Articles by: Zeenat Khan

A platter of Jalebi opened a Pandora’s Box

A platter of Jalebi opened a Pandora’s Box

Last night before dinner as I was deep-frying a batch of my favorite jalebi for dessert, Saroo Brierley’s face came to mind. Afterwards I found the 2016 movie Lion from my CD collection and watched it in bits and pieces. It tells a riveting story of how a hopelessly lost 5-year-old Saroo ends up from the slums of Khandwa, a[Read More…]

by October 23, 2020 Life/Philosophy
A Priest in Cassock and the Santal Girl

A Priest in Cassock and the Santal Girl

Recently, when a 17-year-old Santal girl from an indigenous tribe in Rajshahi, Bangladesh went to cut grass for her family’s cattle in the pasture, she had no idea that danger was lurking around the corner. The danger was not that she was going to get attacked by a wild animal, but from a human predator disguised as a priest in[Read More…]

by October 16, 2020 Patriarchy
Rape, the Shadow Pandemic in the time of Covid-19

Rape, the Shadow Pandemic in the time of Covid-19

What is wrong with some men that in the time of Covid-19 they are raping women of all ages? Rape, the most intimate of crimes is happening every day, everywhere in the world. Raping does not fall under behavioral or mental disorder, it is a criminal offense. Sadly, the incidents of rape did not stop while nations across the globe[Read More…]

by October 9, 2020 Patriarchy
Is life on Venus an absurd thought?

Is life on Venus an absurd thought?

I will imagine you Venus tonight and pray, pray, pray to your star like a Heathen. – John Keats   Venus, visible in the night sky above Salgotarjan, Hungary, in March, is typically the brightest object in the night sky other than the moon. Credit…Peter Komka/EPA, via Shutterstock The brightest star on a night sky that is visible from Earth[Read More…]

by September 28, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Has Living in America been a “Serendipitous Outcome?”

Has Living in America been a “Serendipitous Outcome?”

Some of the greatest things, as I understand, they have come about by serendipity, the greatest discoveries. – Alan Alda Has living in America been a “serendipitous outcome” for me? Here, I am not thinking out loud but trying to find an answer to this pertinent question asked by my former Higher Secondary School English teacher Ms. Moitri Roy. One[Read More…]

by September 23, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Zuckerberg wants to “Change” the World with his Philanthropy

Zuckerberg wants to “Change” the World with his Philanthropy

Since 2014, we all have seen how Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg constantly talks about changing the world. Will his billionaire philanthropy actually save the world? His estimated wealth to date is $111 billion USD. It makes him the fifth richest man on the planet. In 2017, while Zuck was nabbing an honorary degree from Harvard College, Harvard’s 28th[Read More…]

by September 15, 2020 World
Where have all the bluebirds gone?

Where have all the bluebirds gone?

An eastern bluebird perches on a branch, watching the ground As the bleary summer days are coming to an end, lately I have been thinking a lot about birds and nature in general. Because of the ongoing pandemic due to the coronavirus when all normal activities have been rerouted, we are finding alternatives to live our day, and such thoughts[Read More…]

by September 3, 2020 Environmental Protection
Compulsive Shopping Addiction

Compulsive Shopping Addiction

  A recent study done by a market research firm Rakuten Intelligence found that since the pandemic started there has been a sudden rise in online shopping. Ecommerce spending in the U.S. is up more than 30 percent since the beginning of March. Ecommerce is booming, and Silicon Valley’s’ richest such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are getting even[Read More…]

by August 30, 2020 Life/Philosophy
“Never again”: In remembrance of August 6, 1945

“Never again”: In remembrance of August 6, 1945

A mother and child, dressed in traditional clothing, sit on the ground amid rubble and burnt trees, Hiroshima, Japan, December 1945; some four months after the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on the city. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) On August 6th, in Hiroshima, Japan, people will gather at the Peace Memorial, or A-Bomb Dome[Read More…]

by August 5, 2020 World
Should Diamond symbolize happily ever after?

Should Diamond symbolize happily ever after?

About ten years ago, a friend who hadn’t seen me in over two decades, offered me some tips as to what jewelry to wear to lunch when I meet one of my former editors of a Dhaka daily. He came to Maryland on business and to spend time with his family. I was a little nervous about the lunch meeting.[Read More…]

by August 1, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Why go organic?

Why go organic?

An assortment of organically grown produce lay out at a Farmer’s Market Prior to this pandemic summer, every year from May to November — there was something magical about waking up on Sunday mornings. I could walk three blocks from my house to the open space under large Walnut trees near the Hospital to get a week’s worth of organic[Read More…]

by July 23, 2020 Counter Solutions
John Lewis: The Iconic Civil Rights Leader Dies

John Lewis: The Iconic Civil Rights Leader Dies

FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2011, file photo, President Barack Obama presents a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July[Read More…]

by July 19, 2020 Life/Philosophy
A Support Group can be your Emotional safety net & lifeline

A Support Group can be your Emotional safety net & lifeline

This morning when I pulled opened the curtains to my dining room window overlooking the neighborhood park, I spotted one of my neighbors (let me call her Lillete) is power walking in the park. She looked radiant and chic in her joggers outfit. She appeared much energized. Looking back a few months ago, I remembered last year’s Halloween night (October[Read More…]

by July 16, 2020 Life/Philosophy
A Love Story in a Turbulent Time

A Love Story in a Turbulent Time

Egyptian actor Omar Sharif poses for a photograph in 2009. Photo: Reuters. He passed away on July 10, 2015 Egyptian born debonair actor Omar Sharif’s passing on July 10th marks the end of an era. After hearing the sad news, I immediately sent a text to my best friend Maryam (a diehard fan of Omar Sharif). She immediately texted me[Read More…]

by July 10, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Wistful Memories: The dying Shitalakhya River

Wistful Memories: The dying Shitalakhya River

I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers – Langston Hughes A bridge is always beautiful. This bridge is located in Ghorashal, Narshingdi, Bangladesh on Shitalakhya River Until the Harvard College admission acceptance letter came I did not see[Read More…]

by July 8, 2020 Environmental Protection
Dropping “Fair” from Fair & Lovely: Can we change the mindset?

Dropping “Fair” from Fair & Lovely: Can we change the mindset?

The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this. — Mark Twain An advertisement for Fair and Lovely, a skin whitening product showing results of before and after use Pico Iyer who writes about cultures converging refers to India as his “stepmother land.” In next to the last chapter of his[Read More…]

by July 3, 2020 Life/Philosophy
In search of God: Death by misunderstanding

In search of God: Death by misunderstanding

Amjad Farid Sabri (23 December 1970 – 22 June 2016) Today is the 4th anniversary of the shooting death of Amjad Farid Sabri. He was a majestic and highly revered Pakistani Sufi singer and famous qawwal. Sabri came from a storied family of musicians, a “proponent of the Sufi Muslim tradition.” His musical family is recognized as the “legendary Sabri brothers,”[Read More…]

by June 22, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Life without the Hijab: A Woman’s Journey to Freedom?

Life without the Hijab: A Woman’s Journey to Freedom?

I met my dear friend Maryam in the spring of 1980. We studied at the same US University in Rhode Island. She was a couple of years older than me as she was doing her Masters in Sociology and Community Development. The very first conversation I had with her was on a Friday afternoon as all the foreign students were[Read More…]

by June 18, 2020 Life/Philosophy
“Honor Killing” in Iran: It’s not a Race Issue; it’s a Human Rights Issue

“Honor Killing” in Iran: It’s not a Race Issue; it’s a Human Rights Issue

14- year-old Romina Ashrafi was beheaded by her father in the name of family “honor” How can a young girl’s murder at the hands of her father be a story of love and honor? When a young daughter is brutally decapitated by her father in the name of family “honor,” does it paint a glorifying picture? Of course not. It[Read More…]

by June 10, 2020 Patriarchy
SpaceX Astronaut Launch: Curiosity, science and the Red Planet

SpaceX Astronaut Launch: Curiosity, science and the Red Planet

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft take off from the Kennedy Space Center on the first orbital spaceflight from U.S. soil since 2011. Credit: Walter Scriptunas II / Spaceflight Now Two veteran NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rocketed away from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday to begin a test flight of a[Read More…]

by May 31, 2020 World

COVID-19: Zafrullah Chowdhury, Women, and the Dot Blot Kit

A valiant freedom fighter and an indomitable spirit during the liberation war and afterwards, Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury is a known figure in the sub-continent. With a larger than life persona he does not need a grand introduction. On Sunday night, the last thing that I had read before going to bed is that Zafrullah Chowdhury has tested positive for Covid-19.[Read More…]

by May 29, 2020 Life/Philosophy
The Weeping Cherry Tree

The Weeping Cherry Tree

Jamal Uddin had lived an ordinary and extraordinary life at the same time. His life story is about hard work, determination, and resilience in living the life of an immigrant in New York City. “Mr. Uddin was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where the Karnaphuli River flows into the Bay of Bengal. He was not poor, but he knew what it[Read More…]

by May 17, 2020 Life/Philosophy
On Mother’s Day: A Daughter’s Words of Love

On Mother’s Day: A Daughter’s Words of Love

Mother’s Day will be celebrated on May 10 this year. On this day, people celebrate motherhood and mothers in their families. We mothers are remembered and pampered and we simply love it. Mothers are thanked profusely for their efforts, sacrifices and children make this a special day for the mothers. Our children send us handmade or store bought gifts, flower[Read More…]

by May 10, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Jeff Bezos, Philanthropy, and Exploited Amazon workers

Jeff Bezos, Philanthropy, and Exploited Amazon workers

The ending of my Countercurrents article published on April 20, did not sit well with some people including my daughter. The reason being that I had mentioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos donating $100 million to nonprofit Feeding America that helps food banks across the country to feed families in need. “Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is[Read More…]

by April 25, 2020 World
“The coronavirus is everywhere in America, so is the hunger”

“The coronavirus is everywhere in America, so is the hunger”

Anaheim, California: Cars were lined up about a half mile long in both directions of the 57 Freeway to get to Second Harvest Food Bank On March 30, the-stay-at home order became Maryland law at 8 p.m. that night. Since then a common scene that most news media are carrying – from Atlanta to Pittsburgh, from Pennsylvania to Baltimore, people[Read More…]

by April 20, 2020 World
Andrea Bocelli’s Music Hugging the Wounded Earth

Andrea Bocelli’s Music Hugging the Wounded Earth

On Easter Sunday Andrea Bocelli performing at the historic Duomo cathedral in Milan. The cathedral is closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. This past Easter Sunday (April 12), Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed a solo concert titled “Music for Hope” to promote “love, healing and hope to Italy and the world.” The next day, he gave an[Read More…]

by April 15, 2020 Arts/Literature
Life under Shelter-in-Place

Life under Shelter-in-Place

Last night, the above picture image with a hopeful message, I sent to my older brother, on his birthday. Of course, there was also a personal message where I wished him well. I got his reply this morning where he said, “Thank you! Stay safe and stay calm. This is a challenging time for all. Best, Sjbhai” Time in the[Read More…]

by March 31, 2020 Life/Philosophy
In time of a growing Pandemic: Some thoughts

In time of a growing Pandemic: Some thoughts

Japanese Magnolia in full bloom On Sunday morning, I hardly noticed that the Japanese Magnolia outside my study room window is in full bloom as it is mid-March. Every year, in late winter, some of the area trees do flower before leaves start to come. That is the first sign to remind us that spring is upon us. There is[Read More…]

by March 16, 2020 World
Katie Hill’s tell-all book: “She Will Rise”

Katie Hill’s tell-all book: “She Will Rise”

Katie Hill, then a Democratic Party candidate from California’s 25th Congressional district, in 2018. Former congresswoman,Katie Hill, a Democrat from California may have been down but not gone. In the eyes of the world, her political career had ended as a first-time junior congresswoman in the fall of 2019, just after ten months of taking oath of office. A promising[Read More…]

by March 6, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Love in the Time of Riots

Love in the Time of Riots

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose as they visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) If the above picture doesn’t melt your heart, nothing will! No loving couple would miss this grand opportunity of visiting the iconic Taj Mahal, an[Read More…]

by February 28, 2020 World
Slavery at Mount Vernon

Slavery at Mount Vernon

The photograph depicts a replica of a slave cabin in Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate. It is based on an early 20th-century photograph as the original cabin no longer exists. After about two decades, on President’s Day (February 17), I found myself in front of the replica of the slave cabin on the grounds of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate.[Read More…]

by February 24, 2020 World
The Bonbibi deity

Nature, Bonbibi, American cetologist in the Sundarbans

To find answers about how to define the idea of nature, French anthropologist Philippe Descola went to the depths of the Amazon to find the Achuars, an indigenous tribe of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian descent. He was interested in finding why they lived remote from others, isolated in their respective groups, under the domination of nature. In the process, he[Read More…]

by February 17, 2020 Life/Philosophy
The majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans

The majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans

A Bengal tiger in the Sundarbans, which crosses India and Bangladesh. In describing the Sundarbans (beautiful forests), Amitav Ghosh, an internationally acclaimed writer wrote in his novel, The Hungry Tide: “A mangrove forest is utterly unlike other woodlands or jungles. There are no towering, vine-looped trees, no ferns, no wildflowers, no chattering monkeys or cockatoos. Mangrove leaves are tough and[Read More…]

by February 8, 2020 Environmental Protection
Watching Mississippi Masala on the eve of Martin Luther King Day

Watching Mississippi Masala on the eve of Martin Luther King Day

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” are famous words of Martin Luther King Jr delivered on August 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C. With those words he changed the course of history,[Read More…]

by January 20, 2020 World
The lure of American green card and elderly parents

The lure of American green card and elderly parents

How much is an American green card and ultimately a naturalized citizenship worth to elderly sub-continental parents? A lot! How many more do you think would be willing to give up their independence and the comfort of their own cocoon to immigrate to America? Many parents would happily give up living their retired lives in the sub-continent in exchange for[Read More…]

by January 14, 2020 Life/Philosophy
Habitat for Humanity: Building with dignity

Habitat for Humanity: Building with dignity

Two months ago, a day after suffering a fall in his Georgia home, 95-year-old former US president Jimmy Carter was back to building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Wearing a white bandage on his head and with a bruise over his left eye, he was seen handling blocks of wood and a power drill at a building site in Nashville,[Read More…]

by December 27, 2019 World
Christmas in America

Christmas in America

  Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la Tis the season to be jolly Fa, la la la la, la la la la In a collection of multiple surveys from the past decade, PEW finds that 65 percent of American adults now call themselves Christian. People of Christian faith celebrate the[Read More…]

by December 17, 2019 Life/Philosophy
One city: two tales

One city: two tales

On December 5, while driving down the Embassy Row in NW Washington, D.C.,on the car radio,I was listening to Nancy Pelosi saying the House is drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Pelosi leaning toward impeachment didn’t really come as a surprise. Even though for months Pelosi has been resisting calls for impeachment saying, “Trump isn’t worth it.” However,[Read More…]

by December 11, 2019 World
“Ahlan Simsim”:Thirty minutes with the Muppets

“Ahlan Simsim”:Thirty minutes with the Muppets

“Sesame Street” and the International Rescue Committee have collaborated in efforts to help Syrian refugee children. A new program called “AhlanSimsim” is set to air in February 2020. Quite often I think about what kind of trauma and distress the Syrian refugee children are going through in the camps of Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. I am specifically talking about[Read More…]

by November 28, 2019 World
The Argentines are still influenced by Eva Perón

The Argentines are still influenced by Eva Perón

SeñoraEva Maria Duarte de Perónwas one of Argentina’s most beloved first ladies.Sixty-six years after Eva’s death, the persistence of Peronism makes her one of the most fascinating characters in Argentina. Peronism has a deep rooted influence on the political structure of this Latin American nation. Long after Juan and Eva Perón, Peronist legacy is very much alive and it seems[Read More…]

by November 22, 2019 World
Understanding Autism through a TV mom’s eyes

Understanding Autism through a TV mom’s eyes

A few nights ago, I watched a poignant and slightly heart wrenching Bengali drama on YouTube that shines a light on disorders like autism. It was the first time that I saw a drama script was written to raise awareness about autism in a developing country like Bangladesh. The 2014 drama showcases what parenting a child with special needs is[Read More…]

by November 6, 2019 Life/Philosophy
Greta Thunberg, autism and her America tour

Greta Thunberg, autism and her America tour

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is my hero. Except for a handful of cynics, who wouldn’t be impressed by this soft-spoken girl with a no nonsense demeanor, seriously concerned about the well being of the planet earth? She has inspired millions around the world to change their perspective beyond the “here and now,” and onto the future in regards[Read More…]

by September 21, 2019 Climate Change
Shova Rajmoni Hosna---New Age photo

Another senseless dowry death

  How many Shovas have to endure violence, severe torture and sometimes death when extortionary dowry demands cannot be met? How many monstrous husbands and in-laws will abuse and kill innocent young women because their parents cannot pay the dowry amount to the husbands or to their families? Despite anti-dowry laws in Bangladesh, such crimes are unabated. This has been[Read More…]

by September 14, 2019 Patriarchy
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her daughter Gabriella

Will Nazanin be forgotten?

For a decade,NazaninZaghari-Ratcliffe, a 41-year- old British-Iranian woman had a normal life in north London. She had a home, a job, husband and a beautiful daughter named Gabriella. A 2016 visit to Iran changed all that. Nazanin was arrested and taken away at a Tehran airport by the members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, an elite faction of the government. She[Read More…]

by September 11, 2019 Human Rights
Alzheimer’s Burden On Families

Alzheimer’s Burden On Families

  What can be more ironic and catastrophic when a renowned linguist loses her language altogether,as the deadly Alzheimer’s disease (AD) fiercely ravages her brain? That is what did happen to Alice Howland, a professor and a linguistics expert at Columbia University, New York. Initially, it started with her inability to remember the word ‘lexicon’ while giving a lecture. From[Read More…]

by September 23, 2017 Life/Philosophy
A picture shared on Twitter by the activist Ye Du showing Mr. Liu and his wife, Liu Xia. Credit Ye Du, via European Pressphoto Agency

Liu Xiaobo And Liu Xia: A Love That Survived Incredible Odds

A photo shared on Twitter by activist Ye Du was inserted in arecent front-page story in the New York Times. The skeletal like couple (Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia) clinging onto one another will break any heart. In the photo, frail Xiaobo is pictured in his hospital pajamas and delicate Xia with shaved head in her everyday street clothes. The[Read More…]

by July 17, 2017 World