Dr. Ahmed's revelation |
Air Cdre Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury (Retd) Baridhara, Dhaka
I enjoy reading Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed's column "Letter from America." Dr. Ahmed never forgets to mention that he is from Princeton; the idea is probably to impress the readers with his Ivy League connection. Dr. Ahmed is a person of all seasons and a storehouse of all knowledge. Sometimes he lectures on the racial discrimination and Islamophobia that is gripping the United States, his opted homeland. Sometimes he introduces us to his nephew who, notwithstanding racial discrimination and Islamophobia, became the second Rhodes Scholar of Bangladeshi origin, Dr. Ahmed being the first. When he came on holidays to Bangladesh, Dr. Ahmed wondered why the natives were complaining of high costs of living when things were so cheap and a journey by rickshaw cost only a few cents. Once he even gave some tips to Tiger Wood on how to improve his golf swing although he admits never to have hit the golf green.
On 23 September 2005, he appeared with a number of new and brilliant hypotheses. According to him, 16 Senators and Members of the House of Representative, who petitioned to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to raise Bangladesh's human rights issues in the UN, were duped into signing the petition by a group of influential Bangladeshis from Boston area. He wants us to believe that such stalwarts like Senators Edward Kennedy, John Kerry or Patrick Leahy can be duped or persuaded to sign a paper that was extremely strong and sensitive in its content. He argues that the signatories, all except one from New England states, had eyes on Bangladeshi vote bank. For this to be true, there must be thousands of voters of Bangladeshi origin in those states and they by and large support the petition. The fact is on the contrary. Outside the big metropolis of New York and LA, the Bangladeshis are too few to be counted or considered as "Vote Bank." Moreover, most Bangladeshi immigrants are too busy to be bothered about what Senator Kennedy or such bigwigs do. If these were not enough, Dr. Fakhruddin had another conjecture - some Bangladeshi immigrants, with a view to embarrassing the government of Bangladesh, might have forged the petition. He requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it verified from the US State Department.
This is not the first time Dr. Ahmed had tried to smokescreen the issues. The fact is that persons such as Senator Kennedy are a genuine and trusted friend of Bangladesh. How can one forget the very positive role played by the Senator in our War of Liberation in 1971?