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Heroes rise and they never fall

March 25, 1971 - 1.27 A.M. - Dhaka
The sound of heavy engines made Samad stir. Nineteen year old Samad usually slept as if he was comatose but five minutes later he had to spring upright on his bed as soon as the sound of multiple gunshots reverberated around the whole neighbourhood. Unable to comprehend what was going on Samad sat there listening to the echo. In the next moment he scrambled down from his bed and went to the other room to find his mother peeking out of the window. Taking a look himself he saw heavy military trucks parked around the street. Khaki uniform clad military personnel had swarmed the building in the front. The scene made his knees weak.

In the light of the situation Samad's mother asked him to go and hide while bolting the door to their apartment closed. Samad always had faith in his mother. It was the sort of faith you have when you know a lot about a person. He obliged without any questions. On his very first instinct Samad went to the kitchen and got out the window to climb down the sewerage pipe to the sunshade of another window. Then he sat there.

It was a good thing that Samad had swarthy skin. Under the cover of darkness he became basically invisible. The commotion became much louder after a while as more military personnel started to appear and blast down the doors to each and every apartment. From his vantage point he could see that the army was making a group of civilian men kneel on the road. Instantaneously he knew what was about to happen and he turned around refusing to listen or see.

At dawn he scrambled up to his apartment after the military was gone. He went straight to his parent's room and got out their savings. While passing by the dining room he could not bear to look inside because he feared what he might find. Getting down to the road he started to walk. He would be going to his village home first. He had a portable radio with him. Getting it out he started tuning it to any radio channel that would give out instructions to anyone willing to be a part of the first 'resistance'!

January 25, 2010 11.58 A.M. - Dhaka
Tightening the knot of his paisley tie and taking a look at his reflection on the men's room mirror, Tareq found his own face looking back at him devoid of any expression. But deep inside he was in agony. Just a moment ago he had to become an accomplice to the evil deeds of a man he came to admire. The man who had been showing him the ropes to his new job for the past month, that day showed him the ropes to gaining some extra dough. He recalled the face of his supervisor, glistening with glee as he was showing Tareq the drawer where he usually kept his share of the bribe. Tareq had to go speechless for a moment, which his supervisor interpreted as joy this newfound information had given him.

Taking another minute and checking his watch Tareq made up his mind. During the lunch break he went to his supervisor's room, found all the incriminating evidence and showed up at the police station.

It is there for a greater reason
Did you ever wonder why we commemorate historic days like 26th March? Why there is a 26th March, a 16th December, a 21st February? Those are there not just to make us remember the tragic events or the gallant victories, not just because we would like to mourn the ones whom we lost on those days and especially not because we fear that the history of those days might be forgotten someday. Those memories are too potent to be forgotten that easily. We commemorate these days to look at the example of past heroes fighting evil even in the most adverse of situations and to make us not forget that we ourselves will always have to rise up against evil of all sorts and be the hero someday.

My father always says that there is no better feeling in this world than to be honest and he could tell because he had been honest his whole life. I would not admit it in front of him, but I admire him and his ideologies have led me to always strive for excellence because I too would like to be an example for the next generation just as the heroes of 1971 are an example of ours.

August 17, 1971 10.24 P.M. Rajshahi
Samad had to eat quickly. He was the last to eat from his group as he had to keep a lookout while the other freedom fighters of his group ate. The meal that night was rice and two small pieces of fried hilsha. Outside in the darkness Samad made himself comfortable, leaning against a tree amongst the bushes. The hilsha got finished rather too quickly and he was left with half a platter of plain rice. Shrugging, he used the drinking water from his glass to gobble down all of it; he would be needing the energy for tonight's mission. Suddenly he sensed something out of the corner of his eye and instantly recognized it. They were being ambushed! Leaving his meal Samad instantly went for his rifle and put the bayonet all the way through the chest of a passing hostile soldier. But for that he had to reveal himself and the result was a gunshot wound on the left of his ribcage. As he lay there writhing, one of the next two passing soldiers that had shot him, kicked him hard on his face but Samad could not feel anything as the pain from the gunshot wound had flooded his whole body. He knew by instinct that he would take a good ten minutes to die. Turning around he saw three of his fellow freedom fighter putting up resistance. Grabbing his rifle Samad thought he might as well use his last minutes in this world.

By Hitoishi Chakma

Conspiracy from Timbuktu

It has come to the attention of the Anti-League of Anti-Conspirators, that there is a conspiracy going on and that ALAC is not involved in it. This has been taken as a grand insult to our egos and as such we demand apologies and we also demand tribute. On another note, our team of super-specialist detectives has figured out the conspiracy through their super-determination and super-effort. Most of which involves staring at walls and clouds and imagining them to be shapes they are, in reality, not.

Our team suffered heavily from the horrible internet connection experienced recently. As such, they took it upon themselves to uncover the cause and bring people to justice even if no person was involved. They headed off to uncover the tampering of the submarine cable.

While on site, they discovered some interesting clues and were able to come to a pretty neat and accurate conclusion. They took out their scuba diving equipment, equipped with gravitation boots to enable them to walk on water, or IN water, whichever was necessary. In another note, they've reported that it's very fun to run along the submarine cable.

Back to our main point. They discovered traces of papers all around the site. Whoever the perpetrators were, they were clearly not very wise. The team was able to follow the traces back to the vandals' initial hideout.

The accumulated reports we received are very disturbing and the readers are warned to steel their heart and brace themselves. Our team was led into a five star hotel in Iceland, where they found further clues- more traces of paper. This time, they detected traces of saw-dust. This even more interesting clue led them on a wild goose chase through Disney Land, where they had quite a lot of fun (they have however advised others against visiting it as it is not worth it). There they stumbled upon a golden necklace. Upon closer inspection, they unfortunately discovered it to be a very good imitation of gold, rather than the real thing itself. However, they were lucky to find a seal on the backside that said it was made in Timbuktu.

And so our intrepid team took the next flight to Timbuktu. There they did found writ in stone, the words of the ancient tribe Teeshoo Paypar. The words were mostly gibberish however, the Team is very good in terms of gibberish. It turned out to be one freaky prophecy. And through that prophecy, we learnt of the secret plan of the Teeshoo Paypar tribe. Of course, before they could report their newfound knowledge to us through their wireless communicators, their equipments were jammed by what they believed to be 'banshee like screams, except slightly muffled'. Very soon, they were overwhelmed by the Teeshoo Paypar tribe.

And it was in that horrible moment, that they horribly realized the true horrible identities of the horrible Teeshoo Paypar tribe. To their horror, they understand the horrible pun on the tribe's horrible name. These horrible ancient tribal creatures were carnivorous, man eating and very horrible. And very hungry. They were… the Man Eating Tissue Papers from Timbuktu.

Thankfully, our specialists are not called specialists for nothing. They all have something special. One of them happens to be a very expert 'burper'. Utilizing superior teamwork skills developed through years and years of multiplayer gaming, they were able to turn predators into prey. Using a combination of flame and gas, they were able to burn the Man Eating Tissue Papers from Timbuktu into little cinders. And victory was theirs.

But, at what cost? We never really knew how many men we sent out there but only three came back. Possibly, we sent only three but, still, who knew? Maybe, we sent more. And who knew what other powers these Man Eating Tissue Papers from Timbuktu had.

Really, at what cost? Someone will have to answer it. The plane fairs, the Disney Land rides, the food, the accommodation, the sanity of those brave three (possibly more) men. We have discovered a terrible force in our midst- The Man Eating Tissue Papers from Timbuktu. They probably have invaded us, already. They have struck our communications system successfully on three occasions when they damaged the submarine cables at three different places.

Our message is that you buy pure non-man-eating tissue papers from Bangladesh when you buy tissue papers. Check the seal and just to be sure, burp on them to remind any potential spy of our potency.
This is ALACsigning out.

By Weirdo

Book review
Fleshmarket Close

Living in a developing, predominantly Muslim country, you've probably had to face the business end of racial prejudice at some point in your life or the other. Airports are a typical place where you find yourself partly hating your passport, and partly being outraged when you have to deal with a little more hassle than say, the white man next to you. So it's easy for people like us to bristle at the mention of the word 'racism' and to start that whole Them versus Us routine.

Yet we are just as guilty of racism in a thousand little ways very single day. It creeps up in our language: we say Chinkies to mean Oriental people, kaulas to talk about Africans, and of course, a lot of spleen is vented on Americans, citizens of the same country we line up to get entry into. Funny, isn't it?

This then, is the theme of this Inspector Rebus novel by Ian Rankin. Taking up after Dead Souls, this story starts with the entire Lothian and Borders unit being dismantled and re-delegated to different police stations around Edinburgh. Detective Inspector John Rebus and his trusty sidekick DC Siobhan Clarke find themselves in Gayfield Square, investigating the murder of an illegal immigrant in a rundown part of the town. Added to the mix are two other cases: one of a set of skeletons found buried in the concrete in a cellar near a bar, and the other, where a girl, whose sister had been raped and later committed suicide, has gone missing.

As is usual with the Rebus books, there is a lot of plodding police work, office politics, and littler personal details to bring the story alive. After a certain episode towards the end of Dead Souls, there is a certain amount of friction between Rebus and Clarke, which is not helped by the appearance of Caro Quinn, an artist holding vigil in front of the detention center for the immigrants. As mentioned before, the focus here is racism, and the immigrant issue, and we find not only Rebus, but several of the characters forced to confront and rethink their prejudices. In many ways, it is reminiscent of how characters in the television series Heroes learn to trust one another and work together despite obvious differences.

The novel lacks some of the excitement and suspense of the earlier Rebus books, but the development of relationships between the characters, as well as the particular issues that the book addresses still makes it an interesting read. Also, watch out for artists that Rankin recommends; every Rebus book comes with its own play list. Now that's what I call a complete experience.

By Sabrina F Ahmad



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