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     Volume 4 Issue 74 | December 9, 2005 |

   News Notes
   Cover Story
   Straigh Talk
   Food For Thought
   Time Out
   Human Rights
   Slice of Life
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Book Review

   SWM Home


The New Police Force
Everyone is aware of the fact that due to escalating crimes, the police force has been given quite a number of expensive jeeps and patrol cars under the guise of 'Highway Patrol'. While these are quiet good to show the criminals that the modern police force is equipped to face all forms of perils, one cannot help but wonder if their are just a waste of money. Not once have I seen a cop car race after a speeding vehicle. Since these vehicles are primarily used for transportation and for 'escort' services, why could we not have bought some cars that are cheaper so as not to strain the annual budget? Also, I am sure that these vehicles guzzle a lot of fuel. Could the government not have bought some new firearms for the existing police force as the current ones seem quite old?
Obaidul Sharkar
Bangla Motor

Who are Feminists?
I was very disappointed to read Richa Jha's recent piece entitled "Am I a Feminist?" Whatever Mrs. Jha chooses to call herself, the fact is that this piece was somewhat ignorant at best, and offensive at worst. It focused on a rather outdated and silly stereotype, ridiculing somebody calling themselves a feminist.
The fact is, feminists are as diverse as any other group of people i.e. capitalists, political thinkers, comedians etc. So pointless stereotyping of this nature is not particularly helpful. In fact, as the rather wittier Rebecca West once said "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know the people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat..." Richa Jha might do well to ponder on that.
Finally, the piece would have been rather more amusing if it had focused less on ridiculing feminism, and more on analysing some of the undoubtedly weird people one meets at social gatherings!
Yours sincerely
Eeshita Rahman

On 'Looking Beyond the Hype'
I wish to thank you very much for bringing out a special issue of Star Weekend Magazine on November 18, 2005 dealing with the 13th Saarc Summit held in Dhaka recently. Its cover story titled 'Looking Beyond the Hype' is fascinating and informative particularly for students who are able to gather information about our South Asian identity.
'When hope runs high', one should accept the fact that we have a long way to run on the trail of struggle against the double standard of the international relationships among the member countries of the Saarc. As a layman, I believe that much of its success depends on improving the Indo-Pakistan relations. If politicians strongly feel that mutual respect, extreme tolerance and trust should be kept going at all levels of human activities in this part of the world, Saarc could be treated as a model for the rest of the world in matters of poverty reduction and destruction of the nests of terrorism all over the global surfaces. After all, the rich cultural heritage and the glories of this sub-continent could have motivated the other people to emulate us for the cause of world peace and security.
SWM deserves full credit for enriching the importance of this issue on Saarc in the eyes of the younger generation- the fulfilment of our hopes and dreams in future.
Abul Ashraf Noor

On Resilience Unlimited
Aasha Mehreen's brilliant article "resilience Unlimited" strikes a chord. Full marks to her for bringing to our notice something we should all be aware of and doing it with humour. Are we really so resilient or is it a deeper malaise? I have great regard and admiration for the resilience of the general public, specially in rural areas, and their ability to cope with the natural disasters that regularly plague Bangladesh. Indeed, I am awed by the people's spirit as they face these hardships with courage and fortitude.
However, for the rest of us isn't it more a lack of concern and responsibility than resilience, whether it is our polluted lakes and parks which are rapidly degrading the environment or the total disregard for any kind of traffic rules adding to our disastrous traffic jams? The backbone of every country is its civil society. While a few groups are making some effort to build public opinion against the various ills facing us, these efforts are far too inadequate compared to the country's needs.
We have an utterly uncaring state, no matter which party is in power. Unless we take individual responsibility for the problems facing us and build a strong civil society to campaign against them - be it the insidious encroachment on open places and water bodies by fellow citizens or the mindless slaughter of trees by the authorities under the pretext of "beautification" - we have only ourselves to blame. Our self inflicted problems have little to do with resilience and everything to do with our lack of commitment.
Ruby Ghuznavi.

A perplexed culture
Today, youngsters are very confused with their identity, which is apparent from the way they dress, the language they speak, the attitude that they carry and of course the kind of music they listen to. Our youngsters today watch and enjoy Indian as well as Western music and movies, rather than paying attention to their own culture. These youngsters, despite growing up in Bangladesh cannot even speak the language properly. The funny part is that these kids don't even understand the music that they are listening to or the deep meaning that the movies carry. They are simply attracted to the exterior shine, the outfits that the personalities wear and of course the cars that they go about in. I sincerely wish that we could spend some time exploring the Bangali art, since the more time we spend with it, the better we can make it. It a scary thought when I think that Bangali culture and language may face extinction or merely lose its authenticity.
Jumon Parvej
Department of English
Shah Jalal University

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