青岛 Tsingtao, China 2017

A windy night in a beautiful coastal city and a railway station less busy than usual. A man was standing alone with large luggage and two backpacks right in the middle of the underground hallway. The multiple exit doors of the station platforms on both sides were dwarfed by the length of the hallway. He was standing firm. His eyes were peering through the abrupt emptiness, waiting eagerly for someone to pop out of the platform exit on the other end of the hallway. A woman approached him; then a little later, a security guard approached him, asking politely if he was lost. He told them something and they left assuredly. The sound of a new train just arrived and suddenly a swarm of people changed the atmosphere. Everyone was walking in groups of chaotic formations. He spotted a beautiful woman in a purple dress who was walking past everyone from left and right. His nonchalant face suddenly came to life with an ever-expanding smile. She paced towards him, opened her arms wide, and then let herself free running into his arms with a big warm hug from a distance. Strangers, while passing, were amused and stared at them with curiosity, and perhaps with joy! The two kissed each other, again, again, and again. That moment, the beautiful Tsingtao just became a reality for them adorned in kisses of love.

Tsingtao from the Signal Hill

It was years before he saw the beer bottle in Toronto’s China Town. A colourful label with the word ‘Tsingtao’ written on it. It was just a year ago that he heard from strangers who just became his classmates that Tsingtao is a perfect Chinese coastal city for a short journey. And it was before a little over a month when the two of them sketched out a plan for a trip to Tsingtao.

The man: “I have made a list of places we can visit and make good use of a day efficiently.”
The woman: “But we never planned anything before when travelling with my family!”
The man: “I agree that I too like some spontaneity, some impromptu plans when travelling. But it’s better that we have a rough idea of how we can make the most out of a day’s outing and yet not rushing and feeling lost!”
It was a tricky trip as both for the first time we’re travelling to a city they neither visited before nor had any local friends. For the man, it had to be perfect to impress the woman. For the woman, it was about testing the man, perhaps unconsciously, on how well he could make it a cherished experience for both.
So the man-made a meticulously detailed itinerary with screenshots of the map directly to the places to visit in a given region of the city while he maintained, “Look, sweetheart! It’s JUST a rough sketch for us.” The woman, on the other hand, did her homework. She came up with a list of restaurants they could check out for Tsingtao’s famous fresh seafood.

And guess what! The first day started with a fabulous refreshing breakfast when they went out for a walk in the morning on 闽江二路 (2nd Minjiang road).

Felt like the best breakfast in Tsingtao, a refreshing break from our 食堂 food.

They walked hand in hand to the Olympic Sailing Centre and the harbour area. They took the winding road along the coast all the way to Haiyun garden (海韵园). It was a day on foot but so blissful for them to be able to breathe fresh coastal wind, sometimes a rarity in China. And what else could be better than ending the day with seafood dinner?

The man: “I am not afraid of height. Otherwise why I would be taking the cable car and hiking up 1000+ meter 崂山 (Laoshan)? I mean it doesn’t make any sense!” He kept on repeating that while holding tight and sitting so close to the woman.
The woman: “It’s okay my love! I’m here! You don’t have acrophobia at all. I can see that! And even if you do and try to hide it, I won’t tell anyone!” She smiles.
The man: “I love hiking!” Actually, he does.

Tsingtao would be incomplete for anyone without taking a tour of its famous brewery and tasting the three main flavours! It’s a pleasant experience if the long walk inside the brewery is accompanied by a curiosity for the history of beer both in China and in the world.

Looking back, they think Tsingtao would always remain an unforgettable memory for them. If there is any regret then it is that they couldn’t visit the Tsingtao Art Gallery.

The garment disaster is no time to abandon Bangladesh

This article was originally published on The Globe and Mail of Canada on April 30, 2013.

May 20, 2013

The garment disaster is no time to abandon Bangladesh


The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Savar, Bangladesh, is a heart-wrenching story. The death toll has now topped 400, and hundreds more remain missing. The death toll alone, however saddening it is, fails to encompass the sheer impact of this event. The garment workers, who are mostly women, are the prime breadwinners of their families. Therefore, the death and injury – and the end of this factory – not only cut off the income of its 6,000 workers, but also the source of subsistence for perhaps 10,000 to 16,000 family members.

The local television channels are airing a rescue effort that bears every sign of trauma, desperation and heroism. On the one hand, ordinary people, the fire service and the military are spending relentless hours actively supporting the rescue operations. A few hospitals such asEnam Medical College in Dhaka have provided unprecedented medical support. Quite a few young entrepreneurs have dedicated their capital and work force to the rescue operation. A software company of a close friend of mine decided to postpone its monthly paycheques and dedicated the money to buying oxygen cylinders and other emergency products. Bloggers, who have recently been target of political arrests, are writing, tweeting and updating their Facebook status to encourage everybody to help provide the immediate needs of the rescue effort.

On the other hand, the Savar incident demonstrates the ugly politics of Bangladesh. The Home Minister took little time to blame the opposition party in an interview with the BBC, claiming that the supporters of a general strike must have shaken the building, causing it to collapse – a statement he later denied having said. The Prime Minister claimed that the building owner was never a member of the ruling party’s student wing, claim contradicted by readily available photograpic evidence. The opposition party too has done little apart from castigatingthe government and has barely made any constructive effort to show its solidarity amidst anational crisis. One Islamic party, Hefazat-e Islam, distributed its party bandana to the rescuers.

Even though this national crisis has shocked the country like never before, it is not unprecedented. Almost 150 garment workers died when a fire engulfed another factory in November. There are other incidences of building collapse and poor labour and safety standards resulting in the death and injury of hundreds.

The responsibility for these deaths neither categorically belongs to Western companies nor to the textile industry of Bangladesh. The Western companies have often fallen short of their ethical business practices by overlooking the labour safety issues only to take advantage of cheap labour. When they care to verify the labour safety status of the companies, they are often hoodwinked by the local garment factories. Even the big garment factories, which often boast of having unscrupulous labour standards and amenities such as daycare facilities for workers, turn a blind eye when they subcontract Western deals to smaller factories, which cannot sustain the cost of strict safety measures.

However, incidents such as this catastrophe must not lead to a doubling down of the misery by intimidating Western apparel brands into withdrawing their contracts from Bangladesh. That would cut off the livelihood of almost 3.5 million garment workers, of which 80 per cent are women, and their families. The consequences would include the slow and catastrophic disempowerment of the women in Bangladesh.

Instead, the Savar incident should prompt Western clothing companies to build a partnership of trust and to impose incentives that encourage the textile industry of Bangladesh to implement labour safety standards. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Richard Locke has demonstrated in his works that improved labour rights in the garment industry occur when a horizontal partnership is built instead of a top-down relationship.

Bangladesh is a tale of extreme ambivalence. On the one hand, the country’s economic progress is ravaged by natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, political instability, frequent general strikes and showdowns, pervasive corruption, and the marginalization of ethnic and religious minorities. On the other hand, the country breeds pioneering stories such as Nobel laureate Muhammed Yunus’s Grameen Bank, Fazle Abed’s BRAC (one of the world’s largest one of the most successful aid organizations), and impressive results in such accomplishments as lowering maternal mortality rates.

Let this terrible catastrophe be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and forces Bangladesh’s industry into the latter category. Let this be an opportunity to build an effective partnership in the global market that ensures the long-due labour rights of the Bangladesh textile workers.

Correction: The original article printed Fazle Khan instead of Fazle Abed.

The BRICS after Durban

This article was originally published on Pakistan’s the Express Tribune newspaper on 25 April 2013 and co-authored with Dr. Andrew F. Cooper.

April 25, 2013


The fifth BRICS Summit has just finished in Durban, Africa. The creation of the BRICS in parallel to the G20 leaders’ forum on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis prompted divergent scenarios, both modest and transformative. A heavyweight group, consisting of China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa, representing 18 per cent of the world’s economy, has long been anticipated as a counterbalance to western dominance by reshaping the global institutional architecture. The results after five years, however, are far from being transformative.

Yet, once doubted as a ‘talk-shop’, the BRICS countries are slowly but undoubtedly doing the right things to help each other. First, the New Development Bank, highlighted as an achievement at the summit, promises massive infrastructure investment for Africa. Although, the progress hailed in the summit was only limited to the acknowledgement of the bank’s feasibility and validity, it was a decisive initiative on behalf of the BRICS members. The BRICS summit declaration outlines a bank with an initial $50 billion fund and a currency reserve agreement of $100 billion to weather any future financial crisis.

However, the progress has been quite sluggish on the details about the bank. In fact, the BRICS finance ministers still have not been able to decide on a host of sensitive issues concerning the bank. As a result, India itself, who introduced the bank’s idea initially last year, prefers to take more time rather than rush to any agreement. For the first time, the BRICS members have cemented an initiative for which they must resolve many sensitive issues for a settlement.

Second, the summit also witnessed the establishment of the BRICS business council, which is a forum for the top private-public business leaders from the five countries to foster and strengthen commercial ties among them. The council is scheduled to meet twice every year and aims ‘to curb reliance on the West’. With the business council, the BRICS brings a positive approach to African, as well as intra-BRICS development initiatives, emphasising development through commercial ties rather than depending on an aid model.

Third, the BRICS illustrate an intangible ‘bazaar’ space for building networks, signing deals and fostering cooperation and coordination among the members of the South. Numerous successful deals have been reached on the fringes of the BRICS summit. Currency swap agreement between China and Brazil, a loan agreement between South Africa’s Transnet and the Chinese Development Bank, plans for 28,400-kilometre-long high capacity telecommunications cable among the BRICS countries, South Africa’s agreement with the Russian space agencies and a Brazilian financial institution are a few such examples. China and India, too, are expecting deepening military ties as proposed by the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, during the summit. The forum provides an inclusive space for the exclusive club members belonging to the BRICS, which compliments cooperation under the brand of emerging powers.

The progress within the BRICS, however, is always challenging. Members are fraught with strategically competing issues as much as they are actively in search for common grounds.Disputed borders, huge trade imbalances, lack of agreement on UN Security Council reform are a few issues that members are divided over. Furthermore, neither is its flagship initiative, the New Development Bank, unique — considering other similar regional initiatives — nor are the members effective as a heavyweight bloc on international affairs.

Nevertheless, a research study undertaken at the Centre for the Study on Rapid Global Change at the University of Waterloo demonstrates that the BRICS countries have adapted to a working practice of downplaying issues on which they have conflicts while promoting the ones with mutual agreements. Therefore, while it may be premature to claim that the BRICS have already initiated transformative changes to the global architecture, it is, at least, a work in progress towards the right direction.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.

Trying war criminals

This article was originally published on Pakistan’s the Express Tribune newspaper on 14 March 2013**

March 24, 2013


Over 100,000 people gathered at the Projonmo Chottor (Generation Square) in Dhaka, on February 5. Ten roles of robe, each containing 10,000 signatures, had one clear demand to make to the government of Bangladesh. People want no less than capital punishment for the war criminals of 1971, called the rajakars (traitors), and will not leave the Square until their demand is met. The public protest did not dissipate for days; instead, it spread all over the country, which has become a ‘gonojagoron moncho’, meaning a stage for public awakening.

For Bangladesh, demanding justice for the war crimes of 1971 does not mean going backwards. Instead, it is about righting the wrongs that were committed in the past, in the search for a future. The unwavering demand of hundreds of thousands of youth at the Projonmo Chottor, demonstrates that the country’s history is sacred and dear to their identity. For the young generation of Bangladeshis, reconciliation with the events of 1971 can only be achieved through retributive justice for a pragmatic reason — only capital punishment can ensure justice because life imprisonment would mean giving the criminals a second life. The Bangladeshis know very well that as soon as the opposition party comes to power in the future, they may acquit the convicted criminals, who belong to their coalition party, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

Certain quarters of society have raised the ethical question about the justification of capital punishment — an untimely debate held only to derail the movement of Projonmo Chottor. Furthermore, the international media has shown a dearth of interest in covering the protest, since the non-partisan movement is too peaceful and unpopular for a sensational media story. A Muslim-dominated country, demanding fair trial against a religious faction, is opposed to the image the media can sell well. And, of course, politicians of all camps are waiting to exploit the situation one way or another for their party’s gain.

Moreover, the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh, established by the current ruling party, the Awami League, has encountered several logistical pitfalls and difficulties. Trying war criminals after an unfortunate span of 42 years is meant to be difficult and challenging, especially when many of the indictees were allowed to reign free for so long. Also, there are many war criminals who are not yet indicted and enjoy privileged positions in other political parties.

However, the message that the people clearly conveyed at the Square in Dhaka, is that they don’t want to see a politically-motivated trial, where criminals receive biased verdicts or the politicians put undue pressure on judges for hasty verdicts. The people have also made it clear that there is no place for the JI in Bangladeshi politics anymore, for the war crimes of some of their leaders are very well-documented. Citizens have rightfully called to boycott businesses, banks and services that are affiliated with the JI. For the first time in Bangladesh, the martyrs of 1971 are being respected under the aegis of the people’s conscience.

For Pakistan, it is an opportunity to mend ties rather than further widen the gap with Bangladesh. Allegations were made that Pakistan was initially interfering in Bangladesh’s tribunal process. Although Pakistan later clarified that it would not meddle in Bangladesh’s internal affairs, it never apologised for its involvement in the 1971 genocide. The war may have been one between India and Pakistan for the Pakistanis but it was a war of liberation for the Bangladeshis and carries great significance for them. The horrible stories of hundreds and thousands of deaths and rape cases during the ‘71 war will never be wiped out from the conscience of the Bangladeshis.

Pervez Hoodbhoy recently wrote in an article in this newspaper, “Shahbag Square — why we Pakistanis don’t know and don’t care”: (February 16) “The disinterest [of the Pakistanis] in Shahbag Square [the Projonmo Chottor] epitomises the enormous gulf that separates Bangladesh from Pakistan.” Therefore, the movement of Projonmo Chottor presents an opportunity for the young generation of Pakistanis to reach out to the young generation of Bangladeshis. It is an opportunity to revive a dialogue of reconciliation through the acknowledgement of the events and genocide of 1971, by sharing information and learning about each other’s perspectives.

Shahbagh Chottor: A definite message

This article was originally published on bdnews24.com on 13 February 2013.  Coauthored with Syed Rajib Imteaz, a former fellow of Foreign Policy and Immigration at the Senate Office of Hillary Rodham Clinton and currently a finance professional in New York. **

March 24, 2013


The message delivered in Projonmo Chottor by the youth of Bangladesh may seem pretty straightforward: an outcry for the capital punishment for the war criminals of 1971. The demonstration, however, is more than just a mere demand for justice. The spontaneous participation of the youth, the many million blog and Facebook posts, the wholehearted support of the nation underscore something much more salient: the long-silent majority is finally ready to speak up and shun communal politics.

The demand for justice has always been alive in the Bangladeshi psyche – the lenient verdict against the “Butcher of Mirpur” was merely the spark that was needed to bring 42 years of injustice, anger, and shame to a head. This should serve as a wake-up call for the politicians who think that they can pull the wool over the eyes of the people: you can corrupt the system, attempt to re-write history, play silly games by changing the names of parks, airports and hospitals, and blame each other to drown out the truth. But you cannot outwit people. People know your culpability, and some day, they will hold you responsible for your gross negligence. Today, the Projonmo Square has ignited the fire for justice for war crimes, and we will not be surprised if it triggers another movement in the future to overhaul the sickening politics of our country.

Of course, not everyone is as excited about the protests as we are. Some have complained about the traffic jams and the resulting disruptions to daily routines. It is a fair point. And let us address that with a question: How do we bring decisive changes in the country and deliver justice on behalf of the martyrs of 1971 without some sacrifice? Our parents fought against a modern, professional army without formal training, supplies, and proper weapons so that they could leave a free country for their children. We owe it to the memory of the three million martyrs to “tough it out” because we would not be here without their sacrifice. We owe it to the honor of our quarter million mothers and sisters and daughters to “tough it out” because what they went through was a million times worse.

Others have decided to not join the protests lest it ends in another attempt in futility or worse, a politicized “dog and pony show” for various political parties. Yes, it will be futile, but only if you do not participate. Remember the political protests that finally topped the military dictatorship of Lt. Gen. Hussain Muhammad Ershad? It is known as the people’s revolution of 1990 (“Nobboi-er Gono Obbhutthan”) and not Awami League or BNP’s revolution because people from all spheres of the society wholeheartedly came to the streets demanding democracy. We sometimes forget that that our independence was nothing short of a miracle: western political analysts in 1971 said that we would not survive the onslaught from the Pakistani Army for long, and even if we did, the war would go on for years. And yet, in less than nine months, we won a decisive victory. The truth is, when 170 million people work together toward a common goal, miracle happens! And we are not even asking for a miracle – we are simply asking for the proper punishment for a group of well-known war criminals.

As a part of the Bangladeshi diaspora, it is easy to feel that we have little to contribute to these protests. Let us not underestimate our roles during this great moment in history. We are, after all, the ambassadors of Bangladesh all over the world, and we can play an important role in ensuring that foreign governments, news media, and most importantly, the people of this world know the true story about Bangladesh, about the genocide of 1971, and about what we are trying to achieve today. Whether you are ten feet away from Projonmo Square or ten thousand miles away, you can make a difference. If you have not posted on your Facebook, let your friends know about what is going on and how we are trying to right three million wrongs committed 42 years ago. If you have not told your children about 1971, this is the time to sit down in the living room and tell them the story of how brave our ancestors were who gave their all and defied all odds to so we could have our very own country. And if you have not written to the politicians in your area and to CNN and BBC, write to them and remind them that as the most progressive Muslim nation on the planet, as the second largest Muslim democracy in the world, we deserve – no, we demand – their support.

Trying war criminals after 42 unfortunate years is meant to be difficult and challenging, especially when many of the indictees were allowed to reign free for long. However, it is not unheard of to attempt to try war criminals many decades after their crimes: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal started in 2006 for the war crimes committed during the late 70’s, and Germany still today investigates and prosecutes Nazis for their roles in the Holocaust. Justice delayed might be justice denied, but having no justice at all is certainly justice denied. At the same time, we must impress upon the importance of ensuring that the trials are not politically motivated – the government should not influence the verdict in order to allay the anger of the supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami or other Islamist parties nor should they put undue pressure on judges to give haste or biased verdicts for political gains. Only a free, fair, and unbiased trial can cleanse the national soul of the 42 years of shame and ignominy.

Finally, a well deserved salute to the young souls at Projonmo Chottor. You have spoken with clarity and maturity beyond your years: communal politics is out, the peddlers of religion are out, Jamaat-e-Islami and Shibir are out! Deliverance is righting the three million wrongs, salvation is ensuring that religious extremists have no place in our country. That is one last wrong we must right after the criminals of 1971 have been punished.

What Happened in Iran?

Originally written on June 13, 2009.

So what just happened in Iran? The question underlies the anticipation that the media has pitched recently thrusting an aura of reformist movement under the leadership of Mousavi. There is no doubt that the sheer volume of people gathered chanting pre-election support for Mousavi was enormous. Although it is not unprecedented since Khatami’s election campaign in 1997 is said to have larger popular support, this time the green wave produced an effusive optimism of reform as if Iran’s social transformation was a matter of few days. Despite the promise, the hope collapsed and shattered in utter dismay as Ahmadinejad’s winning was received by the Supreme Leader’s blessings.

There was much reason for such level of expectation. The world was waiting as it saw the unfurling of a new tone in electoral debate in Iran. With Obama’s words in Cairo offering dialogue with mutual interest and respect for the Muslim world, many determined that a reformist in Iran’s lead can pave a comfortable bargain for all. Iran’s election within one year of Obama’s accession to power just seemed the time might be ripe for things to fall in the right places in right time, at least to actualize a long lost hope for the Middle East.

In such ambiance, the green wave and Mousavi’s wise words played the right chord to replace the acerbic residue of Ahmadinejad’s leadership. After all, the world is tired of Ahmadinejad’s frenzied acts. It is true that as Iran came under spotlight during the election, much was rightfully anticipated as the sporadic coverage of the western media revealed. As if, Iran was all about Tehran! Neither Ahmadinejad’s nor Mousavi’s actual breadth of support was perceptible in the western press.

In media, the conventional appearance of men and women supporting Ahmadinejad looked insipid in contrast to the pictorial shots of women in stylish attire with sunglasses and head-scarf exhibiting dire support for their green reformist. Although the juxtaposition had a partisan tone, the green hype among the youth in Tehran hid well the fact that Iran is beyond the northern affluent neighborhood of Tehran. The wonted Islamic identity is quintessentially entrenched in Iran from the 79’s revolution. Moreover, it is the ordinary people what matters in election and as long as you can woo them with free potatoes and low interest rate plundering oil revenues, things might work pretty well! Indeed it did for Ahmadinejad. At least, you can’t blame the rural Iranians for not having access to Facebook to join Mousavi!

That being said, it is inconceivable that Mousavi being an Azeri will lose in his bastion, Tabriz. Mousavi’s green promise undoubtedly succeeded winning million’s mind, almost in commensurate to Khatami fervor in 1997. Mousavi definitely was a prudent choice. A doubt would though persist that how much change he could actually bring weathering the conservatives- something that Khatami failed to do. Nevertheless, the West as well as the divided Arab League would have had reasons to ease in bringing peace in the Middle East. In addition, Israel would have to reason better in respect to the West’s interest which could furnish just result for Palestine.

So the question still begs for an answer. What just happened in Iran? Is it media hype or a massive rigging? Some election outcome insinuates that rigging is a high possibility but to what extent? Did the Supreme Leader eventually determine Ahmadinejad as the fait accompli leader against the peoples will? Or he is just an old chap, complacent in distance from embracing a reform and subject to Iran’s institutionalized revolution?

Whatever it is, Obama’s administration should not abandon a whit of honest effort in starting a dialogue with Iran.

Beyond My Bangladesh

Think Twice – AF

Originally written on December 16, 2009. Every year December 16 comes with effusive hype of our liberation war. The memories are recounted, heroes are commemorated in words and we groom ourselves in green and red. What entails such ebullience is the other side of the emotion: an agony and perturbation. The question that transfixed our heart ever since is: If we have achieved a nation in ’71 then what have we built out of this nation so far? The equation of expectation and its outcome just grows ever confusing.

Nationalism is not what we fought for in ’71. Yes! We did indeed fight for a country, but that was just a collateral entity that was bound to be conceived of what we actually wanted. I think it is the fastest ‘fever’ that can catch any large group who are starving for an identity. But what causes that hunger is separate from what the pursuit emerges into. It’s easier to carve the definition of that pursuit because the tools are abundant- culture, language, religion, ethnicity- you name it and it can be exploited. The stronger the emotions the more effective its buoyancy. As long as words are there to frame accurately, emotions are stirred, events are born, histories are cultivated and thus, we get a nation- a great tool to exploit in the false consciousness of its demos indefinitely- for better and for worse! Once that nation is born, what surfaces next is the real cause of that nationalistic fervour. The discovery of it is onerous, slow and grim. As the effusive exuberance drives ourselves lost into the false consciousness of the mental world and once that emotion is gone, we are left with what we exactly fought for: justice, equality and freedom. Even if freedom is partially achieved by fighting a war and winning it, that part of the freedom was artificially defined at the beginning as we chose to fight the war. The other and the only significant part is the indefinite struggle that has the face, the semblance and the stories of a human being- its struggle to survive with dignity and sustenance. Bangladesh at her 38th year of conception is yet to give us that justice. Did we bring the war criminals to justice? – No! Do we provide the minorities with the right to survive with some dignity like the rest? – No! Haven’t we politicized justice we sought in 71 in the ugliest form? – Yes! The parameters of agony and perturbation multiply in-depth as expatriates have good reasons to find solace migrating abroad because the freedom as development in Bangladesh is contingent upon intransigent corruption and filthy lucre. And equality is as if only a rhetorical achievement which too appears in the political leaders’ harangue at their whim. The axiom is that such is the case not only in Bangladesh but in many other countries. There indeed lies a juxtaposition between the affluent nations and the least developed ones, but similar social and political factors do exist in all. Moreover, the struggle for freedom, equality and justice is meant to be indefinite otherwise ‘utopia’ would not have been only a semantic reality. Every human being is fighting the same fight be that the rape victims in Congo, women with fistula in Liberia or Somalia, the children lost in the abyss of pornography and human trafficking, the native women in Latin America, factory slaves of China, Tamils in concentration camps in Sri Lanka or the families who were eking out but now ruined because of the ‘fatcats’ of the Wall Street. The freedom fighters of Bangladesh fought with the same valour that these people hold on to everyday biting their lips to struggle and survive. Beyond nationalism and ethnicity, there lies this most fundamental identity conceived in a paramount potential- humanity. The potential for being human breeds art, innovation, the mind of the most abstract form as well as an altruistic drive that human being has incorporated in its evolution and sustenance. This fundamental identity is pounded and ruptured incessantly by the ugly force of poverty. This poverty has the same face in Bangladesh and everywhere. So let us not bind ourselves with boundaries and all other superficial identities. We may not avoid it since the historical development has made the nation too strong to dismember itself. But as Tagore insisted so we should oblige ourselves not to be blinded by our superficial identities. Instead, a simple humanistic approach can unfetter us from anything and everything of injustice, inequality and subjugation of every form be that within Bangladesh or beyond.