Showing posts from October, 2013

Will Dick Cheney visit Canada?

A lawyer's group in Canada wants former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrested for war crimes. You can read the news by clicking here.

Lawyers Against the War argued in a letter dated Sunday that Toronto Police Chief William Blair and Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen have a duty to arrest Cheney "as a person suspected on reasonable grounds of authorizing, counseling, aiding, abetting and failing to prevent torture.” “Once Richard (Dick) Cheney enters Canada … Canada must ensure that Dick Cheney is either investigated and prosecuted for the indictable offence of torture in Canada or extradited to another country willing and able to do so," Lawyers Against the War's Gail Davidson wrote. Cheney has said he was"a big supporter" of waterboardingand other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects during his vice presidency. He and former President George W. Bush, along with other top Bush administration officials, wereconvict…

Thoughts on Bangladesh - 3

A Bengali writer once famously wrote – Raate mosha, deene maachi, ei niye Kolkatay aachi (meaning: With mosquitoes at night and flies at daytimes, I reside in Kolkata). Kolkata, of course, these days in the post-partition of India period, is no longer part of Bangladesh, but is the capital city of nearby West Bengal state of India, where Bengali is the lingua franca. I don’t know how bad is the mosquito and fly problem today in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal, but the above verse aptly applies today for any city of Bangladesh. It is really a sad commentary for a country that had seen better days since 1947 and 1971. When (late) Mohammad Hanif was the Mayor of Dhaka, his city corporation had a very aggressive program to fight against the mosquitoes. And now although too few people die of malaria and dengue fevers, thanks to the effective drugs to treat those life threatening diseases, mosquito-bites can be felt during both daytimes and nighttimes. It is impossible to not feel t…

Link on the Sundarbans

Here is a link to an article on the Sundarbans, which was forwarded to me by Prof. Abid Bahar. It has some useful information on the Portuguese and Magh piracy in the lower Bengal during the Mughal period. This article is written in Bengali and can be read by clicking here.

Thoughts on Bangladesh - 2

It is impossible for Bangladesh to move up in the economic ladder without meeting its energy needs. In recent decades, with stronger economy demand for higher standard of living has become a norm, which is dependent on energy. A personal example may shed some light here.
Nearly 30 years ago, when my father built our six-story home in Khulshi, Chittagong, it was the tallest building in the locality. It did not have any elevator though, which was rather the norm then. Nowadays, most residential buildings have elevators and are at least eight-story high. Very few residents have 1-unit homes. As a result, our house is now surpassed by many high-rises in our neighborhood once again reflecting the economic progress that the country has made in the post-liberation period. In olden days, people were satisfied with fans to cool off, but now they need air-condition units, which consume more electricity. Many of the apartment or flat dwellers use washing and drying machines to wash and dry thei…

Thoughts on Bangladesh - 1

For the last few weeks I am in Bangladesh. This week Muslims are going to celebrate the Eid-ul-Adha commemorating the sacrifice that Prophet Abraham [Ibrahim (AS)] vowed to God the Almighty. The Hindu community is also celebrating their Durga Puja in Bangladesh – the largest festival for the Bengali Hindus.
The entire country is now in celebrative mood with many offices closed for the extended holidays. As usual, the shopping centers are full with customers. A visit to any of the shopping centers is sufficient to show that this once poverty-stricken country is no longer poor and people have lots of money to spend. Although the price of most food items is as expensive (sometimes more) as in the USA, no one starves to death. The purchasing power of ordinary folks here has multiplied several folds in the last couple of decades. Outside the mosques, temples and Buddhist monasteries hardly one can see beggars.
The city streets are abuzz with rickshaws, baby taxis, cars, buses and trucks…

U.S. Congressional Hearing on Burma

The House Foreign Affairs/Asia Sub-committee of the U.S. Congress held a hearing on September 19 to examine the current political environment inside Burma (Myanmar), the growing human right abuses among its ethnic groups, and assess U.S. policy towards the country. Amongst other dignitaries Professor Wakar Uddin of the Arakan Rohingya Union, Tom Andrews of End Genocide and Jennifer Quigley of the U.S. Campaign for Burma were invited as guests to answer a series of questions on the above subject. Hearings of this kind suggest that the U.S. Congress is mindful of Myanmar and is interested to better the situation for all inside the country. I welcome such an initiative wholeheartedly. Here below would have been my responses on a series of questions posed by the sub-committee. Q1.  To what extent the political situation in Burma has changed over the last two years? How has this impacted the people of Burma? Answer: In my opinion, the changes that have happened in the state of Myanmar in the…