at Loggerheads Again
“Let the coming years be years of advancing the trend
of our accomplishments. Let us all become vocal against all
things evil, ugly and mean," Prime Minister Khaleda Zia
said last Sunday in a 50-minute address to the nation over
radio and television marking three years in office.
Khaleda, however, also cautioned that her government would
not hold back from framing more stringent laws similar to
that of other developed democratic countries of the world
for eliminating terrorism and ensuring peace and security
of public life. The PM also mentioned that the criminals responsible
for the August 21 incident must be found out so that such
incidents do not occur again. She said all possible measures
have been taken by the government to track down the perpetrators.
The Prime Minister said people gave the alliance government
the responsibility of running the country with an over-two-thirds
majority and it would discharge its due responsibility.
Mainstream opposition parties, however, denounced her three-year
rule, by describing the government inefficient and corrupt.
The Awami League and its left allies called a general strike
on October 10 to mark the three-year of the government's assumption
AL supremo and the Leader of the Opposition, Sheikh Hasina,
in her turn, asked the government to step down. In her speech
at a local hotel on that day Hasina portrayed a grim picture
of the country under Khaleda's rule.
"It is a recognised democratic norm to seek fresh mandate
when a government loses confidence of the majority of people
and for this, the present government has to resign to make
way for an immediate election," Hasina, who survived
an assassination attempt only days ago, said. She also alleged
that the government has unleashed 'state terrorism' for political
ends, as it has been killing the prospective leaders of the
main opposition, sensing its defeat in the coming polls.
Hasina accused the government of not investigating the grisly
grenade attack on a rally of her party on Bangabandhu Avenue
on August 21. It seems that the evidence has been destroyed
and the perpetrators are being protected.
Amadou Abdoulaye Maiga, born in Senegal, died at the age of
33 while serving as a UN volunteer in Burundi. Amadou was
a former student of the Islamic University of Technology (IUT)
Dhaka. He came to Bangladesh in 1999 to be a Basketball Coach
at the Saint Francis Xavier Green Herald International School
in Dhaka. A gifted educator and a passionate advocate for
development through education, sports and volunteerism, he
organised various inter-school basketball tournaments both
in and outside Dhaka. He even took the children to basketball
tours outside Bangladesh, believing sports to be an essential
component of quality education and integral part of lifelong
learning. In 2003, he began teaching French as a second language
to students of class 5 to 8 in Green Herald International.
He also provided private tuition to slow learners and counselled
pre O-Level students.In 2004, Amadou became a United Nation
Volunteer (UNV) Assistant Programme Officer. He established
a football team of street children and together with UNV colleagues
he designed a project for the children for the rural and urban
areas of Bangladesh. Jointly with the UNV Team and other national
volunteer organisations, he also initiated a special education
programme to assist street children who lived and worked around
the markets, to gain at least the basic reading, writing and
calculating skills. On July 2004, Amadou left Bangladesh for
Burundi to serve as UNV Assistant Programmer where he was
assassinated. He left behind his wife Judith, a son and a
daughter and will be missed by the street children, his family,
his friends, his students, his colleagues and many others
whose lives he has touched.
French philosopher and founder of the deconstructionist school
of philosophy died last Friday at the age of 74 in a Paris
hospital. Deconstructionism is a controversial way of analysis
that challenges the basis of traditional European thought.
It argues that "every text has multiple layers of meaning,
which even its authors might not understand and which leave
it open to an endless process of reinterpretation".
Derrida was born in Algeria in 1930 and had studied at the
Sorbonne. He was extremely weary of publicity; and according
to the Daily Telegraph, he once demanded that "between
1962 and 1979 nothing appear in print about him other than
the texts he and his interpreters had written". Derrida
even refused to be photographed. The philosopher, however,
appeared in a documentary about his life in 2002.
Peter Eisenman, an American architect who once worked with
Derrida, described him as "not the kind of the guy to
whom you say 'Hey come on Jacques, let's go and have a drink.
The philosopher used to begin his speeches with a famous quote
attributed to Aristotle--"Oh my friends, there is no
Jacques Derrida published 50 books that have been translated
into 22 languages. Lately the writer was tipped as a possible
winner of this year's Nobel Prize. He is survived by his wife,
Marguerite, a psychoanalyst, and their son.
Killed in Iraq
In what has been called 'deeply repugnant and utterly reprehensible',
by the General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain,
Iqbal Sacranie, after three long weeks in captivity British
hostage, Ken Bigley, was executed last Thursday. His death
was confirmed by the following day after a video of his last
words and brutal decapitation was seen by the British Embassy
Via a mystery intermediary, Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary,
was said to be in contact with Bigleys' captors, the al-Tauhid
group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqwai and believed
rival of Osama Bin Laden. The group has already taken a number
of hostages in Iraq from Korea, Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt
and was the first to post an execution video on the internet,
the format of which is now all too familiar.
Bigley, a 62-year-old engineer, was taken hostage on September
16th along with two American colleagues who were executed
almost immediately. His captors demanded the release of Iraqi
women detained by the US led command in Iraq.
His death has initiated a series of inter-faith alliances
in Britain. 'People of all religions have come together in
this. We cannot have an eye for an eye or the world would
be blind,' said Dr Shiv Pande, the Hindu vice-chairman of
the Merseyside Council of Faiths. Liverpool, Bigleys' hometown,
has seen mourners from all faiths adorning its streets.
Muslim leaders have agreed that tragedy could have been averted
with the release of the female scientists. However, on a special
envoy to Iraq during the first stages the negotiation procedures,
Dr Abdullah of the Muslim Council of Britain, pointed out
that, 'No atrocious act can be done in the name of Islam...it
is un-Islamic to ask someone to bear the sins of another.
Whatever the British command may have done, we don't believe
a British national should be held responsible.'
Similarly, at a conference in Birmingham, a city with a strong
Muslim community, speakers condemned the practices of terrorists
who misuse the Islamic faith to justify 'barbaric and sinful
actions, which have no place or basis in the Islamic creed.'
(R) thedailystar.net 2004