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     Volume 5 Issue 114 | September 29, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   Straight Talk
   Human Rights
   Photo Feature
   In Retrospect
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
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On 'Choking Voices of Freedom'
This is in reference to the article on 'Choking Voices of Freedom'. In her novel “Lajja” Taslima Nasreen argued, whenever there are communal riots leading to atrocities on minorities, the majority must bow its head in shame.
When this book reached India, the supporters of Bajrang Dal, distributed free copies among Hindus to show how minorities are being treated in Bangladesh and “incite hatred and cause injury to the person and reputation” of Indian Muslims as being part of the same lot. This was clearly an act of offence with in the meaning of Section 503 of the Penal Code, which your article refers.
Naturally, there was a demand by Indian Muslims to ban the book. The 'practitioners of free speech' jumped in and supported Taslima Nasreen's right to speak. They did not care to educate the Indian masses of the true meaning of the novel or tell Bajrang Dal that its action deserved to be deprecated and demand that the government should take some action against them. Not surprisingly, most of the Indian Muslims took their support to Taslima as made by greenhorn-intellectuals. Taslima was silent about the role of Bajrang Dal and continues to be so. She is probably indebted to Bajrang Dal activists. But for them and their like, especially in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, no body would have cared to read the book.
Forrukh Rahman
Of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister
Advocate, Bangladesh

Deprived of a Library
I have been living in Mirpur for two years now. I am a second year college student. It's a matter of great regret that there are no libraries in Mirpur. People in Mirpur are having a lot of problems.
According to UNESCO, there should be at least one library in an area of a one square kilometre. But in our country there are only 1500 (government and non-government) libraries and only two government libraries in Dhaka City. This is very sad. A country cannot develop without libraries. The authorities should take proper steps to set up more libraries in our country.
Mirpur, Dhaka

Way to inferno
I would like to thank Nader Rahman and Elita Karim for their well-written cover story "Chasing Death" (September 8, 2006).
The overall drug situation in the country is really alarming as the number of addicts is increasing day by day. I was really shocked to read the line in the article "Everybody is doing it because there is nothing better to do in this town." Another person also said "If people of all ages are having it, who is going to stop you?"
It is astonishing that addicts believe that drugs will set them free from the existing anxieties of life! I think families should play the most important role in stopping addiction.
I want to congratulate Lubna Marium and Shahidul Islam for forming "Solace". Thanks to SWM for this well-timed cover story.
Shirin Sharmin Bubly
Dept. of Civil Engineering


A lot of thanks to the Star Weekend Magazine family members, especially Nader Rahman and Elita Karim for their depiction of drugs and its harmful effects on teenagers.
The easy availability of drugs is one of the main causes for addiction. In fact, at certain spots in our university (Bangladesh Agricultural University) drugs are freely available to everyone. Fourteen-year-olds to university students congregate at this place to purchase drugs.
The university authorities need to take efficient steps urgently to get rid of these drug peddlers. Our lives and thinking power are at stake.
Nayanabhiram Das
MS Student, BAU

Response to 'Illusion'
I think Mr. Shiaikat has not made it clear on the basis of what he thinks the mobile phone companies are cheat of (Letters, September 15, 2006). He wrote about the free talk time offers that the mobile phone companies advertise to attract customers to buy their connections and I don't see any thing wrong with it, since they in their advertisements mention the date when the offer will end.
What these mobile phone companies are doing is sheer business and no body should call them cheats for coming up with attractive packages to boost their trade. I think the customers need to be smart enough to really understand what they need and then look for the best offer that suits them. We should demand for smoother connectivity and larger coverage from the mobile phone operators rather than criticise them for their creativity to capture the market which sometimes helps to reduce the tariff.
Farhan Rahman
Dept. of Civil Engineering

Holistic Curriculum
I come from the Philippines married to a Bangladeshi with two children who are both studying in the same school where I teach here in Bangladesh. I have six years of teaching experience in my country and have been teaching for three years now in an English-medium school here in Bangladesh.
The focus of my discussion is mainly on the difference of the Philippine Educational System with the Bangladesh Educational System in terms of values integration in its curriculum in general. I have learned from my undergraduate course in Education from the College of Education, University of the Philippines in Diliman Quezon City, Philippines, that education should not only cater to teaching the learners by the book and become good at academics but inculcate in them good values as well.
I remember my Lesson Plans having always a portion at the end on 'Values to be developed' and 'Values to be integrated.' The objective of such curriculum and instruction is to lead the learners to a holistic personality or character that would help them face the challenges that will come their way in their future life.
In the said curriculum, a homeroom period is included to discuss the importance of having Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC). Here, the teachers would guide the learners on evaluating themselves in terms of their capacity to adhere to simple rules and regulations that are asked of them to follow. The discussion also would let them assess their actions or choices on some specific situations in life that they may be confronted with. This part of the curriculum also develops their skills and capabilities to help them face real-life situations.
I believe that education does not only happen within the four corners of the classroom. Whatever education that the learners acquire, it should always prepare them to be better individuals in this fast-changing society.
Feby Torre Bhuiyan
Senior School Teacher
The British School in Dhaka

Last week's cover story inadvertently mentioned Prof. Dr. Md. Zafar Iqbal as being professor of chemistry at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Sylhet. Prof. Iqbal is actually professor and head of the department of computer science and engineering at SUST. We sincerely regret the error.

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