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Charity concert for Aila victims

We've all heard of (and vaguely experienced) the wrath of Cyclone Aila on May 25th. Although Dhaka wasn't affected, lots of areas near the coast were. And thousands of people are still suffering.

That's why event management company The Source organized a concert for the victims on Saturday, June 20th.

The show, scheduled to start at 6:30, started a teensy bit later due to all the confusion caused by daylight savings. The wait was definitely worth it though because it was one of the best shows this writer has ever been to.

It took place at Spectra Convention Center and had a fairly low crowd turn up to support the worthy cause.

The opening performance came from Old School (which is one of this writers favorite bands so this might be a little biased) and they brought the house down! Sarting off with their usual pink panther/007 medley they continued on to do instrumentals of Nirvana (Smells like Teen Spirit) and Led Zeppelin (Stairway to Heaven)/ Lalon (Khachar Bhitor Ochin Paki) and Daughtry (Home)/Artcell (Pothchola) in their usual fusion style. They did two more songs (Lalon, System of a Down) but still had the crowd begging for an encore, which they eventually gave in to with an Artcell number. The vocals from Mobasshir were amazing and the exceptionally good-looking flute player, Naveed, also delivered well. The crowd had a blast!

Bohemian followed them. Even though a drummer short, they were still awesome up on stage starting the show with a U2 classic 'Desire'. They did a few of their own tracks like Jibon Theme Thakena and Maya from their upcoming album (which were great and totally convinced me to go out and buy their album). The band also did two other covers of Breaking Benjamin's 'So Cold' and Mr. Big's 'Be With You'.

Groovetrap got their 'groove' on afterwards starting with a track of their own called Ek Ochena (a Bengali version of Heard it through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye). They had the crowd pumped up and on their feet! The second song was a Led Zeppelin cover of Heartbreaker for which they invited Jawad and Saad (who were both incredibly FINE) from the band 71 and Sunny to play with them on stage. Another Led Zeppelin song (Black Dog) was done by Simin before their other vocals (Jasper) came up on stage and did an original number called Coming Back. They ended their set with their splendid rendition of Thriller by Michael Jackson.

And then, the band everyone had been waiting for, Nemesis came up on stage. After taking their usual sweet time setting up (although surprisingly it was less than Groovetrap) they started with some of their new tracks from an upcoming album. Being the great Nemesis they didn't deem it necessary to introduce their tracks so this writer has no idea what most of them are called having not been a fan of them till Saturday night. They were (obviously) really REALLY great up on stage even with all the 'technical difficulties' they seemed to be facing (according to them). They were certainly a crowd beloved as everyone was on their feet and singing along and 'head-banging' along to them.

The show ended with Fuad and Friends. This was their first show in seven months but even then they were great! Fuad NEVER gets rusty. Playing with Fuad was the very famous (and lets not forget good looking) drummer Rafa. They did a couple of songs off their albums along with Tor Jonno Ami Bonno and ending with SD Burman tracks (Tumi Ar Nei Shei Tumi and Nitol Paye).

Overall the show was a success! The audience had a fantastic time. It's always a good thing when we, the fortunate, can help out those in need. And what better way to help others than through the power of music?

By Musarrat Rahman

Photo: Raiedisha

Unite to combat climate change

Imagine being terrorized out from your home, from your country. Not being able to see your relatives again. Not be able to go to school or hang out with your friends. Not being able to sleep in your own bed at night blanketed in the comfort of your familiar four walls.

Imagine having to rely on the kindness of complete strangers, in a foreign land, for basic necessities such as food, shelter and protection.

Can you envision what they must go through? How vulnerable they must feel?

Refugees are people just like you and me. What's the difference? They've been forced out of their native country to escape conflict, persecution, violence (such as war) and gross human rights abuses.

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated in Article 14, 'the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution', allowing victims from others countries to leave their country and seek refuge elsewhere.

But that is not always the case. Wealthy industrializes states sometimes adopt a particularly hostile and restrictive approach to handling refugees.

Governments have subjected refugees to arbitrary arrest, detention, denial of social and economic rights and closed borders. In some cases, refugees are even sent back to their country where they are forced to face persecution and, since the incident of September 11, many countries have pushed through emergency anti-terrorism legislation that curtails the rights of refugees.

On December 15, 1950, the United Nations Genera Assembly established the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The agency was set up to ensure international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.

“Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

In more than five decades, the agency has helped people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 6,600 people in more than 110 countries continues to help about 34 million persons. ” UNCHR website

June 20th is recognised as World Refugee Day and it is about raising awareness regarding refugees and helping us, all over the world, get a better understanding of their lives so that in the future, we too can join forces and help those who are desperately in need of kindness from a stranger.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, marked World Refugee Day by eating breakfast with former refugees at an Ethiopian restaurant in Chicago, while people all over the world also paid tribute this Saturday to the 42 million forcibly displaced people around the globe.

Amongst them was actress Angelina Jolie, Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, who marked the day in Washington DC. Jolie has been trying to create public awareness of refugee rights for a while now.

Let us hope that soon, the day will come when World Refugee Day and Refugees will be a thing of the past along with wars, violence and wrongful persecution.

By Musarrat Rahman


But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know. Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

T's been like that for days now.
It's like a room that rings with the presence of someone. The curtains are drawn apart and the room bathes itself in the first rays of bright sunlight washing over the horizon. The drawer of the keyboard juts out of the computer shelf, a book with its corners folded at page 377 reclines lazily on the table and a fluffy pillow cushions the chair. Ready-jet-set-go.

Only there is nobody in the room. There is just the absence of presence, or the presence of absence, call it what you will. It's rather like saying the glass is either half-empty or half-full.

Sometimes life is like that. Phases come, phases go. The room fades into bits of ochre. The safety of one phase is replaced by the uncertainty of another; and one set of people suddenly vanish from your lives, almost forever; because although you're still friends on that networking site and you've still got those phone numbers, you know. There will be nothing save the occasional hellos and formal birthday wishes. You know and they know that the phone numbers will get lost and replaced and the networking site will be prove to be too awkward to strike up another conversation on that lazy afternoon and everyone will be just too busy. Yes, hectic schedules have always been good excuses to let go.

Besides, there will be new people who will slowly replace the previous set.

But we feed on hope, and prefer to imagine that the glass is half-full. The world is a small place, as has been proved numerous times by acquaintances meeting at the same place in the same time in far corners of the world under highly improbable circumstances, when the probability of their meeting is close to zero. Maybe one snowy evening someone wrapped up in layers of clothing will find those familiar, sparkly black eyes and stop just enough to find that familiar face gazing in astonishment. The roads shall ring with the laughter of the friends long forgotten.

Maybe. We bank on maybes; and perhaps there's nothing more beautiful.

By Anika Tabassum



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