Pick of the week | The Daily Star
  • Could these all have been avoided?

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, lamented Hamlet. Though the context is different that's the pervasive thought of conscientious Bangladeshis irrespective of their economic status and social standing at the moment.

  • Barisal set on a collision course as old meets new

    As we cruised into the Kirtankhola River near Barisal, the sun had just begun to rise. A faint outline of a long line of trees and structures appeared on the horizon. It was a welcome sight after a night in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, sailing through mile after mile of unknown waters.

  • Hammer, remand, inaction and innuendo

    For more than two weeks in campuses across the country students demanding a review of the controversial quota system for appointments to civil bureaucracy experienced brutality of a monumental scale.

  • Rising above the sea of "yes-men"

    In Shakespeare's great tragedy King Lear, a powerful man comes to a tragic end because he surrounds himself with flatterers and banishes the friends “who will not varnish the truth to please him.”

  • When does development equal freedom?

    In the more than four decades since independence, Bangladesh has made remarkable strides on many fronts. It is no longer the “basket case” as Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, had dismissively remarked about the newborn country in 1971.

  • Well done, Sir!

    There are iconic pictures that sometimes capture an age, define a moment in history, exemplify beauty, tragedy, or joy, in ways otherwise impossible to evoke. Who can forget the naked, screaming Vietnamese girl fleeing the napalm attack on her village in 1972; the Chinese man standing in lonely defiance in front of a column of tanks at the Tiananmen Square in 1989; the Times Square kiss; or the raising of the US flag at Iwo Jima, heralding the end of WWII?

  • The perils of a city divided: What Medellín's transformation can teach us about fixing Dhaka

    "We want to get into power—why? What are the problems we are going to solve? What we want to attack is inequality, violence and corruption.”

  • Prioritising effective social safety net projects

    The idea of the universal pension scheme is new, but it's just a good idea. With our bureaucratic inefficiency, it's highly unlikely that we would be able to make headway in this regard in the near future.

  • Anti-Drug War

    Of Akram, accountability, Joseph and justice

    The government of Bangladesh has declared a war on narcotics. It has proclaimed its intent to uproot the scourge of drugs from the land. “None will be spared”, came the stern warning from the authorities. Rapid Action Battalion, the elite law enforcement agency (LEA), swung into action from the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Other agencies, including the police, were not to be left behind.

  • Why Dhaka may disappear one day, like Mohenjo Daro

    This was Samayeen Cooper's maiden visit to the country of his grandparents, from his mother's side. He quickly glanced at his watch: 5:37 PM local time, December 14, 2044!

  • anti-drug war

    Efficacy of the anti-drug war

    “Why don't you tell the truth?

  • Palestine: The Great Betrayal

    When it comes to Palestine and the plight of Palestinians, everything is generally inverted.

  • Time to talk about teenage suicide

    The curse of growing up with literature is that you find something to romanticise about even in the saddest human experience.

  • An anatomy of 'jobless growth' in Bangladesh

    According to the official statistics, between 2013 and 2016-17, on average, gross domestic product (GDP) in Bangladesh grew annually by 6.6 percent, and there has been a net increase of 2.8 million new jobs on top of the 60.7 million jobs that existed in the economy in 2013.

  • Surviving in a narrowing space

    It is hardly a new phenomenon to see how governments, especially in South Asia, claiming to be democratic to suit their convenience, become anything but that when it comes to dissenting views. Curbing press freedom, in particular, will always become the target for governments that have succumbed to insecurities of their own creation. Corruption of leaders or their cronies seems to be the topmost reason for state paranoia of the media which is seen as a thorn in the flesh rather than an essential component of democratic maturity.

  • Proposed Digital Security Law: Gives law enforcers greater scope to abuse power

    A Latin proverb says “Experience is the best teacher.” In view of famous British historian James Anthony Froude: “Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of mistakes.” However, our policy of learning is different. Experience seems to have taught us little. This seems to have been reflected again in offering the police arbitrary powers in the proposed digital security law to take action against alleged offences committed using digital devices.

  • 'We will mourn the dead and struggle for the survivors'

    This Garment Sramik Sanghati slogan is a response to Rana Plaza—a death trap for 1,135 workers, and many more injured and disabled. A tragedy caused by a corporate violation of rules, neglect of responsibility in a global chain that starts in the villages of Bangladesh and reaches the world's capitals.

  • How about reforming the viva system next?

    There aren't many moments in my life as an ordinary writer where my writings on banning the quota system have gone in vain. I had come to my workplace in the morning and finished the piece in three hours.

  • What has changed since the Spectrum disaster?

    The Spectrum factory building collapsed on April 11, 2005. I remember, I was returning to Dhaka from Rajshahi. No one was prepared for a disaster of such a devastating magnitude. The army was called in immediately for the rescue operation. In the meantime, almost 73 people were killed, with a few hundred others injured.

  • The Democracy Index: What it means and what it doesn't

    The recent announcement by a German foundation that Bangladesh is no longer a democracy has caused a stir in national and international media. The Bertelsmann Foundation, which tracks democracy around the globe, published its latest report showing that Bangladesh has slipped in its “democracy Index” measurement and has joined four other countries, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Uganda in the category of “new” autocracies.

  • No country for Beauty

    SOMETHING remarkable happened this week. Babul Mia of Habiganj—who had raped Beauty Akhter (16) earlier in the year—had her raped again and killed for not withdrawing the rape case pending against him, surprising no one.

  • Stephen Hawking

    Farewell to a brilliant mind

    Stephen Hawking died on Pi Day—March 14, which is also Einstein's birthday. He was born on another special day—Galileo's 300th death anniversary. It goes without saying that Hawking had a massive impact on not only gravitational physics, but also the world at large.

  • Celebrating a Braveheart

    A tribute to artist and freedom fighter Ferdousi Priyabhashini on a day we celebrate women could not be more befitting except for the fact that it should have been a tribute to a living legend not a eulogy for a hero who is no more. She passed away on March 6. When one looks at the life of this incredibly brave and beautiful woman one cannot help but feel that we as a nation have failed miserably to pay our dues to this freedom fighter.

  • THE RAWAT OFFENSIVE

    The Chief of Army Staff of India, General Bipin Rawat, has not minced his words. He was unambiguous and forthright. At a seminar jointly organised by the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies and the Ministry of Defence, recently held in Delhi, the army chief shared his thoughts on Northeast India. What was meant to be a talk of a professional soldier on 'Bridging Gaps and Securing Borders' of the region turned out to

  • Syed Manzoorul Islam

    'Make question paper leaks redundant'

    "Our examinations hardly test the students' creativity; these are geared more toward testing their memory. Take the MCQ system. It's a quick and snappy way to judge the proficiency of students in a particular topic," says Syed Manzoorul Islam.

  • The Digital Insecurity Act?

    The government has churned out yet another freedom-curtailing law for the parliament to legislate.

  • Why Dhaka is not a walkable city, yet!

    I have been walking around Dhaka, kind of randomly, for the past few months. It was not for health reasons. I was mostly interested in doing a personal assessment of the capital city's walkability.

  • Muzharul Islam: An activist architect

    Today, December 25, is architect Muzharul Islam's (1923-2012) 94th birth anniversary. Not only was he Bangladesh's pioneering modernist architect, he was also an activist designer who viewed architecture as an effective medium for social transformation.

  • 'Whoever touches Jerusalem will be walking into fire'

    US President Donald Trump has recently recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, drawing sharp international criticism and threatening Yousef Ramadan, Head of Mission at the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Bangladesh, talks to Badiuzzaman Bay of The Daily Star about the unilateral US decision, its implications, and what Bangladesh can learn from the Palestinian experience to deal with the Rohingya crisis.

  • Brilliantly rejecting the notion of inferiority

    Rokeya (English spelling used by her: Roquiah) was born circa 1880 (alternately 1878) to a declining aristocratic land-owning family in the village of Pyrabund, Rangpur in present-day Bangladesh.

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