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      Volume 10 |Issue 16 | April 22, 2011 |


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Twisting for the truth, but are we?


There is this thick voice (sounds human) in TV commercials that makes little sense because his utterances are incomprehensible. Now his blind (why is it never deaf?) fans will tell me I need to change my archaic telly set (purchased last year) or in the least fix the sound mechanism from normal to surround. Why not change my ears, which is also possible. Thank you; while I am having tolerable difficulty with some English newscasters who roll their accent in sync with their eyebrows or lips depending on their sex appeal, I am absolutely mortified by this mono voice guy and would be petrified by several of them encapsulating me in an acoustic milieu of horror. So I say, change the guy, unless of course he owns the channel or the product company, in which case ask him very politely to at least cough before giving his voice. Modhu in the morning helps. And please modhu is not a monkey. But despite the turmoil he is causing that is not the topic under scrutiny this week.

They say we are way behind other countries which have moved on. That is not correct because cosmologically we are all moving together on the same axis around the star at the centre of our solar system. But since we as a nation are fascinated with the 'twist', and we love to twist everything and anything, people who have moved on to other forms of gyration for pleasure may have cause to believe that we are still in the 60s.

Some took to the streets and create storms in a teacup to twist the radio announcement of Ziaur Rahman on 27 March 1971 as being THE reason to launch our fight for liberation. That foxtrot even the announcer did not try in his lifetime because he, as any other Bangalee, was well versed with the developments... 1952... 1954... 1966...1969...1970... and the central role that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman played. National independence is never a sudden ethereal revelation rather it is founded on collective history and beliefs, developed over years; in our case to a large extent since 1948 when the insolent uttered that Urdu shall be our state language.

To disprove the self-seeking politicians, let me draw a parable: When prices of essentials rise people blame the government, and not the TV/radio announcer who makes the announcement. But we love to twist.

If you listen carefully to the recent recorded and televised utterance of the chairman of the probe committee on the share market scam, in reference to bringing the offenders to book all he said was: This (punishment) happens during martial law. He may have spoken out of frustration. He never said that martial law is a law, or that it is better than democratic times. But we love to twist. That is so because the perpetrators of the share crime are weary of the inquiry report being published, and what better defence than to sully the chairman, who incidentally was appointed and accepted as chairman of the important investigation because of his credibility. But we are twisting.

After the widely acclaimed banker to the poor went to court and lost his right to remain head of the bank he founded, there was serious twisting to the point that the court verdict would affect the USA-Bangladesh relations, that Obama, Hilary and company have stopped dancing to Bhaawaia and such other splendours. However, the Bangla Naba Barsha cleared a lot of air, which is actually its prime function. Even after the Nobel Laureate lost his appeal in a Bangladesh court the US President and their Secretary of State have wished all Bangalees well on the occasion of Pahela Boishakh. There appears to be no love lost. But we love to twist.

The message on behalf of the US president dated 11 April 2011 was signed by Hillary. “As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States stands with all Bengalis everywhere as we work for a more peaceful and prosperous future,” The US government concluded the greetings message with “Shubho Nobo Borsho!” Now that should make all Bangalees twist in delight till at least 1419.

NGO Odhikar expresses a national concern, “Dowry related violence, rape, acid throwing, domestic violence, illegal fatwa, sexual harassment, wage discrimination, and social discrimination against women are widespread occurrences.” Under the circumstances the government has proposed a policy to protect women's rights. The twisting began. One faction of Islamic Oikyo Jote (IOJ) dubbed the policy anti-Islamic. The other IOJ faction claims the policy ensures rights of women on the property they inherited or earned themselves, which rather upheld the Islamic spirit. The words 'inherited or earned themselves' is vital to the issue. But we love to twist.

And that is why we are still suspected of being in the 60s.


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