It has been four years since the US-led invasion on Iraq. Conservative estimates put civilian casualties at 58,800 and that of (mostly American) foreign troops at 3,500, since the beginning of the war on March 20, 2003. According to an opinion poll by BBC and ABC News, only 26 percent of Iraqis today feel safe in their own neighbourhoods and 86 percent of them are afraid of someone in their household being a victim of violence. About 78 percent of them are opposed to the presence of foreign forces while 69 percent said they actually worsened the situation. All in a nation that the Americans set out to set free -- despite protests worldwide, including in the UK and US. Since 2005, the nation has also been torn by a brutal sectarian conflict leaving nearly two million Iraqis displaced and 1.8 million refugees abroad. And while Iraq continues to reel in the ceaseless effects of an endless battle, protests continue even in the US where people are marking the fourth anniversary of the tragedy brought on by their own leaders. It has been a lose-lose situation from the start -- loss of life on both sides and the loss of faith in what was supposedly the world's greatest democracy. Because, no matter how many times the allied forces may call it a “war”, for Iraq and the rest of the world, it will always be an unjustifiable invasion, of a nation and its sovereignty.
Better Late than Never
On Tuesday, March 14, former Bangladeshi army officer AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed was arrested in the United States. Mohiuddin was sentenced to death in 1998 in Bangladesh, along with 14 other army officials for the military coup they organised in 1975 and the murder of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 26 other people, including his family and bodyguards. His reward for this mass murder was a cushy job in the Bangladeshi embassy as an ambassador in various countries in the world. In 1996, however, when Sheikh Hasina one of the only two remaining daughters of Sheikh Mujib became prime minister, she brought all the killers of Sheikh Mujib to trial. Mohiuddin, unfortunately, was one step ahead of her and was already in the United States. Sheikh Hasina was not able to finish the necessary proceedings before her tenure in power ended and the charges were put on hold when BNP came into power in 2001. He went to the US on a visiting visa and applied for permanent residency from there. However, he was soon ordered to return to the Bangladesh to face the charges against him. He was ordered to be deported in 2002, and last month, his appeal to review the case was rejected. Law Adviser Mainul Hosein claims that if he applies for asylum in any other country, the Bangladeshi government has requested that they reject his appeal. The United States government is currently waiting for the Bangladeshi government to arrange a travel permit for Mohiuddin, which according to Syed Fahim Munaim, press secretary to the chief advisor, is already being issued by the Counsel General office in Los Angeles, where Mohiuddin is now being held. It won't be long before Mohiuddin is brought back to Bangladesh and the long process of justice that started over ten years ago will finally be complete.
Tigers' Historic World Cup Opener
The whole country burst into a deafening roar when wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim hit the winning run off Indian pacer Munaf Patel. It was an unprecedented victory. Bangladesh had been playing quite well lately, and the five successes in the practice matches before the World Cup started, especially the one against New Zealand gave the fans something to dream about. And the win against India on Saturday was a dream come true. The cricket followers expected an easy win for India; even Sunil Gavasker went on ESPN and said that he expected a massive win for his country.
Minnows, underdogs and many other derogatory adjectives have been used to describe the Bangladeshis for long enough. On Saturday the tigers played like tigers. They showed their proficiency in all the three departments of the game. Mashrafe Mortaza was like a bomb on the crease and managed to take four wickets. Abdur Razzaq and Mohammad Rafiq showed their expertise with three wickets each. Even Tendulkar could do little against the pace attack when he fell to Razzaq after scoring only seven off 26 balls. The young Bangladeshi side moved at lightning speed on the field, missing no catches and save every single run they could. Half centuries from teenagers Tamim Iqbal , Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan gave the vital finishing touches.
Some interesting headlines came up after the Bangladesh win. The Prothom Alo had "Bangladesh rocks the world," while the Daily Ittefaq had this heading: "India tremble at Tigers' roar" and Inqilab said, "Tigers' claw hurt India". The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph pointed out that India were 'embarrassed' by Bangladesh and The Sun had "Bangladesh put India in a mess" on its front page. “Minnows might -- Bangladesh beat India", said the Trinidad Express while The Guardian carried, "Bangladesh whips India". The Times of India's front-page displayed two photographs of Indian batsman Virender Sehwag and Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq under the caption: "Mighty minnows put Asian powers on the mat” and The Hindustan Times had "Campaign starts with collapse." The Indian Express said, "Bangladesh grabbed India by the collar, poked a finger in the eyes of some of the world's best batsmen, tore up the elaborate blueprint prepared by coach Greg Chappell and punched an embarrassing dent on the face of the world's richest cricketing outfit." But the headline that really packed a punch was on Cricinfo which said Cricinfo “Tigers 1; Lambs 0.” It must be mentioned here that India is the only country that has not invited Bangladesh to play a Test series in India, just because Bangladesh is not 'financially viable' as a team.
Waiting for the Next Attack?
Extremists belonging to different ultra-Maoist splinter groups, along with the Jihadist terrorists are infiltrating into the capital, renting houses in different areas of the city. According to a newspaper report an intelligence agency has raised an alarm about a possible terrorist attack in Dhaka, as it has traced suspicious movements of terrorists in different neighbourhoods. After receiving the report, police officials have called a meeting to discuss the issue, after which the law enforcers have set up 33 new permanent Police Check Posts in the capital. The new move, however, coincides with the impending execution of the capital punishment of terrorist mastermind Sheikh Abdur Rahman and his six other accomplices. The police have also taken more initiatives to arrest members of these terrorist groups. Though the government has not yet declared any time frame about the execution of the death penalty of the seven JMB militants but it is widely believed that the terrorists will try to retaliate by launching attacks on different establishments across the capital.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007