Blogger, rape and refugee: a boat in Bangladesh part 2

Part 1

A Garo girl was gang-raped in Dhaka on her way back home from work a month ago. The incident reminded everyone of the brutal gang rape in Delhi few years back. Also this took place after April 14 incident where women were sexually assaulted during New Year’s celebration. Earlier this month, a female student was allegedly sexually assaulted at a school within Dhaka for which the Vice-principal was relieved of her duties.

The victim, a 22 year student, worked in sales in a mall near Kuril Bus Stand.

The victim told the police that five men forcibly hustled her into the microbus from Kuril Bus stand area of the city around 9:30pm. The ash-colored microbus stopped in front of her and two young men came down from the vehicle, and forced her to get into the bus. They raped her on the moving vehicle for about an hour and a half while the microbus slowly circled the Kuril Biswa Road several times before discarding her at Uttara’s Jashimuddin Road around 11pm.

A case was filed on Friday by the victim’s family after efforts of trying to file a case as two police stations turn them down stating jurisdictive limitation.

Violence against women, including latest police brutality in Bangladesh has caught much social media attention. Protesters on May 10 marched towards the police headquarter in a recent demonstration against sexual assault on New Year but were physically abused by Police injuring University students and activists. Anyone is yet to be arrested for New Year’s incident though police recently released CCTV footage for information regarding the offenders with rewards.

Now, a recent study has found that 82 percent of rape victims are under the age of 20 as I quote Daily Star,

Many of them minors. More than half of the victims were schoolgirls who were raped on their way to or from school. About twenty-two percent were sexually abused at home.

What is more alarming is that this research, based on The Daily Star news reports, reveals that around 80 percent of the rapists were known to the victims, neighbours or men who live in the same locality as the victims. It is therefore surprising that most of these perverts escape arrest and punishment. These findings allude to the fact, one that has been corroborated before by human rights organisations, that the arrest and conviction rates of rapists are very low.

Authorities’ in-activeness and exemption of crimes are encouraging the sex offenders to become ruthless. Long judiciary process, unwillingness to lodge a case and traditional society often discourage victims to step forward and bring perpetrators to justice. Rape is often used against minorities to carryout political vendetta. During anti-Hindu violence shortly after the 2001 elections, the gang rape of a Hindu schoolgirl did shock the nation. A court sentenced 11 men to life in prison for that crime in 2011, which is often taken as a positive notion as “Justice delayed/prolonged, but not denied.”

(part 2 of 5 part series)

Blogger, rape and refugee: a boat in Bangladesh part 1

In recent months, Bangladesh has hit several times the headlines of renowned media outlets:

Ananta Bijoy Das: Yet another Bangladeshi blogger hacked to death

Yet another is here, the third.

Now, blogging is something of a crime if you look at the general mass’s opinion for the last 2 years, specially after the Shahbagh protest that was initiated by blogging community against the war criminals of Bangladesh. A point to highlight here, which is often not much visualized: All the war criminals convicted, or in jail are Muslim and they mostly supported the same political believe at the time of committing the crime.  

So, why it is a crime in the eyes of common Bangladeshis? Because a big portion of the peaceful religious people who do not take part in any violence and often close their eyes, in places where crimes take place associate blogging with atheism. Which of course is sin to them.

There is an extra layer to that logic, which nails it: These atheist use keyboard to write against the prophet, although many I interviewed never read a single word written by the bloggers already been attacked, killed or threatened.

And it makes sense. The Islamist group systematically chose Rajib, a self-claimed atheist to start there prey to silent the protest against war criminals. The protest got people’s support within days and the only way to turn this around was: to stick the sentiment or value that matters most for Muslim Bangladeshis: Islam and prophet. Before that blogging and atheism was even hard to explain to people. And like a domino effect, and of course with supporters of war criminals and some other religious extremists this was a matter of time:

A hit list was made consisting only of bloggers and they are being killed slowly. Here is wikipedia list of attack on secularist.

I had the pleasure to teach in a school and work in a media house during the Shahbagh protest.And like many other minorities of the country, I refrained myself from commenting, getting involved in any kind of discussion at work place due to my shear  religious identity and inner beliefs. I observed the hatred the educated class have in them (educated: most teachers, some journalists) have in them for a person whose work none witnessed, yet taken as blasphemy by all.

Believe can not be dealt with logic, that I learned.  Bangladesh is not the safest place (not even safe!) to express yourself, express thoughts which even harm nobody yet somebody may harm you in any way possible. Finding people who will at least listen to your words and then declare you are wrong is scarce. For example, I recently shared my views sharing my solidarity with most Irish people that I love them because they gave every people the right to marry the one they really love with both sides consents. Now, this is what happened, in my simple view of the world. To others, this a giving homosexuals the right to get married. I may have to think multiple times before saying this if I were living in Bangladesh. My words here show no disrespect to any community, yet to some (who commented in the post/inboxed) it’s the end of world.

I really love Bangladesh, but I do feel scared there. I only wish people were more humane than peaceful, more open-minded than educated, more tolerant than religious, a little bit logical than whimsical.

(part 1 of 5)

Why history repeats for women

Each day, there is news on ISIS. Either, of their brutality or their capacity to raise money like a mafia.

One such report took me to the Amnesty International Report which describes horrifying accounts of physical and psychological assault on woman. Which takes me back to 1971, when women became alike victim of war.

Many, often doubt the statistics of 1971. Point them to look at IS situation for a second. It is not context or geo-political situation in focus for me. Simple fact—Women are being tortured (the word itself is nothing compared to whats happening there, just I have limited vocab).

I often say the numbers that are usually stated for 1971 is much less than the actual. Because of certain factors which can be seen first hand in IS atrocities. When society is dictated by honour, customs and inequality, the numbers will always be less, no matter how technologically advanced we become or how free the media works.

The report includes interviews of captive, released and escapees from ISIS. Between September and November 2014, an Amnesty International researcher in northern Iraq interviewed 42 women and girls who had escaped from the IS, and was able to contact four others, by phone, who remain in captivity. Amnesty International also interviewed scores of displaced Yezidis whose female relatives were or remain in IS captivity, Yezidi community leaders and activists, and medical and humanitarian workers. Several families have provided lists of names of their captive relatives, among them hundreds of women and girls.

Since August 3, 2014 thousands have been killed and taken hostage by ISIS. In a matter of weeks the IS carried out a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq. Up to 300 of those abducted, mostly women and children, have managed to escape IS captivity, while the majority continue to be held in various locations in Iraq and in parts of Syria controlled by the IS.

The victims accounts in the report are formal and gruesome. We often do not understand (we would never be able to understand the trauma they go through completely) because the words only convey specific image in front of us.

The document itself backs what I am trying to say here. Women are primary caregiver in our societal system (anywhere) and they care as well as suffer. As one victim describes, “They said that if we killed ourselves they would kill our relatives.”

There are many layers behind that sentence.

First let’s look at the customs. According to Yezidi customs, marriage with members of other faiths and sexual relations outside marriage are not accepted. Such practices are considered to be shameful for the whole family, and in the past women and girls believed to have had relations with men of other faiths have been victims of so-called “honour killings”.

After the first women and girls escaped from IS captivity in late August 2014, the Yezidi spiritual leader, Baba Sheikh, reportedly called on members of the community not to punish or ostracise women and girls who had been victims of sexual violence at the hands of the IS, or those who were forced to convert to Islam, and to welcome them back and support and care for them.

But that did not take away the taboo that the Yezidi society has been holding on for centuries. So, even though these women face torture, rape and care for their relatives, they can not be open to their relatives due to shame.

Many survivors of sexual violence, therefore, find themselves in a catch-22 situation. Their relatives are their only source of support, but because of stigma and shame, they do not feel able to share with them what happened, or to seek their help in accessing the services they urgently need.

This inherited problem does not go away even if you become educated or live in a different culture. That is reflected in the next part of the report:

Four women and girls said they had been held in the homes of two Australian fighters of Lebanese origin, one of whom was living with his Australian wife (also of Lebanese origin) and children. Most were in their 20s and 30s, some were older, and few were considerably older, up to mid-50s.

While many would try to put it in a way that sounds like fighting ISIS would be fighting Muslims, rather it is not. Many of the statements made in their DABIQ are often goes against Muslim beliefs:

one should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffār [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharī’ah…It is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property, which can be disposed of…

And the customs vary with society even though the religion might be same. The customs worldwide possess threat to women in any unwanted situation like war, natural disaster etc. Such has been seen throughout history and that makes me feel disappointed.

In this 21st Century, when we can already say in 10 years we will be in Mars and where diseases are conquered and new achievements unlocked each and everyday, we can’t place woman equally among us. We can’t make sure they will have the same freedom a man has, that they do not have to be victims of ‘honour killing’. Then how can we make sure to have a sustainable future?

Why IPL and J-PAL studies make sense

748/8 just came to read this article on washington post. The first thing I did, I smiled. The thing I have been telling people for the last 8 years has at last been published as a research.

Micro-finance sucks, unless you go to a model village of it (Yes, when you visit Bangladesh with Grameen bank, you will be taken there. You will see a documentary claiming 95% success rate). The eye-witnesses are usually delighted, excited, hyped and go back to their country to their job or get a job that often does not related in any means to micro-finance.

Does Micro-finance alleviate poverty? Not necessarily, not as much they claim
Does Micro-finance alleviate poverty? Not necessarily, not as much they claim

My uncle used to work for Grameen Bank—the banker of the poor. Once I had the chance to visit his place of work, which was Natore. I remember some of his words about not liking the job. It breaks heart to be rude to loan takers and he felt that quite often. He left the job after 10 years of service.

Two most acclaimed things about micro-finance: 1) It works. 2) Success rate is high. I beg to differ.

It does not work for some countries, that is already proven, countries like Mexico, Philippines. Two years ago, during TEDGlobal conference I met some of south american social workers who were furious about micro-finance. Why? Mainly because of the reasons the Washington Post article describes. High interest rate with people’s tendency not to give the loan. And it is impossible to impose such things by law on people in South America.

What about Bangladesh, the birth place of Modern-Micro-finance. 1970 to 2015, how much poverty has been alleviated? I tried to find out what the Grameen Bank meant by poverty line. Nothing came out on that. What is meant by poverty line by Grameen Bank?

The next in point, like any other Bank Grameen is financed by Government of Bangladesh ( At present the Bank’s authorized capital is Tk. 10,000 million (increased in current year from Tk. 3,500 million) and paid-up capital is Tk. 734.05 million. Members who are also borrowers hold 79.57 percent of Grameen Bank shares. The remaining 20.43 percent is held by the Government of Bangladesh, Sonali Bank Ltd. and Bangladesh Krishi Bank). And it does need to comply with Bangladesh Bank (central bank of Bangladesh) rules and regulation. Muhammad Yunus did hold his position even being the laws pretty well by himself.

The Grameen bank 16 decisions contain some points which I take as hilarious. For example decision 3 says, ” We shall not live in dilapidated houses. We shall repair our houses and work towards constructing new houses at the earliest.” Firsthand witnesses have seen loan collectors take the roof, cows or any other valuable things from borrower when they fail to pay interest.  Some other account of such incident can be found here.

Grameen Bank also claims that 50 million people has risen out of poverty because of their effort. Cool, lets take it granted. Grameen bank is operational for almost 40 years. right now, poverty rate is around 30-35% in Bangladesh. 50 million is 1/3 of the total population. Now, of that one third, yes of that one third the voices coming out should be much louder than it seems. What happens afterwards? You are out of poverty, and then you live in constant condition?

I had a simple logic before. I still have it. If suppose, Grameen Bank is successful in its cause, there should be no poverty at all in Bangladesh and as a result we will not be in-need of the bank, because it does business with poverty. If no poverty, no business.

Lastly, I know it may sound personal— when you see a person who works with the poor and talks of getting rid of their poverty, but rides one of the luxurious cars in Dhaka, you do tend to question. When you hear employees are not paid well enough and the employee turn-over rate is high, you do need to ask questions. World media may try to put it in a political agenda, but what is right will remain right, no matter who the person is. Getting a Nobel does not mean you are above all laws and regulation. It makes you more responsible as people do look up on you for examples.

[Two recommended articles to read are in link 1 and 2, but there are in Bengali]

আমরিকা, ওপিটি ও এইচওয়ানবি

সবাই পিএইচডি মাস্টার্স করতে আমেরিকা আসতে চায়। কিন্তু অনেক ক্ষেত্রেই যেকথাগুলো বলা হয় না, তা হচ্ছে শিক্ষা পরবর্তী চাকরীর কথা। চাকুরীর বাজার নিয়ে যদিও প্রশ্ন করা হয়। কিন্তু ইমিগ্রান্ট হিসেবে চাকুরি পাওয়ার সম্ভাব্যতা এবং এ সংক্রান্ত নিয়ম কানুন নিয়ে তেমন কিছু চোখে পড়েনি। মোটামুটি অধিকাংশ বাংলাদেশি  F-1 ভিসায় যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে আসে, যা হচ্ছে ছাত্রত্ত ভিসা। F-1 ছাড়াও রয়েছে J-1, এক্সচেঞ্জ প্রোগ্রামে আসা ছাত্র ছাত্রীরা। বলে রাখি, F-2 ভিসায় চাকুরি করা না গেলেও, J-2 ভিসায় কাজ করা যায়। প্রতি বছর যুক্তরাষ্ট্র ৬৫ হাজার ইমিগ্রান্টকে চাকুরিতে নেয় লটারির মাধ্যমে। তবে এর মধ্যে ১০,০০০ বাদ দিয়ে রাখা ভাল, সিঙ্গাপুর আর চিলির সাথে বাণিজ্য সংক্রান্ত চুক্তি আছে, সেটার আওতায় কয়েক হাজার অভিবাসীকে চাকরিতে নেওয়া হয়। সাথে আরও ২০ হার জনের কোটা মাস্টার্স ছাত্রদের জন্য। এই ৮৫ হাজার হচ্ছে ফর প্রফিট বা মুনাফার জন্য কাজ করে এমন প্রতিষ্ঠান এবং সংস্থার জন্য।

নট ফর প্রফিট বা নন-প্রফিট গ্রুপের জন্য কোন কোটা নেই ( এর মধ্যে NGO University ইত্যাদি রয়েছে)। এখানে বলে রাখি, প্রতিষ্ঠান আপনার হয়ে কর্মসংস্থান ভিসার আপিল করবে। for- profit প্রতিষ্ঠানসমূহের আপিলের সময় ১ এপ্রিল সশুরু হয়। কিন্তু প্রথম সপ্তাহে মোটামুটি সব কাজ শেষ করে সবাই, ২০০৮ সালে ৫ দিনের জন্য আবেদনপত্র নেওয়া হয়েছিল। ইমিগ্রেশনে যুক্ত আইনজীবীরা সাধারণত এপ্রিলের প্রথম সপ্তাহের মধ্যে আপিল করার পরামর্শ  দিয়ে থাকে।  নন- প্রফিট এর জন্য কোন নির্ধারিত সময় নেই।  যেকোনো সময় আপিল করা যায়, এক মাত্র কোম্পানি বা প্রতিষ্ঠান তা করতে পারে।  লটারির ফলাফল দিতে প্রায় অক্টোবর মাস পর্যন্ত সময় লাগে। এবং নিয়োগের সম্পূর্ণ  কাজ শেষ করতে সেপ্টেম্বর পর্যন্ত সময় লাগে। ১লা অক্টোবরের আগে কর্মসংস্থান ভিসায় কাজ করা যায় না।

কোম্পানি চাইলেই যে লটারিতে যাবে তা নয়। কোম্পানিকে নিম্নলিখিত জিনিসের ব্যবস্থা করতে হবে –

১। প্রথমে দেখাতে হবে আপনার যোগ্যতা সম্পন্ন লোক যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে নেই।

২। সকল ফর্ম কোম্পানি কর্তৃক পূরণ ও দাখিল করতে হবে।

৩। মাস্টার্স বা ব্যাচেলর পর্যায়ের চাকুরিতে পিএইচডি যোগ্যতাসম্পন্ন কাউকে নিয়োগ দেওয়া যাবে না।

৪। পুরো প্রস্তুতিতে কোম্পানিকে প্রায় ২৫০০ ডলার খরচ করতে হবে।

আরও জানতে পারবেন লিঙ্ক এক এবং দুইতে

এখন সমস্যা সমূহের কথা বলা যাক। প্রথমত  প্রতিষ্ঠান চাইলেই আপনাকে নিতে পারবে না। পুরো বিষয়টির পূর্বে প্রস্তুতির ব্যাপার আসে। বড় কোম্পানি ( উদাহরণ ইন্টেল) হলে ভিন্ন কথা, বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়য়ের কোন নিয়োগ হলে অন্য কথা।  ছোট কোম্পানিগুলো এজন্য অনেকক্ষেত্রে নিয়োগ দিতে চায় না।

দ্বিতীয় চাকরি না পেলে কি করবেন? যদি দেশে চলে যেতে না চান তবে ওপিটি (optional practical training) এর আওতায় ১২ মাস (স্টেম বিষয়ের ক্ষেত্রে ২৯ মাস) কাজ করার সুযোগ রয়েছে। পাস করার ন্যূনতম দুই মাস আগে এর জন্য আবেদন করতে বলা হয়।

এখানে একটা বিষয় মাথায় রাখা দরকার। ওটিপি এমন সময়ে শেষ করার উচিত যাতে তা কোনভাবে অক্টোবরের আগে না হয়। কারণ আপনি এইচওয়ানবি ভিসায় কাজ করতে পারবেন ১লা অক্টোবর থেকে।

পরের সমস্যা আপনাকে নিয়োগের সময় নিয়োগকর্তাকে দেখাতে হবে সেই পদে নিয়োগ দেবার জন্য ন্যূনতম যোগ্যতাসম্পন্ন কেউ নেই। পরের বিষয় মাস্টার্স পাস করা কোন পদের জন্য পিএইচডি লাভকারী কাউকে নেওয়া যাবে না।

timeline

ওপিটি এর কথায় একটু আসা যাক। ওপিটিতে থাকা অবস্থায় চাকুরি থাকতে হবে এমন কোন কথা নেই। ১২ মাস অথবা ২৯ যেকোন ক্ষেত্রেই মোট ৬০ দিন বেকার থাকা যাবে। এটা সর্বমোট হিসাব। যদি চাকরি না পান তবে সেক্ষেত্রে আপনি চাকরির চেষ্টা করছে সে সংক্রান্ত কাগজ সাথে রাখতে হবে (ঊদাহরণঃ চাকরির আবেদন, ইন্টারভিউ এর ইমেল ইত্যাদি)। ওপিটি মূলত দুই ধরনের পড়ালেখা করা অবস্থায় এবং পাস করার পরবর্তী সময়ে। কিন্তু মোট সময় হিসাব হবে সবসময় ১২ বা ২৯ মাস। সাময়িক বা পার্টটাইম হলে সময় অর্ধেক হিসাব করা হয় অর্থাৎ যদি পার্টটাইম ৪ মাস হয় তবে দুই মাস হিসাব করা হবে। নাকি থাকবে ১২ মাস। এই দুই মাস পাস করার আগে হোক আর পরে হোক মূল ওপিটি থেকে বাদ যাবে যা কিনা ১২ মাস বা ২৯ মাস।

ওপিটি নিয়ে বিস্তারিত জানতে চাইলে লিঙ্ক এক, দুই, তিনচারে ক্লিক করতে পারেন।

এইচওয়ানবি ভিসাতে কোটার আবার বিভিন্ন ক্যাটেগরী আছে, তা ব্যাখ্যা পরবর্তীতে করবো আপাতত লিঙ্ক দিয়ে রাখছি। এই লিঙ্কে পাওয়া যাবে যুক্তরাষ্ট্র সরকার কর্তৃক প্রকাশিত মাসিক ভিসা বুলেটিন। এছাড়াও এইচওয়ানবি সম্পর্কিত সরকারি ওয়েবসাইটে অন্যান্য তথ্য পাবেন।

non profit থেকে profit, profit থেকে non-profit ভিসায় যাবার ঝামেলা রয়েছে। সেসম্পর্কে বিস্তারিত অন্য একদিন। এই পোস্টটি আগামী সপ্তাহে সম্পাদনা করা হবে।

Ukraine Crisis Lecture at University of South Carolina

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 – 2:30pm at University of South Carolina

Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute working in Wilson Center in Washington gave a lecture on Ukraine Crisis. The talk was sponsored by Russian and Eurasian Studies of University of South Carolina.

The death toll from the war in Ukraine’s southeast is in the thousands, the government in Kyiv is on the edge of bankruptcy, and mutual hostility between Russia and the West has not been so intense for more than a quarter century. The intensity of this ongoing crisis threatens not only to upend the precarious security balance in the post-Soviet space and beyond, but to reinforce a serious challenge to the very political and economic system that Ukrainians embraced when they turned out to support the so-called Euro-Maidan by the hundreds of thousands a year ago.

With poor prospects for a comprehensive diplomatic settlement, and political pressure for escalation from all sides, what can be done to contain the damage?  Is crisis and confrontation the new normal for Europe and Eurasia, and if so will these problems come home to roost in the West?

Matthew lived in Kiev close to where it all started in May 2013, though he lived there a year before.

In his opening remark, he talked about the corruption, the main reason why people took the streets of Kiev in the first place. The lavish lifestyle of Viktor Yanukovych, and the poverty of the country was portrayed through his photos of the time he was in Ukraine.

Then there was the European Union joining deal from which Viktor Yanukovych backed up. At this point, Matthew talked about the perception of people, which is joining EU means better life than before. That lead to my first question, which I asked later on. Is joining EU means well-off? For example, Bulgaria is suffering largely after joining EU. Greece is a more recent example.

Then Russia was backing Ukraine on this. The reasons are quite obvious, NATO for the last 25 years has been trying to increase influence on the belly of Russian peninsula. And Putin do not want it right on the western side of Russia.

Then protest did get massive and Viktor Yanukovych at a point fled the country. The south western side of the country was taken at first by separatist and later, it was taken peacefully by Russia.

Now, why Putin had to intervene at this? There were three core explanation, which are not exactly international:

1) the regime survival, the same can happen to PutinPutin‘s Image about religion

2) Putin‘s credibility: What has happened in Ukraine, can in a sense give an up rise in Russia as well. Though there is a difference, Viktor Yanukovych was afraid of the oligarchs in Ukraine, but Putin is strong against them, and he made sure that they are not at top of the things.

3) Putin‘s geopolitical vision: euro-Asian zone, free trading space.

Now, could Ukraine have tried to take take back Crimea? Ukrainian military had 35000 military troops and 5000 were ready at the time, which is even less than the reserve force of South Carolina.

Present scenario: Donetsk and the eastern south part is now almost controlled by separatist which is now more than 10% of the land mass. We see the fighting in Donetsk right now, the airport is completely demolished, which was built in 2012. It had state of the art technology.

The protest was about a new Ukraine. But now, Ukrainian economy is totally destroyed. 700000 people have left Ukraine. Less than 10 million dollar left in Bank for the government. And is the new regime trustworthy? Candy man, Petro Poroshenko is now the president, who used to be with everybody. He is a billionaire. He was in all of the previous two government. Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who is also a billionaire and Jew, has recently became governor of Dnipropetrovsk and have 5000 private soldiers under him. All this tells us how much change has come in new Ukraine.

Ukraine’s media is mostly run by Oligarch and these are in Russian language, because that is the most popular language. Then, these Oligarchs have their own battle. Their media reflect their own opinion. Whose media to trust?

Petro Poroshenko came to United States to ask for weapons, money and to thank United States. To Matthews opinion, it will be a disaster to help with those, they need money for humanitarian reason not war. Also, it is not known what is happening at the border, the Russian Authority says they are not sending troops and people are joining voluntarily at the war.

He was asked What not do, what might be a sensible strategy for dealing with the situation. He suggested that international world should not do silly, things. Not to put new ideas in place without consulting Ukraine or Russia. Cause there is no easy and early solution of this conflict. For example, Hungary recently announced they will give passports to Ukrainian people, who have Hungarian tie. Such things can damage the process of peace.

Media war: Media has to play reliable, authentic role.  Whats happening at border, is something we need to know. West can intervene, international observers can be used.

Question was asked about sanctions: did sanction work? If used for moral reason, maybe. But economically and potentially it does not weaken Russia in the long run. Because the world needs oil and Russia has oil.

Can Ukraine succeed in keeping it together? A complex scenario in front of Ukraine. Often the people in the ground level do not take orders from the top, recent incidents of killing head of the team of commander has surfaced that pretty much. Anti corruption laws has not been imposed yet. Corruption will be hard to deal with, as people is used to. More time needed to change the mentality. Biggest problem according to Matthew is any idea coming without both sides consent, is dangerous. Like joe bidel said in about Iraq, slice iraq into shia, sunni, kurdis parts.
One of the thing that adds fuel to this complexity is ethnicity. Ethnicity is something that has a complex place in this, because most Ukrainians speak Russian. And they have ties to Russia in one way or another.
Private Military is taking opportunity and private contractors are taking part in this war. What will happen to them if the war stops as they get paid now? The incentive for fighters is different to Kievs incentive because of their difference in opinion, another reason why soldiers often do not listen to their commanders.

Is the net affect is to bring international world in it? What are the practical problem to international world. Right now, the problem is the fear of spreading the violence. The International World should not do things for showing.  Doing no harm, avoiding ripple effect as strategic patience should be the key for International community.

Is it predictable when this can end? No. This is something unique of it’s kind. The Russia denied it’s involvement with separatist, but they have never tried to stop the conflict. AS United States chance of going into Ukraine is 0 and Europe much less likely to get into war, the timeline seems to increase for the war in Ukraine.

Matthew’s lecture, brought a lot of enlightenment among the students. I would like to write an opinion piece on that later.

USA: what’s missing?

Have you ever understood the concept of mass consumerism?

If not the best place to understand it is-USA. Why? Cause it constantly provokes you to spend money and waste. And people do not mind at all. 

The concept of health care is so much vague for me here. Talking with one of the bank manager’s here was more eye opener. He said, “You pay hell lot of money for Health Insurance, and at the end can’t get a serial when you need it.” He added, “You spend money to control the homeless, for police for protection. Yet you can’t spend for the poor.” I asked a bit about banking system, “Well, they are still making money. It’s just maybe not the way they want, that’s why the job cuts.”

I have never held a phone for 18 minutes in Bangladesh. Not even for government offices. Here, I did so. Automated services are not the thing for a newbie, specially when you need direct assistance. And then they reply, “Please hold as our service provider is currently not available.” I used to complain about Bangladesh.

I was invited for an event. And I asked the receptionist of the place, where this event is taking place. She replied, “Gee, I don’t know. You can look around and ask others.”

Transportation system is a mess in North America. I want to go to the nearest, say walmart. the car shows easy 15 minutes drive. And then when I change the icon to public transport. It’s around 20 minutes walk, 20 minutes of bus and 20 minutes of walk!

Maybe I am complaining too much. Maybe, but who is responsible here for what—is a good question now for me in the USA. 

 

After the Family Wage: A Post Industrial Thought experiment (Analysis)

The post-industrial era saw shift in environment and notion of welfare state-Fraser elaborated this in his paper ‘After the Family Wage: A Post Industrial Thought experiment’. It was published in 1997 a time when the world’s socio-political setting was shifting from bi-polar political scenario to uni-polar scenario as socialism collapsed, economy had been experiencing slothful economic growth with exception in Eastern and far eastern Asian countries. But it was also shocked by a market collapse later on. The change compelled to bring in a social transformation and brought change in defining the notion of welfare state in a preoccupied family wage concept.

The usual family structure is-headed by a male who would earn a family wage having a fulltime wife and (perhaps) a mother too. The woman contribute in domestic works which is not considered in gross domestic product. But this concept is now challenged. Globalization and economic development have reformed the mental fixation about the ever standing ‘male headed bread earners’ notion. Though in the journal, the author says that unpaid household by women and male-dominant bread earning remain in the form of normative family structure in most of the under developed and developing countries, the actual scenario now is lot more different.

The reform in family structure was unavoidable with the capitalism being the dominant factor in economy. In the post industrialization phase of Capitalism, normative family structure has been going through a transformation. The norms of welfare state are under identity crises and now, characterized by the central assumption of labour market and family. Post-industrial phase has made the job sector much diverse and not entirely dependent on one bread earner and has encouraged women to participate in job market. Concept of Male breadwinner or female home maker has shifted from its original position. In addition, gays and lesbians have added a new dimension in the social and family structure. This structural transformation has introduced a new form of poverty & social insecurity. The traditional welfare state that was built on the notion of male-headed family is not well fit with this transformed society.

Feminists are more heard than before, in the context of post-industrial phase to emancipate an ideal structure of welfare state. Gender equity comes in the first place for deliberation in developing the thought of new welfare state.

The author talked about two models or scenario here. The first one is-Universal breadwinner model which support for promoting women employment. On the other hand, the second model-Caregiver Parity model support for gender equity chiefly by supporting casual care work. But in both cases the author failed to come up with clear guide line on how the women would achieve minimum qualification to avail the care from Government. Furthermore it can create voluntary unemployment in order to get the care grant. Above all the proposed guideline still suggests more women-like jobs- not being universal. So finding a way out for gender equity is quite far as the work condition is not entirely suitable for woman.

The cited postures (Universal breadwinner model and Caregiver Parity model) cannot be put up by the developing countries because they have lot other serious issues like political turmoil, poverty, internal conflict, food crisis and many more in hand where incorporation of women in the typical development process comes much later in chronology. Scarcity of capital makes both the model a stiff climbing implement in developing countries as people focus more on staying alive than being equated.

The author struggled to reach to a consent describing ‘equality’ and ‘difference’ from women perspective in the first part ‘Gender Equity: a complex Conception’. It appears to be a stumbling stone for the feminists to describe it from their own point of view because of the mental preoccupation of ‘male based norm’. The multiplicity will include some notions with ‘equality’ side of the debate as well as ‘difference’ side, thereby making the debate and contrast even complex. However, in the following points author came up with some clear way out on how poverty elevation is vital defining parity and the term ‘equality’. As described by Fraser, number of isolated, marginalized or stigmatized women, left alone children would increase and poverty reduction would bring significant advancement in reaching the equality. Next, Fraser has encouraged ‘anti-exploitation principal’ where a new source of employment would be generated so that left-alone women get a way of bargaining and keep them from being exploited by the rests. Another point the author characterised is about ‘respect’ which he described in another form. The notion of welfare for women, yet, does not confirm their respect and evaluation in the society rather in some case brings the opposite.

Then Fraser has focused on equality of wage with a mark that women in USA earn 70% of as men do with same level of workload and output. Inequality of wage between man and woman had long been in the root of the matter in feminism but till date a little could be done in this regard with some few exceptions. While men’s wage gets double after a certain time, women face a reduction in income and it leads them to a sustenance level of living standard after getting divorced. Another aspect that demands attention is ‘equality in leisure’. But without bringing the issues in table a little has been done to overcome the complexities.

A comparative analysis between two models was given later on, where different dimension and there contrasts were put into perspective. In both the models after a series of logical analysis author has ranked them based on previously discussed parameters and the outcome is as follows:

Principles Anti-poverty Anti-exploitation Income Equality Leisure-time Equality Equality of Respect Equality of Respect Anti-androcentric
Universal Bread-winner Good Good Fair Poor Fair Fair Poor
The Caregiver-Parity Good Good Poor Fair Fair Poor Fair

From the measurement it is reasonable that both model, if implemented, would bring improvement in poverty eradication and exploitation of women in society but either of the model fails to improve in equality, marginalization or androcentric attitude. The question remains whether the particular model is implementable and at what cost or at what extend? Both models demands a wide range of political-economic restructuring, including significant public control over corporations, the capacity to direct investment to create high quality permanent jobs. The parameters are subjective, i.e. ‘quality’ of permanent jobs is tough to define.

To attain inclusive gender equality both models are promising and can bring real change in women status in post-industrial era. Adaptation of the models depend on the range of trade-off a country is ready to accept. For instance if a country select the universal bread-winner model, leisure-time equality would be poor but it improves income equality fairly. So trade-off between income equality and leisure-time has to be made by the country. It is imperative that country would adopt that parameter which would have lower opportunity cost. We can make final remarks that Fraser put a praiseworthy effort in theorising a difficult notion of Feminism in post-industrial environment and also came up with a range of analysis that would assist the states if it is set to adopt any of the models in order to bring equality between men and women. After all, the wind of change is visible and quite certainly not ignorable.

Water: What to consider?

[Prepared for a brief]

As I stand here in front of my contemporaries, I believe we are here to talk about one of the two core issues that the fate of the countries in 21st century will depend on—water. We often hear that “the third world war will be about water.” I often fear that it will be a reality for the third world nations. As we lag behind in natural resource and energy sources, sustainable source of water is a key concern for our countries.

Finding the source of fresh water and managing it—is a core issue, I feel specially for African countries. But what is surprising is the fact that most of the countries have policies and strategies regarding water and sanitation. But unfortunately, none of the instruments fully cover the ground reality as often those are made based on standard policies of developed world. The scenario is different in case of low and middle income countries. An example of such occurred in 1992, when nations of the world came up with their environment policies at Rio where each and every policy presented was illustrating a bright future. But few years later we found the implementation was tough at it met little of the ground reality.

Environment and women are linked like a chain to each other. Development of one can certainly be the reason of upholding the situation of the other and vis-à-vis. In the arena of water, it is the women, who play, nevertheless, a key role of associating the water with the human world. Therefore, we really need to understand the dynamics of the inner affiliation between women and water. Most framed Water Policies are not generated in gender sensitive manner and there are evident flaws in implementation of the policies.

Corruption, cost and quality are issues that we already talked about in water sector. As researches have proved that living condition is highly correlated with water access to people, it is high time we think of sustainable, affordable and effective process for developing countries. Community awareness is necessary to provide such service and to deal with associated problems I mentioned. With awareness corruption, cost and quality can be dealt with, authorities need to provide platforms to keep people accountable. We should focus on local research as well. Sustainability of water system will vary region to region and it’s important to consider local resources as well as supply method and purification process.

So core issues, I believe are source, quality, management, cost, gender sensitivity, accountability and sustainability for the water policies. To ignore any would be a mistake in this 21st century.

 

thepavilion360 dot com: Sports only in Bengali

I was looking for a full fledged Bengali website, that only showcases sports news in Bengali, nothing else. A general search showed none, then I tried to go through my ex-colleagues and other people from the media arena, and the question was raised whether it is necessary to have such site.

Nevertheless, a through search led me to thepavillion360 couple of weeks back and I was pretty much amazed.  Do have a look by yourself as well.
Logo of thePavilion.com

 

The site is pretty recent, took off in May and a talk with the people involved in the initiative brought up plans to make the site more informative. It now only deals with international and national top sports stories, but soon there would be local news incorporated. Also, there will be blogs, live updates and corners for online shopping provided with due time.

It felt great to see such initiatives being in place, because sooner or later we would have started looking for one.