Category Archives: Foreign Matters

Two Choices,Two Worlds

Mridul Chowdhury

Published in the Forum (September 2008 )

American elections have always fascinated me — somewhat analogous to the suspense and the excitement of seeing an Olympic race, with the added benefit of following it for several months and then watching the finale over a bowl of pop-corn or chanachur, depending on whether I am over there or at home.

The fact that I am not an American and cannot vote gives me more reason to take only an “academic” interest in US’s elections, with the implicit notion that it is not going to make too much of a difference as to who wins or loses — they are all beholden to the same interest groups anyway.

This time, however, my personal experience in following the race has been strikingly different — I feel that the stakes for the world may be much higher than any of us may imagine. The results of the US’s elections this year will have far-reaching consequences on peace and stability across the globe, and Bangladesh will inevitably be affected as well. Continue reading

How Will the Global Economic Slowdown Effect Bangladesh?

Published in the Forum (May 2008 )

These are difficult times for the global economy. Economic growth is weakening around the world, reflecting the fallout from the sub-prime mortgage crisis and associated financial market turbulence. A recession appears to be imminent in the United States — the question now is about its severity and length. Other developed economies are also expected to slow. As are, to a lesser extent, major emerging economies in Asia. And the slowdown is happening in a period of significant inflationary pressure, complicating the job of macroeconomic policymakers.

What has caused the slowdown? What is the global economic outlook? What is the outlook for Bangladesh? If the global slowdown is much more protracted than the current forecasts, what would be the impacts on Bangladesh? Continue reading

“I was conned”

Asif Saleh

Published in the Forum (December 2007) 

Two months ago, when I went to see Imran Khan present his case to an audience in England, my prime interest was in asking what made him support General Pervez Musharraf in the first place? I did not have to wait very long. When the Q & A started, that was the one of the first questions asked.

Khan’s reply to the question was short and apologetic: “I was conned.”

“I thought he was the messiah who had come to save us from the political corruption that ruled our country for years. But pretty soon I realised that was not the case.” Continue reading

The increasing relevance of expatriate lobbying

Published in the Daily Star (August 16, 2007)

The right to petition your own government is a fundamental principle in a democratic society. Recently, however, there have been a number of high profile cases of expatriate Bangladeshis petitioning foreign governments to influence government policy within Bangladesh.

The campaign against the detention of MK Alamgir, the campaign against the deportation from the United States of AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and a letter from a US Congressman to the ACC in support of a business tycoon are three examples of expatriate lobbying efforts that have appeared on the media’s radar. Continue reading

Let’s get political

Asif Saleh

Published in the Forum (August 2007)

It is time for the NRB community to flex its political muscle, argues the writer.

“Dear Asif Bhai, after careful consideration, I am sorry to let you know that I cannot be part of your organisation as my parents think that it is too political. My parents are not comfortable with the fact that your organisation talked about minority rights and other controversial issues. Although, I care deeply about these issues, I have to respect their decisions, and join an organisation which is not too politically controversial.” Continue reading

A cloud of silence in Bangla Town

Naeem Mohaiemen

Published in the Forum (August 2007) 

“They have always been here”- the writer’s journeys to the heart of the Bombay Bangladeshi community

Bombay. Mumbai.
Contested name, conflicted ethnography.
Some friends (Indian leftists) still hold on to the old name, a solitary act of defiance against soft Hindutva.

Bombay. “Maximum city” that leaves me craving, by comparison, the “cleaner” air of Dhaka. It was towards the end of the BJP’s horrific tenure (their shock defeat still a pipe dream for Indian progressives), and I was visiting a friend who was in Bombay writing his novel. After days of bemoaning the specter of militant Shiv Sena workers, I decided go exploring the town. Continue reading

The third pillar

Amer Ahmed

Published in the Forum (August  2007)

The article considers what steps we can take to ease the lot of the migrants who are so crucial to the economy

With the World Bank recently describing migration as the third pillar of globalisation, alongside trade and capital flows, it is no surprise that policy discussions on migration and its impacts are gaining importance in Bangladesh. From a few thousand in the 1970s, the number of Bangladeshi migrants has exploded to a gross figure of more than three million by 2002, with about $23.7 billion being sent back in remittances over that period (Kibria, 2004).

As of 2006, expatriate workers’ remittance flows were four times greater than Official Development Assistance (ODA) and eight times more than Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The importance of the migrant workers and their role in the development of Bangladesh is not lost on policy-makers Continue reading