Post-Crisis Rumor Mill

During an unprecedented attack like the one at Holey Artisan Bakery, crisis management is of utmost priority. Looking back, security forces did well to set up cordons to keep at bay meddlesome reporters. The subsequent media blackout, though late, was a good call and could feature in a standard operating procedure. In comparison with regional incidents, commandoes acted with reasonable urgency. However, medical evacuation appeared poorly managed and if not for the proximity of United Hospital, more lives may have been lost.

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Dark Side of Our Sympathy

By Fardin Hasin for AlalODulal

In March 2016, a girl was brutally raped and murdered inside Comilla Cantonment. The crime was surrounded by a lot of mysteries, most of which are yet to be brought to light due to the authority’s unwillingness to do any proper investigation. People were quick to react; protests sprung up in both Dhaka and Comilla along with some other places. The hashtag #JusticeForX (I will not reveal her name here for reasons I am going to explain later) spread throughout Facebook; often complemented by cover photos depicting the words ‘Justice For X’ superimposed on the victim’s picture.

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#RichKids in an Unlivable City

In the Dhaka of the 80s, there was a consensus regarding who its richest denizen was. At the rare, lavish weddings, my cousins and I would spot him, with his guards and his clan, and cower at the sight of the wealthiest man in Bangladesh. What it signified, we weren’t totally sure. My cousins could easily name his businesses in real estate, banking and construction. His creamy white Mercedes was instantly recognizable around Dhanmondi streets. In our fantasies, his children’s supposed diet of chocolates and cakes were the source of much envy. Continue reading “#RichKids in an Unlivable City”

রবি: আমাদের অশ্রু এতো শস্তা না

রবি: আমাদের অশ্রু এতো শস্তা না

Irfanur Rahman for Alal O Dulal

রবির বিজ্ঞাপনটা সুন্দর, অত্যন্ত হৃদয়স্পর্শীভাবেই সুন্দর, বিশেষত “একটা মোবাইলের জন্য মরে যাবো না বাবা” বলার পর মোরশেদ সাহেবের মেয়ে যেভাবে তার বাবাকে জড়িয়ে ধরে আমার ধারণা অই জায়গাটায় অনেকের চোখেই পানি এসে গেছে। 

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Reinforcing Misconceptions and Uninformed Choice

Adnan R. Amin for
 A video titled ‘Language Matters’ has been making the rounds in Bangladeshi social-media circles. It explores the utility of Arabic warnings to ward off public urinators. The using of a religious misconception to prevent a social evil is clever. But what if it also reinforces and lends credence to that misconception?

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Cricket Nationalism: Mauka Mauka, 1971

by Swadhin Sen

“At this moment of masculinist and orgasmic expressions of hatred – communal, ethnic, sexist, partisan, and national – in both real and virtual world, cricket match in World Cup 2015 has become a rallying point of neo-nationalistic tyranny. In contrast to the dominating belief, sports has never been apolitical. Sometimes it becomes a space for solidarity and protest, at other times it becomes the weapons of domination and hegemonic control.”

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Saiful Huq Omi: On Burn Unit Photo Controversy

On the Burn Unit Photo Controversy

Interview with photographer Saiful Huq Omi
Published in Bengali on, translated for

“On February 8, the major dailies of Bangladesh published a report titled ‘Shooting at a Burn Unit,’ where it was reported that despite criticisms, photographic shooting took place in Dhaka Medical College and Hospital’s Burn Unit. Continue reading “Saiful Huq Omi: On Burn Unit Photo Controversy”

Monajatuddin: The Minstrel Journalist

by Adnan R. Amin for

The works of Monajatuddin – the Minstrel Journalist – have had more of a shaping role in contemporary Bangladesh than that of many a politicians, development-pundits, editors or litterateurs. Take for example, the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2014, only recently okayed by the cabinet. It was Monajatuddin’s keen, investigative reporting on child marriage that informed and laid the groundwork for necessary social-debates and policy-making. Continue reading “Monajatuddin: The Minstrel Journalist”

Eternal Othering and Presentation of Communalism on the World Stage

by Nasrin Khandoker, translated by Hana Shams Ahmed for Alal O Dulal

“We need to get a grasp of which edge of the crater in the global imperialist politico-economic map we are situated, how and in what name we exist there. Who is constructed and presented in what role in the world theatre of Islamophobia. Continue reading “Eternal Othering and Presentation of Communalism on the World Stage”

The Road to Court 21

The Road to Court 21
by Seema Amin for

“O bleating without wool! O Wound!” Lorca
Prologue: the incidental messenger
‘Now you say the income of the Adamjis, Dauds and Isphanis have increased by 40 % and the income of the s have decreased by 5 %, then you make an average and you get Per Capita Income and you say Honey and Money and Milk is Flowing in the Economy. What happens to Coliuddin, Soliuddin and Rohiuddin?‘ Continue reading “The Road to Court 21”

Nadine Murshid: Beauty, Contest and Context

“[The beauty] industry affects us all… It affects us in the workplace. It affects us as students, workers, mothers, and daughters. And that is why we expect a certain degree of responsibility from that industry, because they are well positioned to make a positive difference with the influence they wield; as they have the ‘power of capital’ to create “false needs”; as Marcuse said, “totalitarianism can be imposed without terror.”
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Seema Amin: The art of dehumanization

The art of dehumanization
by Seema Amin

‘A door marked enemy and no one home.’ Tom Engelhardt.
‘If you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes the truth.’ Electra, my love (1974 Hungarian film).

It will not be too overcast to say the 21st century (Anno Domini, whose 12 years and some hundred days have passed) has thus far been the century of the “enemy-industrial complex”. Continue reading “Seema Amin: The art of dehumanization”

Seuty Sabur: It is the state who needs the holy trinity of nation-nationality-nationalism and a common enemy

It is the state who needs the holy trinity of nation-nationality-nationalism and a common enemy
by Seuty Sabur

It has been nine years since I have stopped watching TV daily. I always find it unsettling, especially the talk shows. For me it seems more logical to follow the news online, check people’s reaction on social media. I can’t handle the TV for more than 10 minutes, even in the time of national/international ‘crises’. Continue reading “Seuty Sabur: It is the state who needs the holy trinity of nation-nationality-nationalism and a common enemy”

Shabnam Nadiya: To BGMEA, How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps

To BGMEA: How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps
Guest Post by Shabnam Nadiya

1. Stop thinking that ‘compliance’ is a word to keep international buyers happy and begin to understand that it has to do with the safety of people. People like you and me. People whose labor creates that shining Bangladesh in the first place. People whose actual labor builds your fortunes. Continue reading “Shabnam Nadiya: To BGMEA, How To Maintain Bangladesh’s Shining Image Abroad in Five Easy Steps”

Killing Print Culture: Must FORUM Die?

Daily Star has announced that FORUM, it’s long-running monthly magazine, will close down as a “cost-saving” measure. FORUM was originally published in the 1960s/70s, with an editorial board that included Hameeda Hossain, Rehman Sobhan, and others. It was revived in the 00’s with Zafar Sobhan as editor. For last few years, Kajalie Shahreen Islam is the editor. It is the country’s only monthly magazine of serious, long-form, non-fiction essays in English. Continue reading “Killing Print Culture: Must FORUM Die?”

Silence speaks volumes

By Javed Jahangir
Prior to the outbreak of the recent violence in Bangladesh that pitted the police against the Jamaat-e-Islami, the conservative Islamic party, there was a stark silence among Western news outlets on the massive protests at Shahbagh junction in Dhaka. For 38 days and counting, up to a quarter of a million people have gathered peacefully everyday at Shahbagh, and elsewhere across the country, to demonstrate in favour of death sentences for those convicted of war crimes dating back to the country’s 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan. Shahbagh, and the subsequent violent backlash, was sparked by sentences handed down to leaders of the Jamaat, which collaborated with Pakistani forces in 1971 and has been tightly enmeshed in Bangladeshi politics ever since. Continue reading “Silence speaks volumes”

Epic Kechal 2: Alo vs Anti-Establishment

The Epic Kechal: The Hegemony of Prothom-alo and the Anti Establishment Group
by Zia Hassan

In Bangladesh politics, there is an interesting saying. If both the government and the opposition are criticizing you and then you must be doing something right. Prothom-alo continuously holds that enviable positioning in our society. But, it is not only the government and the opposition,  Prothom-alo draws flack from all corners. The communist hate them, the people in military hate them, the mullah’s hate them, the liberals hate them.   Continue reading “Epic Kechal 2: Alo vs Anti-Establishment”

Tazreen: New York Times front page, again

Bangladesh is on the front page of the New York Times for the third time this year. All three stories have been on the garments industry. The previous two talked of opportunities and warned of dangers and exploitation in the industry. The latest one is, of course, after the fire. Reporting by Jim Yardley and Julfikar Ali Manik, photographs by Andrew Biraj and Khaled Hasan.

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