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Who would you choose as woman of the year 2011?

Sadiqa deserves to be Woman of the Year 2011 because she is bold enough to step up for the deprived when no one else is.

Sadiqa watches the little boy standing on the dusty pavement, his grubby hands clasping a dark wooden structure. The darkness outside is thick. There are still a few hours till dawn. Despite knowing it is unsafe, Sadiqa decides she needs some air. She walks down the rocky street, moonlight playing on her soft cheeks. An eerie calmness encloses the vicinities. She can't go to sleep tonight, not with the uncertainty lurking in the air.

Sadiqa cautiously approaches the boy, wondering how the six-year-old managed to escape his parents' peering eyes at this time of night. She finds her answer when the boy replies to her saying that they were killed in the war. Sadiqa's eyes flick to the wooden object clasped firmly in the boy's tight grip. She stares in astonishment at the staggering revelation of what it is.

A gun. The boy is holding a toy gun. The thought jolts her. She watches the boy clutching the gun to his chest and pointing it ahead; an expression of sheer hatred veiling his face.

The blackness of the sky dilutes into a gloomy blue. Sadiqa strolls back home; shaking her head in order to dislodge the distressing thoughts taxing her mind. Through the window she can see a thread of light diffusing into her dusty room. The string of mountains lining the horizon splits up her town from the rural Wardak province.

The familiar shrill noise of a siren some miles away cracks the placid stillness lurking in the mountainous deserts of Afghanistan. Sadiqa watches the metal birds whizz across the gloomy sky, dissolving into the horizon. As the image of the little boy's innocent face drifts into focus, the abominable reality of her situation grips Sadiqa harder than ever. She knows that on the other side of the mountains are Afghans who, like her, are wide awake, in fear that any moment bombs will batter their lives along with their few belongings.

Afghanistan is a war-torn country where children are deprived of their basic rights. Their future continues to remain uncertain and they have noone to stand up for them. Sadiqa Basiri Saleem is a 28-year-old Afghan woman who persists in fighting for these underprivileged children in order to regain their rights that have been lost in the midst of the unrelenting Afghan war. Sadiqa, despite having to face innumerable obstacles, has resumed battling the illiteracy that scours the deserts of Afghanistan today.

She is no different from us. On the contrary, she is less fortunate, having to build a life in the heart of Afghanistan where bombs and bullets are part of your daily life. The children there grow up to see the streets stained with blood on their way to school. If they are lucky enough to go to one, that is.

Sadiqa has struggled passionately in order to bring education to the rural areas of war-torn Afghanistan. She did not care that she was young, a woman or had a scarf over her head because she knew that her gender or head-cover couldn't prevent her from pursuing her dreams of making Afghanistan not only a better place for children, but for Afghans as a whole.

Sadiqa has managed to set up 6 schools for girls in Afghanistan where there are now 28,000 students. She had initiated her organisation, the Oruj Learning Centre, after her own hopes of becoming a gynecologist were tarnished as the war caused her Afghan-run university in Pakistan to close down.

Sadiqa deserves to be Woman of the Year 2011 because she is bold enough to step up for the deprived when no one else is. She strived to realise her dreams even when the warfare that had sprung up in her country stood as an obstacle on her path towards building a better Afghanistan. She did not let the fact of her being a woman get in the way. She clutched onto her weapon, her faith on her epic journey like the little boy who held onto his gun, in hopes that one day, he would be able to avenge his parents and free his country from the shackles of brutal enemies.

Sadiqa's dream is no different. She believes that her girls have a right to education and a free life. This year, with a diploma in hand, Sadiqa decided to return to Afghanistan with new dreams for her girls. Sadiqa should be Woman of the Year 2011 because it is women like her who make it impossible for us to say we don't matter.

By Nusrat Biswas
The above essay won the Silver Award in Commonwealth Essay Competition 2011. The writer is a class IX student of Lakehead Grammar School.

Hunting for the best burger in town

Burgers, what don't we love about them? The warm sesame buns inviting us to explore the goodies they enclose. The tender meat, the oozing golden cheese and all the crispy green vegetables that come along - not to forget each burger's unique spices and sauces. Along with fries and a coke on the side. So, when a certain burger came along calling itself “the best burger in town,” we decided to investigate a little which burgers actually fall among that category?

Now the burger in question happened to be the “Whopper” at Burger 'n' Boost. This Burger King-inspired treat is definitely worth tasting. As it was the first try on the list, this writer was not yet sure of whether it is indeed the best. You can get regular Whopper, Whopper Cheese, Double Whopper, even Triple Whopper! There is also a Whopper junior in case the 5-inch burger's more than you can handle but the bigger the better, and the more satisfied your stomach. Don't miss the cheese. It adds a molten contrast to the roughness of the grilled meat. The Whopper even has pickles. The two-month-old place in Satmasjid Road is pretty comfortable for relaxing with a small group and you can enjoy your burger with a helping of their crispy fries and the “Cocoa Choc Choc” chocolate drink.

While some claim to be the best, others express authority by being named “King Burger.” This royal burger is king-sized indeed. The best thing Helvetia ever made, the King Burger is not willing to give up its throne. It takes about fifteen minutes of waiting and screaming at the servers, but once it arrives, the king will be worth your 250 bucks. It only comes in double, so don't visit while on a diet. Packed with the classic meat and cheese, they have some special sauce that brightens up the flavour, along with the tang provided by our favourite cucumber, tomato and lettuce.

The mozza burger from A&W is another chart topper. One of the few, if not the only burger in Dhaka that uses mozzarella cheese as its base cheese, this one leaves you dying for more. Of course, the first introducer of the grilled burgers American Burger always offers great treats. Their beef cheese is awesome, along with chicken and mutton. Try the fish at your own risk

Of course, when it comes to chicken burgers how can we miss the “finger lickin' good” Zinger? Always a classic in the minds of Bangladeshis since KFC first opened, the Zinger is perhaps the best chicken burger in town. Of course it faces hefty competition. CFC's barbeque chicken burger is crispier than most and it is one of those burgers you cannot ever grow tired of. It's as if one isn't enough! Since it's not double, why not buy too at once? The BFC burger is probably the spiciest, so it provides variation.

So, Dhaka city offers some grand bread, meat and cheese combinations that you must try if you haven't yet. They are all so good that it actually is a tougher job than beauty pageants to determine which one's better. Till then, they can keep bribing me with free double cheese burgers to help me decide.

By Padya Paramita
If you feel the writer is right, write to us. If you think she has been eating weird mushrooms along with her burgers, tell us where to get the best burger. We're hungry. -- RS


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