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Stop the world, I want to get off!
'Shredded bodies of trader, son found' was the heading on front page of The Daily Star, on the morning of 31st March. Though this kind of news is usual these days, this particular news item successfully transferred a shiver of absolute horror through all of my sense organs and made me shudder on behalf of my inner conscience.

I was surprised to find out that, the feeling that represents the word 'conscience' is still with me and its hasn't died yet in spite of my scattered life in a segregated society. A so-called civilisation where there seems to be left only a diaphanous curtain between sanity and savageness, which is being torn everyday by the uncivilised monsters who hide their frenetic faces behind human masks to conceal their real identity. Social security is going down day by day.'

We have known that for almost a hundred years and still no effort's being seen to improve or upraise the social security that's going down day after day. No, I am not going to start chanting from those half-artificial slogans that the hypocritical politicians use as bywords in their everyday speeches to pollute each other's already-defiled reputations. Neither do I want to blame the constitutional system, the law-enforcers or the sordid rulers who are as inactive and ineffective as ever.

I want to blame none but myself, because I deeply feel that on a personal level, no one but myself, or on a broader scale, no one but us are to blame for the situation that we are confronting at present. We, the educated and so-called 'conscionable mass' of the society are being unable again and again to fight against the ignorance, the cancerous shortcomings of our entire society that gives birth to devils in human form.

These demons snatch our enthusiastic dreams every day and night to make us question our inner consciousness. While the humanity is crying all alone and nasty violence and atrocities are reigning over the spheres of security and peace, most of us are pretending to be deaf, blind and inactive as though to reveal our inner selfish self-centredness.

We are too busy with ourselves while our neighbours and countrymen are being slaughtered brutally on pavements and streets. We are indifferent as long as nothing is directly happening to ourselves. We are unable to empathise or realise other peoples' feelings when they lose dear ones. We are not compassionate and congregated against the darkness. The collapse of unity is making us companionless and the lack of initiative to protest and to construct a brighter place to live in is frustrating.

We are drowning ourselves in the bottomless ocean of self-comfort and self-indulgence in spite of being the conveyers of so-called conscience and education. If we, the 'conscionable' mass of the society had stepped onto the fields of reality with visions and ethics of reformation and development perhaps there wouldn't have been as much bloodshed and tears as we see every day.

An instant and formidable revolution is necessary. We have to find out why a human being commits such a barbaric act. Lack of money, lack of education and knowledge, lack of compassion and civilisation, lack of respect for social customs and values and lack of conscience. Probably the reason behind their heinous acts is any of these scarcities. We all should realise that what has happened to my friend or neighbour today can happen to me tomorrow as long as we are the dwellers of the same society.

We should incite the rage inside our heart. We have to step forth in order to fight against this adverse situation with every means and resources we possess. Not only protest and demonstration, we have to illumine every phase of this society with humanity and sensibility. We have to bring up a real concern in more people so that we can be united and so that we can build up a strong front, enlightened by our spontaneous courage against these kinds of barbaric homicides and decline in of humane values. Otherwise that day is not far away when the inner guilt that's tormenting my mind these days will hunt down each one of our fellow society-dwellers and make them drown in a cold sea of remorse and repentance.

The businessman's and his son's bodies were found in 200 pieces.

The Cyclops who had committed such barbaric act should be removed from this planet. Even in my weirdest dreams I can't think of men who could do such things. The tragic fact is that it's not a dream, it's our harsh reality. I feel unfortunate to have been born in a reality where one can't distinguish manslaughter from butchery.

'Stop the world, I want to get off,' we haven't forgotten this revolutionary line of a popular song by renowned British band 'The Extreme'. Sometimes I really want to get off because the shame is unbearable. The shame shakes my senses, embarrass me in the abstract eyes of my inner civilisation and in desperation, I cry out saying-'Stop the world, I want to get off!"

By Md. Ribak

Bangladesh in hell: rescue it

Can you feel the condition prevailing in Bangladesh? Can you feel the pain, that agony of the general people? Yes, you can, if you are not an animal.

Bangladesh is already in hell. Everywhere you look, there's only corruption, corruption and more corruption. Most people are in the run for money. They don't think whether they are doing any harm to others. They only think about themselves. They don't even hesitate to kill people. From businessmen to rickshaw-pullers, from intelligentsia to village farmers, no one is safe in Bangladesh.

A few days ago, Prof. Humayun Azad was attacked by some ruffians. He was stabbed, and seriously injured. The whole nation was stunned. The same old questions came into mind: "What kind of country are we living in? From this situation we can realize, we are free no longer. We have neither the right to make comments about the condition of the country, nor the right to stand against evil. Yet some ministers are saying that the law and order situation of the country has improved! I think it's a matter of question that how many of these comments made by the ministers are reliable.

The price of every single product has been increasing, in spite of adequate supply in the market. No one seems to be able to do anything about it. The main burden of the high price of goods falls on the middle class and the poor. These people are compelled to buy the products at high price because otherwise they will have to starve to death.

Hartal: one of the main problems in Bangladesh. It seems that the opposition parties do not have any other way to protest except that. For a Third World country like Bangladesh 'hartal' is a real threat to the economy. Nobody seems to care about this. The opposition parties, no matter whether it is Awami League or BNP or whoever, they keep on calling hartals and the government keeps on resisting the opposition supporters.

People in power are heartless creatures. They misuse their power. They give permission to underworld members to do illegal work and in return take large bundles of money as bribe. Everywhere you go for any work no matter whether legal or illegal, you will need to give bribe. To get a job, to buy a bus or train ticket and even to get admissions in schools and colleges you have to give bribe too. The police take bribe and let the pickpockets, ruffians and even the blacklisted murderers go scot-free. The people of the country are no longer secure. They are confined in the hands of terrorists.

Now, who will save us from this situation? What's the way to get rid of all these? In these days the Bangladeshis have become cowards. They fear to protest. They have also forgotten how to get back their legal rights. I don't think anyone except the Almighty can save us from all this. I personally pray to God: 'Oh God, please destroy all the evils and save our country'. I think the day is not too far when God himself will come down to save us!

By Debashish Ghosh

Political ambivalence

He wrote your constitution and you don't know who he is?" said a British classmate of mine in mixed tones of incredulity and bemusement. I shrugged.

'Seriously…I don't get why Bangladeshi's care so little about politics."

I ought to have been ashamed or perhaps even enraged, but less than a week later, my neighbour, a politician who has been receiving much media attention for a controversial move, had his house bombed twice. The noise was that of two transformers exploding one after another. I paced the length of my parents' bedroom as my mother frantically tried to reach my neighbours over the phone wondering what was going through the minds of the three girls next-door. One is my age and the other is younger and both go to school with me.

This is why teenagers like myself can discuss in length the merits of Bush and Kerry, yet we may not for certain know who Dr. Kamal Hossain is. This political ambivalence seems to be the unfortunate legacy of our generation, supposedly the leaders of the future, the architects of our country's destiny. Every now and then, my mother tells me with blatant pride in her voice, about her work with the women's ministry in the late '80's, and the thrill she felt when the President himself addressed her. If the Prime Minister herself addressed me, it saddens me to say I would feel no such honour.

We are disillusioned. Every time another intellectual is attacked, another member of a political party is threatened and another hartal is declared, our cynicism deepens. Any aspirations that we might have had towards bettering our country through leadership were snuffed when we learnt to read the newspaper. It's a vicious cycle: lack of faith in the system leads to disregard for the system, which leads to more lack of faith. It's no wonder everyone wants to get out.

Although it should be heartening that more Bangladeshi kids are pursuing higher studies than ever before, it seems to me that the TOEFL, SAT and IELTS, the registration with private universities "affiliated" with institutions abroad, are all but different routes leading one way: out. The sheer number of young men and women migrating abroad scares me, for who will take the reins next? More people who have all the obstinacy of advanced age but none of the wisdom? More men and women set on using their term in office to settle age-old feuds? The prospects are depressing, and not even the most passionate optimist is signing up to change the status quo.

By The Rezident Pest

Lost in the world of undiscovered wilderness

From the environment around, I could surmise that I was lying under the open sky with the wind caressing my hair with the charm of my mother's hand. I was so enfeebled, that I did not have to capacity to rise up or even open my eyes.

As some time went on, however, I seemed to recover from the weakness that I felt. The first thing I caught sight of beside me, was that piece of wreckage from the ship, which brought me to my unknown destination. It seemed as if I was on an island, which seemed a large piece of land to human eyes, but just a minor speck of dust in the vast world.

Although I looked piteously at my reflection in the clear seawater, with regret at the loss of my family, I was somewhat comforted by the gentle breeze and blue sky.

I felt hungry so I began to climb a nearby date palm. A city girl, I was not used to performing such Herculean (as it seemed to me) labour. As I saw the dry dates nestled between my palm, I thought of the wholesome meals served by my mother with tender love and care.

I then began to walk deeper into the heart of the island. It was full of evergreen trees. The sudden twitter of a bird, the gibber of an ape and the sudden roar of a ferocious creature seemed to create an exotic melody, but somehow gave me gooseflesh.

It was quite dark, but the rays of sunlight through the umbrella of leaves were guiding me like torches while I was walking. When I sat under a tree to repose, a myriad of butterflies fluttered around me. Each onr had a different pattern on its wings. This made me realise how diverse the wilderness is. The gentle birds, furious lion, gibbering apes are part of such a big family, Nature.

Nature managed to distract me from my problems for a while. I summoned up courage by remembering the classic tale of Robinson Crusoe although I was stranded on a deserted island.

By Huma Yusuf

Hajj as I performed it

I performed my Hajj with my parents in 2003. At first we stayed in Mecca for twelve days. Everyday there we offered 5 times salaat at the Haram Sharif. The beauty of the Holy Mosque is amazing. We got a lot of mental peace there.

Then we went to the Mina and stayed there for three days. In the meantime we went Arafat where the main ritual of Hajj was performed. After that we went to Muzdalifa and stayed for one night. At Muzdalifa my grandfather got lost. After several hours we found him.

Then via Mina we reached Mecca again. We offered our final Tawaf, which was the most difficult ritual of the Holy Hajj due to the combined performance of millions of pilgrims.

Then we went to Madina Sharif and offered regular salaat at the mosque of Nabubi (SM). We offered our ziarat at the Rawja of Hazrat Muhammad (SM) and grave of Hazrat Abu Bakr (R), Hazrat Omar (R), Hazrat Osman (R). The Madina police allowed me to have a long ziarat at the Rawja Sharif of our beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SM) which is a matter of great joy for me. Finally, we returned Bangladesh after the Hajj.

By Syed Masrur Rafid






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