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     Volume 4 Issue 34 | February 18, 2005 |

   Cover Story
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Me in a Wonderland
Modern-day Neros do not play flutes when their capitals go up in flames; they adorn them with plastic flowers. The farce that was to be staged in our midst (SAARC Summit that is, if you wonder), has been called off. It is funny and equally tragic that it needed a palace-coup in the Himalayan kingdom to make our over-zealous ex-masters (Pakistan that is), who also happens to be the outgoing Chair, understand that it is not perhaps the right time for such an expensive foolery. To add a twist to this saga our poker-faced neighbour, as catty as ever, expressed its inability to join the picnic. Its grotesquely odd, for both the countries in the mess wanted to go on with the date. What is utterly ridiculous is that, even long after the disgruntled Nepalese king sacked the PM, a smiling Sher Bhadur Deuba still adds 'beauty' to Dhaka's otherwise musty landscape. The SAARC has lost its charm offensive long ago, its time to rethink our participation in such a redundant project. Readers must also agree with me that the use of fairy lights on Dhaka-streets look absurd, ghostly and vulgar.
Habibur Rahman
On email

I have been a regular reader of SWM for quite some time now. I would like to thank the entire team for coming out with such a great publication every week. Your printing has gotten much better and so have your topic choices for the cover stories. I would also like to suggest that you put more emphasis on sports news, especially cricket and football. Please consider this request. Also, please try to remain as unbiased as possible and do not take sides of either of our political parties.

A state of Murders and Mayhem…
We are shocked and dumbfounded about the killing of Shah AMS Kibria and four others in Habiganj at a rally. The same kind of grenade attack was used on an assassination attempt on the leader of the opposition Sheikh Hasina on the August 21 last year, which led to the sad demise of Ivy Rahman. Our nation's eminent personalities have been under attack for quite some time now. Foreign diplomats are expressing their deep concern and asking the government to solve the problem by digging out the truth and punishing the criminals. They also reiterated the fact that the government's reluctance and indifference in dealing with the previous incident has caused such attacks to increase escalate.
We as a nation feel extremely insecure in a state of perpetual bomb blasts, grenade attacks, assassinations, murders, rapes and riots. This is all indeed "the product of apathy" from a collective attitude of the citizens. It's not politics -- it's the politics of apathy, negation and denial. We demand that the government will make a fast and thorough probe to dig out the criminals --no crossfire solution will suffice.
Rafiqul Islam Rime
Agrabad, Chittagong

Good Reflective Writing
'The Product of Apathy' by Srabonti Narmeen Ali is probably the best article published under the 'Impressions' section of the SWM in recent times. People are not at all trying to take any stand against the occurrences taking place of late. I feel that it is rather pointless to wait for the government to do anything to try to improve the situation. Previous track records of both the ruling and the opposition parties show that they are not genuinely willing to do much. However, the blame should not fall entirely on the government. People should take united steps to ensure that these things happen less in our country in the future. I guess many people feel that this will come to nothing much. But, when huge numbers of people become actively involved, the scenario may change. This is likely to be the most effective solution that exists at present. The article had a good balance in the use of logic and emotions. Another point worth mentioning is that the writer's views on the issues presented, very much resemble mine.
Arbab Quadri
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

On Beautification
Perhaps you would allow a recently arrived resident of your fascinating city to comment on the article regarding the DCC beautification projects. It is easy to be critical of these efforts, and I certainly agree that the sight of median strips festooned with lengths of barbed wire, proudly installed as part of a "beautification programme", is a little incongruous. However the argument that money should not be spent on this when there is so much else that is needed in the city is disingenuous. Following that precept would imply that no city could ever afford to invest in the Arts, or in Civic improvements, or in the little things that make a city "liveable" unless all of her citizens were housed, clothed and well-fed. It would seem evident that this goal is ever-receding, since at any level of income the people will always need more. Secondly, a more effective commentary might state "this is a good start AND..." (we could do more) rather than use the lazy and dismissive "This is OK, BUT ..." Perhaps an alternative approach might spur the DCC to learn from these initial efforts and do better next time around.
Keith Cundale
On Email

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