01.   29 years of the constitution of Bangladesh
02.   The protection of minorities: a critical challenge for everyone
04.   The new government and 'a rights agenda' for action
05.   Meanwhile in Bangladesh...
06.   The terrorist
07.   The innocent dead in a coward's war
08.   Religion and politics : debate on khatib Ubayedul Haque ( Bangla: PDF)
09.   "Images from ground zero” and the genocide in Palestine
10.   What Israel has done
11.   Terrorism and war ( Bangla: PDF)
12.   The anniversary of the attacks has passed, but ....

13.   Operation clean heart : Bangladesh crime fight

14.   Bangladesh: impunity for the army unacceptable
15.   Bangladesh: indemnity bill - a human rights challenge for parliament
16.   Anti war slogans.
17.   What makes a war happen ( Power point presentation )
18.   War in e.kobi's diary ( Bangla PDF )
19.   It's for your own good

  Meanwhile in Bangladesh...

-- Naeem Mohaiemen


While the international media focuses intensely on Pakistan and Afghanistan, ominous new developments in Bangladesh have gone unnoticed. In the recently concluded elections, the rightist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) came back to power after a five year absence. The vote was largely a referendum against the ruling Awami League (AL). Even die-hard AL supporters admit that the last five years saw an unparalleled decline in law and order and a huge increase in corruption and political patronage.

While the BNP's victory was primarily a vote against the AL, religious extremism and communal violence have also entered quietly through the back door. Bangladesh's Hindu population (roughly 10-15% of total population) have traditionally been a solid vote-bank for the AL. As people started settling scores after the election victory, thugs allegedly affiliated with the BNP attacked and looted Hindu homes. While some of these attacks may be about property and personal rivalries, the nation's Hindu community remains scared and on high alert. The BNP's total silence and lack of action has made matters worse.

Even more ominous is the appointment of two members of the Jamaat e Islami party to Cabinet Ministry positions-- the first time any member of the once-banned Islamist party have held government positions. During Bangladesh's 1971 War of Liberation from Pakistan, the Jamaat e Islami supported and actively assisted Pakistan by forming paramilitary death squads. The two new Ministers-- Matiur Rahman Nijami and Ali Ahsan Mujahid-- were both activists in the Jamaat in 1971 and had alleged ties to the death squads. On November 7, 1971, Mujahid gave a speech at Dhaka's Baitul Mukarram mosque where he said, "From tomorrow, no one can keep or sell any books by Hindu writers or the protectors of Hindus." Thirty years after a liberation war that rejected the Islamic nationhood of Pakistan and established Bangladesh as a secular nation, the reactionary Jamaat activists are fully rehabilitated-- grabbing the crucial ministries of Agriculture and Social Services.

The US engagement in Afghanistan is adding fuel to the fire. As has been amply documented in other parts of the world, the attacks only give propaganda victories to the Islamists. Will this be a short-lived victory for the Islamists which will be defeated by Bangladesh's core secular cuture and the rising power of women as part of the village and urban workforce? Only time can tell. But it is clear that the world's attention is directed elsewhere-- and that makes victory more likely for the reactionary forces that are quietly gathering resources.

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  Photo : Abir Abdullah/ Drik
( Evicted slum dweller, from high court ground)