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     Volume 6 Issue 25 | June 29, 2007 |

   Mental Health
   Cover Story
   View from the    Bottom
   Human Rights
   Food for Thought
   Dhaka Diary
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A Budget in Disguise
Budgets always trigger discussion and it should because it concerns us all. I want to thank Nader Rahman for his article 'A Budget in Disguise' (June 15, 2007). Opinions of his interviewees were really worth the read. This year's budget is very special in the sense that it has not been prepared by any elected political party government. So it is a budget whose implementation is no one's responsibility. Taxpayers will not have any one accountable for any budget failure. On the other hand, in the Bangladeshi situation, where political parties are just a gang of dishonest people who get together to rob the poor, it should be a blessing that the budget is not prepared by any political party government. Now we can only hope that the government will last long enough to implement the proposed budget.
Kamil Khan
Varby, Sweden

Branding Terrorists
I have noticed with grave concern that terrorist groups such as JMB are constantly being labelled 'Islamic' fundamentalists and extremists. The word 'Islamic' is always there. I am sorry to say that my favourite newspaper The Daily Star is no exception to this. An Islamic fundamentalist is a person who knows, understands and follows the fundamentals of Islam. How can terrorists and mass murderers be called 'Islamic fundamentalists'? Are there any fundamentals of Islam, which support killing innocent people? I request everyone on behalf of the conscious Muslim society that such terrorists not be termed with such attributes.
Md Shahanur Rashid
Mohammadpur, Dhaka

Washed Away by Corruption
All the development work of the country has been washed away from the corruption of the two previous governments. We can see in the newspapers everyday that almost everyone including ministers and the MPs of the two regimes had built their fortune through all corrupt means possible. There is perhaps no government office where people can get their work done without money. The law abiding people of the country wanted to add to the exchequer by paying the bills, taxes etc. regularly. That also could not be done without money. The two princes of the immediate past Prime Minister and their henchmen, the golden sons of the soil including the ministers and MPs of both the regimes left no stone unturned to make Bangladesh even more poor. Two countries could have been built with the money they squandered
The two former Prime Ministers should seek an open apology to the nation for their misdeeds.
Dr. S. M. Rahman
On e-mail

The Crooks
Thieves like Khaleda's two crooks, Falu and Harris Choudhury, as well as Osman Ghani, Lobi and rest of the gang are now in the dragnet of the joint forces and ACC. They have proved again, 'greed knows no bounds.' It cuts across all strata of the society, perhaps with the exception including "highly educated and the well bred." It appears from the SWM of 1st June that Shafi Sami with his connections at home and abroad managed a nomination for himself to become the CEO and the managing trustee of the Board of Directors of the CRP with an annual emolument of £22,000 Pound Sterling (Tk 29,23,460), a year from one of its England-based donors, a powerful decision maker of CRP, while Valerie, its founder head, gets only Tk 90,000 a year for her 24-hour job. How grossly amoral!
Falu and the like are arrested for stealing relief materials meant for the poor and the indigent by the law enforcing agency, should the agency concerned be adopting a benign attitude towards the man behind the trouble at CRP? The difference between Falu and Sami is that the former got rich by manipulating his official position in the government to grab what belongs to the poverty stricken, while the latter used his past official and international connections to eat a huge slice of the poor man's pie through influence.
Thanks for the insight you have provided us in to the sad and mind boggling episode of CRP.
Syed Waliullah

Tahmima Anam and 'A Golden Age'
The novel 'A Golden Age' by Tahmima Anam, daughter of veteran journalist Mahfuz Anam has been a milestone to convey the history of our independence war to those who do not speak Bangla.
We must appreciate her patriotism for doing such a great job. As we all know the independence that we achieved 35 years back is the greatest event for our nation. The only thing which made our fighters to be so heroic was the true patriotism which eventually proved them how loyal they remained to the country throughout the whole nine months. Tahmima Anam who spent most of her time abroad couldn't ignore her devotion to the country and has done a great job writing this novel in English. I think this is a great endeavour to let people outside the country to know a lot of things about out independence.

Standards of Higher Education
The private universities in the country are playing an important role in giving higher education facilities to everyone. It is the highly educated young generation who will be able to contribute to nation building and growth.
But the question is whether the private universities are providing quality education, which will make them fit for global competition? Many of the private universities have failed to impart quality education to their students. The critics say that the situation is disastrous for the future of higher education.
Given the political muscle behind most of these universities and consequently the lax standards maintained by the University Grants Commission it was surprising that closure notices on universities have not been enforced, allowing them to carry on offering degrees that have no approval from the UGC. Many of these universities sell certificates for cash, and most of them are running without enough qualified personnel.
The young people of Bangladesh are desperately seeking ways to gain an edge over their competitors in the job market, making them susceptible to such exploitation. This is where the government must step in and take action. Any sensible person expects the government to put an end to its complacence and take a tough stance on private sector higher education. In the long run, the cost of doing nothing at all will be far too high.
Shahin Latif
Trishal, Mymensingh

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