[Image: Greg Constantine, Pulitzer Center]
It was 1978 or 1979, Weekly Bichitra made a cover story titled, “ Manush Aite achhe – naaf nodeer baner lahan” (People are coming in like flood on Naaf River). All on a sudden, a group of people living in northwest Burmese Arakan region and who happen to be of Bengali ethnic lineage and Muslim in faith, started leaving their homeland of several dozen to several hundred years and cross the border to enter Bangladesh in utter desperation. They came by boats, sampans, makeshift banana trunk vessels (vela) – some came on foot through impenetrable mountain forest. They all were escaping the atrocities of operation Nagamin of Burmese army.
Burmese government was suspicious of what they believed as collusion between Arakan communist party and secessionist thought of Arakanese Muslims. Starting on April 1978, refugees started pouring into Cox’s Bazaar, Teknaf and Chittagong Hill tract areas and by June, over 200,000 Bengali Muslim descendent inhabitants of Burmese region of Arakan, who call themselves Rohingyas, started living in 13 camps set up along Bangladesh Myanmar border. Of the 210,000 souls, more than half (over 110,000) were children between 1 to 15 years of age and there was absolutely no obstruction from Bangladesh side in letting them in. Large enclosed living quarters were built overnight. Refugees were kept in those fenced out camps, a high level government official ran the program from the ground and a national coordination council led by Cabinet Secretary led the national and global efforts.
The head of the state was personally involved in every minor detail of the planning and execution of the program. And thanks to personal influence of President Ziaur Rahman on Burmese leader Ne Win, very robust stand by Bangladesh foreign office and smart diplomacy by the foreign Minister Professor Shamsul Huq, Burmese government took all the refugees back within less than a year. In July 1978, two months into the refugee problem, an agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Burma. The first batch of 58 refugees was repatriated in August 1978 and the repatriation of last stranded batch (who did not have any document supporting their residence in Burma) was completed by December 1979. Senior Burmese Ministers visited the camps to supervise the repatriation process, which they called ‘the Hintha project’. Continue reading “REFUGEE: Alaol’s unfortunate Children”
KHONDOKAR: স্বাধীন দেশের নাগরিক !!! আমাদের অনেক অর্জন !! আমরা যারা বিদেশ থাকি, মনে হয় এতিম বাচ্চা আমরা, যাদের পৃথিবীতে কেহ নাই. রাজনীতিবিদদের মত ভন্ড আর কেহ নাই
গরিব দেশের লোক বলে এই শ্রমিকদের কোনো সম্মান নাই
The Waste Land of May
by Prashanta Tripura (With apologies to T. S. Eliot)
April is no longer the cruelest month, at least
Not for me,
Not in the hills of Chittagong
Where May is the new month of maximum cruelty, mixing
Memories of despair and desolation,
And desires for freedom and liberty, breeding
Hatred out of the scorched land, stirring
Deep roots of sorrow, pain and longing. Continue reading “The Waste Land of May”
I guess Humayn Ahmed’s upcoming novel “deyal” is going to win the distinction of second most talked about ‘book-in-writing’. ( I give it second place because for hype about a ‘not-yet-written’ novel, the top place all time in the history Bangla literature will unsurpassably remain with Tahmima Anam and her novel ‘A Golden Age’, ever). Dozen of articles and op-eds have already been published in several Bangladeshi outlets ( but nothing compared to New York Times, Guadian, NPR reviews and dozens of TV interviews of Tahmima Anam gave including BBC radio even before her first ever novel was published). Even this obscure blogger tried to write an amateurish piece in BDNews 24.com opinion page. The full piece is reproduced for AlalODulal readers across the fold.
But on the side of the fold let’s share with you one reader’s comment about the piece. The reader commented,
Humayun Ahmed has received so much help, financial assistance, and favors from the current government that he probably feels obligated to pay off some his debt, which is fine except he shouldn’t try to call his novel a piece of literature. He should, if he is honest, put the testimonial at the beginning of his novel that it is his way of paying off his debt to this government.
As the reader rightfully questions the literature value of this upcoming novel and our court and the government remains very concerned about the historical value, this blogger sees the novel as the litmus test for intellectual honesty of author-film maker Humayun Ahmed.
প্রথমেই পার্বত্যচুক্তি বাস্তবায়ন কমিটির আহ্বায়ক সংসদ উপনেতা সৈয়দা সাজেদা চেৌধুরীর পার্বত্যচুক্তি বাস্তবায়ন নিয়ে দেড় বছরের ব্যবধানে দুইটি বক্তব্য :
১. পার্বত্যচুক্তি বাস্তবায়নের আলোচনা একদম শেষ পর্যায়ে। এ নিয়ে অনেক আলোচনা হয়েছে। এবার আমরা ফলাফল চাই। (সূত্র: প্রথম আলো, শেষ পৃষ্ঠা, ২৭ ডিসেম্বর ২০১০ ইং, স্থান : খাগড়াছড়ি)
২. সরকার ত্ত জনসংহতি সমিতির (জেএসএস) মথ্যে চুক্তি বাস্তবায়নের বিষয়ে কোনো মতভিন্নতা নেই। আমরা একই লক্ষ্যে পেৎৌছাতে চাই।সেই উদ্দেশ্যে আলাপ-আলোচনার মাধ্যমে আমরা একেবারে শেষ পর্যায়ে পেৎৌছে গেছি। (সূত্র: প্রথম আলো, তৃতীয় পৃষ্ঠা, ২৯ মে ২০১২ইং, স্থান: ঢাকা) Continue reading “CHT Peace Accord: waiting and still waiting”
My first teacher was a cowherd. Another teacher gave up trousers, put on a lungi, and did farming- so I heard. I don’t have the courage to ask, the teacher that was killed by police beating today– who was he? Continue reading “Death of a teacher”
The Asian American Federation found that 53.9 % of Bangladeshis living in Brooklyn are poor – the highest rate among the city’s eight largest Asian immigrant groups. The poverty rates for Bangladeshis was nearly double the numbers for blacks, whites, … Continue reading Poverty in America
So who will be the next President? Elections are scheduled for July 2012; if Congress can get its allies to agree, through a lot of behind-the-scenes deal making, it is likely that the winning candidate will be of its choice. Two candidates seem to be front runners: current Vice President Hamid Ansari, and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. An interesting outcome of this would be that a victory for either would be the first time someone from West Bengal has occupied the highest office in the land.
Exactly ten years ago today*, upon arriving at a friend’s place, instead of ‘Shubho Nobo Borsho’ (Bangla new year greeting), I was greeted with a barrage of ‘Have you heard the news? Call home now. Hope family’s okay…’
In such a fine era of youth-led resistance and rising, the democratic spirits of DU needed not be submitted to Lamy’s idea of a privatized world!…PS: Around 50 students walked out in protest during Lamy’s speech. A round of applause for them.Continue reading “Pascal Lamy & Dhaka University’s Shame”
On March 7, an email landed in my inbox, containing this amusing graphic.
Also on March 7, newspaper headlines contained blaring headlines about new scientific advancements regarding the Higgs-Boson particle, colloquially known as the God particle.