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Volume 5 Issue 11| November 2011



Original Forum

Readers' Forum

Quasimodo(s) in the Bell Tower:
An apology to the childrenOf Bangladesh
--Shahana Siddiqui

Punishing Victims in the
Name of Rehabilitation

-- Taslima Yasmin

Breaking the Rod

---- Arafat Hossen Khan
The Two-Finger Test:
About Character or Consent?

-- Maimuna Ahmad

Snow on the Equator
-- Wasfia Nazreen
Mothers, Daughters and Sisters Are They Our Equals?
-- Ziauddin Choudhury
Street Harassment is Still Serious:
The violation of women in Dhaka's public realm

-- Olinda Hassan

A Violent Attitude
-- Zoia Tariq

Photo Feature:
A Different Innocence

City Lights

-- Jyoti Rahman

Inconvenient Truths about
Bangladeshi Politics
--Ali Riaz

Parliament and Political Parties:
culture of impasse and way forward

-- Sadrul Hasan Mazumder
The Revolution
Will Be Televised

-- Shahana Siddiqui and Jyoti Rahman

Film policy in Bangladesh:
The Road to Reform

-- Catherine Masud


Forum Home


Editor's Note

With the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and the Universal Children's Day marking the month of November it is only natural that we plumb deep into the issues the two Days bring to the fore.

If only men were to see and regard women as their mothers, sisters and daughters, discrimination in all its damning forms against women would largely have been a matter of the past. Ironically whilst this should have been a given inter-gender equation, even beyond family perimeters, in reality social norms dictate men's attitudes to the 'other' women. It is in this 'otherness' of women that the fault-lines of their vulnerabilities exist.

Women soon enough get to see the 'soul' receding before the concerns over the 'body'. Where could their mind's place be in the patriarchal value system obviously in a challenged state. Violence against women is manifestly taking on ever grosser forms, rape topping the list. Violence against women is the product of inequality before law, family and society.

There is hardly a woman who has not been harassed in the street by lewd stares or vulgar words, the streets being 'overwhelmingly dominated by men'. The magnitude of many-fanged physical violence and verbal abuse women suffer at homes, workplaces or just about anywhere calls for severe deterrent and preventive measures. This is a huge task no government has so far proved equal to, principally because laws rather than fighting violence have in their application created offences.

Bangladeshi women have the highest representation -- at 62 percent -- in the workforce of all the Muslim countries; they are having increasing share in household incomes at different levels; participating in higher education and joining various professions including politics and corporate lives. Such positive social indicators are not matched by any guarantees for their security, upward mobility and overall well being.

About children again, your children are not my children, so who bothers about the agenda of restoring 'lost childhood' to children. “How we lock up (their) dreams and hopes in colourful child-friendly reports, art exhibitions and socio-economic indicators” -- an insightful bemoaning that.

Indeed, on corporal punishment, educational institutions should have laws of their own to severely deal with the offenders. Teachers need to be sensitised before joining a school.

True, 'anti-begging law criminalises begging without providing for proper rehabilitation of vagrants'.

Catherine Masud makes out a strong case for revival of the cinema with a slew of well thought-out recommendations made for consideration of the government. We could not agree more with her that we take the cue from the rules of the game being followed in the region.




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