Kick Rocks, Jamaat

Kick Rocks, Jamaat

Welcome news from Bangladesh via the Economist:

A High Court in Bangladesh ruled that the country’s biggest Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, is unfit to contest national polls scheduled for later this year. The Supreme Court, after hearing Jamaat’s plea on August 5th, refused to issue a stay on the High Court’s ruling. It had found for a group of petitioners, led by the head of the Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (a smallish Islamic political party), who argued that Jamaat’s charter violates Bangladesh’s constitution and party-registration rules. Indeed the charter does not recognise parliament as the sole institution to pass laws; it bars non-Muslims and women from leading the party; and it has party offices abroad—each an apparent violation. Bangladesh’s Election Commission said that it would cancel Jamaat’s party registration.

Now, I have no problem, in principle, with the idea of a religious party or religious folks participating in elections, in Bangladesh or here in the USA . If they have a different vision for the country, so be it. Let them compete for votes and the country gets to choose its constituency.

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Connections to the Motherland, Connections to Where People Live

Connections to the Motherland, Connections to Where People Live

Last weekend, I had Primanti’s iftar with an old friend who was in town. He asked me if/how connected I feel to the motherland. I do, I feel at least to a larger degree than most non-nationals.

But one of the things that has helped me feel a connection to the motherland is familiarity through travel. Over a span of a decade, from 1996-2007, I think I visited Bangladesh about 5 times. Each visit was different but each time I felt more familiar with the country. When you visit the motherland, it’s natural that relatives will invite you out to numerous, numerous dawats (translate: dinner parties). Those occasions helped me to see my cousins and nieces and nephews as real people and not just abstractions whose grades my parents bragged about over the years.

Lock & Dam Project (Feni, 2002)

At the same time, my parents also ran interference to make sure that dawatland didn’t take over our visits. We did touristy things and tried to experience the country, not necessarily the way that locals do but in a way to try to understand its ethos. For me, that connection comes through food and history and geography. We visited places like Sriti Shodho (National Martyr’s Monument), Mainamati, Ahsan Manzil, Lalbagh Fortress, the Feni Lock & Dam project  and my personal favorite, Sitakunda Ashram in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. We went on a boat ride with my Saif unkel. We went to the annual Boi Mela (book fair), my father’s favorite thing to do.

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Parallels in International Response between the Ongoing Syrian Uprising and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War

Parallels in International Response between the Ongoing Syrian Uprising and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War

Or… I hope Richard Nixon is Rotting in Hell The Arab Spring. A series of demonstrations, protests and wars that has rocked the autocratic governments of the Middle East since December 2010. It has forced from control, the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. In Egypt, the revolution, though violent at times, never digressed intoRead more about Parallels in International Response between the Ongoing Syrian Uprising and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War[…]

The Darker the Flesh, the Deeper the Soul

The Darker the Flesh, the Deeper the Soul

I read a post over at Girl You So Well Spoken detailing an apparent casting call for a Ciroc commercial seeking “light-skinned african americans”. Now that it’s been discovered and publicized, Ciroc is taking to denying, denying, denying having made such a request for their commercials but the larger point still remains. Unfortunately, it’s notRead more about The Darker the Flesh, the Deeper the Soul[…]