Showing posts from January, 2010

Did Obama Sound Hypocrtical When Asked About Human Rights Violations in Israel?

Remember all the high expectations about US President Barack Obama's promise to deliver peace and even-handedness in matters dealing with the Muslim world vis-a-vis Israel? In recent months he has forgotten such promises, as is obvious from his government's opposition to the UN fact finding mission on Gaza, and the ensuing Goldstone Report. It is clear that he has caved into pressure from Israel-firsters both within his administration and the "Amen Corner" in the Capitol Hill.

Soon after his State of the Union speech, Obama has been traveling to sell his new ideas of putting America back on the right track for economic recovery. He visited Florida. There at a gathering of university students on Thursday, Laila Abdel-Aziz, a university student, who added that she worked on Obama's campaign last year, asked him, "Last night in your State of the Union address, you spoke of America's support for human rights. Then why have we not condemned Israel and Egypt&…

American people's historian - Howard Zinn: an obituary

Dr. Howard Zinn, historian, teacher and political activist, died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 87. He was an early opponent of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. To him, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable.” He also didn’t buy Bush-Cheney’s justifications to go to wars in the Muslim world. In the January 2006 issue of the Progressive magazine, he wrote, “Terrorism became the justification for war, but war is itself terrorism, breeding rage and hate, as we are seeing now.”

In the aftermath of 9/11, when the War Party was busy conniving and selling the toxic tablets of war, Dr. Zinn didn’t find anything “just” about invading Afghanistan. In a December 2001 essay he wrote, “How can a war be truly just when it involves the daily killing of civilians, when it causes hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children to leave their homes to escape the bombs, when it may not find those who planned the Septe…

Was the attempt by the Nigerian student a false flag operation?

Today my attention was brought to the above links which mention about possible link of some intelligent sources in the failed bombing attempt on the NW Airlines airplane on the Christmas day.

Lately, we have seen the TV appearance of someone claiming to be OBL taking, as usual, credit for the failed attempt. Many doubters consider such appearances as very convenient tools employed by the CIA to make a case for existence of terrorism. (See, e.g., They don't believe that the picture is that of the real OBL either. Interestingly, such OBL tapes mysteriously always appear to boost the …

Who makes up terrorists? My billion-dollar theory!

Since the failed attempt by a young Nigerian to blow-up an airplane in Detroit, I have been trying to get an understanding of what is common on such terrorists and would-be-terrorists? We know about what motivates them to get into the field (my book on Terrorism, available at has provided ample of analysis and evidences on that subject), but rarely did we study about the particular background they come from. As noted by Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria these guys are not necessarily from poor families, which usually is the case or at least was believed to be so by many experts. We also noticed that terrorism even uses mentally handicapped people as its time bombers who would explode themselves or be remotely exploded by an agent.

As I have maintained all along suicide of any kind is haram in Islam. It is also the opinion of all scholars in Islam. Well, there are some recent exceptions though on this consensus of our ulama from some people who try to portray themselves as expe…

Loss in Massachusetts: Ominous Sign for Obama?

In politics things are never as good as they seem and they are never as bad as they seem. Who would have thought that just a year after President Obama’s swearing in the National Mall, Washington D.C., a Republican who is an anti-thesis of almost everything that the late Senator Ted Kennedy stood for will win the vacated senatorial seat in the state of Massachusetts? But that’s what has happened on January 19 when Scott Brown, a Republican state senator for only five years, shocked and humiliated the White House and the Democratic Party establishment by defeating Martha Coakley in the race for the U.S. Senate seat.

It is really a shocking result considering the fact that states do not come more Democratic than Massachusetts, the only one that voted for George McGovern over President Richard Nixon in 1972. In this state, Mr. Obama won in 2008 with 62 percent of the vote. Now that very blue state has challenged the legacy of Edward M. Kennedy, a liberal icon who had held the contested s…

Land-grabbing Menace – Will this horrendous crime be ever stopped in Bangladesh?

The Borgyis (Marathas) attack us no more
Nor are there the Zamindars.
Yet, why is there so much wretchedness
In this land of ours?

Last night my sleep was broken by a distressful call from my brother-in-law. He said that he had been told by the police authorities in Chittagong that they’re under tremendous pressure from the Home Minister Sahara Khatun to withdraw deployment of the Ansar from our Khulshi properties. Some background information is necessary here to understand the gravity of the issue.

My father (a Calcutta University graduate, retired businessman and philanthropist) and mother (a retired college professor and writer) own nearly 3.8 acre land in Khulshi, next to the Ispahani Properties, in Chittagong, since the 1950s when the property values were cheap and affordable. We had 11 small houses, lived by our employees and tenants -- who were mostly school and college teachers, plus a six storied house “Aranika” where my family members and some tenants lived.

In April 2005, during …

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Sk. Hasina: Please, stop land-grabbing crime

Dear Prime Minister,
Assalamu alaykum. Land-grabbing crime has become so widespread in Bangladesh that it has become a matter of major concern to most expatriates living outside. We find our parents and family members vulnerable to the criminal schemes of organized crime syndicates that almost always have political connections. With the emergence of your regime, we hoped things would change for the better, but alas, land-grabbing has now become a common feature in Bangladesh. What is more alarming is your ministers are now involved with such crimes. For this, I don’t have to cite any example outside the one I know so well, which concerns my own family properties in Khulshi, Chittagong.

Back in April of 2005, our family property in Khulshi, opposite to Government Woman’s College, was attacked by some 200 goons that were led by a convicted criminal, an ex-madrasa employee and leader of a very organized crime syndicate -- Jaker Hosain Chowdhury (son of late Kala Mia) of Chandanpura, Chitta…

Corporate America Still Doesn’t Get It

Let’s admit it. We saw it coming. I am talking about the recent financial crisis that hit us, which can only be described as an economic Tsunami. It is the worst economic debacle since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The U.S. economy is still wrestling with its effects. One tenth of the work force remains unemployed. Trillions of dollars of potential income have been lost; the lives of millions have been damaged, in some cases irreversibly, by mass unemployment. Millions more have seen their retirement savings wiped out. Perhaps millions of people will lose essential health care because of the combination of job losses and draconian cutbacks by cash-starved state governments. And as noted in the New York Times by Dr. Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate in economics, this disaster was entirely self-inflicted. This Tsunami was not brought about by nature or a spike in international oil price, but by dysfunctional nature of our own financial system.

These banking institutions were giving out…

Comments on recently concluded treaties and MOUs between Bangladesh and India


Thanks to both Kh. Abdus Saleque Sufi and Sushanta Das Gupta for summarizing in the e-Bangladesh Prime Minister Sk. Hasina'a recently concluded trip to India. Their write-up apparently provides a complete picture of what truly happened between the leaders of two neighbors who had their shares of ups and downs in relationships. The trip was a keenly observed event for many - those who wanted to see a positive outcome thus cementing years of mistrust and also those who wanted nothing more than a failure to emerge so that such could be made an issue towards unseating the government.

As I stated in my last article - on a mock memo to PM Manmohan Singh, if I were the PM of Bangladesh, there are many thorny issues that really need more than a simple wound-dressing. Water-share from the common rivers remains the most troublesome issue. I am reminded by newspaper reports that India h…

Does Race Still Matter?

It is said that before Prophet Moses (Musa alayhis salam – peace be upon him) could settle his people to the Promised Land, the children of Israel lived in the deserts of Arabia for decades. It was like a transition period for the former slaves of Egypt. There they learned how to live as a free nation away from the corrupting influence of Pharaoh’s Egypt. Any change agent would tell you about the wisdom of a transition phase that allows people to adjust accordingly and change their paradigm. Anything done too fast with little preparation and education of the very people who must live through a change is often doomed to failure.

So with President Obama’s election in 2008, I see a validation of that change theory. He is a mixed breed – son of a Black African father and a white American mother. He is not a pure-bred white or black. Thus, it is no accident that he appears somewhat lighter skinned than many Afro-Americans living in the USA. Being brought up by a highly educated mother and …

Comments to Paul E Marek’s piece: “Why the peaceful majority is irrelevant”

My attention was drawn into a piece in the Internet by Paul E. Marek who is a second-generation Canadian, whose grandparents fled Czechoslovakia just prior to the Nazi takeover. In that 2006 piece (an old article), only recently much circulated, he said that the fanatics are on the march and they are essentially controlling the world affairs. He said, "Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun." [Ref:]

Here below is what I wrote in response to the piece:
I believe that the original author has a somewhat too simplistic and distorted image of our world, esp. the Muslim world. Facts are more complicated.

In his view, it is the silent majority that are to be blamed for the rise of the extremists. It is a historical fact that only a small num…

Blackwater’s Trigger-happy Criminals

Blackwater, which now goes by the name Xe, is again all over the news. Two of its guys were among those killed on December 30 in the suicide attack at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan. According to Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute, of the two Blackwater operatives killed at this bombing—one was a former Navy Seal; the other was an Army master chief sergeant—and that there was a third Blackwater operative that was wounded in the blast.

This report proves that the notorious mercenary group is still heavily engaged with the CIA for many clandestine activities not just inside Iraq but also in other territories including Afghanistan. What is also quite revealing from this incident is that CIA had lied to us again when it said that it had stopped all connections with Blackwater or Xe a month earlier. As recentl…

Response to violence in Palestine and Pakistan

[Shortly after publication of my article on what to expect in 2010, a reader has sent comments to the New Age, where my article appeared. Here below is my response to his comments.]

In the letter below, Mr. Elahi seems to misunderstand my views about Palestine. In my New Age article I mentioned that in the Muslim world President Obama will be weighed on the basis of his success or failure to deliver peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Palestinian issue has remained the burning issue in the Muslim psychic. That is the Muslim reality today from Bosnia to Bangladesh, Turkey to Tanzania, and Indonesia to Morocco. As I hinted, President Obama seems handicapped to deliver what he promised to the world. It would be insane to deny the Israel Factor for such failures to deliver. The Obama plan for the troubled region was not torpedoed by either Hamas or Mahmoud Abbas but by Netanyahu who continues to build new settlements, blockades Gaza and confiscates Palestinian land. And the Obama a…

Prime Minister Sk. Hasina’s Upcoming Visit to India – A Mock Memo

Prime Minister Sk. Hasina Wazed is scheduled to leave for New Delhi within the next few days. If I were in her shoes, here below is what I would have said to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India during our official face-to-face meeting.

Dear Mr. Singh, thanks for the opportunity you have provided to discuss the bilateral relationship between our two neighboring countries. As you know, this relationship between our two countries is shaped not only by geography, history, culture and economics but also by geopolitics. We, in Bangladesh, are mindful of India’s timely assistance during our nine-month long liberation war that witnessed genocide of our people and exodus of millions of refugees into India. We also remember the sacrifice of many Indian soldiers that gave their lives so that we could be free and independent. On behalf of 160 million Bangladeshis, let me take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Indian government and its people for all that they did, endured and…