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     Volume 8 Issue 56 | February 6, 2009 |

  Cover Story
  Writing the Wrong
  Ekushey Grantha   Mela
  Straght Talk
  Book Review
  Star Diary
  Post Script

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On the cover story 'War & Piece'

War and peace are inevitable parts of political history from the ancient times and have played a significant role in shaping the relationship between countries. But there are some conflicts that never seem to end, for example those between India and Pakistan and between Israel and Palestine.
Europe and the USA, the two major powers of the world, are greatly sympathetic towards Israel, both politically and for religious reasons as they consider Israel to be 'The holy land'. This is the major advantage of Israel to boast issues especially related to its political and religious opponents - the Arab nations. So the US-backed western policy is not that concerned about the attack of Israel on Palestine, rather they give logic in favour of its attack.
The dwindling and partial role of USA in resolving the Israel-Palestine issue is a major obstacle to move the peace process forward. So the common people fall victim to this and it is truly a satire to civilisation, democracy, peace, mutual co-existence and mutual understanding.
Israel should keep in mind that they should show greater tolerance while Hamas should materialise the dreams of all the Palestinians through wisdom.
Sheikh Abdullah
Department of Finance
University of Dhaka

Ills at Baitul Mukarram
The third round of mishaps in the form of shoe throwing at our national mosque Baitul Mukarram is tarnishing the sanctity of the holy place. It is the place where people pray; the act needs a complete harmony of peace, quietness, solidarity and the tranquillity of minds free from all forms of meanness, prejudices and other ills.
For all those engaged in such activities should have immediate restraints to help maintain the required norms of such holy places like mosques. The Government should also act quickly to stop this futile display of ignorance that has already taken place thrice. May Allah bless all.
Rafiqul Islam Rime
Agrabad, Chittagong

In Praise of Our Media
Things are making a steady change in our social and political life in our country. Take the recent, almost historical, elections in our country for example; the media, print and electronic, have played a great role in many ways. They provided the readers with the current news of electoral information -- ups and downs -- things good or bad -- at different constituencies at the nook and corners of the country, which the viewers found very authentic and quick at their happiness.

Media, in our country, have done great jobs to mention just one here-- they've played a colossal role in raising public awareness on numerous issues--personal, social, health related, entertainment and international. This act is the foremost requisite to an overall development of the individuals and the collective ones as well.

We salute our media print and electronic for their honest efforts in letting the people know the diverse facts around sticking to its core manifesto “People's right to know” the truth. We further hope that media in our country will be marching ahead fearless, unbiased and being the people's mouthpiece!

Rafiqul Islam Rime
Agrabad, Chittagong

Democracy and Power
The way each of the MPs won the last election shows that even if Sheik Hasina and Khaleda Zia had not voted for their own respective parties, it would not have made a huge difference. Sheik Hasina's inability to separate politics from educational institutions and retribution of her allegedly party members in the Upazila polls are two such flagrant examples. And there is of course the ditching of the parliament by Khaleda Zia, which is not a trivial matter. I might now know a lot about the constitution, however I want to know if Khaleda Zia's vote or Sheikh Hasina's vote weigh much more than mine that it made them all powerful while I have to struggle in a society where it takes at least an hour to move from Banani to Dhanmondi. I also want to know what gives these leaders the power to blatantly flout the oath they take on their inauguration day: shouldn't they then be tried for perjury?
Motiur Rahman
Student of NSU

On 'Musings at Midnight’

I was deeply touched by Neeman Sobhan's poignant commentary on the children killed in Gaza by Israeli bombing in her most recent Roman column article, "Musings at Midnight". It brings home once more the sad truth that innocent children and civilians pay the price of war and violence. How long, we wonder, will the oppression of Palestinian people continue?
The sight of a hijab clad woman on a Bangla Television channel evokes Neeman's sharp reaction in the next section of her article, as she raises some very well considered objection to this trend in head-covering that many Bangali Muslim women are adopting. I agree whole-heartedly with her views. It may be a personal choice for these women who were the hijab. Bangali Muslim women should be proud of their culture and the rightful places they have earned in society alongside the men. There is no justification in copying an alien dress code as Neeman has so rightly pointed out. The majority of Bangali women do not wear hijab but are nevertheless modest and decent and practice their religion as well. They are the true examples of Bangali womanhood.
Aiman Masud
Kansas, USA.


The writers' anger at the disunity of the Arab fraternity regarding Gaza's plight is well understood. But in the same breath, the frustration on Bangalis being 'invaded by Arab culture' because one wears the hijab is not.
Donning the hijab is less an act of being influenced by Arab women and more one of choice a choice that can be social, political and also but not always religious. And the freedom to exercise choice is something, which a progressive society champions and passionately defends. To equate the hijab with conservatism and regressive-ness is thus a reflection of fear or lack of understanding of this choice.
May the writer also be reminded that the hijab is practiced widely in many non-Arab Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia or that Victorian England had her share of hats and veils, which were otherwise a fancier version of the hijab. In an age of globalisation, it is a natural phenomenon to learn about the cultures and histories of other nations and adopt elements which suit our lifestyles best. That is not an indication of Bangalis looking to others for 'religious and moral leadership.'
Munyema Hasan
Uttara, Dhaka

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