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Articles by: Taj Hashmi

Shahidul Alam Possibly Deserves a Nobel Prize! 

Shahidul Alam Possibly Deserves a Nobel Prize! 

Since his recent Gestapo-style abduction, rather than arrest, Shahidul Alam of Bangladesh is no longer a stranger to people, well-beyond the boundaries of his country. Twenty-odd Bangladeshi law-enforcers – all in plainclothes – stormed into his house, destroyed the cc cameras on the premises, neutralized the security guards, and picked him up around midnight on August 5th. By now twelve[Read More…]

Countering Terrorism in Bangladesh and Beyond

Countering Terrorism in Bangladesh and Beyond

Since terrorists mostly outsmart law-enforcers and their victims, counterterrorism (CT) is an arduous tightrope walking. Effective CT requires governments, law-enforcers, and all potential victims of terrorism to understand what terrorism is all about. However, false flag operations, cry wolves, and politically motivated persecution of wrong people, and even invasions of the wrong countries have become very challenging to successful CT[Read More…]

Akramul Haque

 Disorderly Bangladesh: Is Anarchy Lurking Behind Extrajudicial Killings? 

Extrajudicial killings of dissidents and outlaws by states is as old as civilization. The recent world history is replete with such killings. As Hitler had his Waffen-SS and Gestapo, so had Mussolini his Blackshirts to do the job. In the recent past, the last Shah of Iran had his Savak, and the Pakistani occupation Army in Bangladesh had its al-Badr,[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Human Rights
 School Shootings in America: Just the Tip of the Iceberg!

 School Shootings in America: Just the Tip of the Iceberg!

Another school shooting by a 17-year-old White student at Santa Fe yesterday (18th May 2018), and another round of “prayer” by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Republican Governor of Texas, and other important and not-so important Americans! They admired the courage of some students, teachers, policemen, and mourned the deaths of ten victims of the attack, which was 22nd of its[Read More…]

On Founding Fathers and Hero-Worship in Bangladesh

On Founding Fathers and Hero-Worship in Bangladesh

  As there are multiple narratives about the Partition of 1947, so are there multiple theories about the emergence of Bangladesh. One school of thought tells us there was nothing inevitable about the emergence of Bangladesh; its birth could be averted had the main actors, Bhutto, Yahya, Mujib and some others behaved differently. The other narrative highlights the fundamental differences[Read More…]

An Open Letter To Sheikh Hasina’s Media Adviser, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury

An Open Letter To Sheikh Hasina’s Media Adviser, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury

  Dear Iqbal: You, and I, and all our common friends know we are very close and good friends since our Dhaka College days (1964-1966). You also met my parents, and they always liked you a lot. My late mother, not long before her death in this September, asked me about you. She mentioned seeing you on TV, and even[Read More…]

Saudi King Salman presents President Donald Trump with The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 Thomas Friedman’s Whitewashing Of The Dark Saudi Kingdom

  Thomas Friedman is a big name in the realm of journalism and the study of Globalization. He’s known for his anti-Republican liberal views, and for his pro-Israeli sympathies, especially among Arabs and Muslims. I sometimes agree with his strong opinions, especially his critiquing America’s counterproductive foreign policies. I liked one of his comments on the stupidity of spending billions[Read More…]

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee with  Lt Governor of A & N Islands, Prof Jagdish Mukhi at a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.PTI Photo/RB(PTI8_31_2016_000279A)

Pranab Mukherjee Tells It All!

  India’s immediate past President Pranab Mukherjee (82) in his The Coalition Years, 1996-2012 – his twelfth book – tells his own tale about the last 16 years of his experience in active politics until 2012, when he became the President of the Republic. He was in active politics for 43 years (1969-2012), holding important positions as MP; Leader of[Read More…]

Declining Democracy, And Reclining Leadership In Bangladesh

Declining Democracy, And Reclining Leadership In Bangladesh

  While democracy has become problematic in several countries, on 5th January 2014, Bangladesh crossed the threshold of “illiberal democracy” to enter the domain of “authoritarian dynastic democracy” under Indian tutelage. The symptoms of the disease called “Orwellian State” are already visible here. The fictional Big Brother of Nineteen Eighty-Four is already breathing on the neck of Bangladesh, from across[Read More…]

Wake Up Bangladesh, It’s Time For A Foreign Policy!

Wake Up Bangladesh, It’s Time For A Foreign Policy!

  To some, the title of my column today might be utterly ridiculous, as it suggests it’s time for Bangladesh to have a foreign policy. They might raise eyebrows at my suggestion that, Bangladesh is going without any foreign policy, since 2009. To them, Bangladesh has a sound foreign policy under a seasoned career diplomat as Foreign Minister, and an[Read More…]

The Rohingya Genocide And Inadequate Response From Bangladesh

The Rohingya Genocide And Inadequate Response From Bangladesh

  I believe “genocide” is the right word to describe the ongoing mass killing, rape, and expropriation of Rohingyas in Mayanmar. Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) first used the expression in 1943, to denote the mass killings, rapes, torture, extortions, and marginalization of Jews and others in Axis-occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. As Lemkin has defined genocide,[Read More…]

 There’s Blood On Your Hands, Mr Trump!

 There’s Blood On Your Hands, Mr Trump!

  Since almost all US presidents from Truman to Obama – with the exceptions of Ford, Carter and Clinton – had blood on their hands, one possibly can’t single out Donald Trump for not being the exception. One may possibly disagree with me for including Kennedy and Obama in my list of US Presidents as war criminals. I wish I[Read More…]

Is Donald Trump Promoting Kim Jong-un’s “Erratic Behaviour”?

Is Donald Trump Promoting Kim Jong-un’s “Erratic Behaviour”?

  North Korea has remained a pain in the neck for the “Free World” since the beginning of the Korean Crisis in 1945. The Cold War is over, but the crisis in the Korean peninsula, and the trumped-up nuclear threats from North Korea to its neighbours, and now even to the US, aren’t over. The end of the Korean War[Read More…]

Removal of PM Nawaz Sharif: A Military Intervention By Other Means!

Removal of PM Nawaz Sharif: A Military Intervention By Other Means!

  It’s an important question if the removal of Nawaz Sharif from office is just another Pakistani Prime Minister’s meeting his nemesis, or it’s another unceremonious removal of a head of government for all the wrong reasons and excuses! We know, since the assassination of the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951, no Pakistani Prime Minister has been[Read More…]

Two Disasters-Two Countries-Two Peoples: Britain And Bangladesh

Two Disasters-Two Countries-Two Peoples: Britain And Bangladesh

Consecutively on 13th and 14th June, major disasters hit Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. On the morning of 13th, landslides killed more than 150 people, and four army personnel, in Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts districts of Bangladesh. And in the early hours of the 14th, a fire in a 24-storied apartment complex, the Grenfell Tower, killed around 80 people[Read More…]

Saudi King Salman presents President Donald Trump with The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump’s Riyadh Circus: Farcical, Nasty, And Dangerous

  Although there’s no reason to take Donald Trump’s erratic behaviour, and his ambivalent and nasty assertions seriously, yet we can’t ignore his latest gimmick, the circus he staged in Riyadh in the name of defeating Islamist terrorism on May 21st. To paraphrase Shakespeare, Trump’s so-called Islamic-Arab-American Summit was “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. The whole thing was[Read More…]

 What’s So “Interesting” In Bangladesh Today?

 What’s So “Interesting” In Bangladesh Today?

Interestingly, “interesting” is an English expression, which may hide one’s actual opinion about something one considers “interesting”. What I read in Bangladesh media in the last one month is very “interesting” to me. Stories that I read are absurd, bizarre, entertaining, frightful, and sickening. I learnt from media reports and articles that there’s  nothing immoral, or impossible in Bangladesh today.[Read More…]

Aren’t Rohingyas Bengalis, And Arakan Integral To Bangladesh?

Aren’t Rohingyas Bengalis, And Arakan Integral To Bangladesh?

  Every society has certain taboos – cultural/religious, social, and political – set apart and designated as restricted or forbidden to associate with, or even to bring in ordinary discussion. The Rohingya issue (for some strange reasons) seems to be such a taboo in Bangladesh. Both people and government here don’t want to go beyond certain limits to have a[Read More…]

Trump Attacks Syria: A Gambit And A War Crime

Trump Attacks Syria: A Gambit And A War Crime

There are contradictory opinions about who on last Tuesday April 4th used chemical weapons, which killed more than 80 civilians including children in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in Syria. Some pundits impute the deadly Sarin gas attack to Bashar al-Assad, while others believe terrorists belonging to the al-Nusra Front, which is an al Qaeda surrogate and friends with[Read More…]

ISIS Attacks Bangladesh: Denial, Deceptions, And Delusions

ISIS Attacks Bangladesh: Denial, Deceptions, And Delusions

It has happened again! In the wake of the latest rounds of ISIS terror attacks in Bangladesh, authorities in the country have again started denying the existence of any ISIS terror network there. Rejecting any ISIS involvement in terror attacks in Bangladesh as “propaganda”, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal poses the question: “Why will the ISIS come here?” One wonders if[Read More…]

Allowing Child Marriage: Another Regression Therapy For Bangladesh!

Allowing Child Marriage: Another Regression Therapy For Bangladesh!

  A recent move by the Government to allow child marriage is tantamount to excluding many Bangladeshis from the benefits of growth and development. Women are likely to become the main victims of the recently enacted Child Marriage Restraint Act-2017. It allows a Bangladeshi boy or girl to get married before reaching the minimum age limit – 18 for women[Read More…]

Corruption In Bangladesh: Perceptions vs. Reality

Corruption In Bangladesh: Perceptions vs. Reality

Corruption became so integral to Bangladesh that consecutively for five years (2001-2005) it remained the most corrupt country in the world. However, we hear things have changed for the better. On the one hand, the country has become self-sufficient in food; on the other, it’s no longer the most corrupt nation on earth, officially! Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s human development index has[Read More…]

Obama Legacy, Racism And Trump Victory in America

Obama Legacy, Racism And Trump Victory in America

As there’re multiple causes and factors behind most events, so is Donald Trump’s election victory not attributable to any single factor. However, there is always the “most important factor” behind everything. Here, neo-fascist racism played the most important role in the election of Trump. One may attribute his victory to the so-called Obama Legacy or Factor. We know Trump is[Read More…]

Attacks On Minorities In Bangladesh: Not  Communal But Fascistic By Nature

Attacks On Minorities In Bangladesh: Not  Communal But Fascistic By Nature

  Recently, Muslim mob attacks on Hindu houses and temples in Nasirnagar (Brahmanbaria) and elsewhere in Goplaganj, Chittagong, and Sunamganj districts in Bangladesh have drawn wide media attention, within and outside the country. I can’t agree more with Daily Star’s editorial (Nov 2) that Government inaction would only embolden the bigots; and that: “any mix of politics and faith cannot[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled South Asia
Bangladeshi garment workers participate in a protest against the collapse of an eight-storey building that housed several garment factories and poor safety standards, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, April 26, 2013.  The death toll reached hundreds of people as rescuers continued to search for injured and missing, after a huge section of the building splintered into a pile of concrete. (AP Photo)

Is Popular Support For Suicide Terrorism Growing In Bangladesh?

  It’s absurd! It’s preposterous to suggest that around 40 per cent of Bangladeshis favour suicide terrorism. Yet this is what some American think tanks and “expert analysts” have recently come up with in their reports, to the detriment of Bangladesh’s reputation. Muslims in Bangladesh – around 90 per cent of the population – are peaceful, liberal, devotional, and even[Read More…]

America’s New “Gulf of Tonkin” In The Red Sea: Another Excuse To Invade Yemen, Syria, And Then Iran!

America’s New “Gulf of Tonkin” In The Red Sea: Another Excuse To Invade Yemen, Syria, And Then Iran!

Signs are ominous! On Thursday Oct 13, US Tomahawk cruise missiles destroyed pro-Iranian / anti-Saudi Houthi rebels’ radar sites in Yemen, “retaliating after failed missile attacks this week on a U.S. Navy destroyer”, U.S. officials claimed. Washington has again complained about Houthi missile attacks on a US naval ship on Saturday, Oct 15. Meanwhile, Iran has deployed two warships off[Read More…]

Suing Saudi Arabia For 9/11: Another American Obsession

Suing Saudi Arabia For 9/11: Another American Obsession

Americans since the founding of the United States seem to be in a perennial state of narcissist obsession. Narcissism is all about excessive self-love, extreme interest in oneself, arrogance, selfishness, and a grandiose view of one’s own talents, virtues, and righteousness. This collective disorder of self-glorification is not a new phenomenon for Americans. French historian/diplomat Alexis Tocqueville pointed out this[Read More…]

Fifteen Years After 9/11: Is America Any Safer?

Fifteen Years After 9/11: Is America Any Safer?

  “Is America Any Safer” is the cover story of this September’s Atlantic magazine. CNN and other media outlets are also commemorating the catastrophic terror attacks on the morning of September 11, 2001. Reflecting their collective delusions of persecution, and exaggerated self-importance, Americans in general are perplexed about certain things with regard to 9/11: a) what went wrong with their[Read More…]

Why Urban Rich Kids, Not Poor Taliban Terrorise Bangladesh?

Why Urban Rich Kids, Not Poor Taliban Terrorise Bangladesh?

Locals and foreigners in Dhaka formally grieved for the victims of the Gulshan Attack one month after the incident. The local and international reaction to the July 1 terror attack at Gulshan has been far more intensive than the collective reaction to all the previous terror attacks in Bangladesh since 1999; there had never been any such mass grieving for[Read More…]

Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics And The Partition Of India

Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics And The Partition Of India

Joya Chatterjee’s path breaking work, Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932-1947, shows how decisive was the minority Bengali Hindu community’s role in the secondary partition of Bengal in 1947, so is Neeti Nair’s Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA 2011) another seminal study of the minority Punjabi Hindu community’s important role in the partition of the Punjab between India and Pakistan

 When Is Terrorism Not Terrorism To America? 

 When Is Terrorism Not Terrorism To America? 

I find my White American students – even the very bright ones – totally confused, the moment I ask them if White police brutality against Black people in America amounts to terrorism. Most White students attribute the killings of black people by White police as undesirable, accidental, or simply due to bad judgment by the proverbial “bad cops”. Mostly Black[Read More…]

Terrorism Gains Foothold In Bangladesh: What’s The Way Out?

Terrorism Gains Foothold In Bangladesh: What’s The Way Out?

Bangladeshi politicians, analysts, intellectuals, and media should do the following three things for the sake of durable peace and order in the country: a) stop denying the existence of terrorism, as there is hardly any country without terrorists or terrorist sympathisers, in the post-9/11 world; b) fight terrorism not only with force but also through education and mass motivation; and c) do not think of gaining political leverage by falsely implicating political rivals or personal adversaries as terrorist agents. Terrorists gain most in divided and fractured countries. Examples abound.

Avijit Roy - Blogger brutally murdered in Dhaka Bangladesh

Who’re Killing Freethinkers In Bangladesh? Some Unresolved Issues

Of late, terrorists or unknown assailants have killed freethinking writers and bloggers, a couple of foreign nationals, and two LGBT activists in Bangladesh, around 36 people since February 2015. And almost ritualistically, killers have been bragging about their acts, and proclaiming to be al Qaeda, ISIS, Ansar al-Islam, or Ansarullah Bangla Team affiliates. Interestingly, some Bangladeshi politicians claim (a) various[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled South Asia
A Bangladeshi MP Plays Judge-Jury-Prosecutor!

A Bangladeshi MP Plays Judge-Jury-Prosecutor!

A Bangladeshi MP – who paradoxically represents the ruling coalition as well as its opposition in the parliament – recently played the proverbial role of the judge, jury and prosecutor. He and his associates publicly tortured and humiliated a headmaster of a local school at Narayanganj, for his “blasphemous” comments against Islam. I don’t want to discuss the alleged blasphemy[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled South Asia
Defiance Of Law And Impunity In Bangladesh

Defiance Of Law And Impunity In Bangladesh

Karl Marx, among other critics of imperialism, had some kind words for British colonial rule in India, especially in regard to the prevalent rule of law in the colony. The civil and criminal laws, as evolved in Bangladesh – as in all the former British colonies, worldwide – are based on the British Common Law. However, barring a handful of[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled South Asia