RESISTING RAMPAL

‘Go back NTPC, get out India’
rahnuma ahmed

Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 20, 2016. ? Taslima Akhter
Dhaka, Bangladesh, August 20, 2016. ? Taslima Akhter

Of all the slogans raised in protest against the coal power plant being built at Rampal in Bagerhat, this one’s the best. Continue reading “RESISTING RAMPAL”

South-South Coope Award: Reality or imagination?

M. Shahidul Islam?in Toronto

?Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority,? said Adolf Hitler?s chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945). In today?s cyber world, such a strategy holds little water given that the ordinary people too have access to what is deemed as secrets by the ruling coterie.

No wonder whispers and whining have begun to echo around the world about the news that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was honoured with a ?poverty reduction award? during the UN General Assembly?s (UNGA) 68th session by the UNDP?s South-South Cooperation (SSC). Continue reading “South-South Coope Award: Reality or imagination?”

A 40-Year Quest for Justice

By Shahidul Alam for New York Times

Bangladesh?s Winter of Discontent
Published: February 28, 2013. DHAKA, Bangladesh

Rashin Kheiriyeh
More than four decades after independence, protesters in Bangladesh are demanding that leaders of the  Jamaat-e-Islami political party, as well as others, finally be punished for war crimes. Puppets of the alleged war criminals dangle from nooses in Shahbagh Square in Dhaka. Credit: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
More than four decades after independence, protesters in Bangladesh are demanding that leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, as well as others, finally be punished for war crimes.
Puppets of the alleged war criminals dangle from nooses in Shahbagh Square in Dhaka.
Credit: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

FOR the past month, tens of thousands of Bangladeshis have filled Shahbagh Square here, demanding justice for crimes committed in 1971, when Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) attained its independence from Pakistan.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Shahbagh Square for the funeral of Ahmed Rajib Haider, a blogger who was rumored to have been murdered for his criticism of the Jamaat-e-Islami party. Credit: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Thousands of protesters gathered in Shahbagh Square for the funeral of Ahmed Rajib Haider, a blogger who was rumored to have been murdered for his criticism of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.
Credit: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
Continue reading “A 40-Year Quest for Justice”

An Attack on Grameen Bank, and the Cause of Women

By?DAVID BORNSTEIN? New York Times

This month, the Grameen Bank, the organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize for extending small loans to impoverished village women, has come under renewed attack from the government of Bangladesh. Last year,?I reported?that the government was attempting to forcibly remove the bank?s founder, Muhammad Yunus, from his position as managing director on the pretense that Yunus, then 70, was beyond the official retirement age. The government prevailed.

Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He initiated the Grameen (rural) Bank, the bank for the poor, which gives loans to poor people (generally women), who do not have collateral. The Grameen Foundation has also initiated innovative companies such as Grameen Phone, a commercial telecommunication company which also provides phones to rural women for setting up their businesses. 1988. Mirpur. Dhaka. Bangladesh. ??Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Now it has struck again. On Aug. 2, the cabinet of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed?approved?a proposal to amend the 29-year-old law that governs the Grameen Bank so the government can bypass the bank?s board of directors and handpick Yunus?s successor. This is a brazen step to seize control of an institution that serves 8.4 million poor villagers across Bangladesh and provides inspiration to social entrepreneurs around the world. Sadly, it is occurring in a country where the government has been consistently ranked as highly?corrupt. Just this past June, the World Bank?canceled?$1.2 billion in financing for the much-needed Padma Bridge because of corruption at a high-level within the government. Continue reading “An Attack on Grameen Bank, and the Cause of Women”

Padma. A bridge too far.

Cartoon: New Age

He did resign in the end. And the resignation was accepted. Minutes before the announcement, it was still being debated on the talk shows. Would this be another hoax? Would she accept the resignation? Had we finally gotten rid of him? Regardless, it was too little, too late. Continue reading “Padma. A bridge too far.”

De-energising Bangladesh

by rahnuma ahmed

In the end, treachery will betray even itself.
Roman proverb
When the prime minister, the finance minister etc., not known for being democratically-oriented, feel obliged to respond publicly according to the terms and conditions set by the National Oil-Gas Committee, it is clear that the tide is shifting.
It is clear that? the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports (NCPOGMR) has made a significant impact on public consciousness. That there is a growing national awareness of the issue of ownership of natural resources; of the terms on which production sharing contracts are signed with international oil companies (IOCs); a growing suspicion that exporting extracted gas may not be the best way of solving the nation’s energy shortfall. More precisely, of the hollowness of the government’s reasoning as to why gas blocks need to be, must necessarily be, leased out to multinational companies.? More broadly, of whether the nation’s ruling class, regardless of which political party is in power, does act in the interests of the nation, of its people.
It is clear from what top ruling party leaders are now obliged to say, to repeatedly say, we are patriotic, we are not treacherous, that they have been forced to cede ground.
It is clear that a moral battle has been won.
Continue reading “De-energising Bangladesh”