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36 Years of Ignorance

Welcome to 21st Century Bangladesh. Or, should we say Ban--ladesh? Poverty, corruption, brain drain, Nobel Prize and a magnetic attraction for natural disasters of all kinds; Bangalis have seen it all in their given time. What most of us haven't seen is the war that gave birth to this country. Perhaps, it is because we haven't seen it that we fail to understand the magnitude of sacrifice behind it.

Of course, you'd think that people who've seen the war and those who're running the country (a.k.a the 'government') would make a conscious effort to raise awareness on the issue. You'd think they would emboss its glorious history in the books and the annals of time. You'd think they would pay proper respect to the families of the martyrs and the surviving freedom fighters. You'd think they would preserve whatever evidence and artefacts is left of it.

But they don't.
What they do show is a twisted and adulterated version of the actual facts. The books followed in primary level schooling were written to glorify whatever political party is in power at the time of printing. Children have no idea what to believe since every five years, the history books contradict themselves. Their brothers/sisters have read one thing, while they end up learning something completely different. Not to mention, both the versions are very different from what their parents remember.

If the 'truth' comes in three different versions, how can we expect them to respect our 1971 heritage? How can they be expected to be the 'nation builders of tomorrow'? While the politicians bicker about who led the war and who declared independence, they choose to completely ignore the courage of common Bangalis. The sector commanders like Khaled Musharraf and ordinary people who've shown extraordinary dedication towards their country are somehow forgotten along the way.

However, we applaud the present caretaker government for caring enough to certain things right. The recent adaptations of the primary level Bengali textbooks portray the actual history of the 1971 Liberation War. Print noted: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the father of the nation and Ziaur Rahman declared independence.

Our RS survey and cover exclusive for 26th March revealed shocking truth that half the urban youth didn't know the important dates of the war. Parents and grandparents should discuss the stories of the war with our younger generations and us, so we may know what it meant to be there when your country was born to fight for it and to die for it. At a fast-moving era of information technology, there is very little online cataloguing of our history. We, on extensive browsing found four websites, which gave comprehensive details.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, gives a very skewed and unfair account of the Bangali Liberation War. It gives the impression that 1971 was a communist-inspired and Soviet-block sponsored revolution. The net active youth of Bangladesh are misled by such accounts simply because they don't know the truth.

The most recent outrage was the proposed digging up the bodies of our seven Biirsrestho and relocating them in front of Shangshad Bhavan. This is an insult to their memories that we can't even show enough respect to leave their bodies in peace. If this is a move to show a certain amount of 'deserved' honour towards these heroes of '71, then why are we violating their corpses 36 years after their sacrifice? According to Islam, to have one's body removed from its grave is an ultimate indignity. They have already been given the highest honour in the country. Anything more is excessive, and mostly for show.

Fighting for your country's freedom is the greatest duty that one can perform. Yet, the successive governments have done little for the welfare of surviving freedom fighters. This shows that we have not only failed to live up to the dreams of those who've died for our homeland, but also failed to respect our past. We, as a nation should start correcting these grave errors right now, before it's too late and we realise what we have lost through our ignorance.

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya and Aaqib F. Hossain

The separation

Have you ever imagined how your whole world would come crashing down, if your parents suddenly decide to get separated? Many of us are simply lucky. We might not have the perfect family portrait painted out for us, but we are not as miserable like a lot of kids out there.

How does it start?
It might happen that your parents start fighting a lot and when they finally get tired of that, or can't simply stand each other any more, they decide to do something about it. While many parents choose to take some time off each other and see if things work out in the future, others rush for a divorce.

What happens next?
The life after your parent's separation gets very hard to cope up with. One might find himself caught between taking sides of parents. Life changes drastically. The pain that comes along is terrible and for children who are too young to take all this, they grow up with a lot of issues.

Fighting against misery
It's so easy for people to say “you gotta be strong”. But only kids who have to go through their parents divorce know how it feels. I have seen a lot of my friends growing up with this hole in their heart and they say they are never at peace. Elder brothers/sisters should take care of their younger sibling's during this rough time, even if it is difficult for them. And they shouldn't give up school or studying, it really doesn't help things.

To the parents
If your parents really don't want to stay together then sadly, most of the times nothing can stop them. But it is their life too and they do have the freedom. But of course, they don't have the right of ruining their child's life. They should know that.

What can kids do?
Kids being kids can normally do nothing to stop a divorce. But sometimes, talking can help. On the other hand, getting busy with other activities or hobbies can act like a way to vent out all the anger and pain.

To those people out there with such problems, my heart goes out for you. And for folks, who have friends going through such times, please be there for them no matter what. Your friend will need you.

Life will go on. And this might sound lame but its true- you really do need to be strong. And to the person I'm writing this article for, I know you'll get through this. Just don't give up so soon.

By Nayeema Reza

Eid preparations: Are you ready?

Days have flipped by rapidly since Eid-ul-Fitr and now Eid-ul-Azha is knocking at our doors. Now generally this is the time when people go frantic, deciding whether to go for a cow or a pair of goats for sacrifice. Besides, the usual worries of the right market, or the right time to buy also weigh heavily. While we tuck into the meat, we generally tend to forget about the 'leftover' items (horns, skin, tail) and what happens to them after the slaughter's done. Here's what I think:

SKIN: This, in particular, the most prized possession of a cow for which beggars, tokais and Mosque parties come breaking into the scene of slaughter to establish their claim over it. Having handed the hide over to them, let us explore into the “versatile” uses this skin can be put to:

1) Given the current political turmoil and most corrupt leaders behind the bars, you can easily exploit the situation by selling “anti-remand” innerwear made using this skin. This offer will be like a hotcake for the VIP prisoners as they may finally be relieved from the beatings by the cop dudes.

2) Till date, we have been fascinated by flashy and stylish leather jackets but now, tables have turned. It's your turn to redefine fashion by introducing the leather “chador”. Not only will you be the centre of attraction this winter, but in desperate times (face 2 face with your creditor!), you can use it as a hood, conceal your face inside and run!

3) Before the female population feels left out, I ought to put forward the proposition of the “leather necklace”. Well, this could be mistaken for a strap or a belt, but what matters is 'looking different from everybody else'!

HORNS: About this particular object, most of us are very ignorant; failing to realize that it can perform wonders such as:

1) With increasing number of talent shows, programmes like 'Close-Down 1' and 'I-got-da-luuk' are edging to be on air. So to solve the problem of crowning the not-so-valuable winners with valuable gems, we can replace them with Viking helmets adorned with real horns. Cool, isn't it?

2) Cows and goats may feel left out, since fine sculptures are made from elephant tusks but their horns go unnoticed. So to pay respect to these self-sacrificing animals, we can start carving show-piece items out of their horns them and decorate our living-rooms !

TONGUE: The way fast food (burgers, hot dogs etc) has nosed into our eating habits, my new idea would be a bumper hit. So presenting the “hot tongue”, this includes a dissected and spiced-up animal tongue sandwiched between two bread loaves. Having already stomached dog's meat (eww!) in Aricha ghat, presuming it to be mutton; there won't be any problem whatsoever of actually stating this as 'deer meat sandwich' and make a fortune out of it once it becomes popular!

TAIL: Now before disposing of this hairy menace, just ponder how aristocratic(?) a broom can be made using the fine tail feathers. Mind you, you can always boast this innate creation off as an imported 'Persian' broom to your snotty neighbour!

DISCLAIMER: Now all my cooked-up ideas were just to induce a bit of fun and humour in our everyday boring lives. So please don't try them at your home or anywhere else!

Now, if I were really to give an advice, I would suggest that all of us help the SIDR victims with the money we get by selling the above-mentioned parts of our Qurbani's animal, because after all, humanity comes first. So wishing everybody an Eid blast, I end here.

By Navid Akbar

Creating opportunities for people worldwide

British Council, on 14 December 2007, organized a certificate award ceremony for students from various schools who sat for the Young Learners and main suite exams under the University of Cambridge. Nearly 550 young children and their parents attended the ceremony, where Peter Ashton, Country Exams Manager and Suzy Chowdhury, Business Development Manager of Cambridge International examinations Bangladesh were present.

Peter Ashton congratulated the young achievers, their parents and the teachers for engaging themselves in the Cambridge exams. He also stressed the importance of English in the present context, saying that the Cambridge exams provided a correct international assessment of the level of English of young learners all over the world. One of the parents commented that this kind of ceremony is just the appropriate way to end the journey of taking a Cambridge exam, which in itself is fun and lively to take. It was a fun-filled day for the kids as they were awarded with certificates by Peter Ashton and also enjoyed unlimited popcorn and candyfloss!




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