Showing posts from July, 2009

Comments on BBC News: Corruption still haunts Bangladesh


None of these reports in the BBC or elsewhere should surprise anyone. Just look at the corruption perception index between 2004 and 2007 to understand what direction Bangladesh was heading.

2008: Ranked 147 out of 180
2007: Ranked 167 out of 179
2006: Ranked 156 out of 163
2005: Ranked 158 out of 158
2004: Ranked 145 out of 145

Does government have a role in this trend? Sure. Is it the only party to the vice? No. What we have is a vicious cycle in which corruption begets corruption and creates a society where you are either a giver or taker of bribe. Corruption has lost its color and badge in our society where being a sycophant is a sure way to become successful in this duniya, esp. for the mediocre and less bright ones.

This past week a marketing company that is interested about importing chemicals from the USA and Canada to Bangladesh contacted an expatriate. It was for a big supply requiring quite a bit of knowledge and correspondence w…

Aye Chan's seminar at SOAS, UK

My attention has been drawn to Aye Chan's seminar at the SOAS, UK: "Rohingya” from a Political Rhetoric to a Southeast Asian Branch of International Islamic Militancy.
A quick look at the topic is enough to show that as a xenophobic, racist and an intellectual fraud, Aye Chan is trying to tie up Bush's failed "Global War on Terror" with the Rohingya people's legitimate call for equality in Burma. By portraying the Rohingyas, who are peace-loving/craving Muslims, as terrorists, what he is doing is absolutely unbecoming of an honest intellectual. He is neither striving for analysis that are based on facts and figures nor is he promoting fairness in judgment. He is, instead, promoting narrow chauvinism and making a living out of mis-characterizing a persecuted minority. It is obvious that Aye Chan is unwilling to forgo his despicable past record of racism and bigotry. In the past through his poisonous writings, he has called the Rohingya "enclaves" in…

Comments on Aye Chan's seminar, hosted by the BDMA, UK

The Burmese Democratic Movement Association, UK cannot behave like an entity that is supporting the hated SPDC regime through its hosting meetings and seminars that promote division, exclusion and xenophobia. It is simply unacceptable of any organization that pretends to be a democratic movement and yet airs views of a Rakhine racist who does not want inclusion of the minority Rohingyas of Burma, who falsely depicts them as foreigners who had infiltrated the country from Bangladesh. Rohingyas are not intruders but are the indigenous people who lived in the Arakan since before the Mongoloids from Tibet - the forefathers of today's Rakhaing - migrated into the territory. It is sad to see that Aye Chan's sickening mentality, and foggy, highly flawed and biased research from a third rate university has not allowed him to correct his deplorable chauvinism and make him a force in uniting the democratic movement that is struggling to find common grounds for unity and cooperation that…

Lies Can’t Sanctify the Apartheid State

Journalists, authors and media experts play an important role in shaping public opinion. It is no-brainer that like so many governments around the globe that Israel would use her cronies to create a positive image about the rogue state that is guilty of practicing one of the worst forms of apartheid system our generation has ever seen. And nothing could be better if such sycophants can be found from within the victims.

Let’s take the example of Khaled Abu Toameh (KAT), an Israeli Arab who writes for the Jerusalem Post. He is often touted as a ‘real’ journalist with a ‘unique’ voice of ‘straightforward’ reporting from the West Bank and Gaza. He proposes that Israel should simply wait until the Palestinians stop killing each other and create a credible political entity that can make a deal. He also says, “Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country. If I were given the choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second class citize…

Book Review: Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East by Martin Indyk, Simon & Schuster, New York (2009)

Books written by diplomats are usually very helpful to understand views of the governments that they represented. Martin Indyk’s book is an attempt to provide such an account of his diplomatic mission in the Middle East where he was the U.S. Ambassador to Israel from April 1995 to September 1997 and from January 2000 to July 2001, coinciding with the Clinton and (first six months of the) Bush administrations. Before that he was Clinton’s Middle East adviser on the National Security Council (NSC) and an Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs in the State Department. Prior to his Federal government appointment, as an ardent Zionist, Indyk visited Israel a few times, including being a volunteer in a kibbutz during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. In 1978 he served as Australia's deputy director of current intelligence for the Middle East for ten months. In 1982, after coming to the USA, he became the deputy research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro…

Khaled Abu Toameh’s Journalism Tries to Buy Legitimacy for the Apartheid State

These days Khaled Abu Toameh (KAT), an Israeli Arab journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post, is often touted as a ‘real’ journalist with a ‘unique’ voice of ‘straightforward’ reporting from the West Bank and Gaza. Soon after publication of my article “Israel – the Apartheid State”, a reader who has been following KAT’s version of reporting from the Occupied Territories wrote to me stating that before criticizing Israel for apartheid policies, I should urge Palestinians to stop murdering fellow Palestinians. He continued, “Abu Toameh thinks Israel should simply wait until the Palestinians stop killing each other and create a credible political entity that can make a deal. If the Palestinians cannot live in peace with each other, it will be futile to think that a Palestinian state and a Jewish state can live peacefully side by side.” I am sorry to say that such are jaundiced views of the reality within the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

I am aware of the fact that for his pro-I…

Letter to President Obama to convict Dick Cheney

I was simply horrified to learn that the former vice president Dick Cheney himself ordered the CIA to keep his personal international assassination a secret from the Congress. For the sake of our nation and its rich tradition, it is urgent to get to the bottom of the rogue government operating inside the White House, and to hold those criminals at the highest level fully accountable under the law.

I am calling out for justice and add my voice to Senator Feingold and others to demand real accountability. Please, convict Dick Cheney and his entourage responsible for such a rogue operation within the White House.

Are there lessons to be drawn from the Farakka Barrage?

Subsequent to publication of my three articles on the Tipaimukh and a presentation at the FOBANA conference in Houston, TX, questions have been raised on a number of issues relating to the proposed project in India. Here below I share two such questions from the Tehelka ( principal correspondent (NE India) Teresa Rehman:

A. Do you think Bangladesh needs to draw lessons from the Farraka Barrage? How and why?
B. What is your stand on the dam -- should it be scrapped altogether or some compromise formula can be worked out?

My answers are: A. Bangladesh has already drawn lessons from the Farakka Barrage which has proven to be a real disaster in every sense of the term. Recently, a friend of mine Dr. M. Aminul Karim, who visited the dam affected rivers in northern Bangladesh had this to say about the Teesta river: "We had to physically push the boat like you push a bullock cart." That says a lot about what these Indian dams are doing to Bangladesh!

My article…

Robert McNamara – the man and his legacy - the Vietnam War

When Robert Strange McNamara died in his home on July 6 very few people noticed. He was 93. He joined a diverse band of celebrities who died within two weeks of his death. It included Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, Steve McNair, and most notably Michael Jackson – the emperor of pop music.
Ed was famous for his work on television for the NBC late night show - The Tonight Show. From 1962-1992, he was Johnny Carson’s announcer and sidekick.
Farrah was the Hollywood actress famous, not so much for her acting as for her sexy appeal, as private investigator Jill Munroe in the Charlie’s Angels. With a record of more than 12 million copies of her iconic 1976 pin-up poster sold, first published in Life magazine in 1976, she was an international sex symbol in the 1970s and 1980s.
Billy Mays was a bearded advertisement sales guy who could hardly be missed by anyone watching American television for his loud, high-pitch voices. He promoted sales of cleaning, home-based, and maintenance …

Israel - the Apartheid State

Is Israel an apartheid state? Comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israel have often been made, but not always clearly explained. Before we delve into the subject, let us try to understand what the term apartheid really means. The word originated in South Africa and is derived from Afrikaans meaning, literally, apartness or separateness. The term originated as a political slogan coined by Dr Daniel F. Malan, leader of the South African National Party, in 1944. The policy of apartheid was included in the party platform during the successful election campaign in 1948, forging a coalition of disunited Afrikaner (White) groups and classes, and would serve as the basis for the regime’s racial program until it was repealed in 1991-92.

The purpose of apartheid was separation of the races: not only of whites from nonwhites, but also of nonwhites from each other, and, among the Africans (called Bantu in South Africa), of one group from another. Initial emphasis was on restoring the se…