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La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(15 juin — 22 juin)

Journal numérique The Wire, bloqué au Bangladesh depuis l’année dernière, a divulgué les identités de deux agents de renseignement de l’armée qui avaient tué conseiller Ekramul Huq.

Selon un reportage, un policier qui était témoin de l’incident de dix camions des armements pour les rebelles de l’Inde a été tué dans un accident à Feni.

Selon un reportage, des gens ont massacré un dirigeant du Rohingya à Balukhali campe, Cox’s Bazar.

Selon un reportage, des voleurs ont volé appareil photo, carte bleue, deux disques durs,laptop d’ une photographe allemande. Elle s’inscrivait dans une école de photo ici.

Selon un reportage, une voiture qui appartient à un député a tué un conducteur dans la rue de Dacca. La presse de Dacca se dit que le fils de député conduisait la voiture.

Selon un reportage, une dizaine de pêcheurs restent disparus dans un naufrage dans la mer de Bengale.

Selon un reportage, deux Bangladais a été péri en Arabie saoudite quand une incendie ravageait leur lieu de travail.

Les utilisateurs de réseaux sociaux se disent que «archive.is» , site utilisé pour accéder aux liens bloqués, est bloqué au Bangladesh.

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Missing Premise

Bangladesh’s ongoing drug war is going to intensify in the coming weeks. Though heavy handed approach drew widespread criticism, Police and several other agencies vowed to eliminate drug from the country.

Amid the drive, a daily carried a report on a slum-drug-millionaire hailed from a slum in Roopnagar,Mirpur. He met somewhat the similar fate of other drug peddlers in the recent drive. According to the report, sprawling drug trade generated Tk 500 million ($6.02 million)per month in that Roopnagar slum. Clearly, there are many takers of his ill-gotten wealth. The slum-drug-millionaire is the lose thread to those other mysterious recipients of the money. He was just a lower-rung operator as per the interview of an industry insider.With his elimination, his mentors have become much more safer than before.

The purpose of this piece is neither the slum-drug-millionaire and his bosses. Rather, it is intended to focus on a premise which is completely absent from the discourse of ongoing drug war.

This narcotics epidemic is taking place while the number of cadre-based political parties is high at any moment in our history.

In the cadre-based party, a party worker’s full time vocation is politics and to look after party interests. In doing so, the worker disguised as moonlighter. But his main vocation is to advance tribal interest. The party in return takes care of the activist and doles out monthly payments. The businesses and offices they occupy are a smokescreen to continue their networking and political activity.

Two biggest cadre-based political parties are the ruling party and Jamaat.Communist party crudely functions in this way. Other left parties and nowadays BNP also follows the cadre-based party system.

It was pioneered by Jamaat,which assured jobs and businesses for its cadres. Later, other parties followed suit. This is how tribalism penetrated into and ruined our institutions and professionalism.

To raise cadres and to compete with rival parties, these parties need money. Often they depend on grey source of funds to finance parties. The grey sources are sources where the transaction records and flow of money are not documented. Drug money is one of these grey sources.

I would like to cite some figures reported in the press to give you an idea about the illegal money thrust into politics. Footpaths of Dhaka generate Tk 13 billion ($156.62 million) extortion money every year. Meanwhile, the size of annual methamphetamine trade inside the country is Tk 60 billion($722.89 million)

By the way, these are just conservative estimates. True figures far outweigh them. It is evident that there are beneficiary groups. Who are they? Are there any policy and measure to identify them?

It is naive to surmise that the slum-drug-millionaire’s million Taka worth empire will vanish overnight with his demise. Since in the society and politics needs of sustaining this kind of business are still there. So, killing the peddlers and lower-rung operators are more like treating the metastasis of a seriously ill patient. New replacement may fill their shoes.

Cadre-based political structure makes use of this clandestine money through numerous ways. It is interesting to note that this political culture also corrupts the law-enforcement system. For this reason, drugs spread across the country much faster. Places that have higher concentration of law-enforcement installations and personnel are also happened to be drug trade and consumption hub. India too has a porous border with Myanmar and the country has more megacities than Bangladesh, yet methamphetamine’ invasion of Bangladesh, which has much lower average formal and informal wage compared to India, overwhelmed everyone. In India, cadre-based culture has not yet taken a virulent form. In addition, Indian democracy features individualism and tolerates dissenters.

If there were no protection and tutelage from law-enforcement agencies, drug spots would not flourish across the country.

Concerned citizens want to know how many of the law-enforcement personnel who took money from drug traders met the fate of the drug peddlers.

One thing has become obvious that the gunned down drug resellers / spot owners are not the only problem.Maybe they are a lead to the bigger problem.

Prevailing political culture and labyrinthine digestive tubes to feed party cadres not only atrophied our institutions, but also cornered brave and independent voices.

Gone are the days when individual dissent voice within the tribal political party stands up to his convictions regardless of the desires and position set by the party.

Those receiving bullets in the ongoing war on drugs have fewer options left before them. Again creating enough and decent options for living are the task of politicians. Political parties are locked into entrenched warfare and want to hold their ground to have complete dominance over the rivals. The flip side of existing political system is that it narrows down options of decent living. In fact , it is highly conducive to spur the growth of clandestine businesses. With great pain we the commoners observe that this whole line of argument is missing from the consideration of the people waging the war on drugs.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(8 juin — 15 juin)

Selon un reportage, un éditeur a été tué par balles dans son village natal à Munshiganj. Il était ancien dirigeant du parti communiste là-bas. Police soupçonne que les terroristes ont perpétré la tuerie. Un autre éditeur à Chittagong a aussi reçu de message de haine.

Selon un reportage, glissement de terrain a tué 11 personnes à Naniarchar,Rangamati. A Ukhia,Cox’s Bazar, une arbre a battu un Rohingya. La pluie torrentielle a déjà causé dégâts aux 11.000 Rohingyas, d’ après Haut-Commissariat de Réfugiés.

Selon un reportage, Police a trouvé cadavre mutilé d’un banquier sur la rue ferroviaire à Khilgaon Dacca. Il a été identifié comme fils de journaliste Selina Parvin, victime de crime de guerre. Il était aussi témoin des crimes de guerre contre un dirigeant de Morium Center à Londre et ancien fonctionnaire de ministère de la santé en Angleterre. Channel 4 a diffusé un documentaire contre le criminel de guerre.Ses amis et membres de famille ont dit à la presse qu’il recevait des menaces après il avait témoigné contre les deux criminels de guerre. L’autre criminel habite aux États -Unis.Police se penche sur la cause de la mort mystérieuse.

Selon un reportage, deux dirigeants du BNP ont été abdiqués par des gens inconnus à Jessore. Selon un autre reportage, un dirigeant du parti en exercice a été tué par balles à Dacca.

Selon un reportage, un salarié de Grameen Bank a été massacré à Madaripur. Les tueurs ont aussi volé plus de Tk 100.000.

Some Concern About The Defense Budget

Finance minister presented his last budget in the parliament. One of the key features of this year’s budget is that proposed defense expenditure , Tk 293.31 billion or $3.53 billion (some reports say Tk290.84 billion), accounts for 6.3% of the budget. In FY 2017-18, it was Tk 264.15 billion.

In recent years, defense expenditure has registered an unprecedented rate of increase. The Rohingya crisis contributed a role in it. There has already been a defense shopping list in place. Ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State of Myanmar only speeds up that procurement process.

However, an unusual restraint is being observed from various government and non-governmental bodies to talk about this matter publicly. In addition, the press, brow-beaten by numerous draconian laws and repression of the journalists, is less inclined to stir up a hornet’s nest by carrying reports on defense related controversy.
Defense procurement has long been a source of corruption. In our country, it is done in a less transparent manner.

Controversy lurks whenever govt starts a big-ticket defense procurement project.

In the past, we witnessed how former chiefs were found guilty in procurement related corruption and put behind the bars. This time the size of the ongoing procurement program is huge. However, we have yet to see any report that calls into question transparency of any procurement process.

Tribalism is the growing phenomenon in our everyday life in Bangladesh. Being no subscriber to any tribal ideological group, I can say that the Armed Forces are not insulated from it. Ideological backlash in the past not only spilled blood in the cantonment, but annihilated two serving Commander-in-Chiefs. Ensuing military backed regimes either crippled the institutions of accountability or domesticated them. Those regimes left a legacy of corruption and abuse of power. More recently, Bangladeshis witnessed how the highly sophisticated eavesdropping devices were used to advance interest of garrison-dependent civilian class. A former BGB chief’s brother , a killer,were pardoned and allowed to leave the country.

Given this less accountable atmosphere in the cantonments, how can govt start such spending spree?

One may argue that Armed Forces are the biggest employer in the country. But over the years the wage employment created by various branches of the Armed Forces has not lived up to its utility. Stock market crash, plundering of banks, spread of drugs and outbreak of jihadi militancy happened right before their eyes. Had there been genuine intel or prior warning, these things would not have turned worst.

Evidently, increasing expenditure on defense has not translated into greater safety and security. On the contrary, some members of the Armed Forces started to behave like praetorian guards and king maker. Enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings are on the rise. Political activists, journalists and civil society members are deliberately targeted to practice a self-imposed censorship.

Growing fear is that under such circumstances there is a high chance of failure to keep tabs on who is getting the commission or siphoning of taxpayers money in the name of fortifying our security. Ambitious quarters are still embedded in the men-in-fatigues. Unless a transparent mechanism is set to check how the defense procurement program is done, chances are high that our own money maybe spend on to seal our political future.

Apart from transparency and accountability, being a major source of government expenditure its role in stimulating economic activity inside the country also needs to be put under scanner.
Unfortunately, our economy never benefits from this rise in defense expenditure. Hardly any portion of it ends up into the hands of private sector, which plays a key role in creating jobs and innovation.

While foreign companies are getting most of the orders, only small opportunities remain for domestic producers. Almost all the manufacturing facilities are govt owned. If there were private collaboration and some army-run facilities were allowed to enlist with the stock exchanges , private sector would see a boost in activity and the money spent here would also have a multiplier effect. The obstacles are lack of policy and political will.

For instance, the Army is poised to issue a new standard assault rifle for its conscripts. It has recently floated an international tender. It is highly likely a foreign arms manufacturer may bag this contract. The Army can easily insert the clause of domestic production. Moreover, government can introduce a bill in the parliament allowing private companies in defense article production and FDI in this sector. Govt can privatize Bangladesh Ordinance Factory or Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory by offering share in the stock exchange. Local conglomerates can get involved in arms manufacturing by starting new companies or buying part of the stakes of BOF/BMTF.

Another area where the increased defense spending could play a role is research and development. Since our industry is still in its adolescent stage, it is not ready yet to allocate funds for research in science and technological innovations and how to link those innovation and research products to the industry. So there is no science research facilities at tertiary level education centers. A new wave of scientific research will sweep across the country if fraction of this defense expenditure is allocated to science research projects in Universities, engineering colleges and polytechnic institutions. Composite material, hard polymer, precision equipment, electronic chips, mechanical devices, automation software etc have great use in defense as well as good prospect in civilian market.

Bottom line is we are using an awful lot of money in defense without having proper checks and balances. But the economy is not getting its due returns through stimulating activities in other sectors. In the wake of decaying moral standards and increasing trend in corruption, the logic that the Army is the biggest recruiter sounds hollow. We have to spend our penny wisely.For this reason, it is imperative we formulate policies to make sure our money is spent in the best transparent manner and the projects where it is used provide more opportunities for other sectors.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(1 juin — 8 juin)

Selon un reportage, l’Union européenne a conseillé gouvernement bangladais de se pencher sur les tueries pendant la lutte contre stupéfait. Le secrétaire général du parti en exercice a dit que les autres n’avaient pas besoin d’inquiéter sur les tueries extrajudiciaires récentes. Le gouvernement ferait enquête sur les tueries.

Selon un reportage, la raide contre stupéfait a tué deux personnes dimanche nuit. Presque 133 personnes ont été tuées à partir du 12 jusqu’aujourd’hui.

Selon un reportage, un prof d’un lycée et dirigeante du parti en exercice a été tuée chez elle. Police soupçonne que son mari l’ a tué.

Selon un reportage, patron d’un kiosque de thé a déposé plainte contre un policier de la gendarmerie de Bhatara et trois autres personnes pour avoir démantelé son kiosque. Elle s’est dit que les coupables lui avaient demandé extorsion, mais elle a nié de la payer.

Selon un reportage, le gouvernement bangladais a laissé partir un député et les membres de sa famille pour l’Arabie saoudite. La presse l’accable de critiques pour d’être un gros bonnet de drogue.

Selon un reportage, RAB a appréhendé le porte-parole de Gonojagoron Mancha, un plateforme qui demandait peine capitale pour les crimes de guerre, pour avoir organisé une manifestation contre la tuerie extrajudiciaire récente devant le musée national.Quelques heures plus tard RAB l’a laissé aller chez lui.

Selon un reportage, Organisation internationale pour les migrations a dit qu’elle manquait de fonds pour continuer service de santé dans les campes de Rohingya à Cox’s Bazar. Donc, elle avait besoin de fonds dès que possible pour continuer l’opération en mousson où il se pourrait que beaucoup de Rohingya tombent malade à cause de mauvais temps.

Selon un reportage, l’incendie a ravagé un marché à Mymensingh. A Brahmanbaria, un garage de BTRC a aussi subi dégâts à cause d’incendie mystérieuse. Presque 15 bus ont été détruits.

J’ai commencé mon blog bengali à partir de 3 juin.Il est baptisé «Hoque Mawla»(https://rezaulho.blogspot.com/).

Drive Against Undocumented Goods Is Failing

Since the commencement of the month of Ramzan, various govt organizations have embarked on so called “pro-consumer drives” wielding the catchy slogan of “upholding consumers’ interests” and “correcting business practices”.

Their enthusiasm is fortunately or unfortunately coincided with a period for which the entire business community longs for all around the year. Sales in this fasting month and Eid festivity also account for a major share of annual sales, for some businessmen it accounts for half or more than half of their annual sales.

Any action, originating from the market or outside it, that interrupts the doing business as usual in this crucial month deeply worries them.

The interest manifested by government bodies in those drives remains noticeably absent during the rest of the year. Eventually one may ask the question: why did the government decide to go after the wrongdoers right now ?

The ongoing campaign started with the drive in a super market where the team of customs officials and police faced angry protests of cell phone sellers after the team had seized more than sixty i-phones without proper documents. Retailers failed to show any valid purchase documents to the team. They claim they bought the sets from Bangladeshis who brought one or two examples from abroad and later sold the sets to them. Usually the cell phone they sell are brand new. The shop-to-shop raid yielded the team only 64 i-phone sets. Again it proved they are just retailers, not wholesalers.

I was wondering why the team had not gone after the wholesalers and smugglers of mobile phones. In that case, they would have seized more undocumented mobile phones.

When the wholesalers and smugglers try to bring this kind of mobile phone sets avoiding due procedures, they dodge the customs and airport /port authority first. Clearly, the blame for undocumented mobile phone sets in the market should be attributed to the customs and airport authority. Retailers are just meeting the day-to-day demand of the market and to some extent less responsible for this kind of mobile phone sets.

Similar drive is also being carried out in other parts of the country. For instance, in Chittagong, businessmen of Terribazar put up stiff resistance to Police and Customs officials when they were conducting a drive against illegal goods. High time of business season is troubled by this unprecedented drive. So the businessmen have every reason to get angry. In the name of this kind of drive, retailers become subject of indiscriminate harassment.

Like the paperless i-phone sets, the black-marketed foreign goods ended up in the hands of retailers evading watchful eyes of border guards and customs or exploiting the loopholes in the prevailing system. A retailer who may store a handful examples of such article holds a place far down below the responsibility ladder. If there were no demand of those goods, the retailer would not display the goods.

A small businessman and retailer are the true strength of the economy. They keep the economy moving. Growth and productivity of their businesses augur good for the economy and an indication that the economy is moving to the right direction.

Most importantly, small businessmen are less likely to launder their money and profit abroad. Their interests and concerns deserve to be at the heart of any govt policy aiming to boost business confidence and bring fresh impetus to economy.
When the economy is stagnant, consumers lose their trust and business confidence dwindles, how does haphazard drive intend to protect the consumer’s interest?

The only conclusion that I can draw is that ” the drive against illegal goods” is a masquerade. In the month of Ramzan, this drive is initiated , without any coordination and any plan, to the interest of a tiny quarter who wants to make some quick bucks ahead of Eid.

No drive in recent times has met such resistance from the businessmen. The failure of the drive is so remarkable that it is a matter of time that authority calls off the whole operation.

Suspicion would not sprout in the minds of common men if the authority were keen to nab rogue customs officials and their cohort wholesalers. Meting out the chastisement to retailers only provoke unintended consequences that could translate into rise in prices.

When the middle class is already struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, soaring prices will not bring the much needed smile to them in this Eid.

When the whole government machinery bogs down in corruption, sporadic drive only intensifies the suffering and the malpractices in business show no sign to abate. Skirting round grave issues like lack of good governance and absence of accountability, publicity stunt-generating measures doom to backfire.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(25 mai — 1 juin)

Selon un reportage, la force élite RAB a fait une raide dans un campe de Bihari, un groupe très persécuté au Bangladesh, et arrêté 153 personnes, vendeurs présumés de stupéfait.

Selon un reportage, la raide contre stupéfait a tué 70 personnes jusqu’au samedi. Il n’y a pas de coordination. Les forces de sécurité mènent l’opération en poursuivant la liste préparée par chaque force.

Selon un reportage de BBC, fille d’un victime a tenu une presse conférence. Elle s’est dit que son père vendait des alimentations devant la Cour à Chittagong. Dans une photo prise après la tuerie on voit que son père tenait une cigarette mais il ne fumait jamais. A Rajshahi, une femme s’est dit que son mari avait quitté la vocation de vendre le stupéfait. Néanmoins, RAB l’ avait tué. Les organisations des droits de l’homme ont assez de difficulté à vérifier l’innocence de victime puisque la famille a si peur de dire ce qui s’est passé.

Selon un reportage, foudre a tué 3 frères à Sylhet.

Plus de 102 personnes ont été tuées pendant la raide contre stupéfait qui continue encore, selon un reportage.

Selon un reportage, 3 fidèles de United People’s Democratic Front, un groupe rebelle qui a jeté l’ accord de paix entre Jana Sanghati Samiti et le gouvernement, ont été tués par balles à Rangamati.

Selon un reportage, la Birmanie s’est dit que 58 Rohingyas étaient retournés chez eux à Rakhine State. Ils ont été gardés dans un campe transitoire près de la frontière entre Bangladesh et Birmanie. Cependant, Bangladesh jouait ignorant de leur retour.

Selon un reportage, des gens inconnus ont vandalisé la maison d’un dirigeant de l’opposition. Ils sont entrés par effraction chez lui et cassé beaucoup de véhicules. Il a récemment menacé Premier ministre. Son père a été pendu par le gouvernement après une Cour l’avait condamné à la peine de mort sur les crimes de guerre. La. Police a publié un mandat d’arrêt contre lui.

Selon un reportage, le cadavre de tueur présumé de deux filles de Tripura polli a été trouvé près de la rue à Sitakunda.

Selon un reportage, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management a noté que presque 1,6 millions comptes de dépôt ont été fermés dans un an. BIBM estime que c’est l’indication de manque de confiance de clients.

Selon un reportage, le président a pardonné un criminel qui a tué un homme d’affaires à Mohammadpur. Il a été condamné à la peine de mort. Il s’en est remis à la clémence du président. Il s’enfuit à l’étranger suite à sa liberté.

Selon un reportage, les vendeurs du marché de Terrybazaar à Chittagong se sont insurgés contre la raide de douaniers en cherchant des produits clandestins.

Selon un reportage, police malaise a appréhendé un patron bangladais de restaurant en Malaisie pour avoir lien avec Daech. Police a aussi appréhendé six Malaises et six Philippins et des Maghrebins dans une raide contre Daech.

Selon un reportage, enregistrement d’ une tuerie extrajudiciaire d’un conseiller, aussi dirigeant du parti en exercice, à Cox’s Bazar est devenu viral. Il a causé assez de polémique dans tout le pays. Par ailleurs, sa femme s’est dit qu’il avait été tué par RAB et renseignements de l’armée.

Selon un reportage, les États-Unis ont mis en garde ses ressortissants au Bangladesh sur attentat terroriste. Le pays a conseillé à ses ressortissant d’éviter les lieux de divertissement, Dhaka, CHT et restaurant puisque l’ ordre public a dégradé.