Category Archives: Foreign Matters

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

Through Big Brother’s eyes

Tazreena Sajjad

Published in the Forum (August 2007)

How does Bangladesh look from the vantage-point of Washington, DC?

Bangladesh’s strategic importance in international politics has become increasingly evident. Apart from its economic and cultural contributions to the South Asian region and its geographic location (proximity to India, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan), its rising prominence can be explained by the ever-expanding dimensions of the “war on terror.” Continue reading

Potential consequences of UN stance on January 11

Asif Yousuf

Published in New Age (July 4, 2007)

The UN in general – and the UNDP in particular – emphasises transparency and accountability in governance. Indeed, these two are the pillars of democratic governance, one of the Millennium Development Goals. By setting this awful example that embodies neither, the UN and its agencies have simply lost the moral authority to advocate for democratic governance. Worse, the same dynamics which drive people to lose trust in opaque and unaccountable governments might undermine the people’s trust in UN agencies as well.

IN THE wake of the declaration of emergency, a lot has been written in the media about the conduct of Western diplomats in Dhaka and a mini-debate has taken place over the rightness or wrongness of their conduct. Continue reading

Congressman McDermott’s support for Mohiuddin

Mashuqur Rahman

Published in Daily Star (June 5, 2007)

On May 31, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued the mandate that ended convicted killer AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed’s asylum appeals and made him deportable from the United States. However, the long saga has moved from the courts to the political arena after a congressman introduced a private bill to issue Mohiuddin a green card.

The rationale presented in the bill needs discussion both in the United States and Bangladesh; and it is time to explore whether the United States government should be actively sheltering a convicted murderer. Continue reading