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The frantic pace of our metropolitan life is such that we often gloss over the finer things in life. And you need a day to sit down and reflect from time to time. The 21st of February is one such day where you should immerse yourself in the richness of our culture, from Lalon to Tagore to Nazrul. So take a break, sit down and leaf through a book with a cup of tea in hand. The ultimate Bangali combination.

Ahmad Ibrahim, Sub-editor, Rising Stars.

Shahbagh Feed

Bangladeshi students at UTArlington, Texas showing solidarity with Shahbag Movement

We had several people voicing their opinions about the Shahbagh articles that we ran last week. Constructive opinions reaffirmed our belief that the youth is definitely capable of changing the country for the better. Here's to us.

AmiyaHalder: Nice to see Ibrahim wring out the facts in "The Revolution Rising". Disappointed to know he thinks demanding the death sentence for Kader Mollah is no better than "an eye for an eye" - 344 pairs of eyes, anyone? And after everything the nation has gone through, I'm sure a couple of boycotted Jamaati businesses wouldn't hurt... As far as I'm concerned, Bangalis have been more than civil about this "basal desire" at Shahbag - no wrecked cars or buses set on fire.

Ahmad Ibrahim: Thanks for your comments. As I said before, I am against capital punishment in principal. And the intrinsic value of human life, to me, is constant. Be it 344 or 1, murder is murder. Of course, the man deserves punishment for his deeds, no arguments there. But the fact remains, people are chanting for blood and I'd like to think I am somewhat better than Kader Mollah as I won't be swayed so easily to ask for death, even his. Also, it will have a detrimental effect on the economy because many protesters in Shahbaghalso work at said institutions and hurting them shouldn't be on the agenda, even if it is collateral. And you're right, we have been thoroughly civil and I loved the fact that our protesters have channeled their angers in creative ways. Maybe you misunderstood me, because when I said 'basal desire', I meant this demand for blood and not the protests themselves. That said, these are my opinions solely and I welcome your views. It's what makes us a democracy. Cheers.

RifayatRaisa:“Without structural changes, it creates a dangerous precedent where the state veers quite close to a fascist state, away from democracy.” Yes, Mohaimin, thank you for finally noticing! Don't get me wrong, I'm all up for punishing war criminals, and yes, it is terrible how they walked free for nearly 40 years. But directly disagreeing with the verdict? Not a good idea. I mean, lets not forget the contents of the leaked communications published by The Economist. These sort of controversies do weaken the whole situation.

Mustabeen Ul Bari- I especially loved it when Ibrahim mentioned that bit about boy-cotting institutions associated with Jamaat and the consequent "crippling of the economy". That's something to be considered rationally, to say the least. So kudos on you, Ibrahim.

So, what's the big deal about Bangla anyways?

By Confused Vegetable

I've always wondered what foreigners thought of the way we speak Bangla. See, there tends to be one significant feature of almost all languages that is most salient to foreigners. For example, the French accent makes everything sound romantic and somewhat elegant. Then there's the drunken style of talking like a drug dealer – the Russian style. Then the Spanish language which always reminds me of a really hot, humid summer day. But, there's a catch to this. People talking in their native tongue are usually unaware of how they sound to a person who isn't. Hence the question – how do we, the Bangalis, sound to the mass foreigners?

A Polish friend of mine, once tried to imitate the way I speak Bangla with the other Bangali people, her imitation went something like this, “Sharshima harshima, sha, sha, sha… “It was the “sha” factor most prominent, she said. Now if you try saying one sentence in Bangla, you'll usually find the “sha” added somewhere in there, a couple of times.

But, this gives rise to more questions. You know how there are those extremely hard letters in Arabic that you have to pronounce from the depth of your throat? Well, there could be some Bangla letters and words that foreigners find really hard to pronounce. Chinese people tend to talk in a way that appears to me like the words are left hanging and loose. So, probably they would find it hard to say Bangla words like “Bhumikompo” or “Shiddeshori” which require emphatic pronunciations.

I guess, all languages are fascinating and unique in their own right. Some languages seem similar, like the way my aforementioned Polish friend thought the Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans in the neighbourhood (we lived in one with people from many countries) spoke the same language as I did (blasphemy)! But, I couldn't blame her cause I thought the Bulgarians, and the Russians spoke the same language as her (a blasphemy to her in this case).

On the 21st of February we all wear black and white; we recall our language warriors and their blatant courage. But, we tend to forget one thing – our heroes didn't just stand up for the Bangla language, they stood up to speak in their mother tongue which happened to be Bangla in this case. The significance of this being an “international” mother language day is right here. All languages hold a whole lot of sentiment to its native speakers, a whole lot of love and respect. Hence, be it the haw-maw-chaw of Mandarin, or the je-ja-jeh of French, or the zah-daff-zaz of Russian – they all represent our freedom to speak in our native tongue, the one that represents our countrymen, our roots, our feelings and more.

The comments on the Shahbag movement were so long we had to create a separate space for it. So you can guess how busy the RS Facebook page was this week. Head to our page and leave your two cents, love letters to (the long deceased) Lovelove, or a hate rant.

Humanoid Storm: Disney IS banned! What did I tell you guys? We're finally free from the clutches of the hideous blue monster. I'm throwing a party. We'll grab popcorn, switch to Disney and watch as static fills the screen.

Hossain Al Wasi: Good one, Mr. Ibrahim. At last, an article (on Shahbag) that makes sense. Thumbs up.

Mohua Morshed: Since Dr Lovelove doesn't write anymore, could RS readers get to uncover the person behind the pseudonymous identity?
The Rising Star: Nope.

Shartaj Aziz Hossain Omyo: Got to admit, the 'Single awareness day (S.A.D) ' article was damn awesome. Loved it.



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