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     Volume 6 Issue 13 | April 6, 2007 |

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Promoting Folk Traditions
It was really interesting to learn about the culture modulating activities and projects by the organisation 'Prakritojan Projanma' (March 23, 2007). There is no doubt that such endeavours will attract the young generation who are unaware of the folklore and culture of our nation. I hope this organisation does very well.
But the problem now is that most of our cultural activities are centred in Dhaka because it gets the most media coverage. Dramas, stage plays, movie festivals are focussing their best shows in Dhaka. Even rock bands of Dhaka get more focus than the comparatively better performing bands outside Dhaka. The letter by Aminul Arefin 'Silent Tears of Underground Music in Chittagong' (March 23, 2007) highlights this matter. It's rare to find even new bands performing outside Dhaka. That's because there is a clear cultural gap between Dhaka and other cities or towns. To make cultural promotions of any form we should try to apply that to the whole country and not just the capital city.
Agrabad, Chittagong

Let's All Join Against Corruption
It is not surprising that some politicians have already started crying for the election process to resume. Let them say what they may; the stolen treasure of the people is too important to hide under the abused blanket of democracy. The so-called democracy of loot and plunder has run aground; people would like to see it in the museum as a reminder of the bitter past.
Punishing crime is important but it is more important to expand the mechanism for the prevention of crime. Violence is the illegitimate child of corruption. Instead of going for the limbs of this hydra-headed ogre, the interim government will have to focus on its heart. If the heart is squeezed, the limbs will collapse; the rights of the people will surface from under the debris of corruption linked with the powerful offices. The interim government should drive the piles deep into the hard bottom for transparency and accountability for all the time.
The press is the vibrant sentinel of the people. Their ever-louder voice has finally aroused the conscience of the silent ones to go after the thugs stealing people's property. Long live the co-operation between the press and the uniform.
The purpose of the current government is simple -- to put the runaway governance system on the rail, to reimburse eroded goodwill back to public offices and respect to the politicians. Let's all join this fight against corruption.
Sharmin Rashid
Uttara, Dhaka

Minorities in Bangladesh
Congratulations to Hana Shams Ahmed for an excellent and courageous article about the Garo community of Modhupur and the murder of their outspoken champion Choles Ritchil. The last two paragraphs in particular are an accurate account of the extent of the deprivation and discrimination that minorities are subjected to in secular Bangladesh.
It is ironic that Bangalis who themselves suffered a similar plight in undivided Pakistan, should, no sooner become their own masters, persecute their own minorities, in exactly the same manner. The Mongs, Garos, Chakmas, Sautals, Khasias and other ethnic and religious minorities are not only safely segregated from the mainstream, but must endure the constant ridicule and intolerance of a majority society that is blissfully ignorant of their heritage and culture.
As Hana Shams has so correctly pointed out, greed and arrogance are the root of the evil and every successive government is equally culpable as indeed are the donors and international agencies. This worse than patronising attitude on the part of freedom-loving Bangalis, is what drove the indigenous inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to wage a decade-long guerrilla war for their legitimate rights. Choles Ritchil is dead and by the time this letter is published, he will have been forgotten. The Chief Advisor, upon receiving the memorandum from various human rights groups, can at best pay his lip service to someone whom he will be constrained to acknowledge as even a misguided martyr. While the authorities that targeted the victim in the first place, will continue this exemplary anti-corruption and cleansing operations, immune to criticism and accountable to none.
Nadeem Rahman
Gulshan, Dhaka

We Want a New Bangladesh
I would like to thank Ahmede Hussain for his valuable cover story 'A New Bangladesh' (March 16, 2007). It is really a matter of sorrow that our bureaucrats, high officials and business magnates are all involved in corruption. If this continues we will not be able to leave anything good for the next generation. Only patriotism can inspire our society to shun this evil. We are hopeful that our country will really turn into Golden Bengal if we are all honest and sincere.
Md. Ebrahim Khalil Milon
New Govt. Degree College, Rajshahi

Thanks to the ACC
The Bangladeshi people are very happy with the strict drives against the corrupt leaders of our country by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC). These so-called political leaders amassed a huge amount of wealth by stealing public resources. They were starting to think that they will not have to account to anyone for their illegal activities.
It will be highly appreciated, if the ACC confiscates the property of these leaders. I strongly believe that it will be a great lesson for the next generation of our country. I also urge the ACC to make a list of the bureaucrats as well as the government higher officials who are corrupt and to take prompt action against them. These government officials are responsible for our country's rating as the most, corrupt five times in a row.
Jaki Turjaman
Uttara, Dhaka

Save Residential Areas Now!
In the past few years the building of a huge number of commercial openings in the residential area of Dhanmondi has marred its beauty and peace. The same thing seems to be slowly taking place in Gulshan and Banani. I am 38 years old and have watched these changes taking place in these areas while growing up. The serenity and peace of residential areas have long gone. It is appalling and shameful to watch giant shopping malls and schools mushrooming everywhere here. They attract a huge amount of traffic throughout the day which makes things even worse.
Would the relevant authority be sensitive enough about this issue and care to stop giving permissions to build commercial complexes/ schools/ offices on the main avenues of Gulshan or within the inner part of these residential areas? Would they care to think about everybody's welfare?
Sonya Khan

The photo in the article 'Music to My Ears' (page 33) of children singing at the BNWLA Hostel was taken by Snigdha Zaman of Ikon Photo instead of Andrew Morris. The mistake is regretted.

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