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     Volume 5 Issue 88 | March 31, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Slice of Life
   Time Out
   Food For Thought
   Human Rights
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
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Why will we vote for them?
According to Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) the National Parliament is seen as the most ineffective organisation in the country. The honourable members of Parliament are elected as the representatives of the common people. It is their duty to solve the problems of the common people. But what exactly are they doing now?
The continuous boycotting of the Parliament by the opposition (applicable to both the major parties) when they sit on the left side makes parliament ineffective. Both the main parties spend time criticising each other.
Power crisis is the most common occurrence these days. There is serious load shedding in the adjacent areas when the parliament is running. The most astonishing fact is it costs--Tk 15000 per minute when the House is in session.
When it's time to vote they hug and treat the common people well. After that they are pushed back and totally forgotten. When the situation is so frustrating why should we vote for them? Thanks to SWM for this well-timed cover story on the parliament.
Shirin Sharmin Bubly
Dept. of Civil Engineering

Bad customer service
A well-known hospital in Dhaka praises itself in its much admired advertisement of its helpful, friendly and smiling hospital staff who proudly promise to provide the best in cardiac care in Bangladesh. I recently visited the hospital with my husband to see my aunt. We were just appalled to see the level of its promised customer service.
Apart from the structural consideration of interior design, the customer service is extremely bad! We were first asked to take off our shoes by a guard although the floor was extremely dirty. We also observed nurses and ward boys walking with the same shoes on the corridors and in the lifts.
Next, my aunt's name was not on the list at the duty desk while nurses and duty doctors seemed busier gossiping with each other than to answer our queries. With no name on the list and our insisting that she was in that floor, we were referred to go and see another patient just in case! Our aunt was this other patient but registered under a different name - a mistake done by the hospital. As we talked to her, nurses were shouting at each other to communicate! So much for civic sense!
On our way out we noticed that the hospital did not even have a separate lift for patient trolleys.

The word 'Hartal' is a very popular word in our country. It is a symbol of non-violent protest. It is generally observed to compel the authority to fulfil some kind of demand. When dissatisfaction grows among a group of people or political parties hartal becomes a way of showing that dissatisfaction. But now hartal has become a regular feature of our country. Whenever an issue arises, instead of settling it in an amicable manner the concerned party calls a hartal. As a result we have loss of working days in the financial calendar. The wiser section of the country should say something about the observance of these hartals. Pickets who work against the interest of the country set cars ablaze and creates a gruesome atmosphere. We hope that in the future people will come up with a different form of protest for the betterment of the national economy.
Maher Ali
Department of Social Work
Shahjalal University of Science and Technology

Imperialistic Warmongers
Warmongers George W. Bush and Tony Blair, have brought humanity on razor edge. With Iraq burning the warmongers are spreading their dark design towards Iran and Syria. Thousands of innocent Iraqis, women and children, have been killed and others maimed and thousands are getting to that state everyday. The horrific scenario reminds us of the sad song by Pink Floyd where the post world war victim cries out in utter despair "What have we done Maggie? Maggie what have we done?" We wait, we pray and we look forward to an end to all this.
Rafiqul Islam Rime
Agrabad, Chittagong

Odd sense of humour!
I was shocked to read "My 25th Birthday" on Dhaka Diary in the SWM dated March 17, 2006. I am astonished at how a woman could treat her home teacher so insensitively, especially someone who thought of her as a mother, a guardian and who was deprived of love from a mother for a long time and tried to build her career by struggling in society. She thought that she got a big gift and that was a mother's love but when she opened the gift box, she realised what she actually got. We have witnessed such heinous acts the previous week seen on newspaper and the TV channels where students beating their classmates and female police tearing up another girl's clothes on the street. It is totally ridiculous to say that we are living in a secular society.

It's All Staged
We are all aware of our opposition's claims against our government that its recent government-led drive against militancy is all staged; and when you start to scrutinise the activities of JMB and JMJB during the last few months one simply wonders how close to reality these claims are. The first question that arises in your mind is how the police force that has been so ineffective for so long is suddenly succeeding so well against the most organised and trained terrorist threat ever faced by our nation? How come the terrorists who were able to co-ordinate countrywide bombing missions within hours of each other are falling prey to the law enforcement agents like sitting ducks? How come the terrorists did not launch a retaliatory attack after the arrests of the Shura members even though they had the materials and manpower to do so?
But even if this is a government planned conspiracy then what may be the motive? The government needs to protect its image and convince the donor countries that it does not support militancy and harbour terrorists because it has a party in its coalition which is accused of such activities. Also because of the upcoming elections they need to prove to the public that they can maintain law and order during this chaos. This drive against militancy is also drawing the media's attention away from the lawlessness that was going on before this drive began. No international or foreign body has taken part in the investigations and the opposition has not done anything to prove its claims either. These are serious accusations that should be investigated by independent and international bodies.
Saquib Uddin Ahmed
AKSD, Uttara

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
All materials should be sent to: Star Weekend Magazine, 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Fax: 880-2-8125155 or emailed to: <starweekendmag@gmail.com>
It is recommended that those submitting work for the first time to the SWM take a look at the sample copy beforehand. Our website is: http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine

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