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Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

We were all introduced to Harry Potter when he was an eleven year old boy in "The Sorcerer's Stone." Since then people from all over the world has followed Harry's life as he discovers new things about himself and experiences new adventures. In the fifth book, "The Order of the Phoenix" we left Harry in a very despondent state where he had lost a good friend and once again had to return to his 'muggle' family in London. So obviously all Harry Potter's fans were impatiently waiting to find out what would be happening to Harry in the next chapter of his life.

People had been waiting eagerly for the 16th of July so they could finally buy the long awaited sixth Harry Potter "the Half Blood Prince" to find out what adventures Harry would be facing next. We, in Bangladesh have not had to wait long or get our copies from relatives arriving from abroad. Etcetera and Words n' Pages both launched Harry Potter on the same day that it has been introduced in any other part of the world. There were people lined up outside Etcetera and Words n' Pages even before they opened at 7 am on Saturday morning. As there was a hartal on the day, many people couldn't go to buy their books in the morning but people had been restlessly calling to reserve their books in advance so they didn't miss out. In Word's and Pages there were people lined outside before the store opened and soon there formed a line of about 25 people.

Both these stores launched the original version of "The Half Blood Prince" and this has obviously been very difficult to achieve for a country like Bangladesh where piracy is so common. It won't be long before we see copies of the sixth book in the hands of vendors on the streets tapping at your car windows begging you to buy a copy for tk 200. The stores that are introducing the original copies of the books are on a mission to stop piracy and encourage people to read original texts. At the same time they are increasing the habit of reading amongst children.

In Etcetera the sixth Harry Potter is being sold for tk 1450 and there was a 300 tk discount during the launching. In Words n' Pages you can buy it for tk 1475. Dozens of people are already at the bookstores waiting to claim a copy, so I suggest to anybody who is being lazy that they should get down to the stores right away. There have been many rumours about the book, and since we have been waiting for so long for the sixth book, people have many different ideas to what will happen next. There have been chat rooms, websites and numerous other things spreading gossip about Harry Potter, so to fix any incorrect impressions that you might have about the story, I advise you to get a book right away and find out what adventures Harry with experience next.

By Preeti



Abuse of minor domestic workers

A recent survey concludes that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened in the past few years. But one does not need a survey to point out something so obvious. This fact is only reaffirmed by acts of dehumanisation and violence towards the underprivileged society that we witness so regularly.

On May 22, eight-year-old Rupali, a domestic worker, was beaten to death by her employer. Eight-year-old Meena and nine-year-old Pakhi are presently recuperating at DMCH after being subjected to brutal torture by their employers. Ten years old domestic worker Nupur was frequently tormented. But the fact remains that stories like these are heard so often that nobody is really surprised anymore. Abuse of minor domestic workers is becoming an increasingly important issue in Bangladesh. Very little is being done to prevent these inhuman acts towards poverty-stricken, uneducated, helpless people.

People fail to realize that no matter what the situation is, they are still children. They are defenseless to the abuse. Not only are these children deprived of their fundamental rights as human beings, their rights of choice, but they are also, in fact, dehumanized. They have been degraded to the level of animals, even less.

In a narrow-minded society that reeks of hypocrisy, child labor is an acceptable practice. In this country, hundreds of households employ underage children as domestic workers. In the modern world, the term 'child labor' is used to denote the employment of minors generally, especially in work that may interfere with their education or endanger their health. 'Child abuse' is referred to intentional acts that result in physical or emotional harm to children. The term child abuse covers a wide range of behaviour, from actual physical assault to neglect of a child's basic needs. Hundreds, maybe thousands of children in our country are exposed to this treatment Society is ignorant to the magnitude of the impact abuse actually has on these children. They are scarred for life, traumatized. People don't realize this maltreatment of underprivileged minors affect the country as a whole.

Employers that regularly inflict harm on their domestic workers do not understand that they are responsible for these workers. Domestic help are treated like property, enslaved by limited or no choice. The employers do not understand that these people are not infallible, that they are human, capable of mistakes, craving compassion and sympathy. The worst part is that these crimes are committed by the so-called respected members of society, and very often these people escape unharmed, while the victims are instead isolated and neglected. Society displays an attitude that discourages the tortured to speak out, hence, making it impossible to find out how big an issue it really is in Bangladesh. It is safe to conclude that abused workers are not only deprived of a childhood, but also a future.

By Bushra Sameeha Anwar


American Studies Institute- Part IV

Another week in the U.S. has passed by, leaving behind loads of unforgettable memories in our hearts. The third week of the program included classroom discussions, a trip to Harrisburg and home stay…

July 5 was marked by open discussions on Media, Free Speech and the U.S. Constitution, the role of Non-Profit Organizations in Community Leadership and Elections, Voters, and Voting Behavior in the U.S. July 6 was marked by a visit to the Cumberland Historical Society. This visit was a truly enlightening one. Barb Landis of the Cumberland Historical Society talked about the native American Indians, their sad history, their misery in the modern U.S. society and the Carlisle Indian School. This Indian School was an attempt to civilize the native American Indian children to enable them to find a place for themselves in the U.S. society during the 19th century, although success stories were very rare. This Cumberland County Historical Society also houses an extensive collection of archival materials from the Carlisle Indian School.

On July 7, we had a special opportunity to serve at the Carlisle Salvation Army- My Brother's Kitchen. Funded by the government and the local charity donors, it provides the needy with rental and utility assistance, food and clothing. Although it might often seem to many that global power like the USA do not experience problem like poverty in their society, it's not in reality true. Many of the people who came to dine at the Soup Kitchen were either homeless, drug addicts or AIDS patients. The tattered clothes of the American children kept reminding me of the underprivileged children of my own country.

Our group of seven served at the Soup Kitchen for about 3 hours. We did things we never did before, starting from serving the foods, cleaning the tables to mopping the floor and rinsing the dishes. It was a invaluable experience which helped me to learn that no matter where our roots are, poverty, drug addiction or AIDS have common definitions all over the world.

On the same day, the Pakistani participants of the program put up a fantastic home country presentation at the Stern Center. The hearty presentation of these young student leaders gave the audience an in-depth picture of the Pakistani culture, heritage and economy.

We paid our second trip to Harrisburg, the state capital on July 8. This time, we had an opportunity to visit the Pennsylvania State Capitol, where the state legislative body meets. The architecture of this spectacular building would enthrall any visitor. We had a chance to roam around the building, talk to important government officials and even take a look at the governor's office chamber. Later on, we visited the Dauphin County Courthouse, U.S. District Court and learnt about the U.S. judicial process. Judge Sylvia Rambo along with representatives from Attorney's office and Federal Probation office briefed us on U.S. judicial system and answered our various queries.

On July 9 and 10, Wajeeha from Pakistan, Lubna from India and Tahmina and I from Bangladesh visited the summer cottage of Prof. Shalom Staub and his wife Janet Staub at Jim Thorpe, a small town in the heart of Pocono Mountains. The picturesque view of Appalachian, the Lehigh River and Bear Creek lake left the four of us completely awestruck. Watching a beautiful sunset from the mountain, canoeing in the water of Bear Creek, standing by the Lehigh River, trekking through the mountain paths, driving on the roads of Pocono Mountains and enjoying the affection of the Staubs made the whole visit a very memorable one. It was no less than finding a home away from home. Our visit at the Staubs' ended with a delicious dinner in Passage to India, an Indian restaurant located beside the scenic Susquehanna River.

By Wara Karim


Allergies and addictions

We are all pretty familiar with the phenomenon of 'allergies'. Every allergy gives birth to an addiction, even if its not very obvious at that time. Yet some of these allergies do play a significant part in our live, sometimes for the better.or sometimes for the worse. Read on to find out:

NORMAL Allergies: These are people addicted to the feeling of making other people miserable. Who falls into this category? Well, this category is for people who suffer from minor allergies to minor elements. We have people who are allergic to dust, hay, pollen, and so forth. Even minor quantities of these minor elements can bring about a severe sneezing fit. During a certain exam, I remember once how we had to stand the sneezing fit of a certain individual (who shall remain unnamed) just because the room we were sitting in had dust in it. On and on and on the sneezes continued for an entire hour, with intervals of barely twenty seconds between each sneeze. Our exasperated looks and frustrated glares had little effect on him as he continued sneezing, blissfully oblivious to his surroundings. Needless to say, with little concentration almost all of us had failed the exam. What all the classmates did to him after the exam. well, you don't want to know!

TRUTH Allergies: Guess what truth allergic people are addicted to? Simple: they are addicted to lies. White lies, innocent lies, small lies, big lies: you name it, they are addicted to it. Remember the famous Pinochio? This poor cartoon character's nose used to grow longer and longer every time he told a lie. It's too bad this theory can't be implemented in real life, in the real world. I wonder who'd have the longest nose then. Perhaps our famous politicians? The funny thing is that this allergy starts on a relatively small scale. People in this category start off by telling white lies when they feel that the time's not right to reveal the truth. Every time they start off telling a lie and getting away with it they get high and want to do it again and again. Eventually it develops into a lies' addiction and a truth allergy. I wonder just how aristocratic our politicians will look with really, really long noses. Looking back in history, I think they certainly deserve it, don't you think so?

LOVE Allergies: These people are addicted to 'Singledom' (the state of being single and 'available' to every member of the opposite sex who happens to cross their path). Ever heard from a certain boyfriend or girlfriend about how they are 'allergic' to love? These people exist by the thousands. The most common symptom they all share is that they all have 'fear of commitment'. They are always happy to 'have a relationship' but at the first sign of commitment you can see them running in the opposite direction, panting with the effort to increase distance between themselves and their 'significant other'. This allergy is psychological, and it has its roots. In many cases the allergic person is just looking to have 'a good time without commitment'. I remember a girl who always mentioned 'Why get married and make one man miserable, when I can stay single and make thousands miserable?' Interesting analogy. I wonder why I never thought of that myself. Hmm.

PEACE Allergies: These people are addicted to something that plays a significant part in disrupting peace: violence. Somehow the very mention of 'Peace' has been known to make their blood boil, and strive to make plans of replacing peace and spreading their most favorite addiction.violence. Who are the people who fall into this category? The answer is simple: they are terrorists. History has many examples of many such people. Lets not forget the infamous September 11th attack on the Twin Towers. This stunt was stage by a group of terrorists merely looking for a few moments of fame. But, as a result of their actions, nationwide peace was shattered as all countries looked at each other, trying to find someone to lay the blame on. Life's funny don't you think so?

There are many other forms of allergies, I'm sure, but these are all that I can think of right now. If you can think of some other allergy/ addiction forms, do let me know and perhaps I can do a follow up with all your combined feedback. Mail in your views at jenniash@yahoo.com Ciao!

By Jennifer Ashraf


 
 

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