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     Volume 7 Issue 22 | May 30, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  One Off
  Photo Story
  Writing the Wrong
  The Star Diary
  A Roman Column
  Food for Thought
  Human Rights
  Straight Talk
  View from the   Bottom
  Art- An Emerging   Art Market
  Write to Mita

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The Tarnished Golden Fibre
It is really sad that polythene bags have found their way back into our lives again. The ban on polythene bags was a very important rule for a country like ours. Not only are there no recycling facilities in our country, but people are extremely indifferent about the effects it has on our environment. No conscientious citizen should be throwing things away the way we Bangalis do, especially in the already-stagnant capital city of ours. The closing down of the jute mills and abandonment of jute bags is not an option Bangladesh can afford. Jute bags are not only environmentally friendly; they are cheap and with a little effort can be made into fashion accessories. The media should highlight the importance of jute and force the government to revive the industry and put the ban on polythene back again.
Mohini Chakma

A New Star is Born
First of all I would like to congratulate <>The Star<> magazine on completing 12 years of publishing very informative and awareness-raising journalism. I have been a regular reader of the magazine on and off and have witnessed with delight as its features and articles gathered more flesh and matured in content. From black and white to colour and then to increase in the number of pages -- they have all been great delights to an avid reader like me.
I would like to point out however that some of the columns are rather monotonous. The writers of these columns have a very good command over the language but the things they write about are not really worth the read in a magazine of your calibre. Some pages hold such heavy weight issues as the future of the caretaker government, the rise in world prices and the happenings in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. It is like switching to another world to read about savouring the different flavours of coffee and ice cream in some expensive café in Europe. These columnists should perhaps stay more in touch with world politics and the condition Bangladesh is in and give us some useful insight on more serious issues. But I really enjoy reading Chintito's columns.
I hope the new and improved Star magazine will give us more serious and insightful reports and analyses on the state of the country and the world today.
Anila Ahmed
Dhanmondi, Dhaka


I want to thank The Daily Star for bringing out such a magnificent magazine. I am a regular reader of the magazine and I really like the make-up of the magazine with the photos. I especially enjoy reading the cover stories every week. It is a good analytical magazine to read for students. I would like to suggest you have a page where readers also get the opportunity to write something. Other than that I don't think this magazine needs any drastic changes.
Jaser Noor Al Rahaman
By email


If we want to build a knowledge-based society, we need full freedom to express our thoughts. Every democratic country should have that. But this should be constructive, logical, relevant and productive. <>The Star<> magazine has been consistently carrying out the work of giving freedom of expression a place, which I also think is the practice in a democratic society.
Almost all the write-ups published in the magazine are praiseworthy. I have been exposed to different kinds of thoughts through the articles. Many of the articles have been an inspiration for me. Other favourite things are the literature page, interviews of writers, the book reviews and so on.
However, I would like to suggest a few things. I think the magazine should add scientific writings such as new scientific discoveries, thoughts and the latest happenings in the country. The magazine should also include different cultural and social thoughts.
Another thing I would like to point out needs changing is the 'Dhaka Diary' section. Only writers from Dhaka get priority to publish their anecdotes in this section, although there are many interesting things happening all over the country. I hope the magazine authorities would consider our stories as well. We have sorrows, joyful moments as well as funny or puzzling situations. This magazine is not sold only in Dhaka, so the section should be more all-encompassing for the rest of the country. The magazine should also consider having a section on learning English, something that is severely neglected in the mainstream education system.
Md. Akhlaqur Rahman
SUST, Sylhet

Trains and Borders
It was interesting to read The Star magazine's cover story on the Maitree Express 'The Missing Link' (May 16, 2008). No doubt this is a worthy initiative and deserves celebrating. Too often knee-jerk jingoism marks all our relations with India. But to have a growing superpower neighbour and have no affordable means of transportation within reach of the masses is economic suicide for us as a nation.
Those who followed the build-up to the Maitree launch know that this has been a plagued and unnecessarily delayed project. We heard many inane theories on net drain to our economy because of this train service, etc. Perhaps a political government could not have launched this initiative, because improving relation with India is a political hot potato that no one wants to touch. This is the tragedy of the saber rattling and militaristic hostility towards India that passes for sensible foreign policy.
While Maitree is off to a good start, all is not clear sailing yet (if you'll forgive that terrible pun). On the very following day after the cover story in The Star magazine, The Daily Star carried a story about interminable waits for visa clearance on both the Indian and Bangladeshi sides. I can see the naysayers already lining up to bleat: "The Indians hate us! Why do they give us so much hassle at the border?" Instead of that familiar and tedious "down with [whoever]" chorus, let us work post haste to resolve the visa delay issues, as well as other issues of timing, ticket pricing, etc., as reported in the story.
It would be a tragedy if this first step towards improved relations with India flounders due to the banality of economic bankruptcy. For if the train continues to go half empty as reported in The Daily Star, it will eventually be shut down and stored in the museum of good intentions.
Himangshu Datta

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