Showing posts from May, 2009

Shoaib's attempt to find nail in a haystack

The controversial journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Chowdhury’s energy to start storm over a teapot is well-known. So, I am not too surprised to see his latest salvo against the Bangladesh government. He bewails the fact that Awami League is not the kind of “secular” party that his kind likes to see. To him, secularism ought to be modeled after European atheism. He forgets that even the western countries like the USA and UK are not fundamentalist secular either where God has no place in society. Thus, in the American dollar bill there is the logo “In God We Trust” imprinted. Every presidential speech ends with chants of “God Bless America.” Elected reps and even high-ranking government officials take their oaths of allegiance by placing their hands on the Bible. The last president Bush Jr. even claimed to have a direct hotline with God!

More interestingly, the last week's GQ magazine has exposed the hawkish use of scripture in 2003, when then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld forwarded…

More on Zia - a dialogue with A. O. Chowdhury


In his rejoinder, Mr. Chowdhury bemoans the fact that I had used the title Major for Zia and not his higher titles that he subsequently earned. My preferred use of “Major” was only to highlight his popularity with that title, especially after reading the prepared statement from the Kalurghat Radio Station declaring independence of Bangladesh as “Major Zia” on behalf of “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.” As far as the original text of the statement is concerned, it had nothing to do with either Lts. Oli or Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury.

I am also aware that Zia was a year senior to Shafiullah in getting to Pakistan Army. [His family is personally known to me.] Promotions of people, superseding others more senior and qualified, are nothing new in any profession; they are natural parts of our world that we live in. If one is looking for examples, tomes of books can be written with supporting evidences. For our purpose here just ponder on how Gen.…

Comments on Dr. M.T. Hussain's write-up on Fascism


Recently I came across the above write-up by Dr. M.T. Hussain and unfortunately, found the piece to be nothing but anti-AL cyber-terrorism! He and many such partisans are like idol worshipers of their 'netas/netris' (leaders)! Nothing can be found in their pieces other than exaggerating issues. Such highly polarized views are quite insulting to our intellectual ability to think independently and draw neutral conclusions.

When the Peelkhana tragedy took place I was in Bangladesh glued to the TV to understand various points of views by various experts and analysts. I believe rather strongly that had strong-arm tactics been taken by the Armed Forces to quell the mutiny, many more people would have died. To me, saving one life is like saving humanity. I am no fan of Sk. Hasina and how she conducts her official business. But I felt that the way she had handled the matter coolly was the best way …

More on "Flashback: Zia that I knew"

Thanks to Mr. Chowdhury for his clarifying remarks that the write-up was his own as an ex-Army officer and was based on his own recollection of those days as he saw Maj. Zia. I assumed that he had merely posted the piece from an ex-officer while protecting the identity of the author. I was mistaken. My salutation to him for being a freedom fighter. Without the sacrifice of people like him, we probably won't have seen the independence of Bangladesh. May Allah reward him.

As far as Major Rafiq is concerned, when he wrote the book "A Tale of Millions", he was not affiliated with any political party. So, I would like to believe that his original version was a non-partisan account. If the book has since gone through revisions on the content, it is possible that changes, if any, may reflect his partisanship of the time. And that would be unfortunate.

No one should contradict the fact that Maj. Ziaur Rahman had read a statement from Chittagong Radio in late March that said that h…

Corrupt Magistrate in Chittagong is unfit for hearing Arms-haul case


I am really shocked to learn that Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) of Chittagong - Mohammad Asaduzzaman Khan has been engaged in a case of national importance like the Arms-haul case. He is an utterly corrupt person who in February 2009 took bribe money (Tk. 40,000) from the advocate for a powerful land-grabbing syndicate in Chittagong to victimize innocent people. The land-grabbing syndicate is led by Jaker Hosain Chowdhury (an ex-Madrasa daptari who was a Razakar during the War of Liberation). Jaker and his crime syndicate were assisted in 2005 by a powerful BNP-MP into illegally grabbing land in Chittagong. While the BNP leader's connection with the syndicate is not clear at this time, the criminal syndicate still poses much threat to the law-abiding ordinary citizens of the Chittagong metropolis and is known for bribing corrupt judges and magistrat…

Comments on entry of Armed Forces in Politics of Bangladesh


Dr. Sultan Ahmad has correctly pointed out how the armed forces have crept into the politics of Bangladesh. The DGFI's failure to forewarn about any conspiracy and then to create a culture within the country that benefits the military to extract more concessions in all sectors - from grabbing lucrative positions in civil administration of the country to floating military-appeasing parties - has not been all that beneficial to our nation.

I remember how active the DGFI was during the previous caretaker government in trying to float a new party - Jagroto Bangladesh (or whatever it wanted to name). The DGFI hosted a program in Dhaka for the expatriates in December 2007 and before that with the cooperation of the Military Attache to the NY High Commission hastily arranged some meetings in some major U.S. cities when Gen. Moeen U. Ahmed was visiting the USA. In all these events the guests included DGFI-selected expatriates that…

Comments on a NFB write-up "Zia that I knew"


From the link in NFB:, it is obvious that Mr. A.O. Chowdhury is not the person whose account on Zia we are reading, but that he is simply relaying information from an admirer of Ziaur Rahman (see, e.g., the statement: "Retrospect - This is a story related to me by a friend, who preferred to remain anonymous"). This kind of posting is problematic in the sense that it does not allow the reader to know who actually is the author, and therefore, whether or not, one can trust him. If the author is serious, he ought to disclose his identity and let people judge the credibility of his story. To me, the write-up appears to come from a blind supporter of the BNP who wants to salvage Zia's image on some controversial issues.

The writer's account of the 1971 Pakistani crackdown in Chittagong is somewhat difficult to believe and is at variance with the accou…

Comments on Crucifixion or Crucifiction and lost Messages of God

The Muslim belief is drawn from the Qur'an which says that Isa (AS) was neither killed nor crucified but that it appeared as if he had embraced one of those fates; and surely he was not killed; instead Allah took him up to heaven intact; and that before his actual death all the people of the Scriptures - meaning Jews and Christians who came before Muslims - will believe in him as Allah's messenger. (4:157-159) So, any belief contrary to this which has been put down in the Qur'an is unacceptable. Do the Jewish people who believe in the Torah believe in Jesus as Allah's messenger (4:171) today? No. So, the clear message that one can draw from the Qur'an is that Jesus has not died yet.

Now as to the question of can the messages of Allah which were relayed to His Messengers be contaminated and/or lost? In either case, the answer is Yes. It is for the people to follow or not to follow the message of Allah SWT. That freedom is with people to choose. They are also the ones…

Comments on Clandestine arms trade and the trial


The disclosure by the top former Army directors puts to rest the controversy that the BNP government was directly involved in arms shipment to rebel groups. While transparency with all government activities is much desirable, such a disclosure in an open court is sometimes viewed as compromising national interest. Not surprisingly that former U.S. Vice President Cheney is so upset with the Obama Administration for releasing torture memos and photos.

As the New Nation report shows such clandestine activities are rather common and very few countries with problem neighbors or hegemonic aspirations can escape from being embarrassed from such disclosures. For decades, India had her hands full with the LTTE and the Shanti Bahini collaboration to destabilize Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, respectively. Pakistan was involved with the Taliban. During our own nation's bloody struggle for liberation in 1971, although India had not offic…

Comments about Prof. Abul Barakat's "Fundamentalist Economy" in Bangladesh


Thanks for sharing this old piece from Mr. Shah Abdul Halim on Prof. Abul Barakat's paper. As the analysis shows Dr. Barakat has not been thorough in his research work. He has either failed to offer supporting evidences for his claims or has exaggerated numbers for the Islamic sector of the economy. It is really sad to see the level of intellectual bankruptcy from an academic of one of the premier institutes of the country. That says a lot about one's academic preparation and the school one earned degree from.

I remember in the post-liberation period many of my class-mates opting out for an easy degree from the USSR rather than getting a hard-earned university degree from within Bangladesh. Some of these Bangladeshi students in the USSR continued their education beyond the BS/BA degrees to eventually obtain PhD degrees from schools like the Patrice Lumumba University that lack academic credibility, and are known …

Is India involved with the BDR Carnage?


Thanks to Barrister Munshi for sharing with us the fact that during the period of BDR carnage, a large section of Bangladesh's Army officers was in India conducting joint exercise. As to his question: - was this mere coincidence or a pre-planned exercise to divert a section of our officers and soldiers away from Dhaka in those critical days? - if India had planned the carnage by its own operatives, the answer would obviously be - No. That is, Indian government or her agency RAW made sure that the critical support to rescue the detained officers could not be met internally. Knowing that such training exercises don't happen on a short notice, one would be pushed to believing that the planning was an old one.

However, such speculations do not help us to unearth the mystery when we consider the fact that during Sk. Mujib's assassination, some of the top ranking Army officers, including (later promoted) Gen. Ershad,…

LTTE's chief Prabhakaran's death


I could not agree more with Gopal Sengupta's comment - "The grievances of Tamils turned violent and acquired a separatist character only after decades of peaceful struggle failed." Is this any different than what is seen elsewhere with all such armed struggles around our world today - e.g., in places like Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Palestine, Mindanao Island (S. Philippines)? Unfortunately, in all these places, legitimate grievances and concerns of the affected groups, deemed weak, are routinely ignored, until they simmer for long enough to enflame with all their ugliness. That is how a freedom fighter in Kashmir and Palestine is viewed as a terrorist by the state authorities. Knowing their edge with killing machines, not surprisingly, the powerful state authorities have always preferred settling the scores in the battlefield, and not over round-tables. Thus, we are not surprised that the LTTE chief, the mas…

Dialogue with a Hindu Bigot is impossible

After publication of my article on India-Bangladesh’s roller coaster love-hate relationship (, I got a letter from someone named A.K. Biswas (who writes his name unpunctuated as Dr.akbiswas from Mayacorp,USA). He likes to present himself as a doctor, although through his letters published in the NFB, he has repeatedly demonstrated that his knowledge of English is skimpy at best. One wonders whether he ever graduated from high school; if he did, he probably did not deserve that degree.

Biswas is a known Hindu bigot, an extremist with foul mouth, big egos, and all hatred for the Muslim people and Islam. He blames Muslims for partition of India, and sees nothing but a scoundrel in Muslim leaders like Suhrawardy who championed for a united Bengal with Hindu leaders like Sarat Bose and Kiran Sarker Roy. Obviously, he is unaware of Suhrawardy-Bose Plan for Bengal that tried to preserve the unity of Bengal. His history starts and en…

Comments on 1975 Coups and General Moin’s Book

Ms. Ranu Chowdhury's comments only prove that he is a BNP partisan who has serious problem with General Moin's account of the history in the post-75 era that he wrote about in his recent book. Truly, R. Chowdhury's is an insulting piece (and not an analysis) and adds little value to our understanding of the events in 1975 or around 1/11. While the writer questions every piece of information that is put forth by the young officer - then a Second Lt. - Moin, she fails to tell us why we should believe her side of the truth and not Moin's. Who was she then, how did she know what truly happened back then? Did she have first-hand info, or second or third-hand info? From whom? How reliable is such info?

I see many such BNP-diehards these days that are upset with Gen. Moin and ex-President Iajuddin simply because they failed them to satisfy their evil desires in the post-1/11 era. Mind that it was the BNP that had put them in those high positions – deservedly or undeservedly.…

Politicians - they aren't like you and I

What’s your opinion about politicians? I personally don’t entertain good opinion about them. Why? Well, I have a null hypothesis about them: politicians are liars. They have to prove me wrong before I accept an alternative hypothesis. As far as I am concerned, they are not trustworthy. Before the election they would promise all the things you care about, but as soon as they are elected it seems that they suffer from selective amnesia. They forget all those promises. When you remind them of any particular promise, they say that either it is no longer in their priority list any more or that they are now better informed why not to fulfill it. You wonder how something could have changed so fast! Were you late in getting to the politician before the lobbyist from the opposing side approached him or her?

Politicians, to me, are more like pleaders, pimps and prostitutes. They are unethical (with rare exceptions of some honest lawyers). They have a price-tag with which they can be bought and…

Some comments on the Crusades

Thanks to Mr. Rahman for sharing his highly informative article on the Crusade. As we all know, the Christian Crusade against Islam and the Muslim world never really stopped, not even when our problem first surfaced around the early 20th century with the betrayal of the Arabs against the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and the Freemasonic coup detat by the Kemalist Young Turks. That is why, when Gen. Allenby landed in Syria after the conquest of the territory, he was heard saying in front ot the grave of Sultan Salahuddin Ayyubi (R) that the Crusaders were back, and that "Today the Crusade has ended." Soon the Muslim crescent - the vast territories in what is called the Middle-East -- would be divided into a few kingdoms and sheikhdoms, Turkey itself sized to the barest minimum, and the cancerous state of Israel created displacing some 722,000 inhabitants.

In the last 60 plus years, the Muslim world has seen nothing but a repetition of that Crusading mindset from Christian dominated…

President Obama Caves in to Pressure

I am disappointed to see President Obama cave into Republican pressure not to share photos of detainees and prisoners that received harsh treatments from the Bush Administration. He reasoned that the release of such photos may actually foment anti-Americanism and make it more difficult for American troops to weed out terrorism in Afghanistan.

The sad reality is his latest decision would only solidify people's worst thoughts about such torture and abusive practices of our troops and lose the support he needs - both externally and internally - to change the failed course in this country. His decision is simply deplorable and short-sighted.

Dr. Dipu Moni's upcoming trip to Burma


It is so good to see an article in the NFB by Dr. Shwe Lu Maung - whose forefathers ruled Arakan 354 years (1430-1784 CE). As a curious historian of his people, he has been able to go to the roots of the fascist ideology that now rules Burma - Myanmarism. Through his must-read books he has tremendously contributed to our understanding of the history of Arakan - the Rakhaing state of Burma. Anyone desirous of learning about the problematic history of tension between the two groups - Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhaine - would find his two books as gold mines of information.

I wish this article or a shorter version of Dr. Maung had appeared in some English Daily to prepare Dr. Dipu Moni before she embarks her trip to Burma.

The military regime that has ruled Burma for the last several decades can best be described as ruthless murderers who exploit race and religion to prolong their rule inside the country. They are racists and…

Bangladesh re-elected to the UN-HRC

It is really a great victory for Bangladesh to be re-elected to the prestigious UN-HRC body. From the vote counts, it seems that it even surpassed our wishful dreams, garnering some 171 votes, next only to Belgium and Norway, and even surpassing the USA. Kudos for such an outcome in secret balloting.

Bangladesh as a council member to the UN-HRC can play a very important role in easing suffering of many displaced people around the world - from the Rohingyas of Burma to the Darfur refugees, let alone the displaced Palestinians. Let's hope that over the next four years our world would be a better place to share than the past decades have shown.

India-Bangladesh Relationship - thoughts on strategic cooperation and not servitude

Mr. Shah M. Saifuddin has raised some issues around Bangladesh's emergence as a new nation-state and her problematic relationship with the big neighbor India and what strategic options, if any, our nation may still flex. Because of the importance of the issues raised, I think this article deserves closer scrutiny from our readers.

I have been away from Bangladesh too long to be able to contribute satisfactorily in this debate. Nonetheless, let me make some honest observations:

1. In the post-liberation era, I don’t recall hearing about the so-called 7-point agreement that the exiled Tajuddin Government signed with the Indian government. If I am not mistaken, that treaty did not have any relevance after Bangladesh got its independence, and especially so, after Sk. Mujib took the mantle of leadership upon his return. So, while one may argue what might have been the intention of Indian government back in 1971, they don’t and should not be treated as a serious matter.
2. Can we truly b…

Christian Extremists Within the U.S. Military - Myth or Reality?

When President George W. Bush called his war on terrorism a “crusade,” very few Muslims doubted his evil intention. In the face of strong condemnation at home and abroad, he quickly backtracked his comment. But that apology was not sufficient to allay Muslim-fear or suspicion, which within days of invasion of Afghanistan was bolstered by offensive graffiti written on dropped bombs and missiles. In the name of providing food to starving Afghans, American forces dropped canned ham, which is haram for Muslim consumption. Then came the Iraqi invasion with its willful orgy of massacre, destruction and detention -- displaying once again American Armed Forces’ colossal religious intolerance, which led to the creation of extremists like Zarqawi. If such activities were not enough in adding salt to the injury, Bush Administration’s tacit approval of the iniquitous activities of some evangelizing Christian groups who wanted to proselytize Muslims left few doubting about the new Crusade against…