The dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer came without a hard drive: two floppy disks uploaded the operating system. When the electricity went (as it often did), we had to reload it. Our bathroom doubled as our darkroom. A clunky metal cabinet housed our prints, slides, negatives and files. Anisur Rahman and Abu Naser Siddique were our printers; I was photographer, manager, copy editor and part-time janitor. Cheryle Yin-Lo, an Australian who had read about us in a magazine, joined as our librarian. We offered and she happily accepted a local salary. My partner Rahnuma Ahmed often got roped in when we were short-staffed, which was often.
Qatar is emerging for the second time in a decade as the only Arab state without a peace treaty and diplomatic relations to have invested in Israel. Qatar’s latest investment in Israeli Palestinian soccer comes against a backdrop of a war of words between the two countries over the Gulf state’s support for Hamas, the Islamist militia that controls the war-wracked Gaza Strip. Yet, Qatar’s relationship with Hamas makes it alongside Turkey the only country that can talk directly to the group as part of international efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.
A Qatari agreement to donate $4.6 million to two Israeli Palestinian soccer clubs, Bnei Sakhnin, a team based in Galilee that historically stands for Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, and Maccabi Ahi Nazareth FC, a squad that historically was part of the centrist wing of the Zionist movement, was negotiated prior to the eruption three weeks ago of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.
In a move that is likely to provoke Israeli right-wing and nationalist ire, Qatar this week paid Bnei Sakhnin, which was the foremost Palestinian team to include Jewish players in its squad, its first instalment of the donation. Mazen Gnayem, the mayor of Sakhnin, a Palestinian town in the Lower Galilee, and former Bnei Sakhnin chairman, told Israeli business newspaper Globes that Qatar had transferred $500,000. Right wing and nationalist ire is likely to feed on the fact that Bnei Sakhnin recently lost Eliran Danin, its last Jewish player. Maccabi Nazareth however continues to have both Palestinian and Jewish players.
Shimon Peres, who last week stepped down as Israel’s president and is widely seen as a dove when it comes to Israeli-Palestinian peace, accused Qatar this week of being “the world’s largest funder of terror.” Mr. Peres charged that “Qatar does not have the right to send money for rockets and tunnels which are fired at innocent civilians. Their funding of terror must stop. If they want to build then they should, but they must not be allowed to destroy,” he told Ban-Ki Moon during the United Nations Secretary General’s visit to Jerusalem in a failed bid to achieve a Gaza ceasefire.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s former security advisor Major General (res) Yaakov Amidror said the United States had earlier stopped the Amman-based, Palestinian-owned Arab Bank from transferring Qatari funds for the payment of 43,000 public sector workers in Gaza who haven’t received salaries for month. Gen Amidror told The Times of Israel that Qatari funding of Hamas’ military operations continued nevertheless unabated.
Israeli economy minister Naftaniel Bennett meanwhile called on world soccer body FIFA to deprive Qatar, which is home to Hamas leader Khaled Mishal, of its right to host the 2022 World Cup because of its funding of what he described as radical Islamic terror. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan demanded that the Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera network be taken off the air due to its “extremely severe incitement against the State of Israel as well as enthusiastic support for Hamas and its terrorist actions.” Earlier, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the network despite the fact that Israeli spokesman, including his ministry’s spokesman, Yigal Palmor, appear regularly on Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera was this week forced to evacuate its Gaza office after it came under fire. The network’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Walid Al-Omari, accused members of the Israeli Cabinet in an interview on Israel’s Army Radio of incitement and putting its crews at risk.
Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiyah, who has played a key role in the ceasefire negotiations, hit back at Israel, saying that ”Qatar does not support Hamas, Qatar supports the Palestinians.” In an interview with CNN, Mr. Al Attiyah accused Israel of systematically sabotaging peace efforts over the past year. He lashed out at Messrs Lieberman and Bennett, saying they “practice terrorism… Israel never leveraged on the pragmatic approach of Hamas. Mr. Al Attiyah noted that Hamas had agreed to participate in Palestinian elections in 2006 encouraged by the fact that then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had asked Qatar to support the group’s move. “They decided to practice democracy,” the minister said.
The Israeli war of words on Qatar is designed to further isolate Hamas, which has found little sympathy among Arab government in its latest round of fighting with Israel, leaving the Gulf state as its main Arab backer. By discrediting Qatar hopes to support Egyptian mediation efforts in the knowledge that Cairo’s relations with Hamas are troubled because it views the group as an extension of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Former Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became in 2012 the first Arab head of state to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza. Mr. Al Attiyah said residential housing and hospitals that were being built in Gaza prior to the Israeli assault with $500 million pledged by Sheikh Hamad had been constructed by contractors associated with Hamas’ rival, Al Fatah, the group that forms the backbone of the West Bank’s Palestine Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. He said the funds for Gaza were being channelled through Arab Bank and the Palestine Authority rather than Hamas.
Qatar played an important role earlier this year in bridging the seven-year old rift between Fatah and Hamas which led to an agreement to form a national unity government that would be backed by both groups but would not include Hamas representatives. The formation of that government prompted Mr. Netanyahu to break off US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israel’s assault on Gaza is believed to be in part intended to undermine the government and put Mr. Abbas back in the driver’s seat, an effort that has so far backfired.
Qatar first invested in Israeli soccer when it funded in 2006 the construction of the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin to the tune of $6 million, the first ever official investment in Israel itself by an Arab state that has yet to recognize Israel. The funding came after Bnei Sakhnin, Israel’s most successful Israeli Palestinian club, won the 2004 State Cup. The team’s captain, Abbas Suan, became a national hero in 2006 when he scored a key goal in Israel’s World Cup qualifier against Ireland.
A week later Mr. Abbas was greeted in the stadium of Jerusalem by supporters of Beitar Jerusalem, Israel’s most anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim club, with chants of “Suan, You Don’t Represent Us” and “We hate all Arabs.”
James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
The winners have just been announced in the 3rd edition of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest photo competition. The overall winner, top 10 category winners and top 50 finalists were unveiled at a ceremony in Hong Kong earlier today. The contest invited photographers to submit images of the world of action and adventure sports in one of 10 categories, including Energy, Illumination, Sequence, and Experimental (where digital manipulation is allowed). This year the competition received more than 28,000 entries by 6,417 photographers from 124 countries. Below are some of the winning images, accompanied by the stories behind the shots, in the words of the photographers themselves. (Also, be sure to see the earlier entry, featuring some of the semi-finalists.) [36 photos]
2012 began with Lokkhi Terra performing at Drik. The group has performed all around the world at venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the House of Commons, Glastonbury and at Womad.? They were one of the critics? choices at this year?s Womad festival in the UK, and was the band chosen to perform at the closing ceremony of the South Asian Games 2010.
Lokkhi Terra?s two albums?No Visa Required,?and?Che Guevara?s Rickshaw Diaries, received much critical acclaim around the world.
Open-eared and well-travelled world/jazz fusion
The music of Lokkhi Terra isn’t for those who don’t travel well, while those with strong wanderlust in their bones are advised to strap themselves in. The sound of this London-based, multi-membered collective zigzags all over the map. Their point of departure appears to be jazz fusion, but from here they touch down in the streets of Bangladesh, the Afrobeat clubs of Nigeria, the cantinas of Cuba and the beaches of Brazil. Such eclecticism might suggest a disjointed jumble, a sound dreamed up by committee. But in Lokkhi Terra’s care, it all makes utter and perfect sense, a seamless collage of some of the best noises this planet’s ever made. And they’re a bunch keen on album titles that sum up their modus operandi. Last year’s No Visa Required emphasised their border-busting sound, while their forthcoming record also gives a hint of their influences and inspirations: it’s called Che Guevara’s Rickshaw Diaries.
(Biography written by Nige Tassell 2011)
They have all performed around the world at venues such as Ronnie Scotts, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the House of Commons, Glastonbury and at Womad.? They were one of the critics? choices at this year?s Womad festival in the UK, and was the band chosen to perform at the closing ceremony of the South Asian Games 2010.
Lokkhi Terra?s two albums?No Visa Required,?and?Che Guevara?s Rickshaw Diaries, received much critical acclaim around the world.
The combined sonic forces usually transform a quiet room into one which has people clapping and swaying within minutes and Khan is hoping for a similar reaction in India. Times of India.
Lokkhi Terra will be playing?23rd of January at Blue Frog Delhi and on the 24th January at Blue Frog Mumbai.
Lokkhi Terra is led by the Bangladeshi Kishon Khan
Here is what people have said about him:
?Kishon Khan leant back from his keyboards with the glee of a man driving a super-car, and played as if distilling the entire 1970s work of Herbie Hancock into a high-octane drive in the country, as congas bounced and brass slid around him…? FT.com
?A formidable jazz pianist? Simon Broughton, Evening Standard
? Highly innovative, a key figure in the British Bangla-Afro-Cuban-Jazz circle? Agogo Records
?Exceptional? ? Movimientos
Kishon Khan is a classically trained pianist, born in Bangladesh, and brought up and living in London. He is widely regarded as one of the most versatile players on the scene today ? sessioning across the genres whilst also being at the heart of some of London?s most critically acclaimed bands. He has lived, studied and worked in countries a far afield as Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, and of course Bangladesh, and this is reflected in the diversity of his musical works/collaborations.
Lokkhi Terra is developing the theme music for Chobi Mela VII, the international festival of photography, held in Dhaka.
The year sadly ended with the attack at Ramu, the devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions and the brutal assassination in broad daylight of Biswajit Das. While both parties wax lyrical on their successes at the talk shows, the real heroes of Bangladesh continue to be the farmer in the field, the migrant workers and the garment workers who pay for the lavish lifestyles of the Tri State residents of Gulshan, Baridhara and Banani. Let’s take time to remember some of the other Bangladeshis who have made us proud. Some of them young like the choreographer Akram Khan and the writer Tahmima Anam the cricketer Shakib Al Hasan, the educationist Salman Khan and others more senior like the elephant in the room whom we are not allowed to mention, Muhammad Yunus.
Please Retweet #bangladesh #muhammadyunus #tahminaanam #akramkhan #shakibalhasan #salm
While the real heroes of Bangladesh have consistently been our farmers, our migrant workers and our garment workers, they are rarely celebrated. There have been significant other achievements in 2012. Bangladeshi photographers continue to excel and I have not singled out any individual achievement.
Please feel free to provide links to other achivements which I have surely missed out.
Photo ? Palash Khan /?http://www.palashkhan.com
Dhaka 03 June 2012. Bangladeshi mountaineer Nishat Majumder poses after arriving at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on June 3, 2012, following her successful ascent of Mount Everest. Majumder became the first Bangladeshi woman to climb the highest peak of the world. Photo by Palash Khan
Role Models in Science & Engineering Achievement: Fazlur R. Khan ? Bangladeshi structural engineer and architect?
You may readily recognize some his most famous works as a structural design engineer: the John Hancock Center building in Chicago; Chicago?s Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower); the Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. In his short lifetime, Fazlur Khan, perhaps more than any other individual, combined his love for structural engineering, architecture and art to usher in a revolution in skyscraper construction during the second half of the twentieth century, making it possible for people to live and work in ?cities in the sky.?
“Rehman Sobhan receives ‘BDI Lifetime Achievement Award”
Lovlu Ansar from New York
New York, Dec 24 (bdnews24.com)?The Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a New York-based research and advocacy group based, on Monday named Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), for the ‘2012 BDI Lifetime Achievement Award’.
The award is designed to ‘honour outstanding individuals who, through their scholarly and/or policy and civic engagements, have contributed significantly to understanding the challenges, and pursuing the ideals that would lead to the development of Bangladesh and improving the quality of life for its citizens’.
Bangladesh wins the Earth Care Award 2012 for LDCF adaptation project
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) of Bangladesh won the Earth Care Award 2012 (sponsored by the Times of India) for spearheading the??Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)??(LDCF) project ?Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change through Coastal Afforestation in Bangladesh?. This year?s Earth Care Awards category was “Community-based adaptation and mitigation”.
The LDCF- funded project has a strong community-based adaptation component and has benefited 18,269 households by involving them in afforestation, agriculture, livestock, and fishery-based livelihood adaptation.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have led by example in the absence of Bangladesh’s most vital player, Shakib Al Hasan
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah played important roles in Bangladesh’s win in the deciding ODI in Mirpur?? AFP
Bangladesh captain?Mushfiqur Rahim?and his deputyMahmudullah?have taken the long overdue steps from being occasional match-winners to players who can regularly do so. Their performance in the 3-2 victory in the ODI series against West Indies has been the biggest gain for Bangladesh in the last four weeks of international cricket.
In the deciding match in Mirpur, Bangladesh had stumbled to 30 for 3 in pursuit of 217, when Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah counterattacked and put on 91 runs. They only made 40s, but their contributions prevented a susceptible line-up from collapsing.
Please Retweet #Bangladesh #2012 #nishatmajumder #fazlurrkhan #rehmansobhan #wasfianazreen #cricket
Source:?Concrete Playground Brisbane
By?Wright Thompson?| ESPN.com
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Three years ago, the Sri Lankan cricket team rode through the streets of Lahore, Pakistan, on the third day of a five-day test match. Team captain Mahela Jayawardene, who is to his country what Derek Jeter is to the city of New York, rode near the back of the bus. The convoy, with a police escort, rolled through the streets outside the stadium. Mahela, known as MJ, took out his phone to call his wife, and that’s when they all heard what sounded like fireworks. Someone shouted, “They’re shooting at the bus!” They heard the bullets, marching down the side exposed to the terrorist gunmen, sounding like rain on a metal roof. Mahela dove for the floor, and the first 30 seconds of what happened next ended up on Christina Jayawardene’s voice mail. An RPG flew over the bus. A grenade rolled under it. It was a blur: policemen being shot in the street, dying on a Tuesday morning, bullets striking the tires, players screaming. When she played the message for Mahela’s oldest friend, tears flowed down her face as he listened. Continue reading “Sri Lanka's stars bridge past, future”