. Bangladesh Chatra Dal leaders, Mr. Jabber Munna,
                  Alauddin, Khandoker Thanvir, Haris Bahini and Molla Masud are also in the
                  list of top 23 terrorists of Dhaka city. Others include two brothers; Bikask
                  Kumar and Prokash Kumar. They run "Dui Bhai Bahini". Reportedly more than
                  150 police cases of murders, looting, chadabaji, illegal possession of
                  firearrms, bombing, kidnapping, etc. are against the said top terrorists.

                  From the list, it appears that the Khaleda Zia government is determined to
                  wipe out terrorism that are mostly done by her Chatra Dal party members in
                  the name of Awami League. It is also reported that since all the top
                  terrorists are very close to the 'seat of powers' and the Shuda Bhavan, they
                  have already been tipped off of their arrests and therefore, they are hiding
                  or gone abroad. Police failed to arrest any one of them except Picchi Helal
                  who was in jail prior to the announcement. In spite of this, it is a good
                  start and we should welcome the government's move.

                  Newspapers also reported that there are a total of 9,68,302 cases pending in
                  the Bangladeshi Courts. The breakdown is as follows:

                  Supreme Court Appeal Cases 4946
                  High Court Appeal Cases 127, 244
                  Zilla Court Cases 440,207
                  Magistrate Court Cases 296,862
                  Metropolitan Court Cases 99043
                  Total Cases 968,302

                  More importantly, 200,000 persons that got bail are currently 'absconding'
                  and 70,000 cases of corruption have not been dealt with. Neither the
                  government nor the Judiciary are serious about discharging these cases
                  although both the BNP and the AL in their Election Manifestoes promised to
                  set up Special Courts and Independent Tribunals for Corruption respectively
                  to discharge these cases promptly and corruption issues. Although 100 days
                  are about to pass, the new government failed to set up Special Courts or
                  independent Corruption Tribunals yet. Let us hope and put pressure on the
                  government not to ignore their Election promises so soon.

                  Ensuring personal protection and security of private property irrespective
                  of party affiliation and opinion of each citizen is one of the prime
                  functions of any government. The U. S. administration of President George
                  Bush launched a war against terrorism to protect the life and property of
                  its nationals, home and abroad and it paid compensation to the victims of
                  911. In contrast, the new government of Bangladesh failed to ensure the
                  protection to a large section of its minority population and the members of
                  its rival parties immediately after the victory for a period of time, and
                  time may come soon to pay compensation and demurrage to the victims for such
                  failure. Let the ill gotten wealth of the known terrorists be auctioned
                  forthwith and be distributed to the victims of recent violences. Mere
                  publishing a list of terrorists is not enough... they should be tried even
                  in absentia and their ill gotten wealth must be auctioned to the general
                  public as is commonly done with the drug traffickers of the U. S.

                  In any case, the good news is that, the minority repression has reduced and
                  a list of terrorists is published. More lists for each district have been
                  promised. However, the bad news is that, misuse of laws and government
                  machinery is reportedly being used to coerce and annihilate the opposition
                  groups and opinions. The practice of launching false and fabricated cases
                  against the opposition party members and those who oppose the government is
                  not a good practice and such behavior does not show either the political
                  maturity and acumen nor tolerance.

                  Abdul Momen

                • Wazed Khondkar
                  Mr. Rashad, I read your e-mail regarding usage of local technology with great interest. I fully agree with what you have said but I think we are too quick to
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 6, 2002
                    Mr. Rashad,

                    I read your e-mail regarding usage of local technology with great interest.
                    I fully agree with what you have said but I think we are too quick to
                    disregard the local knowledge and science and believe in the myth that
                    western technology will solve all our problems. The recycling of used
                    materials in the western country is just beginning but when I was a student
                    I remember selling my old note books and other materials such as glass
                    bottles for recycling. What is amazing is you could actually sell your
                    rubbish for recycling where as in the western countries there is stigma
                    related to products produced from the recycled materials. So far the only
                    recycled product that I could buy in my local supermarket is toilet papers!

                    Our farmers increasingly relying upon fertilizers to increase crop yield,
                    which I think is not very good for the future generations as the soil is
                    loosing its organic nutrients. They should be encouraged to use traditional
                    methods of farming where possible.


                    Wazed Khondkar

                    [M: SS]
                  • Shaikh Mizan
                    Dear Friends, Mr. Rashad s letter (4 January 2002) is definitely nostalgically pleasing. Although I empathize with his nostalgia, but I would beg to differ
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 6, 2002
                      Dear Friends,

                      Mr. Rashad's letter (4 January 2002) is definitely nostalgically pleasing.
                      Although I empathize with his nostalgia, but I would beg to differ with his
                      implication that the solution of the present problem of Bangladesh lies in
                      returning back to "local technology". The slogan of "local technology" is a
                      variety of "localism". Knowledge and skill must not be bound in or barred
                      from a locality. We need to receive and spread "advanced technology" (in
                      the true sense of the term, with environmental and all other implications)
                      as fast as possible (BTW, I am working on a program of transfer of
                      technology to Bangladesh and the "third world"). Of course we have to
                      understand a technology adequately before we use it, no matter local or

                      Having said this, I would like to come back to the historical irony of the
                      land once called Bangala. In my young age, I read about the colonial
                      oppressions, the history of chopping off the thumbs of the weavers of Dhaka
                      to stop production of local fabrics and textiles, so that the low quality,
                      high cost produces from England's industry could survive in the markets of
                      India. In 200 years they were successfull in totally destroying the local
                      technology, industry and production system. The whole of India became
                      dependent on their their technology. This formed the basis of
                      "Neo-colonialism", that is making a colony through control of technology and
                      market, without occupying the land. They made us the supplier of raw
                      materials and a market of their finished industrial products through a class
                      of traders, called "comprador bourgeoisie". These I read before I left for
                      the USA in 1988. And I thought I understood the dynamics of colonial
                      treachery well.

                      However, surprises were awaiting me. As I returned back to Bangladesh about
                      a year ago I started to realize a totally different phenomenon, which defy
                      previous definition of "Neo-colonialism". It is plain looting and striping
                      the country, like that of "old colonialism". We have a band of competing
                      rulers, who are organized, equipped and eager to loot money from people's
                      pocket, government fund, national banks and even mineral reserves from
                      underground. And here appeared the most interesting new phenomenon - send
                      your children to America (or Europe, Australia, Canada, etc. for that
                      matter), transfer the looted money, and then join your successful children
                      and family in a nice morning, after the end of your successful looting

                      Since these looters would not have to stay with their children and family in
                      this country they do not have to worry at all with its future. They just
                      have to loot as much as possible and then leave.

                      In its naked brutality and severity the process is exactly similar to the
                      "old-colonialism", but the "foreign" colonials are absent. Wait a minute!
                      "Absent" if we think in terms of skin-color or country of origin. But so
                      far as the heart, spirit and country of destination is concerned, they are
                      the same. The "old-colonials" left their true children and heir, albeit
                      non-biological, to finish their incomplete task. They will leave us dry and
                      wretched, and join their fathers.

                      Interesting! Is not it?

                      Shaikh Mizan
                      Dhaka, Bangladesh

                      [M: SS]
                    • M Zaman
                      Dear Alochoks 1. A Digression Mr. Rahman s letter On the Plight of Police published on 2 Jan 2002 issue of Daily Star (link below) struck a very important
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jan 6, 2002
                        Dear Alochoks

                        1. A Digression

                        Mr. Rahman's letter " On the Plight of Police " published on 2 Jan 2002 issue
                        of Daily Star (link below) struck a very important cord of our total national
                        plight. To discuss the issue a little tangentially, I decided to digress a
                        little at the beginning:

                        Costa Rica is a small South American country. Its lush rain forest attracts
                        hoards of foreign tourists. Costa Rica came to prominence when its young
                        president Oscar Arias Sanchez , much to the chagrin of the U.S. government
                        expelled the Contras, and enforced the nation�s official proclamation of
                        neutrality made in 1983. Costa Rica again claimed the headlines when Arias�s
                        tireless efforts fruited in the Central American Peace Plan, signed in the
                        Guatemala City in 1987. This monumental achievement earned the Costa Rican
                        president the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize.

                        But not Oscar Arias, it is Jose Maria Figueres Ferrer ( �Don Pepe� ), who
                        commands the greatest respect from the people of Costa Rica. After the election
                        fiasco of 1948, the nation plunged into a civil war. Don Pepe, (a coffee
                        grower, an engineer, an economist and a philosopher) emerged victorious. He was
                        a visionary. He made many brave landmark reforms: introduced suffrage for
                        women, granted full citizenship to blacks, established presidential term
                        limits, and created an independent Electoral Tribunal to oversee future
                        elections. But probably the most important one was to outlaw a standing army (
                        including his own ). Costa Rica is now one of the most stable and successful
                        country in the entire South America. Interestingly, it weathered the regional
                        tumult of the 80�s despite having no army at all. Only other country in the
                        world, which do not have a standing army is Switzerland, although it can
                        mobilize a huge fighting force in a 24 hour notice.�

                        2. Smarter National Priority

                        Every country does have a limited budgetary pie. Every country has to
                        prioritize and reconcile different conflicting interests. And only then,
                        resources can be allocated on the basis of reconciled priority. In my humble
                        opinion, the three most important priorities are:

                        Firstly, EDUCATION: Education is the scaffolding on which a successful nation
                        grows and spreads its various tentacles. The current state of our public
                        education is precarious, and needs heavy uplifting.

                        Secondly, LAW AND ORDER: This is utterly needed to provide a safe & secure
                        social fabric, where the various economic variables can interact with success.
                        Law & order involves, not only the police, but also an effective and
                        independent judiciary.

                        Thirdly, COMMUNICATION: In this era of inter-dependency of communities and
                        countries, importance of communication can never be emphasized enough.

                        3. Where is the Pie ?

                        Different minds can come with different priorities. But implementing those
                        priorities require tremendous amount of resources. But the pie is limited. And
                        in this economic down-turn definitely smaller than before. A rational mind has
                        to seek out the most unproductive, yet expensive sector for logical trans-
                        allocation of resources. And I am afraid to say that it is our military. They
                        possibly consume the biggest share of the national budgetary pie, yet produce
                        the least.

                        4. A Leaner Military ?

                        Primary function of any national military is to protect the country from
                        external aggression. Being surrounded by very powerful India on 3 sides, this
                        becomes a rather moot issue. Despite our valiant soldiers, an all-out Indian
                        aggression ( if it ever happens ) is virtually irrepulsible for long, by our
                        present military. Threat from the Mayanmar border is not significant enough to
                        justify a large military of current level. As evidenced from the above examples
                        of Costa Rica and Switzerland, a standing military is not a requisite to safe
                        guard a nation�s sovereignty.

                        An army can also be a very important instrument to quell internal threats to
                        national security and sovereignty. In the current socio-political milieu of
                        Bangladesh, presence of a standing army is a practical necessity for a variety
                        of understandable reasons.

                        But the military can be made leaner, better equipped and more mobile. A smaller
                        military ( may be 25 % of the current size ) will be much cheaper to modernize
                        with cutting edge training and equipments. To make up for the smaller size, the
                        concept of �reserve forces� can be introduced as it is in the United States.
                        Reserve soldiers and officers will be working in the public or in the private
                        sector, but can be called to active duty in times of emergency. It is much
                        cheaper to maintain a well-trained �reserve force� if we follow the current US

                        5. Back to the Initial Point

                        As alluded by Mr. Rahman, we dearly need to focus attention to law & order and
                        to address other national priorities as deemed appropriate by the policy-
                        makers. If we can free up resources by making our military more nimble, lean
                        and effective, it is a plus for both the military (as a public institution),
                        and the country a whole.

                        Mohammad A. Zaman, Raleigh, NC

                        On the Plight of Police, Nazmur Rahman
                        Published in the Daily Star on 2 Jan 2002

                        [M:ER] Alochok Zaman has correctly identified one of the biggest weaknesses to
                        social and economic development of our country: law and order. Alochona
                        Management is increasingly alarmed by the calls from sinister quarters to
                        divert resources and manpower to small sections of the Bangladeshi community
                        when the wider community is equally victimised. There is no colour or religion
                        in the access to justice and equality in Bangladesh. One has to wonder why some
                        individuals and organisations are asserting that there is. Alochoks should
                        drive this debate towards reform in the institutions of law and order. Then and
                        only then, can more specific crime be targetted such as hate, sexual assault,
                        corruption etc.
                      • piaprpa
                        When many of us are being critical about tech-transfer from developed countries to Bangladesh I want to share one promising tech-transfer story that happened a
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jan 7, 2002
                          When many of us are being critical about tech-transfer from developed
                          countries to Bangladesh I want to share one promising tech-transfer
                          story that happened a few years back and the speciality is that here
                          technology was transferred from Bangladesh to outside that is really
                          encouraging. I am sure many such exist and all that needed is to
                          promote such initiatives in the global market as well as to inform us
                          about such promising practices.

                          Here is the story:


                          Human-powered pumps for small-scale irrigation can be an important
                          tool for farmers in developing countries where rainfall is often
                          erratic and financial resources are severely limited. Under the
                          Programme Concerning the Use of Experts for Technical Cooperation
                          Among Developing Countries and Countries in Transition, a treadle pump
                          expert from International Development Enterprises (IDE) in Bangladesh
                          visited Zambia as part of the irrigation component of FAO's Special
                          Programme for Food Security (SPFS). IDE is a non-governmental
                          organization that specializes in small-scale irrigation techniques.

                          Although one-quarter of Zambia's land is arable, at that time only 11
                          percent is cropped, and irrigated agriculture constitutes only a small
                          percentage of the total agricultural area. In 1992 Zambia suffered
                          from the drought that hit the whole of southern Africa. Many
                          households were left with little food to eat. The SPFS was initiated
                          in Zambia with a view to stabilizing food production and ensuring food
                          availability. The programme emphasizes dissemination of agricultural
                          technologies for dry conditions, namely drought mitigation and
                          improved irrigation.

                          It was also found that in recent years increasing numbers of Zambian
                          farmers have started to irrigate small vegetable gardens to supplement
                          their food supplies and income from rain fed crops. Water is simply
                          drawn by bucket from ponds and shallow water holes and carried to
                          gardens in dambos or low-lying land near the water sources. This
                          approach is very labour intensive and also contributes to the
                          deepening of water holes. Appropriate, low-cost irrigation
                          technologies have the potential to increase substantially the benefits
                          of these small gardens.

                          As we may know that in Bangladesh, treadle pumps have demonstrably
                          contributed to increased farmer income and food security. It is
                          estimated that with an annual return to the user of about US$100 each,
                          the 500 000 treadle pumps used in Bangladesh in the early 1990s
                          accounted for one-third of the agricultural sector's total
                          contribution to the gross national product. D. Sarkar from IDE in
                          Bangladesh visited Zambia for two months in July 1996 to test and
                          install human-powered pumps and to recommend
                          suitable models in various pilot areas, mostly in the southern regions
                          of the Western and Southern Provinces. Demonstrations on installation,
                          maintenance and use of the Bangladesh treadle pump were conducted to
                          test the ease with which the farmers could duplicate these activities
                          themselves, this being a major criterion for the recommendation of one
                          pump as opposed to another. The expert visited areas where different
                          types of treadle pumps had been installed to check their performance.

                          The Bangladesh treadle pump was received with enthusiasm by the
                          farmers because of the volume of water it could pump and the ease and
                          speed with which it could be installed by the farmers and extension
                          workers. At Mungu Camp Kafue, one of the pilot areas, interviews were
                          conducted with local farmers who stated that earlier they had had
                          enough water but lacked appropriate water-lifting devices. The treadle
                          pump resolved this problem. One farmer confirmed that he had made a
                          substantial amount of money from the sale of his cash crop of only one
                          season, showing the potential for increased earnings if farmers used
                          low-cost irrigation pumps.

                          This successful experience led to a collaborative effort of FAO, IDE
                          and the Zambian Government in training local manufacturers of the
                          treadle pump. The experience of such tech-transfer showed that most of
                          the farmers operate individually, but considerable advantages can be
                          obtained only when farmers develop and maintain an irrigation system
                          in a joint effort. The development of irrigated agriculture needs to
                          be implemented as a fully communal activity with the active
                          participation of all beneficiaries.

                          [M:SS] It is often the case that developed countries initiate proposals for developing countries and/or developing countries look upon the models of developed countries for solutions to their problems, while usually not keeping in mind that political and environmental conditions vastly differ and so is the progression and mutation of developed countries from developing countries. This is surely an encouraging news that developing countries among themselves may see light in developing solutions by them and sharing those data, technology and information for mutual benefit.
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.