Mukti

So long, Obama

Posted in culture, people, politics by jrahman on January 18, 2017

Consciously or otherwise, most of us tend to compartmentalise our existence into home and work.  On the first front, above everything else, I consider myself a father first.  And on the second, well, let’s just say that I have been a bureaucratic functionary for most my working life.  On both, I cannot stress how much there is to learn from the outgoing American president.

Anyone who has ever worked in any bureaucracy would know to choose cock ups over conspiracies.  Well, it’s remarkable how few cock ups — I am talking about executive failures such as Katrina, not policy failures like Vietnam or ethical breaches like Watergate — there has been under Barack Obama.

Hats off Mr Chief Executive.

It’s been slightly over 10 years that I first saw the beginning of the Obama campaign.  I emailed my then wife that there was this really cool guy running for presidency, too bad he won’t get it.  Upon joining me in DC a few weeks later, she saw him and said that I was wrong, that this guy would make it all the way.  A few years later, while expecting our son, the mother-to-be read Obama’s memoir.  Barack was in the running for middle name right till the morning of his birth (losing out to his maternal grandfather).

Much has been written about the mercurial nature of Obama’s rise, his intellect, or oratory, or his policy and political legacy.  And I am sure much more will be.  But to me, it is much more striking how this ‘skinny boy with a funny name’ overcame his personal demons and with equal partnership with Michelle Obama raised two kids.

I am never going to have as demanding a ‘work’ as Mr Obama.  But I do have the privilege — and it is a privilege, not a right — to be a father.  I will reflect on his experience.

So long, Barack.

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On Mandela

Posted in history, people, Uncategorized by jrahman on December 6, 2013

There is not much to say about one of the greatest persons of our time.  Still, just for the record, I found the Onion to be particularly insightful in its irreverent way: Nelson Mandela’s death is the only one on record that people everywhere unanimously agree has left the world notably worse off.

I certainly don’t remember Bangladeshi aantels agreeing on anything in the past year.  But then again, the word irony is not enough to capture the sight of Shahbag revelers’ sorrow for Mandela.  On the other hand, stuff like ‘if only Mujib was like Mandela’ does not to justice to either men.

When I first started to form my views, on music, not politics, Mr Mandela was still in jail, still reciting these words:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

And I listened to this:

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My friend Jalal

Posted in people by jrahman on January 17, 2013

Had he lived, my friend and ally Jalal Alamgir would have been 43 today.  Instead of mourning in his tragic and untimely death, let us celebrate his life, and vow to continue his work for a progressive, democratic Bangladesh.

Over the fold is an article I wrote for an Open Democracy special commemorating Jalal.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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All about Citizen Mati

Posted in democracy, economics, Islamists, media, micro, people, political economy, politics by jrahman on January 7, 2013

All About Eve Poster

All About Eve, the Oscar-winner in 1950, is a drama set in the black-and-white era Broadway.  It shows how the seemingly innocent Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) connives, deceives and manipulates people and event to eclipse the ageing star Margo Channing (Bette Davis).  In her quest, Eve is initially assisted by the theatre critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders).  But before long, DeWitt makes it clear who calls the shot.  Let me outsource to wiki to describe how the movie ends:

After the awards ceremony, Eve hands her award to Addison, skips a party in her honor, and returns home alone, where she encounters a young fan—a high-school girl—who has slipped into her apartment and fallen asleep. The young girl professes her adoration and begins at once to insinuate herself into Eve’s life, offering to pack Eve’s trunk for Hollywood and being accepted. “Phoebe” (Barbara Bates), as she calls herself, answers the door to find Addison returning with Eve’s award. In a revealing moment, the young girl flirts daringly with the older man. Addison hands over the award to Phoebe and leaves without entering. Phoebe then lies to Eve, telling her it was only a cab driver who dropped off the award. While Eve rests in the other room, Phoebe dons Eve’s elegant costume robe and poses in front of a multi-paned mirror, holding the award as if it were a crown. The mirrors transform Phoebe into multiple images of herself, and she bows regally, as if accepting the award to thunderous applause, while triumphant music plays.

You see, whether it is Margo or Eve or Phoebe — it’s Addison who makes or breaks the star.  The question is, what makes Addison tick? 

And more generally, what motivates the media?

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সাতকাহন

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

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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

Posted in action, Bengal, China, Drama, economics, foreign policy, history, micro, movies, music, people, society, trade by jrahman on November 23, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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সাতকাহন

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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