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     Volume 5 Issue 124 | December 15, 2006 |

   Cover Story
   View from the    Bottom
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Side Talk!
I want to thank the Daily Star for the cover story “Our Constitution: In Whose hands is it” (December 8, 2006) and also Tanvir Siddiqui for his positive initiative. When I was going through the report some questions arose in my mind. The step of “Change Makers” was to disseminate the very basic idea of the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh to the young citizens. But are we sure that the constitutional interpretation is clear even to the policy makers, legislatures, lawyers or the jurists of Bangladesh?
The Constitution is a guideline for a state where the basic principles regarding a state are embodied. One can easily comment on a report or news according to his/her views following the facts. But it cannot be done in case of a state's constitution. Generally the wordings of a constitution are followed, in case of controversies it is the highest court who can interpret the constitution. There should not be any scope for different explanations or controversies regarding the constitution. In very critical situations the nation can get an explanation from eminent jurists but it will be according to the principles of the constitution from a legal point.
We are still in the dark regarding the provisions of the Caretaker government inserted in 13th amendment of our constitution. We may face different arguments regarding the issue because of the poor drafting of the 13th amendment or lack of legal scholars or flourishing in partisan views of knowledgeable minds. We are now passing a crucial time but we should think very seriously about this matter as the constitution is the key to upholding democracy.
Lubna Zahan
Faculty of Law
Northern University Bangladesh

Congratulations Nafees!
When the country is going through such political crisis, our national team player Nafees has given a marvellous gift to our nation. Opener Shahriar Nafees struck his third consecutive century against his happy-hunting team as Bangladesh got off to a flying start in the five match one-day international series against Zimbabwe with a thrashing nine-wicket victory. The people of this country at home and abroad are proud of you. When there are sighs of frustrations all over the country, this is exulting news for the people. I hope the Bangladeshis again start believing in themselves and turn this moment into a time of rejuvenation.
Farhana Hoque Panna
Dept. Of Applied Statistics (I.S.R.T)
University Of Dhaka

Coalition Government Formula of Prof Muhammad Yunus
Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus advocated for a 'coalition government' formula in his speech delivered at a civic reception at the Sangsad Bhaban premises organised by the Dhaka City Corporation. In his speech he suggested a concept of coalition government where the two biggest rival parties in Bangladesh would form a government by mutual understanding and compromise.
The proposal is obviously a very welcoming but not a practical one in anyway. Immediately after I had heard the proposal I did not have to think twice before forming my personal opinion about the hollowness of his suggestions (I beg his pardon if I am too critical about this). Actually the idea of a coalition government is not new in our country and people in this country are quite familiar with this concept, because our country has been practically divided into two alliances.
But what seems to me quite absurd in his proposal is his invitation to the two arch-rivals AL and BNP led alliances to mingle and form a 'consensus government'. It is worth mentioning that the main leaders of the two parties do not even speak to each other in any national gatherings. He himself could perceive the superficiality of his formula as he later said in his speech in the Press Club that his formula could be a utopia. Actually, Prof Yunus' speech just reminded us of the comments delivered from time to time by the foreign diplomats and donor agency personnel who do not understand the mindset of Bangladeshi politicians at all. We just calmly listen to their advice out of courtesy and loyalty. Dr Yunus might also assume that role as he has now become a global celebrity and whatever he utters is taken seriously no matter how unrealistic or idealistic it is.
We want to see Prof Yunus as a Bangladeshi in his head and heart who can understand our politics and think accordingly. People want him to take a role as a prominent Bangladeshi citizen to persuade our headstrong politicians to take a compromising stance in their demands for the sake of people who are their only strength (as they always claim verbally) in getting into power. Dr Yunus should also talk to them personally to bridge the gap between the two rival parties which would be a rather realistic and practical attempt on his part to mitigate the tension prevailing in our political arena.
Md Arif Sadeq
Dept of English
University of Dhaka

Protect Children
I highly appreciate Syeda Shamim Mortada's article on “Children need to be protected” (December 1, 2006). The writer has done a very good job of focusing on the heinous crimes and oppression that persist behind closed doors in our country.
The children are the future of our country and to ensure that our future is safe and prosperous we must give them proper care and education for their development. It is very depressing to know that the rights of children in our country are not properly implemented. Even if there are selfless efforts of various NGOs and voluntary organisations to create awareness in people to strengthen child rights, children still fall victims in the hands of all forms of violence. If the nation would have firmly joined hands to uproot such criminal activities that prevail unpunished in our country then we would have been successful to eradicate violence once and for all.
The close-mindedness of our society is also a reason why such oppression takes place. Many untold confessions that need to be made get buried behind closed doors because the victims are too terrified to raise their voice against the criminals.
Therefore only raising slogans will not bring an end to this menace. The punishment given to child molesters has to be publicly announced through the media to prevent other would-be criminals from carrying out such activities on the children in the future.
Naome Syed

'Right to Vote?'
The ongoing anarchy in the country is for restoring people's right to vote. But in the present context I am forced to wonder how important it is? Assuming a free and fair election will be held, the million-dollar question still remains - 'who to vote'?
Having seen both the major political parties in power, we are well aware of their potential and the authenticity of the glittering promises they make. Thus, if given, how are we going to exercise this 'hard earned' right to vote when there is no deserving candidate? What laurels can the corrupted, black money possessors bring for us? I know I will be in a huge dilemma on who to choose as a candidate!
So, how relevant are the current blockades and other violent programmes? Besides jeopardising our life, assets, education and the country's reputation, would it do any good to the common people? Why should we suffer in the process of bringing yet another corrupt to power? The political programmes are only making situations intolerable for people struggling to make ends meet. I do not see any interest whatsoever of the common people behind it. If any interest is served, it is of those politicians whose sole objective is to get to power and increase their black money.
Marzia Tabassum

An Indelible Loss
Dr Akbar Ali Khan, Hasan Mashud Chowdhury, C M Shafi Sami, and Sultana Kamal have proved themselves as rational, and responsible citizens of our country (which is rare to find nowadays) by deciding to resign from the committee of advisers. The advisers had the noble intention to resolve the political unrest and have always shown us a beam of hope and made us feel somewhat optimistic.
But in spite of their endeavour they have failed to control the irrational and unilateral decisions taken by the CA. I am sure that their resignation will be considered a remarkable attempt to protest the arbitrary activities of the President. Their efforts makes us believe that there are still people in our country who are neutral, and haven't sold their ethics to some political party. We were lucky to have them as our guardians but it's really scandalous that the CG had to lose these efficient advisers at such a crucial time. Though it's really unfortunate that Bangladesh had to undergo such a loss we are very proud of them because of their protest against the unjust.
Department of English
University of Chittagong

On “Street Children with Disability-Speaking for Themselves”
David Peter, an English teacher at the Institute of Modern Languages at DU, said while taking a class, “I have never noticed so many street children in a country other than in Bangladesh.” Aasha Mehreen Amin's article, “Street Children with Disability-Speaking for Themselves” (December 8, 2006) is clear evidence of that.
She informed us of the disheartening fact that a great share of these children lives with disabilities. If we can only change our attitudes towards these children they won't be a burden for the families or the society. In fact they will be a very productive part of our society. These children work hard and struggle all throughout their lives. So, why do we undermine them? Some NGOs are playing a vital role in rehabilitating them, however few they may be. Only nationally taken initiatives that include more facilities can change their miserable fate. In addition to that, the government should allocate a portion of our national budget for disabled children.
M Alauddin Ansary
Zahurul Haque Hall, DU

A Ray of Hope
The article "Out of Darkness" by Andrew Morris on December 1 was really touching. The article was very charming all the way through. The people of Bangladesh are the happiest in the world. Despite all the problems and distress they still manage to come back to life.
What happened to 10-year-old Madhabi was a matter of great sorrow. It's unbelievable how an employer can try to kill her home-worker in such a way! I want to thank the people who came forward to rescue the child, especially the BNWLA. I would also like to congratulate Madhabi for her fight to resume her life and overcome the trauma. Thanks to the writer as well as the SWM for such an alternative representation.
Shirin Sharmin Bubly
Dept. of Civil Engineering

AKTEL's rejoinder to “Question mark on the Umrao Jaan contest”
This in response to a letter that appeared in last week's Star Weekend Magazine (December 8, 2006 Letters section) titled 'Question Mark on the Umrao Jaan Contest.' First of all, we would like to thank Nazia Dahboob of Easkaton for conveying her thought about AKTEL Umrao Jaan Contest. Now, we are explaining our position in response to her query.
AKTEL Umrao Jaan Contest was first announced on 22 October 2006. There was no such indication in the press ad/or other communication medium that we would publish the winners' name after the completion of the contest. Eventually, we have had overwhelming response during the contest period and finally selected two winners complying with the rules and regulations of the contest. Now we are disclosing their names for clarity. They are: Mr. Md. Fazle Rabbi, Dental Surgeon, Emerald Empire, B-5, Hs No # 57, Rd No # 3/A, New Market, Dhanmondi, Dhaka and Mr. Md. Rabiul Alam, Student, 55, Mati Kata, Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka. Both of the winners en-cashed the prize willingly instead of availing the opportunity of attending the Umrao Jaan Premier Show at Dubai.
We, through this disclaimer want to express our firm view that there is no room for any confusion regarding the aforementioned contest. We would also convey our deepest gratitude to all our customers and well-wishers for their continuous support to keep us moving ahead.

In last weeks cover story “In Search of our Elusive Constitution” Part III of the constitution was inadvertently referred to as “Chapter I Part III”. We regret the error.

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