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     Volume 8 Issue 68 | May 8, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  Current Affairs
  Special Feature
  Human Rights
  Food for Thoughts
  One Off
  A Roman Column
  Making A Difference
  Book Review
  Star Diary
  Post Script

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On the cover story “The fight for recognition”

House chores are considered insignificant and negligible in the eye of our patriarchal society as it is thought that this sort of job brings no immediate and tangible financial benefit to the family. The recognition of house workers, especially women, is essential to show respect to the contribution of these working folk to make our family life and society better.
As poverty forces them to engage in this job and their lot is subject to unexpected and unforeseen events. Providing proper support and respect is needed to get good service from them, which is crucial for working families.
Though Bangladesh has been suffering from much humanitarian distress since its independence, it is pathetic that the exploitation, oppression and deprivation caused by internal authorities proves the saying that, the rulers may change but the rules remain the same.
Existing laws should be reinforced and new laws must be formulated, if necessary, and implemented along with the support of the related authorities and common people of Bangladesh. Moreover, raising consciousness about the rights of the household workers and proper execution of unjust events should be emphasised in order to protect our human rights.
Sheikh Abdullah
Department of Finance
University of Dhaka.

The Real Victims
Although the blazing sun and the scorching heat has recently been a 'hot' topic, as this has proven to be the hottest heat wave in the past 14 years, everyone is desperately looking for an effective solution to deal with it. Simultaneously the lack of adequate water and the frequent power cuts has aggravated the situation bringing more turmoil in the life of everyday people. But still we forget about the real victims, rickshaw pullers as they suffer in every season. Many have no house and so live on the footpath and a large number of them live in the slums. Not only in summer are they affected, in rainy season they get soaked in rain water and the chilling wind of winter freezes them as they have little or no clothes. Still they fight many storms and other many natural disasters and the very next day they get to work as they live hand to mouth. The rickshaw pullers lead simple lives and their happiness is often based on the smallest of things. Of course festivals like Eid, Pahela Baishakh etc are nothing special for them as they have to bear the load of people to transport to different amusement parks and other places. In fact in the last few years the population of rickshaws has noticeably increased, although the roads have not increased. In spite of this the previous governments have thought very little about the rickshaw pullers and their lives. Still we see no initiative for the poor people of Bangladesh. We hope for something better for them in future.
Md Mahbubur Rahman
European Standard School

Towels on Their Chair!
I entirety share the observation made by Ms. Razia Khan in The STAR (24 April 2009) about towels 'adorning' the back of the chairs of most government officials. This brings me to this practice back in 2002. I would like to revise it now for the benefit of the readers of the STAR Magazine. One must read a sci-fi book titled, 'Hitch-hiker's Guide to Galaxy' (also a film done on the basis of this book) which graphically illustrates the usefulness of a towel over several pages. However, in Bangladesh the executives above the rank of Section Officer (SO) have a love for expensive towels on their well-designed chairs. The SOs normally have the privilege of owning home-made towels, the above echelons' towels are all imported, made of finer materials from China, Korea or Japan. The colour and floral designs often speak of the nature of the user of the chair, and invariably stand starkly against settings of interior design and window curtains. However, the uses of towels are varied. The higher executives, as we know, work too hard, often their chair-cushion gets bruised or damaged, towels tend to cover the scars of the fateful chair. In hot humid summer they are in use to wipe off flowing sweat - as they are in abundance due to frequent power-cuts or 'load shedding' as the general public has termed it. During the rainy season, their uses need not be narrated. This is the time the towels get replaced (remember that it is June ending!). In leisurely district-level offices, towels may be used as replacements for pillows you cannot have a nap sitting upright. People say that in some offices where movement of files runs along side clandestine transaction of incentive-cash, towels are most useful one can put the flow of money under towel covering the seat since pockets and table drawers are not only exposed but embarrassing to both givers and takers!
With the development of Bangladesh, the towel culture is flourishing fast. Almost all offices of political parties it is a common culture for all of the above reasons. It is now being widely practiced by the ulemas and mashaekhs with political ambition. They all need towels year round, since there are agitations, slogans and movements around the corner plus 'donations' of various nature; towels help the bureaucrats and political leaders with a healthy living.
Ms. Khan, towels are not status symbol, it is a downright stupid symbol!
Dr. K. Maudood Elahi
Dhanmondi, Dhaka

About the letter 'Dhaka's US Embassy'
I was very shocked to read the letter 'Dhaka's US Embassy' on April 24, 2009 written by a 'sufferer' in the Star Magazine. It was not only wrong of the visa officials to behave rudely with her, but it was also wrong of the guard not to help when she needed water for her baby, and that too after making her wait for hours. It was nothing short of torture that the mother and the baby had to go through. According to the letter, the visa process has been suspended for the last six months, despite the fulfillment of all the requirements by the US immigration law. Moreover, the visa officer also insulted the 'sufferer' by making a humiliating comment about our country. Bangladesh is a developing country with plenty of limitations. Insulting a civilian cannot be a proper way to solve problems. The sufferer added that an experienced American attorney checked her papers and documents before submission. The visa official has been delaying the process in the name of 'review', which cannot be accepted in any way. I, therefore, draw the attention of the authorities concerned to take necessary steps regarding this matter.
Johny I Costa
Notre Dame College
Motijheel, Dhaka


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