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Iftekhar Sayeed teaches English and economics. He was born and lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has contributed to AXIS OF LOGIC, ENTER TEXT, POSTCOLONIAL TEXT, LEFT CURVE, MOBIUS, ERBACCE, THE JOURNAL, and other publications. He is also a freelance journalist. He and his wife love to tour Bangladesh.
SHARE Wednesday, July 25, 2007 Democracy R.I.P
The prospect of democracy as universal religion must remain forever chimerical. In Bangladesh, the two dynasties that practiced an ersatz democracy are being politically ostracized by the military-backed government. The move has been enormously popular. Years of organized mayhem have suddenly come to an end.
SHARE Sunday, July 15, 2007 T.A.N.G.O
Would the UN appoint Cheri Blair or Laura Bush as human rights advocates? Yet, that is exactly what the UN has done by appointing Sigma Huda to that role. And in this she, and many others, have been cosseted and protected by national and international NGOs.
SHARE Wednesday, July 11, 2007 The Seven Dimensions
The priests and priestesses of the religion of democracy require the world to have faith, no matter how many murders, rapes and other crimes are committed in its name, and by its advocates.
SHARE Sunday, June 24, 2007 The Rape of the Delta
The donor-backed military takeover has been immensely popular. But there are die-hard ýelements who wish to see the discredited politicians continue with their murderous ýcampaigns. The author feels that the politicians should not be tried for corruption, but for ýcrimes against humanity.
SHARE Friday, May 4, 2007 The Wicked Civilisation
After the end of the cold war, the target of western demonization shifted from the defunct "Soviet Union to the anticipated new adversary, the Muslim world. Supposedly universal "concerns -- women and democracy-- were brought to bear with obsessive focus on Islam, "to the exclusion of other civilizations where these were, by the same yardsticks, "legitimate concerns-- including the West. "
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 5, 2007 Of skirts and scarves
Parts of the Muslim world reacted to western domination by focussing on superficial things like skirts and headscarves: other areas made more intelligent decisions.
SHARE Friday, March 23, 2007 The Perils of Cultural Absolutism
Ayyan Hirsi Ali finds everything wrong with "Islamists"; she deplores cultural relativism, which justifies points of view other than secular, western ones. The dangers of cultural absolutism are not obvious to her; and for her "rights" are universal, despite the fact that they are being debated all the time, even in the west.
SHARE Tuesday, March 20, 2007 A Reply To Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell equated liberalism, commerce and empiricism, which was unfortunate. Rationalism, he observed, led to totalitarianism, which suppressed commerce, and thereby liberty. However, a brief outline of the history of slavery among the "liberal" and "commercial" nations of the world disabuse the reader of imagining any connection between the two.
SHARE Saturday, March 10, 2007 The Two Religions of Bangladesh
According to Ninian Smart, nationalism is as much a religion as any of the regular variety. Nationalism has never been able to suplant Islam in Bangladesh, and the two religions coexist in hostility.
SHARE Wednesday, March 7, 2007 Lara's Theme
Sir David Lean's epic "Lara's Theme" raised deep questions about the individual and society. The triumph of the former in certain places have wreaked havoc.
SHARE Monday, February 19, 2007 Colonial Democracy
Colonial democracy, is not new. The Persians and the Greeks were the first to practice it. Today, it is the turn of Bangladesh, Iraq and Palestine, on the one hand, and America and Europe on the other.
SHARE Sunday, February 11, 2007 Moll Flanders
Among writing on the subject of unfreedom, Moll Flanders ranks supreme. The novel testifies to how America became the land of the unfree.
SHARE Monday, January 29, 2007 The Cringe Factor
South Asia suffers from "cultural cringe" syndrome envy of, and desire to imitate, the former mother country. Two hundred years of British rule has had a debilitating effect on the local psyche.
SHARE Saturday, January 20, 2007 A Frisson of Freedom
Since western governments exported democracy to Bangladesh in 1990, society has turned violent, with the major political parties employing thugs to win elections. This is a satirical take on the subject of "freedom", though it is not easy to satirise rape and lynching.
SHARE Tuesday, January 16, 2007 The Price of Conscience
With the major political parties employing thugs, our democratic transition of 1990 has become a nightmare. The worst part is the fact that foreign donors and local intellectuals alike ask us to accept the violence in the name of freedom.
SHARE Sunday, January 14, 2007 The Incoherence of Progress
"Progress" has been touted as the excuse for all manner of evils. Yet while politicians and economists believe in progress, and act accordingly, writers and directors busily depict cacotopias and dystopias, capturing the incoherence at the heart of the idea.
SHARE Thursday, January 11, 2007 Monoculture
Anti-globalizers are worried that the world is headed towards a dull uniformity in culture. Yet there is another kind of ýmonoculture that threatens: western political ideas -- fatal to local culture and, all too often, people themselves. ý
SHARE Friday, January 5, 2007 The First European
To escape Europe's cycle of wars, the European elite created the European Union. But how democratic is the EU?
SHARE Thursday, December 28, 2006 The Role of Anytus
Anytus, prosecutor of Socrates, represents the idea that civil society is a force for good. Today, in fact, "civil" society threatens the world with World War III.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 20, 2006 REGIME CHANGE, LANGUAGE CHANGE
Those who wish to democratise other cultures need to consider the solid obstacle provided by language. For the meaning of terms like "democracy", "vote", "election", etc. are governed, like any other words, by the rules of society. One cannot therefore export concepts that do not fit the norms and mores and history of a society - the language will not allow it.