Mukti

Meddling foreigners

Posted in cold war, democracy, foreign policy, history, politics, US by jrahman on October 18, 2015

Updated: 431pm 19 Oct 2015 BDT

As I try to get back to writing, I asked an old friend and longtime reader about potential topics.  Syria came up, hardly surprising given the recent news.  I have, however, been quite surprised with the way Bangladeshi cyberspace has been reasonably united in reaching the conclusion that Putin’s Russia is the ‘goodie’ in the conflict and America is responsible for everything that has gone wrong in that benighted country.

I have nothing particular to add on Syria except to observe that the United States and allies occupied a country to get Saddam Hussein, bombed another but stopped short of invasion to get Muammar Qaddafi, and did neither when it came to Bashar Assad, and yet Syria is just as much a mess as Iraq or Libya — so the ‘it’s all America’s’ fault line doesn’t really gel with me.  But hey, if it unites Shahbag revellers, Shapla Chattar mourners, and everyone in between and beyond, who am I to disagree.

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Planet of humans

Posted in action, Drama, foreign policy, history, movies, Muslim world, sci-fi, West Asia, World Wars by jrahman on August 3, 2014

(Updated: 1353 BDT, Aug 24 2014).

Factors that have put the blog on a deep freeze are the same ones that keep me from going to the movies.  And in any case, who needs movies when you have Game of Thrones and Zia Haider Rahman?  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?  A sequel to a prequel reboot — the second one in a decade or so — of a 1960s movie that spawned four (or five?) sequels in the 1970s, with a confusing title — rise before dawn, were the producers observing Ramadan — is it really worth making the effort for this, I asked myself.

dawn_of_apes_teaser_poster

I am glad I did make the effort.  The movie has received positive reviews, and is a box office smash.  And it has generated enough bubbles between my ears to force my fingers on the keyboard.  (Warning: this is not a movie review, and thus I am not confined by the ‘no spoiler’ norm — read at your own risk).

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The not-so-quiet Americans

Posted in democracy, elections, foreign policy, politics, US by jrahman on November 22, 2013

Graham Greene’s The Quiet American was published in 1955, after the Dien Bien Phu, but years before America bumbled into Vietnam.  A film version was released in 2002, after Tora Bora, but before America bumbled into Iraq.  Without giving away the story, anymore than you can discern from the trailer above, this is one of the best work on the unintended consequences of American intervention.

Americans are, of course, interested in Bangladesh too.  They have been for a while.  In the post-9/11 world, how can they be not interested in one of the largest Muslim countries in the world?  And their interest has been registered not as quietly as was the case in Greene’s Saigon.  In 2007, as in now, their interest was expressed vocally.  Nonetheless, the plot went awry in 2007.  Will this time be different?

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.  Well, bonus holiday edition of 20 trashes.

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Remittances and propaganda

Posted in economics, foreign policy, Islamists, labour, politics, West Asia by jrahman on December 22, 2012

I don’t really have much to say about how the war crimes trial is unfolding.  However, I think it’s important to push back against a propaganda being peddled.  According to some anti-trial voices (in facebook, Bangla blogs, newspapers, and even some TV talk show stars), the trial has annoyed the Saudis, and remittances are crashing because of that.

The thing is, there is no evidence of that in the data.  The chart below shows through the year growth in total remittance and remittance from Saudi Arabia.  Do you see the slump in remittance from the kingdom as we approach the trial conclusion? 

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(Source: CEIC Asia, smoothed by three month moving average).

There may be reasons to worry about the outlook for remittance — there could be a slump in oil prices, or there might be political turmoil in the Gulf.  We should be concerned with the  human rights situation in the region.  But Saudi annoyance over the war crimes trial is causing a remittance slump — that’s nonsense.

সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

(more…)