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Real Goats. Real Stories. Bangladesh Delivers.

Screenshot from The Goats of Bangladesh Facebook page.

Screenshot from “The Goats of Bangladesh” Facebook page.

Read the full interview here at

Bangladesh has now a satirical Facebook page much like Pigeons of New York, which is itself a parody site of the famous Humans of New York project. Goats of Bangladesh is only about six months old, but it boasts of almost 10,000 followers. Sahil Bhalla of interviewed one of the page's administrators, who preferred to remain anonymous.

[What is] the idea behind the page?

We were bored one day during Eid and decided to take pictures of goats with a DSLR camera. After seeing the outcome of the pictures, one of us decided we would open a parody page called “Goats of Bangladesh” where we would mimic the style of posts made by Humans of New York in a mocking way.

Screenshot from the Goats of Bangladesh Facebook Page

Screenshot from the “Goats of Bangladesh” Facebook Page

Read the full interview here at

Updates on the 18th SAARC Summit On Social Media

The ongoing summit of the The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was covered by international media with different perspectives. However non-official initiatives such as 18th SAARC Summit blog, Facebook account, Twitter and Google+ account are aggregating updates on the summit for easy archiving.

Here are some examples:

Security Risks Exposed at Amusement Park in Dhaka

During the Eid holidays, Carnival Park at Jamuna Future park welcomed a large number of visitors. On October 7, 2014, one of its attractions, the 360-degree shuffle ride, stopped in the middle of a ride. Everyone on-board was stuck in their seats for about an hour. The ride had no emergency backup system, preventing a normal shutdown, delaying the release of its riders. Rescue workers had to free every individual manually, in a rather painstaking process.

Facebook user Sultanul Nahian Hasnat was present at the mishap and later uploaded to Facebook two videos (click her to watch the 1st and the 2nd), which went viral. These are now available on YouTube, also.

There was no mention of this incident in the local mainstream news.

Bangladesh's Elite Paramiltary Unit Is Under Fire for Human Rights Violations. This Blogger Asks: What About Israel's IDF?

An activist is picked up by an RAB agent in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a nationwide strike called by the main opposition party in June 2011. Photo by   Rahat Khan. Copyright Demotix.

An activist is picked up by an RAB agent in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a nationwide strike called by the main opposition party in June 2011. Photo by Rahat Khan. Copyright Demotix.

Brad Adams, the executive director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, has recently written a letter to Bangladesh's prime minister suggesting that the Bangladesh government should disband the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Quoting news sources, he accused the RAB of being responsible for more than 800 extrajudicial killings in the past 10 years.

Human rights organizations have long accused the elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit, which was created in 2004, of human rights violations. A number of its members are under investigation in Bangladesh in connection to the abduction and killing of seven men (see Global Voices report).

Some netizens were Irked by the tone of Adam's letter to a sovereign country. Blogger Himu wrote for Bangla blog Sachalayatan a response to Adams, suggesting he be consistent and write to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

ব্র্যাড অ্যাডামস লিখেছেন, “র‌্যাবকে এখন আর সংস্কার করে চালানো সম্ভব বলে আমরা বিশ্বাস করি না। আইনের ঊর্ধ্বে থেকে কোনো ধরনের জবাবদিহিতার তোয়াক্কা না করে র‌্যাব পরিচালনার একটি সংস্কৃতি তৈরি হয়ে গেছে। এই অবস্থায় এ বাহিনীকে অবশ্যই বিলুপ্ত করতে হবে, যাতে হত্যাকাণ্ড বন্ধ করা হয়।”

মানবাধিকারবারি ব্র্যাড অ্যাডামসের উদ্বেগের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা জানিয়ে এবার একটা ছোটো আবদার করি। প্যাড থেকে আরেকটা কাগজ ছিঁড়ুন। কলমদানি থেকে কলমটা বের করে খাপ খুলুন। তারপর লিখুন ইসরায়েলের প্রধানমন্ত্রীকে। তাকে বলুন, ইসরায়েল ডিফেন্স ফোর্সেস প্রতিষ্ঠানটিকেও বিলুপ্ত করে দিতে। ২০০০ সাল থেকে ২০১২ সাল পর্যন্ত ইসরায়েল ডিফেন্স ফোর্সেসের হাতে নিহত ফিলিস্তিনিদের একটি পরিসংখ্যান পাবেন এখানে। এদের মাঝে একটি বড় অংশ নিরীহ বেসামরিক মানুষ, তাদের একটা বড় অংশ শিশু, এবং সংখ্যাটাও ৮০০ থেকে বেশি।

আমি নিশ্চিত, আপনি বিশ্বাস করেন না যে ইসরায়েল ডিফেন্স ফোর্সেসকে সংস্কার করে চালানো সম্ভব। কাজেই ফিলিস্তিনে নির্বিচার হত্যাকাণ্ড বন্ধ করার জন্য যে এই বাহিনীকে বিলুপ্ত করার অনুরোধ আপনি ইসরায়েলি প্রধানমন্ত্রীকে করবেন, সেরকম তো আমরা ধরে নিতেই পারি। নাকি?

কবে আপনি ঐ চিঠিটি লিখবেন, দেখার জন্যে সাগ্রহে অপেক্ষা করছি।

Brad Adams wrote, “We do not believe that RAB can be reformed. It has developed a culture of operating above the law without civilian accountability. It must be disbanded so that the killings come to an end.”

With respect to human rights activist Mr. Brad Adams, I would request him to tear another page from his pad, take a pen and to write a similar letter to the Israeli prime minister urging him to disband the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). You will have the accounts of killings by IDF available here. A lot of these victims are innocent civilians and a large portion of them are children, and the number is a lot more than 800.

I am sure you will agree with me that the IDF cannot be reformed. So can we hope that you will also suggest the Israeli prime minister that IDF should be disbanded?

We are eagerly waiting to see when you will write this letter.

One commenter wondered cynically:

মানবধিকারের সংজ্ঞা বোধহয় অঞ্চল ভেদে ভিন্ন হয়।

Perhaps human rights is defined differently in regions of the world.

University Student Posts Suicide Note In Facebook, Friends Fail To Save Him

Suicide is a long term social issue of Bangladesh and of all the people reported dead due to suicide worldwide every year, 2.06% are Bangladeshis.

Mahbub Shaheen, a student of Dhaka University, posted a suicide note in Facebook at 7:08PM on 2nd of June, 2014. He wrote:

I am lying on Rail Line. The Train is coming. And I am going to kick out bloody myself, the useless eater.

Once I've posted a comment “I should leave” then after I posted “I have to leave”. Some of you asked me- “From where & where will you go?”

I don't know where I am going. But I am leaving. Leaving useless myself forever.

Good bye, good bye forever.

In the comments section of the above post it is revealed that his friends tried to locate Shaheen who was supposed to reach Dhaka, the capital by a train by the evening. His mobile was unreachable so they tried to inform police and his family but did not know how. A few hours later someone confirmed that his body was found near Kamalapur Railway Station.

This shows that Bangladesh desperately needs an effective suicide prevention hotline to act quickly and save people like Shaheen.

The number one cause for suicide is untreated depression. Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable. You can get help from confidential support lines for the suicidal and those in emotional crisis. Visit to find a suicide prevention helpline in your country.

Bangladesh's Economy Remains Stable, Analysis Finds

Equity analyst and blogger Asif Khan posts a brief economic update of Bangladesh in his blog. According to the analysis, despite political uncertainties the economy looks stable and inflation remains under control:

The chances of an interim election in the next 12 months look slim. Current account surpluses continue, currency looks stable and inflation remains under control, largely due to weak demand. On the negatives, tax revenue fell short of the target as per expectation. In our opinion, the major negative was the slower pace of recovery of business activity post election.

The Rise and Fall of Bengal’s Textile Empire

Bengal was once known as the richest province of the Indian subcontinent mainly due to its famous and varied agricultural and textiles products including the Muslin, world renowned finely-woven breathable fabric. M Ahmedullah posts in a two part series (Part 1, Part 2) discussing the history of the Bengal's textile empire.

The Bengali Tradition of Halkhata, New Accounts Ledger

The centuries old Bengali new years celebrations include an important tradition, opening the Halkhata, a new ledger book for the year for the businesses. Blog Amader Kotha explains what Halkhata is. The traditional red color ledger book signifies the marking of a new beginning and the festivities, rituals, hopes and uncertainties that come along with it.

The Underground Football Scene In Bangladesh

Football was once popular in Bangladesh and then cricket took over in the late nineteen nineties. However the appeal has not died. Padya Paramita digs into the Bangladeshi underground football scene:

At the moment, the underground scene is very competitive, (as well as popular) and attracts large crowds with each tournament.

Md. Omar Mostafiz at Jhalmoori remembers when the “underground” trend started:

The whole concept was developed in the year 2005, by some university students, who were football fans looking to play regular football.

There are many “underground” girls’ and boys’ teams playing regular tournaments in the capital Dhaka.

The Significance Of Celebrating The International Women's Day

Farah Subhan at Amader Kotha, a women-based portal highlighting the unheard voices of Bangladesh, tells how countries like Bangladesh can particularly be positively affected by the celebration of International Women’s Day.

A Passenger Ferry Capsizes in Bangladesh. Again.

Recovered bodies are brought to the shore in a dinghy. Image by Reporter#7619314. Copyright Demotix (22/2/2015)

Recovered bodies are brought to the shore in a dinghy. Image by Reporter#7619314. Copyright Demotix (22/2/2015)

On Sunday noon a passenger ferry reportedly packed with more than 100 passengers was hit by a cargo vessel 40 kilometres northwest of Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. It subsequently sank.

A rescue vessel located the capsized vessel and attempted to pull it up. According to reports 37 bodies have been found and many are feared missing.

Collisions with other craft is the top reason for ferry disasters in Bangladesh, which are quite common according to this study. Overcrowding and poor safety measures are the catalyst.

Passenger lists are rarely kept accurately, making it difficult to know how many people are missing when accidents occur. Many people have already been rescued from this particular craft, but it will take days to determine precise numbers. This is the country's second deadly boat accident in less than a fortnight.

Divers at work to pull the bodies out of the capsized passenger ferry.

Divers at work to pull the bodies out of the capsized passenger ferry. Image by Reporter#7619314. Copyright Demotix (22/2/2015)

Blogger Argues Corporate Sponsorship Cheapening Bangaldeshi Folk Culture

Devotees of Fakir Lalon Shah, also known as Lalon Shah (c.1774–1890), a Bengali philosopher poet, come to pay their respects on the anniversary of his death. Kustia, Bangladesh, 18/10/2009. Image by Suvra Kanti Das. Copyright Demotix

Devotees of Fakir Lalon Shah, a Bengali philosopher poet, come to pay their respects on the anniversary of his death. Cheuria, Kustia, Bangladesh, 18/10/2009. Image by Suvra Kanti Das. Copyright Demotix

If we look back the history of Bangladesh, we see examples of ancient kings and land lords who sponsored cultural activities, making literature, music and art flourish in the region. In the present era, we see affluent corporations, mostly telecom companies in Bangladesh, taking their place.

They have been going the extra mile to sponsor a wide variety of cultural pursuits, including a rural festival celebrating Fakir Lalon Shah (c. 1774–1890), a popular Bengali baul saint, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and thinker, but not always with positive reception.

Zahid Islam at the blog Alal O Dulal explains how corporations are selling the Lalon culture:

In 2007 for the first time in history, Lalon Phokir’s Dol Uthshob (Lalon's Dol Festival) was held under sponsorship, with promotion campaigns so aggressive and ill designed it disgusts me to even remember it. Since then Grameenphone and Banglalink (telecom brands) took turns in sponsoring the festivals.

He also mentions that Lalon festival is getting a modern shape under corporate banner:

The first time around, those of us who had been visiting Cheuria for many years, were shocked to find the sponsorship junks.

And the need to protect their sanctity:

There are many people and organisations, home and abroad, that feel we need to “protect” the baul way of life. I do not necessarily agree with this notion. Rather I feel our intervention is what creates most of the “problems.”

How Entrepreneurship Helped a Bangladeshi Girl Avoid Child Marriage

Bangladeshi blogger Raad Rahman tells the story of a girl in rural Bangladesh who avoided a forced child marriage after she started a grocery shop using a small grant from a local non-government organisation. She was going to be married off to her neighbour's son because her family could no longer support her financially.

Bangladeshi Sex Workers Take Cow Steroids To Mask Their Real Age

ActionAid, a British charity, mentioned in a recent report that 90% of commercial sex workers in Bangladesh are addicted to Oradexon, a steroid meant for cattle. Diaspora Bangladeshi blogger Anushay Hossain explains why they use this drug:

This medicine meant to fatten cows has become the preferred drug among the madams [employers of sex workers] of Bangladesh. They are using the pills to mask the real age of the underage girls working for sex in their brothels by making them appear older and at the same time making the more ‘seasoned’ sex-worker look plum and voluptuous.

Creating Biogas from Water Hyacinth

Water hyacinth (water weed) is a menace in Bangladesh which restricts water flow and blocks sunlight in rivers and ponds contributing to contamination and killing of fish. Instead of spending much in removing or eradicating them they can be used for a good cause. Kristin Boekhoff at Panigram blog informs about an innovation in Jessore, Bangladesh which will be the first commercially operating biogas reactor running off of water hyacinth in the world.

Meet Khadija, a Motorcycle Repairwoman Breaking Boundaries in Bangladesh

BRAC blog profiles how girls in Bangladesh are learning lucrative yet unconventional trades for women. Khadija, for example, was forced to drop out of school before finishing fifth grade to help support her family. Not so strange, given that only 55 percent of children in Bangladesh complete their primary education. 

But now, Khadija, who has never driven a motorcycle, can fix one as well as any man.

Alternative Voices Speaking For A Secular Bangladesh

Bangladeshi liberal humanist, free-thinker and award winning blogger Asif Mohiuddin has been invited to speak at the World Humanist Congress 2014 in Oxford, UK. He was arrested multiple times for his alleged ‘anti-state’ and ‘anti-religious’ writings, attacked by fundamentalists, and is living with death threats. Here is an excerpt from the translation of his Facebook status in Bengali on 3 March 2014 about being invited to speak at the Congress and how Bangladesh should be perceived on the global stage:

Bangladeshi doesn’t mean South Asia’s Islamic fundamentalist – Pakistan’s little brother. There is religious fundamentalism in Bangladesh, but there are also voices raised in protest against it, much like in the United States and Europe.

We just need to get our voice to the international stage. We need to make our position clear. If we don’t, the outside world will always see us as illiterate, religious fundamentalist, far right nationalist, misogynist, anti-gay, backwards-thinking and we will keep being seen as a mini-Pakistan, mini-Afghanistan, mini-Saudi Arabia. It’s time to change these perceptions.

We want to change from a moderate Muslim country to be secular Bangladesh, where there is free speech and equal rights for all. We are marching towards that future and hopefully the outside world will see us.

Barefoot Lawyers Empowering Rural Bangladeshi Women

In Bangladesh, around 6,000 “barefoot lawyers” have been trained by the country's biggest NGO under its human rights and legal services (HRLS) program, reports Scott Macmillan at BRAC blog. These women act as one-woman mobile legal services clinics for the poor, especially women in rural areas where the traditional justice system tends to stack the odds against them.

VIDEO: T20 Cricket World Cup Theme Song Flash Mobs

Bangladesh is hosting the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup and the fever is catching on among cricket-loving Bangladeshis. The official song of the 2014 tournament, “Char Chokka Hoi Hoi”, has become popular, and many universities across the country have started arranging their own flash mobs set to the theme song and uploading them to YouTube. View some of them here.

The video with the most views will be played in the stadium during the tournament. The World Cup schedule runs from March 16 to April 6.

Selfies or Social Entrepreneurship? What's Your Definition For Success?

Bangladeshi adventurer and social entrepreneur Muntasir Mamun has some advice for the young people, who have not yet decided about their goal, still haven’t found their place; merely figuring it all out:

By placing emphasis on new, different and bigger picture things, we change our definitions of success. Experiment, calculate, find your own path and organise yourself – and then inspire others to come along with you.


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