Bangladeshi whispers


didnt you hear? the Caretaker Government is a ruse, a nefarious Jamat e Islami plot to force Bangladesh into an Islamofascist future where our fundamental rights to screw around in the dark will not be sustained and promoted.

evidence! I dont need evidence, i can intuit everything, and besides cant you see, its blindingly obvious, its clear as crystal the Caretakers are destroying the 2 main parties.

What to you mean i cant see past my nose, and im being emotional over the incarceration and so stepping up the propaganda war on religion?


Abdur Rob Khan is no more

So i was asking after this old journo(Bangladesh Observer) i had met in Sirajganj a few years ago, and it turns out that he has passed on. Innalillahi wa inna illayhi rajiun.

I spoke at length with him once and he recounted a lot of the local history with me, from when he was involved with the AL during the war, to Ismail Huseyn Shirazi who sounds like a rare religious man of much repute, the torture and murder of nonbengalis in Sirajganj Jail and other irresponsible and inflaming actions by bengalis at the time. These were confirmed elsewhere in the town much to the distress of another old dudes son-who-was-too-young-to-have-ever-been-witness-to-the-events who was having trouble accomotading some new phenomena to his own historical model.

He was unafraid to 'complement' the official narrative with his experiences, maybe because be was old and noone would act against him, maybe also because his spine was quite firm and he felt it important to transmit the memory.

Who's Human Rights?

Certainly not those of the dead and discriminated of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad.

I guess posh Islamabadis regard the recent arrival of the less well groomed, 'rustic' and religiously convicted people in their city as a pest control issue. The numbers of city people recommending big forceful action on the news channels was really saddening. This is a city that has many mosques, but few mosque goers from a certain part of the population. Where in a post death milad that section will be socialising and exchanging business cards and another section reciting Quran, Dhikr and eating, with very few in between.

It is hard to know what really went on and picking apart sequences and escalations of events by remote through the distorting twisted prism of the media is not my favourite past time.

One question i do have is whether this was a case of 'foreign'(not my definition, Ummah is Ummah) fighters proving themselves to be a hopeless liability yet again, bringing ruin on their hosts. Here is an interesting write up by on the Late Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi. --> http://www.slate.com/id/2170251/

He was a student at the Quaid-e-Azam University(English Lit?!?), apparently the best 'secular one' in that country. This doesnt fit into the stereotype and will no doubt spell fear and trouble for islamic leaning thinkers there at the moment.

What really bites about these Muslim-on-Muslim conflicts is our inability to solve them, or learn from bitter experience that this is not in our interests and exactly what 'those who do not wish us a blossoming time' are after.

Mushy has really made even more problems for himself, his own soldiers are endangered throughout the country. Weirdly he seems like the only thing standing between the various social elements which all seem to be pulling in a different direction.

Tranformers, Robots Compromised

Saw the Transformers film a few days ago, it was silly to say the least, the teenage boy character was too annoying by far, and the human role was given too much emphasis. At times it felt more like the most puke inducing moments of the Herbie films of years gone by.

The effects were stunning though, i dont remember much of the original cartoon but as far as i do remember the best thing about the franchise were those toys that would transform(robot to car, plane or even tape recorder), not the plot or artwork. The live action was reminiscant of times engaged in imaginary battles with nappy-chums, silly piece of articulated plastic in hand and vocal FX engaged.

Philosophically i have a problem with the leader of the autobots, Optimus Prime, being a gas guzzling lorry engine thingemy. A really stupid choice of authority, graceless, dirty, dependant of oil, slow and hardly agile. The middle east referencing (the military base that was initially attacked) was to be expected from a US corporate product so I wont read too much into it, neither would it be worthwhile elaborating about the sorry excuse for 'humour' invoked.

They really could have done more with it, especially as those of us who played with said objects of questionable value are 'grown up' now.


Not in our name

As per tradition, i never seem to be at home when bombs go off in either desh or the uk.

Normally the mediatised environment immediately after an attack is publicly very demanding of Muslim Apology or Condemnation (Apology by another name i feel). As if that achieves anything concrete or otherwise.

This time the event happened, 'failed', simultaneously implicated a highly skilled group of public servants (doctors) and took place following Labour's Regime change and the well published khalafi-to-neocon conversions and confessional statements of Ed Hussain and Mr Butt.

An intriguing initiative then emerges. It's Muslim, called Muslims United and bears the slogan 'Not in our Name' ...wait for the roll call...

The 1) Conservative Muslim Forum, 2) Islamic Releif, 3) The Islamic Society of Britain and some 4) muslim medics and dentists group. So it 1) wants to get ahead, 2) is lovely, 3) middle class and 4) skilled.

cute, hope it works though not an easy task. I'm confident that these folks have some groovy moves and are going to be proactive.

Where on Earth is the BNP?

Grr... I need to interview some district presidents of political parties... and none of the BNP (Bangladesh, not British) seem to be around in any useful shape or form, they have all disappeared or are in jail or have cases pending and don't want to talk.

How dare they disrupt my sampling regime!

Not that the other parties are too fussed. I really do get annoyed by the Awami types, I'm asking them about opinions on a specific matter, and all they want to do is go on and on about themselves, what committees they are on and which countries they have been to. There is a problem of self love here i feel, i saw it in a field site where a wannabe MP named a ladies college after himself(not his mother, not his father, not his granny, not a religious nor a political figure) and several years down the line staff members (the staff student ratio is 1:3!!) wonder why the institution didn't get accreditation from the last govt.

Claiming credit for infrastructural work is not an entirely accurate affair either. Theres this set of river revetments which were actually built to prevent the Jamuna combining with the Bangali and screwing up the down stream Jamuna bridge configuration(billion dollar investment). This doesn't however stop the Bogra -> BNP -> spatial favoritism (or local service) commonsense that is spun around these structures.

Anyway, taste aside there is one constant that I'm finding, they are all flabbergasted by the presence of alcohol and drugs in the society today.

There is a big difference between the Awami League sensibility of the banani-gulshan group and the rest of the country. Indulge my caricature for a few moments. The former considers itself liberal, prints 'relationship advice' in its publications, writes of alcohol consumption as an individual choice and regards moral objections as bigoted. The latter loves their Bongobondhu, has a values set that is similar to the norm and isn't really all that aware of how silly the secular position is from the point of view of religion, they are also well aware of the atheism lurking behind some of their comrades secularism and very aware(too much?!?) of the hypocrisies present historically and presently in the more.. religious version of the nationalism

For example, and i'm interpolating here, the latter group 'got' the point behind the MoU with one of the splinters of Bangladesh Khilafat Majlish. Whilst the former, who are aligned to a harder core seculo-banglavision became vexed. The latter 'get' the point about Nobel Winner Dr Yunus being an 'interest-eater', but the former, who are further away from rural realities and enchanted by development speak. The latter hold a big grudge against the Americans for spoiling bongobondhus BAKSALite plan for self sufficient economic revival (which i'm very interested in exploring the theory and perception of), the former are for all intents and purposes American. The latter sit on maddrassa committees and try to improve them, whilst the former promote the secularisation of the education process.

So theres cooperation between to groups of the society that have very different views and experiences of the world. One copies down ideas and constructs the foreign cover, the other provides the grass roots and the numerical legitimacy, and The Loving Memory of Bongobondhu is the glue.

Its the morally decent element with foresight that i have most hopes for. Will they come to the fore in the next government or will the more boring powerplay electioneering dominate?