Blogs about Bangladesh
somewhere in… blog, is the first and largest bangla blog community in the world. the main attraction is the phonetic keyboard that
Bangladesh in a Critical Political Crisi. stoppressbd.com. http://stoppresssbd.blogspot.com/2011/11/banglades… English – Warcriminals, Politics, Bangladesh
I think I mentioned in my last blog how scary driving in Bangladesh is. The roads are full of bicyles, motorbikes (very rare to see anyone wearing
Bangladesh cricket news 24 is a cricket related site here all Bangladeshi cricketers latest cricket match news, their personal life news and all cricketers latest
In Bangladesh there is an increasing number of arbitrary executions. Journalist Abu Sufiyan discusses the killings in his blog for which he is …
I know it has been more than a year since I last compiled the list of notable Bangladeshi Blogs. Bangladeshi Bangla Blogs have been growing at a exponential pace. However the blogs written in English did not grow much. As usual some good blogs have ceased to exist and some excellent blogs have surfaced.
Would you like to work, live, move to Bangladesh? Or just to find out how is life in Bangladesh? We’ve got much better than travel brochures: read blogs written by expatriates living in Bangladesh!
Snippets and snapshots from the moving bubble of a children’s writer, mother of two Third Culture Kids, and an expatriate living across cultures.
In Bangladesh there is an increasing number of arbitrary executions. Journalist Abu Sufiyan discusses the killings in his blog for which he is receiving this year’s Reporter Without Borders Award.
Despite Bangladesh’s basic democracy, an increasing number of arbitrary executions take place there. And state security forces are thought to be responsible.
In his blog Journalist and blogger Abu Sufiyan reports such killings and talks about legal arbitrariness and corruption. He demands authorities create more transparency in his country and that all crimes are dealt with in a court of law.
The NGO Reporters Without Borders has ranked Bangladesh very low in terms of press freedom. Rightly so. Despite Bangladesh’s basic democracy, Abu Sufiyan and many other journalists do not feel protected by the system; they do not feel safe working and living in their own country.
Bangla blogger Abu Sufian wins this year’s DW best of Blogs (BOBs) award. He got the jury award in Reporters without boders award. Copyright: Abu Sufian Mai, 2012 Blogger Abu Sufian BOBs
For his commitment to exposing these crimes in his blog, Abu Sufiyan was selected to receive the DW blog award – the Reporters Without Borders Award – on June 26 in Bonn, Germany.
The old government’s special unit
The war on Islamist terror is a highly sensitive topic in Bangladesh. Islamist groups reject the secular form of government and would rather call out a religious state based on strict Islamic guidelines. They see the split-off from Pakistan in 1971 as a big mistake.
Due to an increase in Islamist terrorist attacks, the government under Prime Minister Khaleda Zia decided in 2004 to create a special task force. During the Bengali New Year, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) was created.
This task force actually managed to arrest or kill multiple high-ranking terrorists and to seize their illegal weapons and equipment.
The dark-clothed special forces are feared and among the Bangladeshi population. They are seen as an all-powerful unit that acts on the perimeters of the rule of law and practices mob justice on suspected criminals. During so-called “encounters” with suspects, people who should be brought before a court of law are often killed.
Such incidents are hotly debated in Bangladesh – however, not in the media. Journalists seem too intimidated to talk about and voice their opinions on these incidents publicly. And even if some few do manage to research the topic and write stories, they often go unpublished.
Bloggers staged a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh against inaction by police & administartion regarding investigation of of Sagar-Runi murder case. Copyright: DW/Harun Ur Rashid Swapan 11.05.2012, Dhaka Blogger Protest in Dhaka
Journalist Abu Sufiyan also had to live under these conditions. As an investigative journalist, he was quite well known for reporting on multiple cases of extrajudicial executions. He even created a documentary film on the topic. But as soon as the first part was broadcast, the TV station had to cancel the series because of great “pressure from high up.”
“When traditional media fails to come through – that’s where bloggers can step in and spread the unpleasant truths,” says Abu Sufiyan, who steps in and blogs about topics that would otherwise go unreported. Currently he is blogging for Bangladesh’s most popular online newspaper, “bdnews24.com,” which has a cooperation with DW.
Supporting the media
As a journalist and blogger, Abu Sufiyan is extremely concerned when fellow journalists are killed. When the journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Mehrun Runi were found dead after being brutally murdered in their apartment in Dhaka this past February, the entire nation was shocked. Despite big promises made by the government, the case has not been resolved. Sagar Sarowar, a former DW employee, had also been an active blogger. Many journalists ask themselves if and when they will meet the same fate.
This murder along with others have brought Bangladeshi journalists and bloggers closer together. “All of us are aware of the danger. But we have to carry on,” says Abu Sufiyan.
Abu Sufiyan is happy about the prize, which he has accepted at the Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. “It is certainly a great honor to receive such a award. As a blogger, as a journalist and as a citizen of Bangladesh, I appreciate this award very much. All Bangladeshi bloggers and journalists have earned it together.”
Speaker Shahidul Alam auf dem Global Media Forum 2012 Verwertungsrechte im Kontext des Global Media Forums eingeräumt. GMF Foto Shahidul Alam
Watched on the net
Dr.Shaidul Alam, a BOBs juror from Bangladesh, is also passionate about the topic. He was part of a one-of-a-kind initiative created to inform the public about the arbitrary murder of civilians by the security forces.
“What we did was put together a major exhibition looking at the extrajudicial killings and this was a google-earth map (on which we marked where the killings took place) which was backed up by extensive research.”
The idea behind it, Alam explains, was to allow ordinary people to come forward with new information on such killings. However, it was not as successful as the program’s creators had wished.
“It did not work because ordinary Bangladeshis do not feel confident enough to come online when they can be tracked, when their IP addresses can be mapped and when facebook and YouTube was stopped in Bangladesh and people were arrested, they found themselves vulnerable.“
Well, it’s that time again… blog time, and yes it is a little overdue. We’re down to one computer at the guest house and the internet was out a few days so it’s been harder to get time to write this. I’ve also been having a harder time trying to decide what to write this time around. There hasn’t been any near death experience and we haven’t had anymore cockroach invasions… (however, there was a the bird incident, which led to Lindsay and Bilan screaming as the booked it down a flight of stairs to the landing where Kaitlan, Delaney and I stood in total confusion). We finally got to try on our sarees… it was a bit of a disaster. Aslam tried to give us a crash course at lunch with the help of a towel. Foolishly we thought maybe we would be able to tie them ourselves. Well we tried, we came down wrapped in the clothe in a way that at least covered us only to be met by Rina and Monowara, they looked at us for a bit and then laughed and escorted us back upstairs to our rooms to dress us properly. Before we went downstairs, Lindsay, Kaitlan and I had been laughing hysterically at Delaney because she had put her saree top on backwards. Well, Delaney got the last laugh because when we went upstairs Rina and Monowara were laughing hysterically at Lindsay, Kaitlan and I because it was actually us that had put them on backwards. Whoops, so we learned how to put the sarees on, whether or not we’ll ever be able to do it on our own is left to be determined.
We also saw the more sensitive side of Bangladeshi men. One RDRS manager told us his tale of lost love about 2 minutes after we first met him. We tried to console him telling him he is better off without his ex-girlfriend. We were successful in getting him to forget about his lost love, maybe a little too successful but that’s another story.
We saw a lot of great programs in the last week or so. I think overall we have been super impressed with RDRS’ programs and their commitment to involving communities and finding long-term solutions to problems. A lot of the programs we visited were focused on women. We visited a drop-in centre for sex trade workers, a rehabilitation centre for women who were victims of abuse – domestic violence, trafficking and sexual abuse; we visited a women’s rights forum, a pre-natal clinic as well as a seminar for Trained Birth Attendants (TBAs are a bit like mid-wives, 80% of births in Bangladesh are done at home, so TBAs help with deliveries and through initiatives by RDRS and many other NGOs as well as WHO there has been a recent push to make sure these women have some training and are able to recognize signs of complications so women can get to a hospital or clinic to deliver if needed). We also were able to go to mediation at a Federation and a Professional Forum that deals with issues of women’s rights. Because I don’t have much time to blog I won’t go into detail about all the programs. Some visits were harder than ever, but I can say that after every visit I felt hopeful. Social change isn’t something that happens over night. It takes time to change people’s mindsets. But what I like about these programs is they work to empower women by involving everyone in the community. At Federations we heard teenage boys talk about the importance of ending dowries and early marriage and talking to their friends about domestic violence and what they are doing about this problem. We heard about Federations working with not only women in abusive relationships but the men as well. From everything we’ve seen about RDRS is they are looking for long-term sustainable solutions.
It has been an amazing experience for me to see all the development theories I’ve read about being implemented inBangladesh. Indian economist and Nobel Prize winner Amartrya Sen has long advocated for an approach to development that isn’t about increasing GDP but increasing people’s freedoms and capabilities. He has said the way to do this is focus on education in particular women’s education. Bangladesh has heard this message and RDRS, BRAC and the many other NGOs as well as their bilateral partners have taken this message to heart which is why Bangladesh despite have a lower GDP per capita than India has higher literacy rates, life expectancy and lower under-5 mortality rates.
I won’t go on about individual programs because most of you will have to listen to me go on and on about them when I get home… but if I do want to say that the last 5 weeks have been pretty unreal. We continue to be amazed at how friendly and kind everyone has been inBangladesh. People with so little have given us so much, as cliché as that sounds. But I have really never been so spoiled on a trip. The guest house staffs have spoiled us rotten, the managers that have taken us to their projects have been unreal (especially Baseud and Komol, aka Batman and Robin).
It has been difficult to see the impossible situations some people have to deal with in their lives but it is incredible to see how hard they are working for a better future. We have visited many Federations, which as I think I mentioned before are non-government community organizations, and though they have different challenges they are all working to help everyone in the community, especially those that have the very least. I think there is a lot we can and should learn from that.
Bah, there is so much I haven’t written about, including the amazing school for blind and low vision children, the after school programs that are run by students in grades 4 and 5 to help students in grades 1 and 2 who need extra help… but it is getting late and other people need to blog. So I’ll end off by saying it’s been an amazing trip and I am very grateful to the amazing people we’ve met along the way. I don’t like being all cheesy but I am very grateful to everyone at RDRS especially the guesthouse house staffs, Tauhider, Basudeb, Komol, Jakil, Aslam and well actually basically everyone here.
I am super sad to leave here but I am excited to come home (after two weeks on the beach inThailand!!) Take Care and I will see you all soon!
(Rick – that even kind of applies to you since I’ll see you in September!! And I tried to make this one a little shorter for you buddy)
Alright – just an add on, I wrote this blog a couple days ago in Rangpur, but then the internet went down again so I couldn’t post it. So now we are back in Dhaka and we are all ready to leave tomorrow, unfortunately there is a hartel tomorrow, which is basically a strike the opposition called to protest the current government’s plan to get rid of the ‘caretaker government’. We’re not too worried about it, well maybe some people are, but it just means heading to the airport a lot earlier than planned (it’s 5 km to the airport and we are leaving at 8:00 and our flight is at 1:30). Also meant our plans to go to Old Dhaka today got kyboshed, but you get that sometimes.