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     Volume 6 Issue 34 | August 31, 2007 |

   Straight Talk
   Cover Story
   Writing the Wrong
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review

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Let them get Better Education
It is really a great step for our country that many good English Medium schools are creating a good number of talented students who are spontaneously joining the leading international universities abroad and bringing glories for the country.
But it is very disturbing to see some people start establishing so-called English Medium schools only for their commercial benefits and become responsible for ruining the lives of some children's future. Once when I was on my way to Uttar Badda from Middle Badda a signpost (on the road divider) of an English Medium school drew my attention. It read "English Meddium" school on it instead of "English Medium". What harvest can we hope from a school like this?
Shamim Hosen
Gulshan 1

Response to Andrew Morris's Article
I was shocked to read the article, 'The Shock of Lip Lock' (August 24, 2007) by Andrew Morris. He tried to relate the physical expression of love only with individual freedom and praised two teenagers for sharing a 'lip lock' in a public place as being the pioneers of our society! I would like to inform the author that our Bangladeshi culture practices tolerance on expressing love between lovers until it gets physical. We all know where physical expression of love ends up: teenage pregnancy, abortion, STDs (sexually transmitted disease) etc.
The author wrote that the media doesn't create, it only gives expression to what is already there; though I don't fully agree with him, even if I take it as a fact then, the question is, what is the definition of 'there'? The media brings waves of different cultures to collide with ours and through the collisions a culture progresses. This is not a losing battle as the author might think of me as a conformist; the battle only exists when one tries to introduce the negative elements of a foreign culture into ours.
Farhan Rahman

BIJF Protests
The cover story “School on the Water” of the weekend magazine of The Daily Star shocked the member journalists of Bangladesh ICT Journalists Forum (BIJF). IT journalists from almost every daily Bangla and English newspapers, IT magazines and agency set up BIJF in 2002.
Debates and discussions of several yahoo-based IT groups regarding Shidhulai Swanirva Sangstha inspired BIJF to send a six-member team to visit the project sites of the NGO in three groups.
BIJF investigation found the NGO had highly exaggerated its activities. It did nothing compared to its superficial claims. People of the NGO project area of Chalanbeel do not know much about its functions. Details are narrated exclusively in the BIJF report. News and columns on the basis of the report were published in some newspapers like Ittefaq, Janakantha, Monthly Computer Jagat, etc and also posted on the Internet. Moreover, on the very day of the SWM's cover story (August 17, 2007), the Independent published a feature article about the malpractice of this NGO.
So far Shidhulai has not taken any initiative to protest the BIJF report. They are completely silent about the report, but they are busy in misleading a few newsmen to write and telecast reports on them.
Once the NGO claimed to the members of the BIJF that they had 88 boats. But according to the SWM cover story they have 35 boats. It is a fact however, that BIJF's investigation found only four boats.
The members of BIJF spoke to the high officials of the NGO and its executive director. They promised to show BIJF members the 88 boats within a week but failed. The executive director of the NGO refuses to receive calls from IT journalists any more.
A team of BIJF visited one of the project areas of the NGO called Chicola. The team interviewed 50 people, besides one schoolteacher, who have never heard about the NGO. According to the NGO's claim they have 180 regular staff and 2000 workers, but the IT journalists only saw 9 staff members. The Dhaka office of the UNDP said that they selected him for the award on the basis of a few newspaper reports. How can the UNDP rely on only a few newspaper reports for awarding a person?
IT journalists of BIJF believe that the NGO somehow misled the staff writer and the photographer of The Daily Star. For the sake of honesty in journalism, the leading English newspaper needs to reinvestigate every nook and cranny of the NGO.
M.A. Haque Anu

The SWM is currently carrying out another investigation to verify facts in the cover story. Our findings will appear in the magazine shortly.

Relief! Relief!
Shahnoor Wahid has successfully portrayed the true nature of our so called politicians in the article “Relief... ah Relief… oh Relief!” (August 17, 2007). Of course, the flood was a golden opportunity for them to make more money. The main purpose for joining politics is to become a millionaire and achieve absolute power. They are so dangerous that they capitalize the natural disasters to make money. A major portion of flood relief was consumed by ministers, MPs, UP chairmen and the remaining reached the affected people during the previous governments' tenure. They claim themselves to be public representatives. We are also responsible for this situation as we are the ones who voted them to power.
The new generation is much more sensitive and responsible about the country. I have seen how they engaged themselves in helping flood affected people. It's very inspiring. They did not get the chance to fight for their country in 1971 but they have not forgotten the dreams of their ancestors. This generation knows that the country's image is not so good to the international arena but they are committed to restoring its image. We have faith in them.
Jewel Rana
Faculty of Agriculture, BAU, Mymensingh

Closure of Four Jute Mills
I do not want to go on a debate over whether the closure of the four state owned jute mills is rational or not but it is important to know what kind of measure the interim government has taken for the employment of the workers who have lost their jobs. The government has decided to clear all workers' dues within two to three months after termination of their jobs. With the sky rocketing of prices of essentials how are these poor people expected to survive? We have known from various newspaper articles that the current situation of these workers is very pathetic. Most of them are badly in need of a job for maintaining their family. The children of these families have given up education. They are trying to find a job so that they can reduce the burden from their parents. Apparently some of the daughters from these families have taken up prostitution as a profession. If this is the present scenario then I do not think the closure of these jute mills is the answer.

In last week's cover story The Farmer's Plight (August 24, 2007) the quote by Shyk Siraj should have read as "This is the season when at least 18-20 mon of the high yield variety of rice production were expected. Now, the farmers would have to go for the late variety which would lead to around 12-13 mon of rice per bigha of land instead." instead of "This is the season when at least 18-20 tonnes of the high yield variety of rice production were expected. Now, the farmers would have to go for the late variety which would lead to around 12-13 tonnes of rice per bigha of land instead." The error is regretted.

Submission Guideline:
Letters to the Editor, Dhaka Diary and Write to Mita, with the writer's name and address, should be within 200 words. All articles should be within 1,200 words. A cover letter is not necessary, but every write-up should include the writer's name, phone number and email address (if any). While SWM welcomes unsolicited articles and photographs, it cannot accept the responsibility of their loss or damage. SWM does not return unsolicited articles and photos. Response time for unsolicited write-ups range from three weeks to two months. All articles submitted are subject to editing for reasons of space and clarity.
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It is recommended that those submitting work for the first time to the SWM take a look at a sample copy beforehand. Our website is: http://www.thedailystar.net/magazine

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