Most dailies expressed their views and opinions about the coup that failed or crashed at take off. One daily on February 4 printed quite logical views based on a bdnews24 report which was a fair analysis of the stillborn, premature coup.
One important observation by the writer about the destructive potential of the Hisbut Tahrir’s (HT) cadre is worth of noting. This cadre’s members are committed and principled who contact or utilise frustrated people [a dangerous combination] not finding any useful or worthwhile employment. They are not the usual political ‘chanda-baj’ who become political activists basically looking for making an easy buck. The reaction of our two major political parties to the aborted coup has followed their usual sound track.
Awami League is always leg-pulling, and is always negative. AL sees BNP here, there and everywhere—-possibly even in the fourth dimension! In contrast BNP does not bother to hit the ‘glass wall’!
Given these contradictions and confusion; the committed HT personnel are merrily making “hay while the sun shines”. Is the country going towards ‘gloom and doom’?
JFK airport TSA staff steals Bangladeshi’s $5000
According to New York police, on 3 February a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent stole $5,000 in cash from a Bangladeshi passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the latest in a string of thefts that has embarrassed the agency. A security agent was arrested after footage showed her taking an envelope full of $5,000 cash out of a bag and pocketing it.
TSA agent Alexandra Schmid took the cash from the jacket, as it went along an X-ray conveyor said Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave. The video showed Ms Schmid wrapping the money in a plastic glove and taking it to a bathroom. ‘‘In viewing the surveillance video, we observed her removing the currency from the victim’s jacket pocket,” Mr Della Fave said. Police are investigating whether Ms Schmid gave it to another person in the bathroom.
Two other former TSA agents at JFK were sentenced on Jan. 10 to six months in jail and five years’ probation for stealing $40,000 from a piece of luggage in January 2011. The agents, Coumar Persad and Davon Webb, had pleaded guilty to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct.
The front page news item, was published by an English daily on February 4th; which described the whole matter. These days, such crimes are increasing in many airports. In this case, $5000 was removed from the pocket of a passenger’s jacket put on the scanner. The thief was easily identified and caught; because the scanner recorded her when she was removing the currency notes from the jacket pocket.
On this matter; I remember how it was being done in Germany some years ago; while boarding a flight there. We were handed over blank envelopes, to put our cash, loose change, keys etc, and seal the glued cover. We were asked to put our name on it so that there is no chance of it being exchanged for another’s envelope.
I feel this simple precaution will discourage the security personnel from removing things from passengers top garments; like coats and overcoats which are passed through the scanner.
I am a senior citizen of this country of volatile politics and have witnessed the Independence of 1947 and Liberation of 1971. My letter is mainly addressed to Sudipta Debnath and Smita Amrita Debnath, brother and sister, in reference to their letter printed on the 3rd Feb. First I would like to compliment them for their good English and also share their anguish and frustration. The patriotic young people like them are our hope for the future.
In Bangladesh we are mainly Bengalees whether Hindu,Muslim,Christian or Budhist; but there are other ethnic groups like Chakma, Garo Marma etc and they are welcomed into our bigger family of Bangladeshis.
The whole subject of cultural aggression was brought forth by an ex-deplomat Mr Serajul Islam. There are some truth in his observations and perhaps some exaggeration too. In Bangladesh we are the main custodian of Bengali culture and heritage and we do not have to play the second fiddle in relaton to Kolkata-based intellectuals and artists. Being largely Muslim, our culture would always have Islamic influence and would not condone anything against Islamic values.
Kabi Guru Rabindranath is our great poet, phiosopher, short story and lyricist. But some people, in sheer adulation, overdo it almost to the point of worshipping. It is unfortunately true that he had no social contact with the Muslims which he himself admitted.
The giant Bengali writers of British period never had any Muslim character in their novels except as a lowly cultivator, a cook or a criminal. Perhaps the Muslims were so backward that a Babu would not treat him as equal. All these had left a trace of bitterness among older generations. But the fond memory of our childhood is still the Hindu Pujas and related festivities and we knew about all Sashtras including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Finally, my earnest request to the young writers: Sudipta and Smita, please do not despair as time will heal most of the wounds. Only thing is that you join the mainstream in cultural and political life and do not allow yourself to be made into a ‘vote bank’ of any political party.
At least five people were killed and scores injured in outbreaks of violence as BNP-Jamaat activists clashed with police in Chandpur, Luxmipur and other parts of the country on 29 January 2012, although the opposition agitation in the capital for the day was forestalled by prohibition.
Over 400 leaders and activists of the BNP-led four-party alliance suffered injuries during the street rioting, in one of the worst serial political troubles in recent times. Of them, many reportedly received bullet wounds. Of the injured, 370 were admitted to different hospitals and clinics across the country. Police arrested around 1234 opposition activists, newspapers reported.
Earlier on 9 January BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from a rally in Chittagong had announced mass procession across the country, including metropolitan cities, for January 29 to press for restoration of the system of pre-poll non-party caretaker government.
Democracy in Bangladesh, as a political institution, is most probably the lowest of the low. Maybe there are some worse cases in the newly formed states in Africa of which this writer is not aware of. In Bangladesh; democracy starts and ends with the national election. Once general elections are over, the political party coming to power as well as the opposition party both behave atrociously and in the most undemocratic manner.
Just imagine what the Member of Parliament of the ruling Awami League did at Rangpur Medical College a few days ago. Meanwhile, the main Opposition BNP is busy with agitation programmes across the country as per the Constitutional provision of the Republic. Shops and establishments remain shut on hartal days leading to conflict. Given the circumstances, Awami League can stand for “all-out lawlessness”; daily being demonstrated by its ‘student wings’. On the other side, BNP is holding disciplined road marches.
Peace is something foreign to these two political parties having innumerable ‘activists’; the polite political nomenclature for the rabble and troublemakers at large. One wonders; if ever good sense and maturity in politics will prevail; without stick and stone, setting the tone. To sum up, our brand of politics is a forum for unarmed combat regularly fought over by two gangs of violent street louts. That is the sad reality; like it or not!
Traffic congestions are fast deteriorating in Dhaka city, and there are no different opinions on this subject. Recently some other passengers and I could not help, but overhear a conversation between Sir Frank Peters and a prominent local businessman as we shared an elevator ride at the Radisson Hotel.
The businessman had been complaining about the traffic congestion that had made him late. In response Sir Frank looked at him, smiled, and said: “I don’t know why you are complaining. Look on the bright side. Bangladeshis are notorious for being late for most events. Now the traffic jams have given you a legitimate excuse!”
Everyone laughed and were smiling as they left the elevator.
Zaheen Khan, Banani.