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     Volume 6 Issue 14 | April 13, 2007 |

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A Piece of Beauty
Thanks for the superb cover story and the cover page of 'Showcasing a Hidden Bangladesh' (March 30, 2007). We have not seen such an artistic cover on the SWM for a long time. The photo of the terracotta figure has given a beautiful dimension to the magazine.
The cover story was also very informative to us who possess very little knowledge about Bangladeshi archaeology. We are also very happy that our cultural heritage is going to be showcased in France, a country known for its rich art and cultural heritage. Such an opportunity will help Bangladesh to have worldwide acclaim. The security of these valuable antiques is very important though. Already a group of 326 teachers from Rajshahi University have drafted a memorandum to the VC of RU opposing the decision to send these sculptures abroad and suggested sending their replica instead. We hope the authorities will take a wise decision regarding this case.
Shakawat Hossain
Department of Accounting
Govt City College, Chittagong

Taking a Stand Against Discrimination
I would like to thank Srabonti Narmeen Ali for her piece 'Discrimination Begins at Home' (March 30, 2007) which has revealed the actual scenario of discrimination in our family and society.
Many of us speak very highly on many occasions against all kinds of discrimination but we simply overlook the issues which are present in our homes. Some parents permit and even encourage their children to behave badly with their home workers. I have seen many young boys treating rickshaw-pullers very violently.
I find it very shocking and inhuman when I see young home workers offered leftover food very late after the children of the same age have finished their warm meal on time. Moreover they are not even paid the wages they deserve. It seems that maintaining double standards is validated everywhere.
Wise men say that education begins at home and I think parents should play a big role to make such an atmosphere at home where children can learn what is right and what is wrong and how to respect everyone regardless of race, colour, religion or class.

Fear of Carbonated Drinks
Being a 'Cola-holic' I had to read Syeda Samin Mortada's article 'Carbonated drinks Poison or Pleasure' (March 30, 2007) and couldn't resist writing something about it.
Carbonated drinks (especially Coca Cola and Pepsi) are indisputably the highest selling beverages in the whole world and I am pretty sure that, if the side effects mentioned in her article were in fact so drastic, they would have been banned by now. I am not saying that the points she mentioned are wrong but from the way they were written it seems that a few years of drinking cola could make a normal human being handicapped.
I agree that soft drinks have negative effects on the growth of kids, but not that severe that it causes impaired calcification and so on, because if it were so, I would have been a cripple by now. It was also mentioned that 'aspartame' a substance used in diet soda can cause brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and seizures. So cocaine and heroin are not the causes for illnesses, diet coke is. And her claim that aspartame is dangerous is not supported by science. Aspartame is the most studied food additive in history, and there has not been too many detailed studies supporting its hazards. If it were so, I am sure that the FDA would have pulled it off the market.
Furthermore it was mentioned that 'heavy' consumption of these drinks can interfere with our body's metabolism of iron and diminish nerve impulse transmission. Well we all know that 'excess of anything is bad'. Our health depends on the quantity of food we eat/drink.
In the past several decades, lawyers have sued cigarette companies for lung cancer, McDonald's for obesity but not a single lawyer has sued any carbonated drink company for its horrible attempt to destroy mankind!
Once when I was suffering from fever and dehydration, a doctor recommended me to have all the coke that I wanted, because it was not only tasty, but also sugary to get me relief from sugar related deficiencies. The bottom line is, a few glasses of coke a week (or even a day) will not make you a retard; it will quench your thirst, give your gullet a cool air conditioning for a while, make you high for some milliseconds and at the end of the drink, make it all seem worthwhile.
Zihon Hassan
By email

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I would like to thank Syeda Samin Mortada for her exclusive and informative article on carbonated drinks. It is true that people of all ages like to drink bubbly carbonated drinks in spite of their ruinous side effects. We are unintentionally slowly killing ourselves by taking such drinks. The writer deserves genuine praise for her attempt to increase awareness among the people about soft drinks.
In this regard I would like to call the SWM to take a look at the fast growing 'fast food' culture in our country which is having a detrimental effect on people.
Amzad Hossain
Dept. of English, DU

Please Stop Domestic Violence
Gender inequality is deeply embedded in the structure of the patriarchal society of Bangladesh. Male dominance and female subordination are the basic tenets of our social structure. All Bangladeshi social institutions permit, even encourage, the demonstration of the unequal power relation between the sexes and try to perpetuate the interests of patriarchy.
The media and NGOs have brought to light numerous cases of domestic violence in the country and the senselessness of such acts. Data from one of the study indicates that one of the most common causes of violence is wives not doing their housework properly, especially if the food is not prepared on time or properly or test fully.
The news of violence against women published everyday in dailies is largely about domestic violence. Even outside the country, domestic violence has reared its dangerous head. The absence of the specific law to deal with it often results in a misuse of law.
Today it is imperative to bring domestic violence out of the closet and tackle it head on. The problem needs to be addressed holistically. We need to bring together legal redresser machinery empowerment and a change of mindset.
Sharmin Rashid
Uttara, Dhaka

Where is Our Public Parking?
I would like to visit a number of places on a main road and would like to pay a parking fee in one place and walk around and not have to move my car from basement to basement. This is the parking system abroad and it's very strange that we do not have this facility in Bangladesh.
Apparently the Banani market was supposed to be a public parking lot but the DCC gave it away to be developed for which 30% comes back to the people and 70% goes to the developer. Is the concept of multi-basement or multi-storey parking alien to our city planners?

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