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     Volume 4 Issue 36 | March 4 , 2005 |

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Civil Defense -- Great Idea
I was going through the magazine (February 18th issue) and was quite intrigued by Ekram Kabir's piece on 'civil defences.' I think he has hit a bull's eye when talking about a new kind of governance -- one in which the people look out for themselves. As he has mentioned, our governments have utterly failed in providing us with security, a basic civil right. It is high time that we -- the ordinary people at least develop a mechanism through which we can help each other in times of need or defend ourselves when in danger. Ordinary citizens should be given training so they can tackle disastrous situations such as earthquakes, floods, etc. Kabir also gives the example of how something like reckless driving, which kills 5,000 people each year, can be significantly reduced by sensitising people about stopping irresponsible drivers. Of course the concept needs to be studied further and examples from other countries need to be replicated. There are many among us who genuinely feel for our fellow citizens and would be happy to help them when they are in need. Such like-minded people need to be trained and organised. Here, of course, government support is much needed.

K.A. Ahmed Jigatola

Intriguing Perspective
The article "Another Dose of Reality" was a delight to read. The viewpoint expressed is rather unique. The current scenario concerning the television programmes is well-illustrated. It is indeed true that many of the television shows can be slotted into the categories mentioned. This has been expressed in a manner that is witty and humorous. The article manages to retain the attention and curiosity of the readers throughout. Sensationalism is likely to be the focus of the television channels in the coming months. A point to note is the writer's irritation with the current trend in television programmes.

Arbab Quadri Dhanmondi, Dhaka.

On "Human but not Humane"
I really enjoyed reading Aasha Mehreen Amin's article of the above title in the February 25th issue of SWM. The article was very heartfelt and extremely intuitive. It is a sad truth that religious figures, be it priests in the Christian church or Imams in Islam, have a habit of abusing the power and influence they have on other people. The problem of sexual harassment being committed by these religious figures is increasing at an alarming rate and has become a serious issue. People trust these figures, send their children with the belief that they will be safe and well looked after. When we find out that these children are exploited and hurt it is enough to break our spirit. In our country, it is a sad reality that these criminals -- there is really no other word for them--usually see no justice and, as the author mentioned in her article, even newspapers and media do not put enough emphasis on the seriousness of such issues. Thank you again for bringing this controversial but very important issue to our attention and congratulations on such a beautifully written article.
Arif Khan
On Email

The comment made by Farhana Deeba in Dhaka Diary regarding the absence of any prayer facility at Nandan Park was incorrect. In fact, there is a large prayer area located in the middle of the Park. The arrangements include separate areas for men and women with prayer mats, fans and lights as well as a "wet" area for ablutions. But we have taken necessary steps to ensure that visitors are able to easily locate the prayer area in the future.
Muhammed Asif Hasan
Baridhara, Dhaka

On Chintito
Once again, a wonderful piece of writing by Chintito. I read his column regularly and with time his topic and its contents just seem to be getting better and better. Being in a foreign land, I am proud that people from my country are such masters in a language that is not our mother tongue. My co-workers too find Chintito's column very humorous and, like me, read it regularly. Keep up the good work!
Himel Hawa

In the Name of Democracy
The term democracy means freedom of the people -- the right to live securely and speak freely, but it seems like our country is no longer operating under the system of democracy. The political condition of our country is going to the dogs. Every day the local newspapers are crammed with news of corruption, frequent hartals without any good reason, brutal attacks on our country's intellectuals, stagnation in our economic development, continuous parliamentary boycotts and counter-productive activities. Both political parties are busy competing with their rivals and establishing their credentials as to how much they contribute to the development of our country, none of which is relevant to the present. Despite the increasing protests from the public, our political parties pay no heed to the voice of the people. They are simply playing the role of dictators…in the name of democracy.
Mohammad Belal Hossain

Death on Waters
A launch accident occurred in the Buriganga on February 20, killing scores of people. According to news reports, over 100 passengers died and more than 50 went missing. These days, deaths in launch accidents are becoming alarmingly common in our country. Our vessels fail to meet fitness standards. They are overloaded with passengers and driven by unskilled masters. As a result, accidents occur. When they do, the Department of Shipping religiously puts the blame on natural catastrophes which is intolerable. The authorities should make more of an effort to find out the real causes of the accidents, starting with the one that occurred on recently. Necessary action should be taken against the people who were involved. We do not want to see any more launch accidents.
Raju, Noakhali

The cover story of February 18 issue of SWM carries two inadvertent slips, here are the corrections: The book "Orientalism" by Adward Said was translated by Faiz Alam, and "Crime and Punishment" is Feador Dostoevsky's master piece.

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