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La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(14 september— 22 septembre)

Un camion de Croissant-Rouge, plein d’ aide pour les Rohingyas, a quitté sa trajectoire et plongé dans un fossé à Bandarban tuant 10 personnes.
En Birmanie, foule a mis le feu à un camion de la Crosse- Rouge.

Le gouvernement mène opération contre stockage de riz a fin de maîtriser son prix. L’exorbitant prix de riz cause polémique dans la vie sociale. Selon un reportage, les hommes d’ affaires responsables pour le stockage appartiennent au parti en exercice.

Angleterre a arrêté formation de l’ armée birmane en signe de protestation contre opération militaire dans Rakhine State. Birmanie a rappelé 5 stagiaires militaires depuis Angleterre suite à la décision.

Inde considère vendre des armes à la Birmanie quand la communauté internationale s’en est pris à régime birman pour la violence dans Rakhine State . Le ministère de Défense de l’Inde a divulgué la décision pendant la visite du chef de
Un ministère du gouvernement a dit que presque 16000 femmes Rohingyas étaient enceintes. Médecins sans frontières a mis en garde que la condition de logement de Rohingya risque la santé publique.

Delhi Police a appréhendé un opératif d’al Qaida depuis Delhi. Samiun Rahman est ressortissant d’Angleterre. Il a été radicalisé à Londres. Police bangladaise l’a libéré quelques semaines avant.

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La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

(8 septembre — 15 septembre)

La rue entre Tejgaon et Farmgate est occupée encore par une bande de gens qui l’ont faite parking de camion. Il y a un an que la rue a été libérée depuis cette bande par  le maire du Dacca nord. Le parking était une source d’extorsion pour les hommes de politique.

Les Rohingyas sont exploités dans Bangladesh aussi. Presque 800 bateaux , dont les bateaux utilisés pour trafiquer les hommes en Malaisie, font les  traverser le fleuve Naaf, qui sépare Bangladesh et Birmanie. Les trafiqueur demandent le frais exorbitant depuis les Rohingyas, Tk 10, 000 par personne.

Selon un reportage, presque 105 Rohingyas ont péri dans le Naaf pendant le traverser par bateau.
Beaucoup de Rohingyas vendent les bovins à prix qui est moins que celui de marché.

Presque 60% des Rohingyas demandé asile au Bangladesh sont les enfants, selon UNICEF. L’ONU prévoit que les Rohingyas seront 1 million à la fin de cette année.

La police Bangladaise a accusé 4 personnes à Bandarban et 2 journalistes de la magazine GEO pour avoir espionné pour la Birmanie.

Selon SITE Intelligence, al-Qaida a menacé à punir la Birmanie pour l’ opération militaire dans Rakhine State.

Selon un reportage, un prêtre bouddhiste a été harcelé par des gens à Jessore. La vidéo de harcèlement est devenue virale dans le réseau social Facebook. Police a appréhendé les coupables.

Cadavre d’un salarié de BRAC a été trouvé à Bhola. Il restait disparu pour 3 jours.

Un dirigeant du parti BNP a accusé la Police pour avoir vandalisé chez lui à Narāyanganj.

A cause de l’explosion des mines terrestres, 5 personnes ont tué à Naikhangchhari , à la proximité de la frontière entre Bangladesh et Birmanie.

Bangladesh a  choisi Seaspray 5000 E AESA radar pour équiper deux avions maritimes Dornier 228 ,selon un blog de défense.

Lullabies For Tatmadaw

On Wednesday, 13 September, pictures of two Rohingya orphans on a leading newspaper set wet every Bengali’s heart. Fresh violence in Rakhine state took away everything they had.

Yajuddin and Mohaiuddin now roam on streets of Cox’s Bazar for food. Myanmar Army raided their village and torched their home at Mongnipara in Mangdaw while the two brothers were playing at a nearby field. The fire consumed their parents and sister.

At this school going age the Uddin brothers watched the hell unfolded right before their eyes. The pain and suffering the poor souls endured may remain a source of storm  at their hearts for the rest of their lives.

They could have been proud soldiers of Myanmar Army, securing country’s interests and protecting it from foreign foes. They could have been soccer players holding high the flag of Myanmar in international tournaments. They could have been entrepreneurs untapping the potentials of Myanmar’s economy. They could have been scientists or teachers offering their inventions and services in building their nation.

But look what the violence did to them. At this crossroad , their future may take a wrong turn. Does the future of two brothers have come to an end?

I know an Indian lawyer who was an Englishman in his behaviour and thought. In Johannesburg rail station, he was kicked out of a rail coach reserved  for the White. His English education as a lawyer did not convince the rail official that a native could be more than an Englishman in his thought and work.
Luckily for the world and the Indians, Mahatma Gandhi was born on that day at Johannesburg rail station. That day was the inflection point for Gandhi.

I know a civil engineer, whose upbringing was more European. He went to European schools. The son of a billionaire was educated in an engineering university in Saudi Arabia. He  spent his vacation abroad with his family. He was well versed with jihadi literature while he was a university student. It was Khomeini launched  Islamic revolution in Iran, Lebanon Civil War and seizure of Grand Mosque in Mecca that shaped ultimately his political ideology. But it was the seizure of Grand Mosque,  whose renovation was carried out by his family company, that worked as an inflection point for Osama Bin Laden. His hatred for the West and violent course of action made him an infamous name in the world.

Being chieftain of al-Qaeda, he many years later echoed the demands of the radicals at Grand Mosque: expel the foreigners from Saudi soil and stop doing business with the West.

I know a Vietnamese boy who went to Paris by a French steamer working in it as a cook’s assistant. He applied for the French Colonial Administrative School but rejected by the school authority. Die hard Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh was born that day. That rejection day was the inflection point for Ho Chi Minh.

With the onset of Rakhine state violence arrived hundreds of thousands of Rohingya kids like the Uddin Brothers. For many the event may work as an inflection point. Will that bend be good or bad ? The answer lies with the Tatmadaw’s  action.

When Tatmadaw denies their citizenship, the whole world recognizes the Rohingyas as legitimate citizens of Myanmar. The world is on Rhongyas’ side. Tatmadaw meanwhile keeps trumpeting its own history about Myanmar. One can rewrite or interpret one’s version of historical events and facts. It hardly means a new history. Those facts and events remain the same as time passes.

Meting out tortures and ordeal to millions of Rohingyas , or Myanmar Muslims whatever you call, for the condemnable action of few troublemakers does not bear the signs of a mature regime. Rather it points out nervousness of a deeply paranoid and friendless regime.

Tatmadaw stepped into the trap of the troublemakers and helped them achieved what they wanted.

Wretched are the fate of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas who are now living in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar under open sky leaving everything behind. Who are the real menace to Myanmar security: proud Rohingyas whom the state recognizes as citizens or the hopeless Rohingyas in foreign camps and detention centres ?

Myanmar could learn from India. Soon after the independence Jawaharlal Nehru passed laws that ensured Muslim’s entitlement over their properties and recognized them as equal citizens of India.  Muslims in India can do whatever they wish for. They can become president, scientist, diplomat, join Armed Forces , civil service , politics. When India came into being , many of its opponents said it would soon broke into pieces due to communal strife and too many ethnic groups. That did not happen. India remain united and faced challenges.

Just look what happened to Singapore. A minority Muslim woman has become a president.

Tatmadaw may be searching a solution to Rakhine imbroglio wearing “Rakhine Muslims are part of the problem” sunglass. It is high time that it takes it off and puts on “Rakhine Muslims are part of the solution” sunglass.

These kids have nothing to do with their religion. They adopt it by birth. It is not a question of choice. Tatmadaw can make them good citizens by providing them education and other services.

Millions of Rakhine Muslims living and working abroad can also contribute to the development of the state and of Myanmar. They may remit foreign currencies to Myanmar instead of their temporary country of residence and  help grow the economy of Myanmar. They can help building close relations with other Muslim countries. In Jakarta, Kualalumpur, Karachi, Istanbul, Dhaka, Tehran, crowds display pictures of traumatized Rohingya kids, chant anti-Myanmar slogan and set fire on its national flag. One violent campaign against an ethnic group antagonized these countries.

In today’s world a country’s prosperity depends on its friends. For this reason, countries want to make as many friends as possible. All those cities where anti-Myanmar protests are seen could host Myanmar Trade Exhibition and Myanmar Investment Road Shows.

Bangladesh has also been experiencing the heat of this crisis. Perhaps more than any other country. If the crisis is not resolved in the quickest possible time, Bangladesh’s security vulnerabilities will be exposed. Its vulnerability will be exploited by others. Maybe within five years we see a naval base of another country in the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh may follow Malaysia where parallel legal system based on the crude version of the dominant religion is introduced to make content a particular group of people. Will that be good for Tatmadaw and the region?

Bangladesh never wanted to be dragged into this Rohingya debate. However Tatmadaw’s perception about Rakhine Muslims made it a party in this debate. Solution lies in bilateral talk as I pressed on earlier.

Tatmadaw has to come forward with a plan to integrate these Rakhine Muslims into Myanmar. Tatmadaw can withhold the voting rights of elder Muslims for some specified periods. Meanwhile it will have to ensure access to education for  the Rohingya kids and ensure their higher education. When they will become naturalized citizens of Myanmar, they will be able to vote. It has to  protect their properties and respect their inheritance laws. Alienation is a threat to Myanmar’s security, integration is the strength. Tatmadaw has to understand this.

I do not have enough words to calm the storms of the Uddin brothers’ hearts, I do not have the means to stand by them. I do not know any lullaby to help hundreds of thousands of Rohingya kids fall asleep.

But I know that the Tatmadaw needs the peace of mind more than the Rohingya kids. Their senseless child like vengeance endangers the regional peace and security and tears apart the very fabric of a society on which a nation is built. Dreams of the Uddin brothers and Rohingya kids are not over. Chances are still there. Please take a relook at the Rohingya crisis and consider their issues with compassion. Please integrate them into Myanmar building process.

La Semanie Dernière A Mes Yeux

( 1 septembre —- 8 septembre)

L’exode de Rohingya ne cesse pas. L’armée birmane continue son opération dans Rakhine State. Selon l’ONU, la violence dans Rakhine a tué presque 1000 Rohingyas. Le Haut Commission pour réfugié de l’ONU, UNHCR,  s’est dit que 270.000 Rohingyas sont entrés Bangladesh et cherchent refuge dans les villages et îles frontières.

Amnesty International a dit que l’armée birmane avait planté des mines terrestres dans les rues menant à la frontière avec Bangladesh. Une femme , qui a perdu ses jambes dans une explosion de mine, s’est admis dans l’ hôpital de Chittagong.

Plus de 40 Rohingyas ont péri dans la mer quand leur bateaux chaviraient dans le mer.

La crise de Rohingya a atterri attention mondiale. Le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’Indonésie et la femme du président de la Turquie se sont rendus au Bangladesh pour comprendre les souffrances des Rohingyas.

La Malaisie et la Turquie ont aussi envoyé deux navires, plein de l’aide en Birmanie.

La crise de Rohingya augmente aussi les crimes de haine au Bangladesh.

A Manikganj, temple des Hindous a été ciblé. A Bandarban, un prêtre des Bouddhistes  a été attaqué. A Mirpur, monastère bouddhiste a reçu messages de haine depuis un compte de Facebook. Le compte a menacé de fermer une école, opéré par monastèr.
Les douaniers bangladais a saisi un container, transportant déchets radioactifs et destinait au Sri Lanka, au port de Chittagong. Citadel Global Corporation a tenté de l’envoyer en Chine.

Bilateral Talk Is The Key

The incessant wave of Rohingyas in the frontier districts of Cox’s Bazaar and Bandarban overwhelmed the whole Bangladesh. The incident is only parallel to the Bengalis seeking refuge in neighboring Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura in the early months of 1971  war. Military operation , in response to a coordinated attack on Police station, triggered this latest Rohingya exodus.

Bangladesh has already been witnessing severe flood, never seen in a decade, in its northern parts. As the Rohingya crisis unfolds, hundreds of thousands of people remain waterlogged in flood-hit districts.

Scarcity of coarse rice makes worse the situation since rice production fell short of anticipated amount. Price of this commodity soars despite govt’s initiative to import rice from abroad. Even the food minister went to Myanmar  in a prescheduled visit to import rice from there amid this crisis.

The UN and other humanitarian organizations say around 270,000 Rohingya came to Bangladesh since the onset of this crisis. The number could increase if tension escalates further in Rakhine state. Their ordeal touches everyone due to up-to-minute-account of reporting.

Rohingya carrying boat capsized in seas and dead bodies washed our shores. An octogenarian lady rode on her son’s back and took a 15-day journey through the jungles and mountains to reach Bangladesh.

A wealthy peasant lost everything due to his religious identity. Men and kids wounded by  gunshot are admitted into local hospitals. A woman lost her legs in a land mine explosion near Bangladesh- Myanmar border. Unlike the earlier Rohingya crisis, this time Hindu Rohingyas sought shelter in Bangladesh. 500 of them found refuge in  Hindu neighborhood of Cox’s Bazaar.

Bangladesh was at first reluctant to welcome them, yet sheer number of the refugees and atrocities by the Burmese military changed its decision.

International community reacted quickly to the sufferings of Rohingya community. Indonesian Foreign Minister and Turkish First Lady rushed to the makeshift camps  in Cox’s Bazaar and pledged to stand by them.

Aids are kept coming for the Rohingyas. For instance, Malaysia and Turkey sent two aid ships to Myanmar. It is a puzzling thing to notice the aid ships unloading their cargoes in Myanmar while the refugees are in Bangladesh.

I have recently come to learn about an alleged corruption of a ruling party MP. I do not know how much truth lies in it, but it sounds convincing. The MP hailing from Chittagong took delivery of Malaysian PM’s aid and promised to distribute them among the Rohingyas during the outbreak of previous Rohingya crisis in 2016. However, only half of the aid reached the target recipients and the MP in question misappropriated the rest and used it for his personal gain. Maybe for this reason the Malaysians did not rest trust on Bangladeshis and sent aid ships to Myanmar, where the powerful Army denies citizenship of the Rohingyas and is conducting an operation.

Contrary to commonly held belief that Rohingyas tarnish reputation of Bangladesh by forging passport and engaging unlawful acts abroad, many illegal Bangladeshis have recently got asylum in European countries by introducing themselves as Rohingyas. Moreover, many Bangladeshis are receiving free medical aid, intended for the Rohingyas and funded by donor agencies, from the health facilities scattered across Chittagong and Cox’s Bazaar.

So, it is the other way round. Rohingyas actually open opportunities for the Bangladeshis.

Rohingyas are keen to return to Rakhine state, their homeland. Every single Rohingya interviewed by the journalists did not cease the opportunity to say that they want to go back to their homes in Rakhine state and they do not want to stay in Bangladesh.

The Rohingya crisis also stokes communal tension in Bangladesh. Vested quarters use the event to frighten the vulnerable groups. I observed four incidents of this with the help of social networking sites and the local dailies:

1. In Singair, Manikganj, Hindu temples were desecrated.

2. In Bandarban,  a Buddhist monk was attacked.

3. A news report published on country’s leading daily says a Buddhist monastery in Mirpur lodged a complaint at a Police station after receiving threat from a facebook id ” Sabujchhaya Welfare Society”. The id started a hate campaign since the recent Rohingya crisis began and called to shut down the monastery run school.

4. In Satkhira, infighting in ruling party’s student wing ended up vandalizing temples.

Troublemakers watch the situation and sneak chances to cause mayhem. Social media is again at the heart of debate as it is being used to spread hate.

Bangladesh has so far relied on others to solve the crisis. There has been a strong cry to approach China and India, two of Myanmar’s biggest neighbors who are vying for dominance, to pressure Myanmar over this issue.

It is highly unlikely that they will do so. India, which invested in infrastructure development projects in Rakhine state, has already denied to sign a declaration in an international forum in Jakarta condemning the oppression against the Rohingyas.

China has also invested in Rakhine state to build a oil pipeline across Myanmar in a bid to transport oil directly to China avoiding the Malacca straits. Moreover it has investment in infrastructure projects and has naval installation in that region.

Sensing its importance to bigger neighbors, Myanmar called Russia and China to block any attempt condemning Rohingya oppression in the Security Council.

Since the powerful Myanmar army has the last say in anything, Bangladesh should directly approach it to put an end to this crisis.

Bangladesh’s objective is to repatriate all the Rohingya refugees. Bilateral negotiation should be the best alternative to attain that goal.

Bangladesh should tell Myanmar that it has some issue with the Rohingyas. Bangladesh does not want to be dragged into this debate and remains to be a good neighbor. Myanmar needs to confine its problems within its own boundary.
Myanmar is a resource rich neighbor and we can barely afford to lose such a neighbor. Bangladesh should maintain the policy that it wants to see Myanmar as a development and trading partner. It has no evil plan to destabilize Myanmar.

Any balkanization in the Bay of Bengal over the Rohingya issue , as it happens right now,will not bring any good to any country.

Since Myanmar Army has strong influences over the govt, Bangladesh may send a military delegation to convey the message.

Though the Rohingya problem originated in Myanmar, delay in resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis may escalate regional tension and alter Bangladesh’s internal politics.

Rohingyas will be no short of aids in the coming weeks. Bangladesh has to make sure that only UN bodies and government agencies are tasked with aid distribution. It should not allow any private or charitable organization to collect and distribute aid.

Earlier experience is a stark reminder that aid might fall into wrong hands during a humanitarian crisis.

In 1991, a tornado devastated the coastal areas of Bangladesh killing millions of people. Private and charitable organizations of the Middle Eastern countries collected funds and aid to help the victims. Part of the fund was later spent to fatten the political parties with rigid ideology. Some money even fell into the hands of extremist groups.
Any replication of such initiatives has to be prevented.

A systematic campaign to wipe out the Rohingyas has been going on in Rakhine state. World is sympathetic towards the Rohingyas and keeps mounting pressure on the Myanmar to take a humanitarian stance about the Rohingyas. Bangladesh has to resist the temptation to get involved with any conflict with Myanmar. In any kind of conflict with any of our neighbor will only hamper our development and modernization programs. We should limit our role as a provider and facilitator of humanitarian assistance.

Bangladesh’s biggest challenge is this sheer number of Rohingyas. This tension will be over, but we have to deal with these refugees. Myanmar has to understand that other parties may enter into this dispute where they have no role to play. So our best approach will be to solve  the Rohingya problem bilaterally.

La Semaine Dernière A Mes Yeux

( 25 août — 1 septembre)

Une lycéenne, Jakia Sultana Rupa, a été violée dans un bus et tuée à Tangail. Ell s’y est rendue pour passer examen d’enseignat. La tuerie macabre a choqué tout le pays. Police a arrêté les agresseurs.

Abdication continue au Bangladesh. Un homme d’affaires Aniruddha Roy a été kidnappé par des gens inconnus depuis la rue de son bureau à Gulshan.Homme de politique Amanur Rahman, dirigeant du Kalyan Party , reste disparu depuis le dimanche. Ishraq Ahmed, étudiant de McGill University au Canada, reste disparu. A Rajshahi, un dirigeant de l’Awami League a été abdiqué. A Habiganj , un dirigeant du BNP reste disparu depuis le Lundi.

Dans une conférence de presse, International Organization for Migration se dit que presque 18.000 Rohingyas sont entrés au Bangladesh. D’après Reuters, environ 30.000 Rohingyas sont entrés au Bangladesh depuis le vendredi. A la plage de Cox’s Bazaar, cadavres de 16 Rohingyas sont trouvés. Ils ont tué quand un bateau a coulé au large de Cox’s Bazaar. L’ armée birmane fait une opération antiterroriste dans Rakhine suite aux assauts simultanés aux gendarmeries.

Airbrushing The Enemy

There has been high incidence of disappearance for the last few weeks. This is happening in a month when the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s sentence of hanging 9 people for murdering 7 innocent men in Narayanganj back in 2014. Members of elite crime busting agency RAB are among the condemned.

The verdict is cheered by ordinary citizens and restores people’s confidence in judiciary. It  also sets an example that nobody is immune before the law , no matter how strong and powerful he is.

The verdict , as everyone expects, will help restraining the number of abduction and will keep in check some members of law enforcing agency who give in to the lure of the corrupts and indulge in criminal conducts.

Contrary to the expectation, the number of disappearance rises sharply. The most recent victim is an opposition politician and member of opposition alliance Aminur Rahman. Kalyan Party leader Aminur went to his  Naya Paltan  party office on that fateful day according to newspaper report. Having finished party works, his friend and he had tea at a tea stall near the party office. He then set off for his home. But he never returned his Aminbazaar residence and remains missing since then.

Earlier, another opposition leader Sadat Ahmed was abducted from a busy street of Banani in broad daylight. Witnesses saw a group of men forced him to get off his car and picked him up into their van.

Similar abduction took place in Gulshan. Honorary Consul General of Belarus, Aniruddha Roy, was picked up by unknown men from a busy street in front of his office.

The list goes on. Ishraq Ahmed, enrolled in McGill University in Canada, came to Dhaka to spend the Eid vacation with his parents. He was registered missing at a Police Station in Dhaka.

Compared to them, Banker Shamim  Ahmed appears to be lucky. He was also abducted but was set free few days later.

This series of disappearance has taken place in the last couple of weeks. This is a growing indication that lawlessness wraps up the country in fears.

Government seems to be complacent and does not feel the urge to resolve disappearance mysteries. It has not gathered yet any efforts to deal with the challenges of severe flooding and Ronhingya crisis, let alone looked into the incidents involving its political opponents.

It keeps itself busy in dressing down  the non political opponents. Chief Justice, for instance, has been a subject of flurry of attack since he drew example of Pakistan where  the government resigned following court ruling. A senior cabinet minister and a former Student Union activist was one of his strongest critics. She directed abusive words, devoid of civic norms, towards him.

Amid this, the country observed the  World Disappearance Day on the 30th August. Dear ones of the victims of forced disappearance thronged into the press club. 29 families of the missing persons held a press conference titled ” Call of the Mothers: Bring Back  Our Children Before Eid” there. They pleaded with the government to let them know the whereabouts of their missing relatives. A girl named Adiba of a missing victim wanted to celebrate this Eid with her missing father.

This gathering evokes  memory of the movement by “The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo” or the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina.

During the rule of military regimes, thousands of people went missing in Argentina. Military dictators started a systematic campaign, known as Dirty War, to liquidate socialists and opposition party activists from 1974 to 1983.  Few mothers led by Azucena , who later met the fate of her son, gathered in Buenos Aires’s Plaza de Mayo on 30 April, 1977.  They started demanding information about their missing children.

Initially they met once a week in the plaza to glean information from the government. Soon the gathering turned into a movement as the number of disappeared mother swelled.  Their movement even inspired rock band U2 to write a song under the same name.

Coercive policies by the government bear some fruits for it:  for the moment opposition parties are contained. But it also increases the number of widows and orphans. Often the cry of the innocent ones sounds more powerful than the actions of raging mob on the streets.

It is so powerful that it could unsettle a government as we have seen in the case of Argentina. A drop of tears may not cause a flood of protest on the streets, silent sigh of sufferers may not stir a storm of movement. But just like the flipping of butterfly wings in Amazon forests,  they have far reaching consequences.

Millions of readers and viewers read and watch the stories of their sufferings. And the tragedies mold their opinions and help shaping their judgment of an incident.

And it is the muktijoddher chetona or spirit of liberation war that takes the hit in the end. Maybe we are watching the rise of a generation that may hold grudges against this government.

Government’s “sobaike diye thuye khete hobe” or “Share the Booties, Content All” policy is counterproductive and may backfire. Diverting from official duties a corrupt official creates more troubles for the government and does not help the government to attain its development and political goals.
Yet there has been relentless effort from the govt to make them content by turning a blind eye into their wrongdoings, buying loyalties and extending their tenure.

A regime can censure news, muzzle press, silent voices, disappear the unwanted, airbrush images, doctor historical facts and wipe out an individual  or a son from a happy family picture. But it simply cannot alter history, airbrush images of its rule and remove the memory of a son or a father.