• Saturday, February 28, 2015

Op-Ed

Editorial

  • Editorial

    Horrific hacking of Avijit Roy

    An attack on our national ethos

    WE condemn the brutal murder of writer and blogger Avijit Roy and attack on his wife, Rafida Islam Banna, in no uncertain terms. The savage act, hauntingly similar to the hacking of critical thinker and writer Humayun Azad, took place right in front of the Ekushey Book Fair, in clear view of law enforcers and other people. According to media reports, the writer, known for his staunch support of secularism and critique of religious fundamentalism in the country, was threatened many times by Islamist extremists. Shortly after the vicious murder took place, an extremist group called Ansar Bangla 7 took responsibility for the death on its twitter account. Avijit was a humanist, and an advocate of justice for crimes committed against humanity in '71. This is not only an attack on an individual, but an attack on freedom of thought and our national ethos of a secular, liberal Bangladesh. This is also a reflection of a much bigger problem in our society characterised by intolerance, hatred and bigotry fuelled by religious extremism, and a continuation of verbal and physical attacks with impunity on those who dare to counter these bigoted propaganda. We strongly believe that ideas should be countered...

Opinion

STRAIGHT LINE

The worrisome public order

The worrisome public order

THE cynics in the current hyper-charged socio-political situation would say that “the banality of evil” has come home to us with a strange poignancy. They cannot be blamed, because violence has characterised our national life on a scale so widespread and so unchecked that even the incorrigible optimists are losing hope of orderly...

PROJECT SYNDICATE
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMY

The Age of Adaptation

THE world needs to stop looking backward. Since the 2008 financial crisis, we have wasted far too much energy trying to return to the days of rapid economic expansion. The flawed assumption that the post-crisis world's challenges were only temporary has underpinned policies that have yielded only lackluster recoveries, while failing to address key problems like high unemployment and rising inequality. The post-crisis era is over, and the “post-post-crisis world” is upon us. It is time to adopt a new...

A Shocking Crime

A Shocking Crime

It was with devastating shock and disbelief that I received the news of the brutal killing of our very well-known blogger and writer Avijit Roy and the severe injury to his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna. According to the report, unidentified miscreants hacked them at TSC of Dhaka University on Thursday night. Avijit,...

Extrajudicial killing in the guise of mob-action

ON February 24 morning, the nation woke up to the news that bullet-ridden bodies of three boys were found in the city's Shewrapara area of Mirpur. All were aged between 15 and 17 years and worked as part-time helpers of drivers of human haulers that plied along that route. All came from poor families. None had any political affiliation but attended programmes of political parties of various persuasions. The official narrative identified the victims as arsonists who were caught red-handed...

Hartal and oborodh have lost appeal

FOR the last 50 days, pessimism has gripped the citizenry because of the hartal and oborodh enforced by BNP-led alliance. More than 100 have died in petrol bomb attacks, and thousands injured with life-threatening disabilities, and the economy is bleeding profusely. Most appalling, it is the poor and innocent daily wage earners who are not at all linked with politics who have become the targets. Taking advantage of this unusual situation, some clandestine groups who were waiting in the wings...

CROSS TALK

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Many of us alive have long been dead

THE cultural activists in the country did their bit last Sunday when they accompanied the families of those who had died in political violence and hung a list of 54 victims in front of BNP chairperson's Gulshan office. It was ironically done on the same day 41 people, to the last count of that day, had reportedly died after a launch sank when it was hit by a cargo vessel. The number of victims has risen to 71since then,...

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Letters

Letter To The Editor

When the class rooms are empty...

Because of the ongoing blockade and hartal, academic activities of schools and colleges have come to a standstill. Guardians, being worried about their children's safety, don't allow them to go to school. The classrooms are now empty; an eerie silence prevails in the schools and colleges. The education sector is suffering tremendously due to the mindless political programmes. SSC exams schedule has been changed several times already. We hope the politicians will think about the future of the students and...

Letter To The Editor

Start a dialogue immediately

How could PM Sheikh Hasina outrightly reject the initiative of a dialogue by saying that talks with Khaleda would mean encouraging militancy? The present unrest is political but the government is trying to show it as terrorism. Sheikh Hasina took charge of the country as the Prime Minister, so the welfare of the people rests on her; she just cannot ignore it. She cannot shrug off the dialogue initiative because it is the demand of not only the twenty- party...

COMMENTS

“What exam? People of the entire country are now in a tough test. The big challenge is to pass this test …” --Khaleda Zia's Adviser OSMAN FARUK At a meeting in the US S. M. Iftekhar Ahmed Outrageous! How sad that the SSC candidates, who are the future voters, have been drawn into the selfish act of the political parties. New Generation It is unfortunate that the former education minister made such unwanted and undesirable comment on the fate of lacs of students' education. Tajul...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Israeli apartheid

The Palestinians are so unfortunate; they have long been oppressed by the Israeli occupiers. It seems that Israel has become a carbuncle under the garb of coexistence and very cleverly sponsored and protected by the United States. Why do not the saner world leaders condemn the role of US? The massacre of the innocent Palestinians has exceeded all limits last year. Their rights have been snatched away by the Israelis, and all under the patronage of US, who likes...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: February 27, 2015
A partial view

I am really surprised by the partial view expressed by one of your columnists in his column titled "Behind the politics of attrition" published in your esteemed daily on February 14, 2015. It is also surprising to note that he totally forgets to mention in his piece that (i) this government came to power again a year ago through a farcical election and is unrepresentative of the people, (ii) it has consolidated power by politicising the state machineries (iii)...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
COMMENTS

“Ironical yet deplorable” (February 17, 2015) S. M. Iftekhar Ahmed BNP, perhaps influenced by Jamaat, has become so obsessed about coming to power that it intentionally ignores the plight of the people or its own hardships. They also fail to realise that people will not support their so-called movement because of the way they are carrying it out. So unless BNP leaders change their way of thinking, this crisis will soon have an impact on them even more than on the...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: February 26, 2015
PM's needless ire against TDS

Recently the prime minister accused The Daily Star of patronising extremism by publishing a banned organisation's poster. I think the accusation is based on misinterpretation. The heading of that report was very clear, that rising of extremism is a matter of anxiety for all.   However, responding to the PM, the editor of TDS wrote a commentary on Friday, 20th February which was very outspoken. He said that in the totalitarian way of things, the view is that the government...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Shameful stuff by ESPNCricinfo

ESPNCricinfo has been the top website for cricket related news, live scores and articles for the last few years. As cricket fans, we expect them to be neutral and treat every team fairly. However, in the commentary on the Bangladesh – Afghanistan match, it wrote at the end of the match that, “Bangladesh have gone on a victory lap of honour here. Thanking their fans. They haven't won the World Cup yet, though. Just shows how rare success at...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
COMMENTS

“Act tough even before ruling” (February 18, 2015) Barkat References from Indian courts are presented here. But institutions in India are to a great extent non-politicised, especially the election commission is totally free from politics. Also in India, election machinery is almost foolproof from fraud and rigging. Without comparing these factors if only Indian court decisions are referred, then it will be grossly unjustified. Shafik Law is not applicable for the present ruling party or the former ruling party in Bangladesh. Only we,...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: February 25, 2015
Chess tournament

While all Bangladeshi eyes, and mine also were focused on cricket, 134 chess players did not let the hartals deter them from playing in the Sheikh Moni Memorial International Rated Tournament in the new more spacious BCF hall. Predictably, grandmaster Ziaur Rahman won the event though facing a strong challenge in one round from a very respectable blind player. Women's GM Rani Hamid in her seventies still sharp and consistent registered a strong performance. I, the lone American in...

Letters To The Editor

Published Date: February 25, 2015
''Few points to observe'' and some relevant facts

I have gone through the letter “Few points to observe” by Nur Jahan published in your daily on February 13, 2015. Here she omitted some facts which should have been brought out. We all know that a certain person filed a case in the High Court against the caretaker government system. The High Court delivered a verdict which abolished the caretaker system, but at the same time it suggested that the parliamentary election may be held under a CTG...

Published Date: February 25, 2015
Comments

“Contrasting politics in Dhaka and Delhi” (February 23, 2015) Salim Ullah No doubt, Arvind Kejriwal has so successfully displayed his political acumen, and that ultimately made him possible to win the heart of his people. Our leaders are so arrogant, so ambitious and excessively proud that they would not take lessons from anybody. As a result, they have still a lot to learn and our sufferings will continue. Deep Purple Blue Great educational piece for our politicians indeed. I have been following the...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: February 24, 2015
BNP committing political hara-kiri

Five consecutive victories in mayoral elections (including Gazipur, an AL stronghold) just prior to  the January 5, 2014 election indicated to BNP which way the wind was blowing. But they insisted on having everything their way as a condition to join the election. They forgot that saying no all the time is no good.  From the current course of events, it appears that BNP is bent on committing hara-kiri. From the milkman in Pabna to the banana growers in the...

Letter To The Editor

Published Date: February 24, 2015
Protect dignity of Bangla

Bangla is the only language for which valuable lives were sacrificed. For this, UNESCO honoured 21st February as Int'l Mother Language Day. But do we honour our beloved mother tongue enough? Most of the parents nowadays want their children to be well conversant in English rather than Bangla. They prefer English medium schools. English gets more priority than Bangla in many kindergartens and schools. Mixing English words with Bangla is a common fashion among youngsters. It's up to us...

Published Date: February 24, 2015
COMMENTS

“Grameen Bank comes under state oversight” (February 17, 2015) Barkat Grameen Bank got world recognition and Nobel Prize under Dr. Yunus's leadership. And under Mr. Muhith, many government banks are almost bankrupt with systematic loot and plunder. Pathetic is too mild a word to describe Finance Minister's such unrealistic opinion on Prof. Yunus. “This is mindless” (February 15, 2015) JamJam Both AL and BNP have degraded the nation with their corrupt practices. They are impediments to our hopes and aspirations. Just look around...

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Editorial

Published Date: February 27, 2015
AI report 2014-15

THE latest annual report by the London-based human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI), echoes the concerns raised by our own human rights organisations regarding enforced disappearances, impunity of law enforcement agencies, circumscribing the freedom of journalists and human rights defenders and violence against women. Through the years, what has perhaps been as alarming as the consistency of violations is the consistency of the state in not acknowledging and addressing the apprehensions regarding human rights violations. The report suggests that an...

Editorial

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Faulty designs behind most launch accidents

Amid denial of responsibilities for launch accidents by the authorities, a report reveals that between 1976 and 2005, 70 per cent launch accidents happened due to design flaws. Nine NGOs working for safe waterway published that report yesterday. Though properly designed water vessels survive 40 degree tilting our launches sink even at 15 to 18 degree tilt. It shows serious deficit in design and fitness of existing water vessels. Though there are provisions for punishment of launch owners, drivers and...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Tyranny doesn't go unanswered

Tyranny doesn't go unanswered

WHER-EVER autocracy exists resistance does too. History teaches us that. February 23 is a day that is remembered in Germany for events that took place at the height of Nazi power in a place called Munich. A few brave men and women belonging to the University of Munich decided to warn the German...

PLEASURE IS ALL MINE

Published Date: February 27, 2015
World cares about us, but do we?

OF late, we were startled by two falsehoods -- one, a deliberate gaffe corrected post-haste; and the other a mischievous attempt at populism after an anti-people act. This is the stuff one expects when the chariot is in a back gear. To say that this is regression would be an insult to the word itself. For, the other day, we heard the news of an exceptional car: Its front gears failing, it was driven forward in back gear making...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Mamata's visit: Hope for Teesta agreement?

Mamata's visit: Hope for Teesta agreement?

THE Chief Minister of Paschimbanga, Mamata Banerjee, paid a visit to Bangladesh from February 19 to 21. It is known from the media that her visit was made as per invitation of the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh. Mamata arrived with a 40 member team comprising of ministers of her cabinet, lawmakers, writers, singers,...

HUMOROUSLY YOURS

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Hakuna Mamata

Hakuna Mamata

CAPTAIN'S log, star date 4698.3. Hartal -- the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Bangladesh. Its continuing mission -- to seek out new strifes and new abominations, to explore strange new ways of self destruction, to boldly go where no (sane) man has gone before.” Theme music of Star Trek. “Captain. I...

Editorial

Published Date: February 26, 2015
50 days of blockade

WITH the extension of hartal until Friday morning, the country has reached a new record for enforcement of strikes for all working days in a month. It is unacceptable that the whole of February has been wasted in shutdown, taking a heavy toll on the nation. The political instability since Jan 5, propelled by a non-stop blockade and now hartals, has resulted in 75 deaths, of whom 55 were civilians, an estimated loss of Tk. 1,18,404 to the economy...

Editorial

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Plain land adivasis need help

It is disquieting to see that plain land adivasis are increasingly falling victim to land grabbing. A press conference organised by two minority rights groups on Tuesday revealed that in the last two months, two murders, a rape, a rape attempt and looting of 60 Santal houses took place in the northern part of the country. As most indigenous people do not have documents proving ownership of their ancestral land they become easy targets of land grabbers. The land encroachers...

STRATEGICALLY SPEAKING

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Of course Hilsa is not bred in the Teesta

Of course Hilsa is not bred in the Teesta

YES, that very mouth watering aquatic creature, which every affluent Bengali will do anything to have a piece on his or her plate as often as possible, finds the Padma a more suitable ground to breed. And Mamata Banerjee wanted to remind our prime minister of this, as if Sheikh Hasina was not...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Our plan for countering violent extremism

Our plan for countering violent extremism

SHOW the world the power of peaceful communities, and tackle bad governance that breeds frustration. Throughout our history, we have faced threats from aggression, genocide, chaos and dictatorship. Today we are asked to wage a new war against a new enemy. The battlefield is different, and so are the weapons that we need to overcome that enemy and triumph. The rise of violent extremism represents the pre-eminent challenge of the young 21st century. Military force is a rational and often necessary response to the wanton slaughters of children, mass kidnappings of schoolgirls, and beheading of innocents. But military force alone won't achieve victory. In the long term, this war will be...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Don't let Bangladesh become a cocoon of terror

Don't let Bangladesh become a cocoon of terror

LAST Sunday, training materials and sophisticated arms were recovered at militants' training centre in Banshkhali, Chittagong. This should not come as a surprise, especially to those who monitor the growth, expansion and activities of militancy in this country. In March 2013, I happened to meet the renowned Swedish journalist Bertil Lintner in an...

LAUNCH DISASTER

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Where lies the remedy?

Where lies the remedy?

ON Sunday February 22, M.V. Mostafa, on her way to Daulatdia from Paturia, Manikganj, collided with a cargo vessel and sank instantly in the river Padma in broad daylight with reportedly more than 200 passengers on board. So far, 72 dead bodies have been recovered -- 28 among them from inside the launch. It...

Editorial

Published Date: February 25, 2015
Amartya at his public lecture

AT a hugely attended public lecture by Amartya Sen, courtesy of Prothom Alo and CPD on Monday, the Nobel Laureate, made some path-shinning comments of practical relevance to contemporary affairs in the subcontinent. In precise terms, he advocated development with a strong human content and democracy with liberty and free discourse. He simply says that economic growth and human development are intertwined. Economic progress makes resource available for human development based on quantum and qualitative leaps in education and health...

Editorial

Published Date: February 25, 2015
Death of alleged arsonists

WE find the explanation of the police regarding the death of the three alleged arsonists in Mirpur on Monday hard to believe. The pictures show that the three were killed with a vengeance. We have several clarifications to seek of the police in this regard. If the three died of mob beating, according to the police, suspected of being arsonists and caught while preparing to firebomb a vehicle, why do not the bodies carry evidence of torture? How come...

Published Date: February 25, 2015
How does Bangladesh figure in India's Look East Policy?

How does Bangladesh figure in India's Look East Policy?

INDIA is looking for new economic frontiers in the East. In the face of continuing stalemate of WTO negotiations, countries are looking for alternative or parallel arrangements. The past decade has seen the flourishing of many such initiatives. As an emerging global economic powerhouse, India would obviously not like to be left behind. There...

Published Date: February 25, 2015
Hype over Mamata Banerjee visit

MAMATA Banerjee came, saw, but did not quite conquer the Bangladeshi heart. But then, the last may not have been her plan. The trip was mainly a political play on her part – to have a makeover of her not-too-friendly image in Bangladesh, and to assure opponents in her own state that she is not really a friend to the fundamentalist forces in her state that are opposed to the regime in Bangladesh. But most important of all, her...

KNOT SO TRUE

Published Date: February 25, 2015
This column is not about…

This column is not about…

MAHMUDUR Rahman Manna. It is not about he who invested over four decades in politics, and jumped off the cliff because of two conversations that turned him into a villain. This column is not about a man who, till date, is referred to as “bhai," even in talk shows where he is being...

IN REMEMBRANCE OF BDR TRAGEDY

Published Date: February 25, 2015
Tearful adieu

Tearful adieu

WE say life moves on and it is only wiser to look forward. But is there anyone who can deny the power of memory? In fact, what we call the present is given shape by an accumulation of the past. Even unpleasant memories are revisited – sometimes intentionally -- to reimagine if things could...

IN REMEMBRANCE OF BDR TRAGEDY

Published Date: February 25, 2015
A father's bleeding heart

A father's bleeding heart

IT'S an utterly haunting recollection of my lost son Shaheed Colonel Quadrat Elahi Rahman Shafique, ndc, psc. From his very childhood he appeared to be extremely sharp and meritorious. He was known as one of the most brilliant officers in the Bangladesh Army. Finishing his studies at Jhenaidah Cadet College he joined the Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA) and commissioned on 10th June 1983. While undergoing his military training in Bhatiary he stood first in B.Sc. from Chittagong University. Then he continued his career as an officer of 3 East Bengal. He went to the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Bosnia for one year. Soon after his return he was posted as...

Editorial

Published Date: February 24, 2015
Discovery of militant camps

THE law enforcing agencies deserve credit for the detection of a militant training camp in a remote forest area of Banshkhali in Chittagong on Saturday. The raid resulted from information provided by some of the nabbed extremists from a madrasa in Hathazari the previous day.   This is for the first time that such a well organised setup for training extremists and storing weapons and ammunitions has been discovered. We are sure that this will to a large extent preempt...

Editorial

Published Date: February 24, 2015
Launch capsize taking a heavy toll

WE are distressed at the untimely deaths of at least 70 people in a launch capsize in the Padma river in Manikganj on Sunday after it was hit by a cargo vessel. With 36 people still missing, it is feared that the death toll would only go up as the rescue efforts continue. No words of consolation and even monetary compensation can make up for the wanton loss of lives and the agony of family and friends who have lost...

Published Date: February 24, 2015
Long awaited visit

Long awaited visit

FINALLY, Mamata Banerjee, who is popularly known as Didi in India, paid us a visit. We only wonder why she didn't come much earlier! She won a landslide victory in the West Bengal legislative assembly election in 2011. I happened to be in Kolkata during the election. I saw the exuberance of the people of Kolkata when the election results were announced. I saw how she was greeted by her fans and supporters after her victory. In her victory speech, she graciously announced that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called to greet her. She assumed the office of the chief minister in May, by ending the 34-year rule of the...

Published Date: February 24, 2015
The“Arab Spring”that is no more

FOUR years after the abdication of long-time Egyptian autocrat, President Husni Mubarak, in what seemed a watershed moment in recent history, the“Arab Spring -- a succession of popular uprisings in Arab countries -- seems depleted, defeated, and reset to zero. In Egypt, Husni Mubarak, who the Revolution had convicted with crimes against the people, has seen his sentence overturned, while his successor, Muhammad Mursi, duly elected in the nation's first democratic exercise, lingers in prison, accused of treason. Since the...

Published Date: February 24, 2015
Why grid failure occurs, causing a blackout

Why grid failure occurs, causing a blackout

THE power grid failure that occurred in Bangladesh on 1-11-2014   was the worst blackout the country has ever experienced. The media gave different views and opinions which raised speculation about the cause. This article will try to give a brief description of grid system, its principle of operation, safety precautions and the logical...

Published Date: February 24, 2015
The fatalism we are living with

WEEK after week has passed by since we have been living in a state of terror. Blockades and strikes appear to reign supreme in the lives of millions of helpless people in the country. These continue to haunt and hunt lives and properties of all kinds. None can be sure if there is any light beyond the tunnel for we are not even inside any tunnel whatsoever. Our country has been known for centuries as a land where natural...

Editorial

Published Date: February 23, 2015
Mamata paves way for warmer ties

WEST Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's three-day trip to Dhaka has been eventful, reassuring and heart-warming. It proved extensive in terms of grounds covered -- diplomatic, business, cross-border terrorism, dimensions to the relations. Also, the shared experience turned out to be intensive through a renewal of cultural and emotional contacts.    The long-awaited visit was to clear the air on certain outstanding issues, enhance cultural ties and facilitate business between the two sides. In practical terms, as the chief minister...

Editorial

Published Date: February 23, 2015
Number of deaths mounting

THE statistics are staggering. And we cannot feel proud at what we are witnessing in the form of political movement that has seen lethal violence of an unprecedented scale.               Just to put the matter in perspective as regards human casualties, in the eleven years between the 2002 and 2013, 850 people were killed in political violence, while only in the seven weeks since January 5, 2015, more than a hundred people have been killed, not to speak of the...