Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, June 3, 2010

Musa the Conquerer

By Musarrat Rahman

MUSA IBRAHIM, a sub-editor at our very own Daily Star, has dreamt about going where no Bangladeshi man has gone before since childhood. When he was nine, his father took him to Jagaddal Hal at Thakurgaon, the district where he grew up, to see some peaks of the Himalayas which is visible from there. The sight of the mountains amazed the little boy and he vowed to someday climb to the top of the highest one the 8,848 meter tall Mount Everest.

And now, 21-years later, Musa Ibrahim has become the first Bangladeshi mountaineer to conquer the world's tallest peak.

He left for Nepal on April 8th, started for the mountain on April 12th from Kathmandu and became the first of a team of eighteen mountaineers to reach the peak at 6 am on May 23rd.

He made it back to Kathmandu on the 28th to a rapturous crowd of the Bangladeshi community and the embassy.

He is scheduled to be back in Dhaka on the 2nd of June where friends, family and the whole proud nation are waiting to give him a hero's welcome back home.

The mountain, first conquered by Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, is dangerous territory even now with all the advanced technology that we have. Environmental conditions on the mountain are deadly with mountaineers facing snowstorms, frostbite from extreme cold and high altitudes that can cause breathing difficulties. Death can occur because mountaineers deplete their energy going up to the peak. There are a record number of 120 corpses still on the mountain.

But even the fact that he might never come back wasn't enough to stop Musa from fulfilling his dream. It should be a lesson to all of us to never give up on what we really want to do and to face challenges head-on.

Truly, Musa Ibrahim is a national hero and a role model. He overcame extreme environmental conditions and an oxygen pipe leak, but nothing could stop him from reaching the top, and his dreams.

The Bangladeshi flag waving at the top of Mount Everest is proof of the old saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Photos: The Daily Star Archive

On Top of The World

By Osama Rahman

When Jordan Romero took out his satellite phone and called his mother to say that he was now calling from 'top of the world', he had not only achieved his dreams, but he had become the youngest person ever to scale the Everest. At 13-year old, Jordan surpassed the previous record holder, Temba Tsheri of Nepal, who completed the feat at 16 years of age.

Jordan Romero had an entourage consisting of his father, a Helicopter paramedic, and his father's girlfriend along with three Sherpa guides. Previously, Jordan had scaled Mount. Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 9 years old and this was his first time 8000m above sea level. Though, the crew was concerned about Jordan's adaptability due to his tender age, however Jordan's father had plenty of faith along with the rest of them. Jordan claims to have been inspired by a painting of Mt. Everest that he saw in school. He also claims to have been brought luck by kangaroo… anatomy (a pair of them… you get the idea) that he carried with him on his expedition, a gift from a friend. Such a claim makes us doubt all previous claims made by this young man.

If rumours are to be believed, Jordan apparently brought two months of homework along with him, so as to cope with his eighth grade classes. When, where or how exactly he had believed to do his homework is a completely different story. For now, we are content to believe that it's a lie, a farce, like most other things. Of course he couldn't be reached for interview immediately and nor could we look him up in Facebook, what with the government of our country banning it due to anti-political cartoons because everyone knows anti-religious cartoons are less offensive than that.

The resident from Big Bear, California, attracted as much debate about his curly hair as he did about his decision to scale the Mt. Everest. Many busybodies concerned themselves asking for him to be stopped as they felt Jordan wasn't equipped to survive the rigours of mountain climbing and they also questioned his emotional prowess to handle such an adventure. Indeed, it was quite stupid to debate the matter as Jordan had climbed mountains in almost six continents before and since his parents had no problem, people needed not to make a fuss about it. And for additional information, he had to also tackle the technically more challenging side up Everest from China, since there was an age-limit barrier on the Nepalese side.

Rumours are that Jordan was immensely helped by advanced tools and his team, but still getting atop Everest at 13 years of age is no mean feat and there is no reason to dampen the noise of the ovation Team Jordan deserves.

Tales Of A Pink Yacht… And World Domination

By Raisa M Rafique

Have you ever witnessed dazzling sunrises or shooting stars over crystal blue seas? Have you ever, even once in your life, seen a huge whale in the ocean and gotten all googly-eyed over it? Ever fancied lecturing a sea bird on deck about fashion or naming it, say, 'Silly'?

Well, 16 years old Jessica Watson did. This Australian teen also happened to have gone sailing 'Around the world in 210 days (give or take a few)' in a pink yacht, facing treacherous waters, nasty storms and seven knockdowns, which eventually made her the youngest person of date (although unofficially, due to certain procedures) to ever have done so. After returning home from her nearly seven-month-long voyage, this is what she had to say to the world:

"People don't think you're capable of these things -- they don't realise what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of… It's amazing, when you take away those expectations, what you can do."
Amazing, she says. She's the one who's amazing.
Here in Bangladesh where we have rural 16 year old girls being married off early and eventually getting tortured/murdered for dowry money, while the urban ones either turn into boyfriend-crazy-Barbies or 'My-Life-Sucks' type emos, Jessica Watson gets to have her own expedition around the world with truckloads of fun, excitement, thrills of danger and her very own cute yacht.

In her own words: "I don't consider myself a hero… I'm an ordinary girl who believed in her dream."
Honestly, that's not the point. Not just girls, all ordinary humans have dreams that they 'love' believing in. But what really sets one apart from others with a spectacular 'extraordinary' label on the foreheads is how much one cares about giving it all in chasing that dream. Everyone has dreams, it's just that very few people actually go and do something about it. Records, sailing scrutiny and official approvals can wait, because real life cannot: it's just way bigger than some petty mathematical details.

And therefore, world domination finally has a new colour: Holy Pink. Amen.





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