eyes wide shut

Like most Harvard business school graduate, my life was focused on making my first million by 30, and having everything that came with it. Everything i did was entered around that... flying up the corporate ladder... making the right contact. Life had always been too busy for me to think anything outside my job and myself. Once in a while, news of AIDS in Africa or hunger in Asia caught my eyes, but the remote control was quick in bringing me back to my diet of 'sex and the city', and 'who wants to be a millionaire?'

life was speeding away without glitches, Until i met Stella at a party one evening. I must admit, she was neither an eye catching beauty nor a sexy blonde. Probably, We wouldn't even have had met, were it not for my clumsy hands dropping a wine glass. She was standing close by and spontaneously joined in to help me clean up.

In six months, we came a long way as friends. She was very different from other women i had known so far. To me she was a mystery, always unpredictable, and very unconventional. Usual girl talk of who did what or i want to be this and i want to be that wasn't her soup. She storied about her life in Kenya, where she spent three teenage years. She would talk about the friendly people, their simple living and their humble aspirations in life. It was then that i first realized there exists a world outside my knowledge. That was also the first time, i noticed that not everything is as nice as here... suffering, disaster, war... such words exist beyond the realm of dictionary.

It was her who taught me to think. To question myself, to ponder over life. 'Is life all about making money, owning the best house, and driving the best car? Is it about having the most beautiful wife, and having famous ppl as friends? Is reaching newer heights all that matter?' she once asked. 'Or is life about being content? Having that feeling of goodness after feeding a hungry stomach or helping a needy hand? Knowing you have helped improve someone's life?'.

Since then my life has changed dramatically, and i have come a long way. Not towards that coveted dream of making the million, and owning the mansion... but a towards a new dream. The true American dream of peace, prosperity and happiness for all.

'Why didn't i think of this earlier? Why didn't the cries ever touch my heart?' I questioned myself. 'Well its because someone didn't want you to. Someone wanted to stop thinking, stop asking questions. Someone wanted you to be too engrossed in life to ever think about it, to ever have time to appreciate it', answered my mind.

Will you too continue to live in defiance, like i once did? Or start thinking and be the true self you are born to be? The choice is yours!

[cross posted at bloggers against torture as part of blogathon2006]

its blogging time

the day has finally arrived for the much anticipated blogathon.
we at bloggersagainsttorture, along with scores of other bloggers are going to blog non-stop one whole day from july 29, 1400 gmt, with a post every half an hour. thats 48 posts in total; all in a day's work.

for those of you dont know, blogathon or bolg marathon, is a fund raising activity. there are three parties to it
1. the participating blogger
2. the charity he/she/they are blogging for.
3. the sponsors.
this is how it works... the sponsors pledge to sponsor a certain amount for any blog participating in the blogathon. if the participants successfully complete the marathon (i.e. posts 48 times in 24 hours), all pledged amount goes to his/her nominated charity.

we are blogging for amnesty international US, and so far have a pledge of over a thousand USD.

if you are interested, you may donate here. donation will be accepted until two days after the event, so be known you are not too late...

otherwise, please do pay us a visit here. you may also like to visit other blogathonners here.


120 lives and a destroyed city. who gains?

it seems hamas leadership have finally agreed to creasefire and the release of captured israeli army cpl in a peace deal brokered by palestinian president mr mahmoud abbas, in exchange of palestinian prisoners at some point in the future.

cpl gilad shalit was captured on june 25 and israel immediately responded by completely devastating what was left of the already shattered gaza. israeli air raids and ground attacks destroyed bridges, infrastructre and the only power plant there, plunging the city into (almost) complete darkness. in the process more than 120 palestinian lives, of them 26 children, were lost along with the death of A israeli soldier.

the end result: cpl gilad shalit is being released and so are the demanded palestinian prisoners in exchange (though israel prefers to describe it as goodwill gesture and not direct exchange).

isnt that what both parties were demanding from day one? so why couldnt they settle on it then? why did 120 innocent ppl hav to die? why was a demolished city further destroyed? how did the inhumane sufferings of thousand gazans and the uncertainty of some israelis benefit both parties?

one thing i know for sure, at least bloggers like me had something to rant about for a while :)


where does it end?

here is an article by Uri Avnery, an Israeli journalist, writer and peace activist on the solution to the decades of mid-east conflict.

(i am posting the summary here for those short of time!)

"Stop that shit!"

Lebanese children, covered with wounds, in Beirut hospitals. The funeral of the victims of a missile in Haifa. The ruins of a whole devastated quarter in Beirut. Inhabitants of the north of Israel fleeing south from the Katyushas. Inhabitants of the south of Lebanon fleeing north from the Israeli air force. Death, destruction and unimaginable human sufferings everywhere.

What was Hassan Nasrallah thinking of, when he decided to cross the border and carry out the guerrilla action that started the current Witches' Sabbath? And why at this time? Knwoing that the Israeli government was waiting for a pretext to attack Lebanon with full force. Why?

The reason that strongly convinced him to enter upon such an adventure at precisely this time was infact Palestine. Two weeks before, the Israeli government used the captured soldier as pretext to shatter the Palestinians' will to resist and to destroy the newly-elected Palestinian government, dominated by Hamas. And, of course, to stop the Qassams.

One thing is clear: Nasrallah would not have started this vicious circle of violence, if the Palestinians had not called for help. Either from cool calculation, or from true moral outrage, or from both - Nasrallah rushed to the rescue of beleaguered Palestine.

But where does all this lead to?

At most, another delicate armistice, with the Israeli government claiming victory and Nasrallah (or his successors) taking pride in satanding up to one of the mightiest military machines in the world.

No real solution will be achieved, because there is no treatment of the root of the matter: the Palestinian problem. Whoever longs for a solution must know: there is no solution without settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And there is no solution to the Palestinian problem without negotiations with their elected leadership, the government headed by Hamas.

If one wants to finish, once and for all, with this shit - as Bush so delicately put it - that is the only way.


see no evil, hear no evil

as the destruction continues and suffering starts piling up in Lebanon, president bush remains defiant on his support for the murderous state of israel. "As a sovereign nation, Israel has every right to defend itself against terrorist activity," he said, though this time he added "... be mindful of the consequences. And so we've urged restraint."

in the meantime, latest attacks claimed yet another 23 lives. active southern lebanon doesnt mean a quiter gaza. its war on both front, and dead bodies continues to pile there too. '... (israeli) ongoing offensive against the impoverished Gaza Strip, killed at least six Palestinians on Sunday, July 16.'

so, what can we do?
well, here are something that you can do... remember every little bit counts.
1. sign Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition
2. donate. (i am not sure if it is limited to residents of the UAE or not) an initiative called "Ma3ak ya Lebnan" (with you oh lebanon) has been taken by the Lebanese Embassy. Send your donations to: All branches of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Account # 20000488.

And this is from Beirut Spring:

3. cnn is taking a vote on whether the Israeli response is justified. show your opposition to it by taking the quick vote.
Look for the QUICKVOTE box to the right of the news in the page.
4. pray for them. whatever your faith, whichever GOD you turn... spend two minutes to say a prayer for them. ask for GOD's help.
5. lastly, create awreness and spread the message....

here are some lebanese related blogs, if you are looking for fresh info, you will surely not be turned down.
Beirut Spring - Mustapha is blogging straight from Beirut
Lebanese Blogger Forum - updates every hour from inside the mayhem
The Lebanese Bloggers - asking angrily the right questions
Blogging Beirut - life goes on and he is showing everybody how
David Bau - a big list of links to people blogging from inside Beirut right now
(thanks to safia for the links)

btw, israel has rejected UN calls to deploy peace monitors in the region. "I don't think we're at that stage yet," said an Israeli government spokeswoman.


while the world (those rare few who prefers to hear of news around the world over what paris hilton is wearing today) has its focus on israel - lebanon - gaza, the deadly sectarian violence continues to thrive with full force in iraq. up to 55 people have been killed and 58 wounded in an attack on a market outside Baghdad.

by the way, why should i be worried abt wats hapening half the globe away? isnt it too far away from me. just turn off the tv, and i 'see no evil, hear no evil' any longer.


vicious cycle of violence

israel's gaza offensive has so far (as of friday) claimed 82 mostly civilian lives in the past 12 days, of them 22 children. this incursion was in response to palestinian home made rockets and their freedom fighters' kidnapping of a teenage soldier.

israel says this is deserved response to acts of terror by the (almost powerless) palestinian freedom fighters. palestinians, on the other hand, have vowed not to let in to pressure and says will duly retaliliate.

its the same story in southern lebanon, where hezbollah guerillas captured 2 israeli soldiers and killed a few others in an attack claimed to have taken five months in planning. israel's immediate attempts to free the capture soldiers, hawkish as ever, claimed 73 lives so far, nearly all civilian (as usual). hezbollah chief responded with a declaration of war. "You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war", said he with full defiance, shortly after surviving an assassination attempt.

it well seems things are much deeper than just hamas and hezbollah's deadly brawl with israel. syria, iran, iraq, lord USA ... all these names comes in naturally.

looks like middle east is in for some deeeeep sXXt.
the worst part : its the innocent civilians who are suffering and will suffer the most....

i wonder whether any mortal knows where, when or how will this vicious cycle end? or, will it not??


you may read this comment on the guardian


must read - (for those who wish to think)

The Middle East Agenda: Oil, Dollar Hegemony & Islam

(excerpts from the Transcript of a Public Lecture)

By Prof. Francis A Boyle

Little has changed in the imperialist tendencies of American foreign policy since the founding of the United States of America in seventeen eighty-nine. The imperial government of the United States opened the twentieth century by stealing a colonial empire from Spain - in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, then inflicting a near-genocidal war against the Filipino people. And today at the dawn of the twenty first century, the world witnesses her efforts at stealing a hydrocarbon empire from the Moslem states and peoples, under the pretext of fighting a war on terror or eliminating wmd or promoting democracy which is total nonsense.

We have to begin the story with the Arab oil embargo in 1973. As you know in 1967, Israel launched an illegal and preventive war against the surrounding Arab states, stole the land and ethnically cleansed the people. But eventually Egypt offered a Peace Treaty to Israel which Israel rejected and the Egyptians and the Arab states decided then to use force to recover their lands. Israel almost collapsed, the United States and Europe came to their support by providing weapons and in reaction the Arab states imposed an oil embargo on the United States and Europe, and brought their economies to their knees.

The United States government then at that time, planned, prepared and conspired, to steal the oil of the Persian Gulf. They put into planning an interventionary force, designed expressly for the purpose of stealing Arab oil fields, and that was called the rapid deployment force. And it took ten years of training, planning, positioning, and supply to build that interventionary force of that capability and eventually it was called the U.S. Central Command, put togethet to steal and control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. And that's exactly what the U.S. Central Command proceeded to do in the Bush Sr. war against Iraq, their first military expedition.

In his book, Clash of Civilizations, Huntington pointed out that the only Arab state with the capability to lead the Arab world and challenge the United States and Israel was Iraq. And so Iraq had to be destroyed. In addition they continued the genocidal economic sanctions on the people of Iraq, which killed approximately 1.5 million Iraqis, all of whom were innocent civilians. And when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked about the five hundred thousand dead children, she said that she thought the price was worth it.

And then came September 11. And we know for a fact that the Bush Jr. administration knew that a major terrorist attack was going to be launched on the United States. Why? The United States wanted access to the oil and natural gas of Central Asia. Indeed, from my research the war plans drawn up by the Pentagon for the war against Afghanistan were formulated as early as 1997.

Now comes the third step in the Pentagon's pre-existing plan, to control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. It' s sounds a bit like the plan that Hitler and the Nazis had in the 1930"s. So first Afghanistan, then Iraq, and now Iran. And so now Iran is going to be the next victim of these outright criminals unless you and I can stop them.

So if the United States goes ahead and attacks Iran, we could see warfare erupt all the way from Egypt to the border with India. This whole area convulsed in warfare. And who will be the primary victims of this war? Muslims. The United States could not care less about Muslim life. And when Professor Sharif Bassiouni, the UN special rapporteur filed the report with the Security Council against US practices in Afghanistan, the Americans had Kofi Annan fire him. Just as they had Kofi Annan fire Mary Robinson, the UN high commissioner for human rights, when she protested what was going on down in Guantanamo.

Now, I do not believe the United States will initially start bombing Iran with nuclear weapons. But if things get out of control they are fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons. In the Pentagon's Joint Publication 3-12, which you can get on the internet.. (just do a Google search and read it) you will see there that tactical nuclear weapons have been fully integrated into United States conventional forces.

Two weeks ago we had the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; China, Russia and Iran. So again, if Bush were to attack Iran, he very well could set off a Third World War, a nuclear war.

the complete article >>
referred pentagon document >>


a long due post

this is my humble efforts at analysing the danish cartoon incident. started working on it long time back, but being the lazy soul i am, never found time to complete it; until today.
i would appreciate your critical comments ... just want to see how i fared.


The cartoons that shook the world.

Living in Denmark, i had the opportunity to observe the cartoon incident from a different viewpoint compared to many others. Morever an initiative by local AIESEC gave me the opportunity to hear many sides of the story. This analysis is an attempt to put all these together, flavoured by my own observations and outlook.

Before I proceed, lets have a look at some general facts about Muslims in denmark.

- There are around 270,000 [BBC] Muslims
- They came to Denmark in the '70s from Turkey, Pakistan and some Arab countries, primarily as workforce.
- In late 80s and 90s, there were an influx of Muslim refugees and asylum seekers from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
- The Arab, Pakistani and Turkish origin muslims seem to better off with many owning businesses and their children being well educated. This includes many of the Iraqi refugees who were more successful in blending into the society compared to other refugess. In fact, there are an Arab and a Pakistani born MP.
- Among refugess Somalis are the largest in number. Most of these people are under-educated and many live solely on social welfare.
- There are a handful of Danish Muslim reverts, counting upto 5000 at most.
- Each of this group has their own Islamic Organizations, with generally little cooperation amongst themselves. Nvertheless, there are a few new organizations, comprising mostly of the danish born muslim members of different ethnic background. However the lack of central umbrella-like body makes the muslims quite disunited and without a strong voice to represent themselves.
- Muslims were not seen so positively in the society (and still aren't, i suppose), thanks to the media bias against them and their not so active role in the society.

Moving on to the main article, first I will look into the reasons behind the incident and then put foreward how, in my opinion, we can learn from this incident and put to practice the lessons learnt.

A. The reasons behind the sad incident

There had been many theories and counter theories on this with the issue being widely discussed in depth in many different forums. For some, this is a manifestation of freedom of speech, an ideal europe holds so sacred; while for others its a plot by the neo-cons to demean their peaceful faith. Yet many others sees it as a bad joke gone too far.

In my opinion, its a neither of these in particular, and at the same time a little of all in general. This cannot be seen as an independent incident with JP publishing the cartoons out of nowhere. Instead, i see it as an outburst of the dam that had been swelling up for so long.

First, i would like to point fingers to my brother and sisters in Islam. They are almost five percent of the population, but because of their disunity and backwardness in terms of education and social involvement, they had failed to potray a positive image in the society. Those more Islamically inclined saw the society, open and individualistic as most other european societies, as a threat to their faith and practice. In response, they sought out to cluster themselves in seclusion. On the other hand, some of the muslims, in their attempt to integrate, totally lost their own identity.

Neither of this approaches earned much respect from the Danes, and instead potrayed an incomplete and alienated picture; Thus harbouring suspicion and mistrust at both ends.

Had the muslims recognized the fact that they are the minority and hence it is not only in their interest, but also their prerogative to take well planned and affective measures to integrate into and build bridges with different elements of the society, such a sad incident could have been avoided. This can be seen from the fact that those who drew the cartoons were common people responding to the request by the newspaper. (In fact most of the cartoons do not seem to intent any derogatory remarks, and the cartoonists might not have had drawn them had they been fully aware of reasons behind the ban on depicting the Holy Prophet [peace be upon him].)

On the other hand, the misdoing by JP can also not be fully overlooked. I read an article linking Flemming Rose, the JP cultural editor who sanctioned the cartoons with the neo-con elites in US, though I dont know how strong the evidences were. In my opinion, there are always people who would like to see the world more divided, people who are always on the forefront preaching hatred and non cooperation, simply because it serves their political agenda. However, any person is only incharge of his own actions and not others, so i dont think Muslims should be crying out loud over what others are doing. Instead, if they would perfect themselves and are successful in being part of the society and potraying the true picture of Islam, these negative voices has to shut off by itself.

Lessons and way foreward

This incident should serve as the long due wake up call to Muslims in particular and peace loving citizens of the world in general. Its time we learnt that the era of free food is long gone. If we want to establish justice and truth and see peace and freedom prevail in this beautiful world of ours, we better ackowledge the fact that 'no pain, no gain' and learn to work for it. Here are few steps, in short, that should be taken:

1. In this cyber-information age, Ignorance is no longer bliss; rather, knowledge is power. It is not enough to reside in our little comfort zones and know only about ourselves. Instead, we should learn as much of as many things as possible.

2. Coming out of the comfort zone. We need to play a much more active role in the wider society, wherever we are, no matter how long (or short) we are going to be there for. This can in the form of community service, helping the needy, creating awareness or even active participation in politics.

3. Dreaming and planning. Its true our current situations only paints a picture of misery and depression, but in the midst of all that there is hope. In fact, if we look at things carefully, we would find much to hope for. It is time we ride on this hopes and dream of a golden tomorrow, a tomorrow where children can laugh and play without fears, a tomorrow where humans are humans, a tomorrow filled with joy, happiness and prosperity. The same tomorrow for ALL citizens of the world.

It is time we took fate in our own hands and work towards building it the way we want to. The challenge is our for the taking.


happy birthday, mr president

its mr president's 60th birthday. (texas state is still serching for the missing monkey)

today is my dad's (NO, this idiot isnt my dad!!!) 60th birthday too. what a shameful coincidence!


and there is still hope

instead of crying over all the shortcomings of our motherland, lets be pragmatic; cling on to these rays of hope and work towards turning them into beams guiding the nation.


BIRDEM receives 2 extraordinary donations

One of the donors, a garment worker, donated all her savings $7100 ( tk 5 lakh )

The Diabetic Association of Bangladesh on Wednesday announced two donations extraordinary from among many donations received from persons and organisations, reports BSS.

One of the donors, a garment worker, donated all her savings and the other gave money collected from his daughter's marriage ceremony to the association.

In a statement, the Diabetic Association, which runs the BIRDEM Hospital, said garment worker Rahimunnesa had saved parts of her wages every month and thus accumulated an amount of Taka five lakh. "She died in a road accident several months ago. But she donated all the savings to the BIRDEM hospital ahead of her death," said the statement.

In another event, one A Matin Chowdhury in the invitation of his daughter's marriage requested all the invitees to offer cash as gift instead of presenting anything else in kind, pointing out that all the money would be donated to the Diabetic Association Fund.

"Almost all the guests responded to his request and thus the newly married couple received Taka 25 lakh in cash, which was eventually deposited with the Association Fund," the statement said. Besides, Matin Chowdhury in person donated another Taka 40 lakh and offered his house in Rankin Street to be used free of rent by the Diabetic Association for the next 24 years.

from NFB

the weekly world in wraps

International research exposes flaws in £33bn marketing budget of Drug firms.
Drug companies are accused today of endangering public health through widescale marketing malpractices, (including) misrepresenting the results of safety and efficacy tests on their products. >>



Developing countries have introduced an internet-based news service intended to provide an alternative to the Western media that they say is biased.


Kuwaitis voted in parliamentary elections with women running for office and casting ballots for the first time in a national poll. >>


The US government said it could not find the men that Guantánamo detainee Abdullah Mujahid believes could help set him free. The Guardian found them in three days. >>


All for love

An American man is believed to have hacked off his own finger and sent it in a gift box to the ex-girlfriend who had just dumped him. >>


'Every Muhammad is a terrorist now.'

Money transfer agencies like Western Union have delayed or blocked thousands of cash deliveries on suspicion of terrorist connections simply because senders or recipients have names like Muhammad or Ahmed, company officials said. >>



Dhaka to Ctg in three hours.

Cabinet approves second Dhaka-Ctg highway. >>
(doesnt mention by when will this project be completed)


living in medieval barbarian age.

alarming story how poor villagers are hostage to usurious mohajons. >> (in bengali)


Bangladesh had lodged a strong protest against India’s move for inviting tenders to explore oil and gas in the undemarcated areas in the Bay of Bengal. >>


bangaldesher birudde indiar shamprotik kormokando >> (in bengali)