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     Volume 5 Issue 95 | May 19, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Water Crimes
   Food for Thought
   View from the Bottom
   Book Review
   Slice of Life
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


"The AIDS Zone"
A few days back I heard that some people were trying to spread the HIV virus by pushing a syringe into a person's body and then giving him/her a placard saying, "Welcome to the AIDS zone."
At first I thought that it was just a rumour. But on Friday, ATN Bangla reported that apparently these incidents are indeed taking place in Gawsia, New Market, Nilkhet and some other crowded places in Dhaka. The news has managed to spread all across the Internet as well. These people are just trying to create a panic. On ATN Bangla's report, a specialist explained that it was in fact not possible to spread HIV virus in such manner, as the virus becomes inactive in the open air after 3 seconds. But according to the AIDS awareness programmes on TV, the HIV virus can be spread by using the syringe of an affected person.
We hope our government will take stern steps to control these frightening activities and propaganda.
Habibun Nabi Sakhawat Hossain

Yet another student run over
There had been yet another death of a student at the Shahbag crossing in the capital. The tragic death of the Dhaka University student reminds us of the untimely death of Happy, a student of BUET at the same spot and in the same manner.
The concerned authorities, as it appears, are completely indifferent about solving these kinds of crises. It is high time that the government looked in to the matter seriously, coming up with measures for a permanent solution to these avoidable accidents by punishing the criminals in an exemplary manner.
Rafiqul Islam Rime
Agrabad, Chittagong

Missing from SWM
It is really sad that the "On Campus" section of SWM has left us forever. I am truly distressed by its sad demise and hope that some kind of Necromancer will have it reincarnated. It was a good 'medium' through which the many tormented souls from different campuses reached out to everyone.
I would also like to request to the editor to put the Jokes section on two pages. It will be extremely pleasurable to have some extra bit of laughs, at least on Fridays.
Ashique Ahmed

"Fast Food" in Bangladesh
Fast food are basically introduced for solving problems of getting the required food within a very short time. But in Bangladesh, we find that these fast food are in fact "very slow foods". In almost every fast food restaurant, you cannot get your ordered food before at least 20 minutes. What is the use of calling these restaurants "fast food"? We should change the name of the food served at these joints as "very slow food".
Mohammad Mukhlesur Rahman
Green Road, Dhaka

Praiseworthy cover story
It was about time that a cover story was done on the issue of skin colour, especially regarding women in Bangladesh. I remember an incident when I was a second grader in Viqarunnisa Noon School. My teachers came to our classroom to select girls to perform at a cultural show. One of the teachers made me stand up, while the other said, 'na, ei meye ta kalo' (this girl is too dark). I felt hurt and even now when people distinguish someone's beauty by their skin colour it makes me extremely angry.
I liked reading the cover story since it rang a familiar bell in my mind. I must mention that I really admired the interview with Dr. Rehnuma Ahmed. However, what I don't understand is, why the overall tone of the article still is "Fair is still lovely and dark is still ugly!" If you have captions like, "The dusky-skinned beauty is yet to get widespread recognition in our society", "Nothing can beat an attractive, intelligent-looking face" and "Good bone-structure, flawless skin and good-grooming are true determinants of beauty irrespective of skin colour" accompanied by pictures of models in full makeup, in some of the pictures the foundation is showing shamelessly (the woman in white), then you ultimately disseminate the message that dark skin could never be the ultimate idea of beauty, rather dark girls need to be intelligent, have good bone structure, and flawless skin to compensate for their skin colour. Though I appreciate the effort, I wish the writers were a little more careful in bringing this issue out.
Rubaiyat Hossain


I agree with the conclusion of your cover story where you talk about the age-old mindset regarding fairness. The attitude, intelligence, civility and overall personality are the main factors for being a worthy human being irrespective of the complexion of the skin. A nice person, whether man or woman, always creates a favourable attitude in the people around him/her. What we must do is to try to inculcate this rationale in our society. The role of the media is very important. I appreciate SWM's initiative to draw the reader's attention by focusing on this issue.
Sabbir Ahmed
Department of English University of Dhaka


Thanks for your article on fairness fixation. I believe most women in our country are indeed affected on many fronts and levels by this regressive perspective and definition of beauty.
However, all the dark-skinned women displayed on your pages are quite stunning. I would have appreciated if you had taken this a step further to portray the plight of women who are dark but not as becoming and also to celebrate those who have struggled and not only survived but also succeeded. While it is important to highlight that dark skin is also if not more beautiful than fair skin it is even more important to emphasise that true beauty is what lies beneath all colours of skin.
Rupsha Iqbal
Head of Design & Product Development Hameem Group

Public library
The public library enjoys a two-day holiday which means it remains closed 104 days in a year. The government should take steps immediately to keep it open 7 days a week for the sake of the students. If necessary the government should hire more people to keep it open everyday.
Ziaur Raman
University of Dhaka

This has reference to my telephonic interview published in the DS friday magazine of May 12.
I am afraid I was misquoted when the interview was finally printed. I was asked if "being fair" was tantamount to "being beautiful". I said that fairness was only one component of beauty. And it was stupid to think that all fair persons were beautiful. Then I was asked what would be the reaction if a corporate entity considered only fairness as synonymous to beauty? I said that it would be improper to think so. On the question of corporate responsibility I had said that all good corporate citizens should endeavour to alleviate any misconception through a process of education. This set of answers was amply clear and straightforward and there was no chance of misinterpreting it.
Yet my statement, as printed, could be misconstrued as my opposition to cosmetic products per se and also my opposition to Companies with fairness creams in their portfolio. Quality cosmetics from reputed manufacturers are valid and safe products and any responsible company would naturally adhere to the good practice of manufacturing and marketing.
Aly Zaker
On e-mail

World Cup Cricket in Bangladesh
We are very glad to have the news that Bangladesh will be one of the organizing countries of World Cup cricket in 2011. While we are suffering from the curse of corruption; such news will bring some sort of international fame for our nation.
This news also indicates that we have the necessary infrastructure to organise world cup matches. I specially thank ICC to choose Bangladesh as one of the organisers and BCB for taking the initiative for bringing the World Cup to Bangladesh for the first time. And of course we have to toil to upgrade our team and individual performances, so that it will be more enjoyable for our nation.
Rupnagar R/A

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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