Published in the Forum (December 2007)
Genocide denial is a phenomenon that crops up to challenge almost every accepted case of genocide. The genocide committed by the Pakistan army during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 is no exception. Because of the scale of the atrocities in 1971 against a civilian population of 70 million people, it has proved impossible for genocide deniers to claim that the atrocities did not occur. Instead, they have focused on two tactics used to deny most genocides: that the magnitude of the killings was not that great, and that the Pakistan army had no systematic policy of genocide. Continue reading
Published in the Forum (September 2007)
It was the weeks after the 1991 cyclone that ravaged coastal Bangladesh. Although international relief had just started pouring in, there was an intense demand for oral re-hydration salt (ORS) and ready-made dry food in the flood-affected areas.
This prompted the student union leaders of Chittagong Medical College to organise a mass ORS-making project. A group of students first started making ORS on a row of tables at the student union office and, within a day, the line of students willing to volunteer became so long that the project capacity had to be increased 10-fold, and oral saline packet production ran non-stop 24 hours a day.
As the news spread through the town, Continue reading
Published in the Forum (August 2007)
The writer reflects upon what he learned making the film and in attending screenings of it in several cities across the world
One boat, 42 lives; 17 dead, 25 waiting to die — they have been floating on the sea for about 10 days without food or water. One looks at another as potential “food” and wonders which part of a dead-body may be easier to swallow, while another uses his last breath to look for something sharp enough to cut up a dead-body.
This was the experience that a group of young Bangladeshis had to go through as they undertook an illegal journey in early 2005 to reach Spain. Continue reading
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
Mashuqur Rahman and Tazreena Sajjad
Published in New Age (June 2, 2007)
It was recently reported in the Bangladeshi press that a US security delegation that visited Bangladesh in March had asked President George W Bush to give Bangladesh ‘high priority’ as a strategic partner in US foreign and national security policies. Naturally, it raised some alarm bells among the concerned citizens. However, upon further investigations some interesting facts about Weldon and his interests have emerged and questions remain concerning his recent visit.
The US security delegation, it was reported, included ‘US Congressman Curt Weldon’. Weldon, however, is no longer a United States congressman. He was defeated in the November 2006 US congressional elections by the Democratic Party candidate Joe Sestak. According to press reports in the US, Weldon is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for alleged corruption. Continue reading