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     Volume 7 Issue 11 | March 14, 2008 |

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The good, the bad, the ugly


They say the intelligent always read between the lines. It is far more necessary now to read between pages, between publications, between you and the other person, between times past and present.

10 March 2008/ The Daily Star/ News item: 1
Saudi Crown Prince Sultan gifts Ershad Mercedes car
Staff Correspondent
Saudi Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz recently presented a Mercedes-Benz 350 car to former president Hussain Muhammad Ershad.
Expressing his gratitude for the present, Ershad said the gift is a token of love of the prince and the Saudi government as well for the people of Bangladesh and for a political leader who is dedicated to serving his people, according to a Jatiya Party release.

It said Ershad came to know about the gift through a letter sent by Mohammad bin Selim-Al Mari, personal secretary to the crown prince.

10 March 2008/ The Daily Star/ News item: 2
Mufti warns Saudis to watch their money
AP, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia's top religious authority warned Saudis against giving money to "evil" organizations, a newspaper considered close to the government reported on Saturday.

Just days before the warning by Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Abdullah al-Sheikh, grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, police intercepted a phone message purportedly from al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. In the audio recording, al-Zawahri exhorts followers to collect money for needy families in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"It is bad to give funds to just anyone who asks, and to parties with shabby reputations or unknown backing," the mufti said in the statement published in the daily newspaper al-Okaz.

"It's even worse to give it to an organization that's known for its evil and for hurting Islam and its followers," he added in an apparent reference to al-Qaida.

The oil-rich kingdom, birthplace of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, has been waging a crackdown on the group's militants since a 2003 wave of attacks on foreigners here.

Last April, one of the largest sweeps by Saudi authorities netted 172 militants, including pilots allegedly trained to carry out attacks on oil refineries using civilian planes.

10 November 2007/ Abridged version from a website.
We are all Nur Hossain
Mashuqur Rahman
On November 10, 1987 a young Bangladeshi man named Nur Hossain was shot and killed by the forces of Bangladesh's part-time poet and full time dictator General Hossain Mohammad Ershad. On that day Nur Hossain had joined thousands of other Bangladeshis in protesting the dictator's rule. The protesters demanded a return to democracy. Nur Hossain stood out amongst the protesters. He had the Bengali words “<>Sairachar nipat jak<>” (Down with autocracy) painted in bright white letters on his bare chest, and the words “<>Ganatantra mukti pak<>” (Let there be democracy) painted on his back. He died for those demands and became a martyr for the democracy movement in Bangladesh.

The dictator Ershad did not fall that day. Instead he talked tough:
<>News item President H. M. Ershad, declaring he would no longer tolerate anti-Government riots, vowed today that arsonists and looters would be shot on sight. “So far I have not used any of my weapons,” President Ershad told foreign reporters in an interview after four days of sporadic unrest in this capital and other cities. “I can be tough. Everyone in this country is asking me to be really tough. We are not going to tolerate any more of this nonsense.”<>

A little over five years before Nur Hossain was murdered, General Ershad seized power in a coup in Bangladesh and declared he would “end corruption in public life”:
News item The nation's new military ruler announced today that special courts would be set up to punish all guilty of corruption, with the power to impose heavy prison terms or even the death penalty.

Lieut. Gen. Hussain Mohammed Ershad, the army chief of staff, who seized power Wednesday to ”end corruption in public life,” issued martial-law regulations that said those facing prosecution could include former presidents, former Government ministers and members of the defence and police forces.

General Ershad launched his “anti-corruption” drive and banned political activity so that he could remove the “cancer” of public corruption. Ershad promised to restore democracy within two years. He also declared that he had the support of the United States.

The General survived in power a little over three years after Nur Hossain's death. At the end of November 1990, as the pro-democracy movement flared all around him, General Ershad's forces once again fired upon pro-democracy demonstrators. This time they killed 50 Bangladeshi citizens. To retain his grip on power, the dictator again declared a state of emergency. But to no avail. Less then one week later the dictator was forced to resign.

About three months later, in February of 1991, the people of Bangladesh went to the polls to elect their next prime minister in a free and fair democratic election. General Ershad, the man on whose orders Nur Hossain was murdered, was charged and convicted of corruption and other related crimes and sent to prison.

WRITE TO CHINTITO <chintitoforever@gmail.com>

Chintito Letters

Hi, Hope you are well. I am sure that you get a lot of emails asking about your personal life and you don't bother to answer them. Would you, considering it a mistake, tell me if you went to Cambridge University? Regards. Proletariat. (18 Feb 2008)

To study or to visit or to teach or to work as a porter? You must first clarify. Thanks for writing. Always appreciated. I am rather amused by your interest in Cambridge despite your social condition, which I otherwise have full sympathy for. Take care. Ch!

Thanks for your reply though I have never expected it. I should have clarified and that is something I had realised after I got your mail. I know a person who attended Cambridge to Study, worked for a local newspaper in Cambridge and now he lives in Dhaka. I noticed an uncanny resemblance between the way you write and the way he used to. I don't have any contact with that person for about one and a half year even though I have tried in vain. However, I know this is a long shot and perhaps the most ludicrous thing for me to do and therefore I ask for forgiveness. I must say that I really appreciate your reply. I really do. I guess I can't thank you enough. Take care. Literally proletariat (22 Feb 2008)

No, brother! I have never attended Cambridge. I did visit the lovely town though. You did nothing wrong and asking for forgiveness is not in order. I thank you for establishing contact with me. Take care. C.

Dear Ch! Have a nice morning. I'm really impressed your answer, "I was born in 1995 at The Daily Star". I am not regular reader of your column! But at present I am interested to make some cartoons related to your article! Is it possible? Thanks a lot. Srijib (9 Feb 2008)

That's a fantastic idea, Srijib dear. I would be delighted to have you drawing cartoons on any of my articles. Maybe Star Weekend Magazine will even consider publishing some of them. Best of luck. Best regards. C

Hi Ch! Good morning. I am not a regular cartoonist. Today I sent some cartoons about you. Now everybody has a question: "What do you look like?" I tried to make your portrait not one or two, but a few. Srijib
Hey Chintito. Salaam. You seem to be a very interesting and witty person to me! I have to wait for a whole week to read your article :( Sometimes I think you are a lady but sometimes you seem to be a guy. Do you write books? I would like to read books written by you in which you would write about all your observations and experiences, from where we have a lot to learn. Your write-ups are very thought provocative; they stir our mind like anything! I look forward to reading your writings more and more! Take care! *~Ishrat Nawreen Shamma~* (24 Feb 2008)

Dear Shamma, Salaam to you too. Thank you for your words of appreciation. I am glad to learn that you enjoy my column. I am encouraged. I am also not so unhappy to learn about your confusion, because I have been able to confuse you. Truly, though I am a person. C.

I forgot to mention. There is a book written by Chintito. It contains all the articles of 1995-1997. It was published by The Daily Star on its 15th birthday in 2006. The title of the book is: A 'STIR' IS BORN. I believe you can buy a copy from The Daily Star office or from the Muktijuddho Jadughar or from etc, the shop. Please do. It will make me very happy. Salaam. C.

Dear Chintito. You suggested that I should meet people as much as possible so that I can increase my communication skill. Unfortunately I have some pronunciation problem. Moreover I am always nervous. Therefore I always feel distressed. I don't know how to solve this problem. However, thanks for your wonderful suggestion. Best regards. Mushfique (26 Feb 2008)

Dear Chintito, Thank you for your nice complement. Sorry for late response. I have gone through your 'The One Day Love-bug'. Thanks for your sense of humor (a popular statement). We always try to find out the shining part of any activity. Probably we can calculate how many greeting cards were exchanged that day. But we are not interested to calculate how many people were cheated by their friends or how many acid throwing incidents occurred that day. We want to consider the sprit of the day, which is bhalobasha, which will never dim. I know you wrote on 'Razakar' in several issues. I saw an interesting thinking in last issue on 'Razakar'. Some body tries to stand a new labeling of Razakar (everybody has right to express h/her opinion). They have discovered three types of Razakars (probably more types are waiting in the pipeline). But this kind of initiative can't change or shed the actual meaning of Razakar. With best regards. Iqbal Chowdhury (26 Feb 2008)


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