An Imposed Friendship and Our Humiliation.

Originally Published on The Weekly Economic Times
M. Tawsif Salam


Dr Dipu Moni’s remark about Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty that he breached a diplomat’s code of conduct was not her first remark to be considered as a flap. She received spectacular criticisms after forgoing an Indian journalist who marked Bangladesh as a ‘buffer state’ in a press conference presided by her.

People from the top brass of present Awami League government power structure have set some more examples of being kind to forgo a couple of commentaries of people associated with India. The most recent one was Dipu Moni’s presence in a seminar where Indian High Commissioner added the adjective ‘so-called’ while naming Bangladeshi experts, especially those who are critical to India’s unpopular Tipaimukh dam. After Chakravarty’s remark, BNP’s lawmaker Adv Mahbubuddin Khokon, who is also BNP’s lone representative to the parliamentary panel for foreign affairs, demanded immediate expulsion of the rowdy diplomat.

Following Khokon’s demand, Dr Dipu Moni’s popular remark about Chakravarty’s breaching the code of conduct was almost covering up the controversy that she caused by her silence against humiliation of Bangladesh.

Now, it’s to be noted that Dr Dipu Moni became a part of several events where she received criticisms either by her humiliating silence, or by her apparent incompetence to put thrashing replies against insulting remark against Bangladesh; and throughout all these Awami League’s attention to her activities never became public.

But at a certain point Awami League top brass became really tensed about her statements and took no time to differ what she said about the rowdy diplomat. After no time from Dr Dipu Moni became coldly vocal about Chakravarty’s rowdiness, Awami League’s spokesperson and the Minister of Local Government and Cooperatives Syed Ashraful Islam said that he at no point thinks that Chakravarty has breached a diplomat’s code of conduct.

To some extent it was a common idea that Bangladesh Awami League’s ‘more friendly than necessary’ stance to India is just a general point of criticising them, which is often practiced and not necessarily the claim has to be too definite or abundantly substantial. But behaviours and speeches of responsible government persons, political or non-political, put admissible evidences backing the supra-enthusiasm of the present government on issues those concern Indian purposes more than those of Bangladesh.

The Tipaimukh dam issue has seen more passes than sometimes satirically presented Dutch ‘total football’ could ever have produced or suggested. We don’t know who were midfielders, attackers or defenders, but the passes have been subsequently carried out by the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Water Resources, and Environment & Forest, without much of the senses of their particular roles. Whenever the responsible individuals received stern quizzes about the issue, they either kept passing it to other offices, or made remarks those are solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation.

The Minister of Commerce Col. Faruk Khan, who in accordance with his official functions wasn’t supposed to be concerned about the issue, claimed all of a sudden that the Bangladeshi experts who are being critical to Tipaimukh issue don’t know anything.

Following his statement, Chakravarty made two subsequent comments; one is that the protest against Tipaimukh issue was politically ill-motivated, and the other is no laws on earth could bar India from building Tipaimukh dam. Quoting Chakravarty, Minister of Communications Abul Hossain said the protest against Tipaimukh dam is insubstantial. Minister of Water Resources Ramesh Sen, who did something more serious than a quotation, commented that if there is any negative impact of Tipaimukh dam, Bangladesh should concede the damages at least for sake of the alliance with her greater neighbour.

As it has been told earlier, this series of comments is solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation. The present government as well as the ruling party, and most importantly Syed Ashraful Islam who was in a hurry to reestablish the submissiveness of his government to the Indian authority by differing Dr. Dipu Moni’s cold protest within hours, should get the note that friendship cannot be imposed.

You just cannot pick up a group of people and ask them to recite “Bangladesh and India are friends”, who already are holding newspapers with headlines of Bangladeshi frontier population body-counts to the BSF bullets. Or, you cannot just ask people to accept long-lasting damages just for sake of alliance with a nation which appoints ‘so-called’ diplomats to meddle in our internal politics and humiliate our sovereignty.

People won’t accept speeches from a minister like Ramesh Sen hinting at sacrificing Bangladeshi resources for sake of India’s friendship, or of lawmakers like Abdur Razzaq stating Bangladesh can make up her desertification by importing Tipaimukh produced power; hence Bangladesh can accept both her desertification and Indian bills just to have power produced in Tipaimukh. These comments hint at their loyalties to something else than the sovereignty of Bangladesh.Dr Dipu Moni’s remark about Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty that he breached a diplomat’s code of conduct was not her first remark to be considered as a flap. She received spectacular criticisms after forgoing an Indian journalist who marked Bangladesh as a ‘buffer state’ in a press conference presided by her.

People from the top brass of present Awami League government power structure have set some more examples of being kind to forgo a couple of commentaries of people associated with India. The most recent one was Dipu Moni’s presence in a seminar where Indian High Commissioner added the adjective ‘so-called’ while naming Bangladeshi experts, especially those who are critical to India’s unpopular Tipaimukh dam. After Chakravarty’s remark, BNP’s lawmaker Adv Mahbubuddin Khokon, who is also BNP’s lone representative to the parliamentary panel for foreign affairs, demanded immediate expulsion of the rowdy diplomat.

Following Khokon’s demand, Dr Dipu Moni’s popular remark about Chakravarty’s breaching the code of conduct was almost covering up the controversy that she caused by her silence against humiliation of Bangladesh.

Now, it’s to be noted that Dr Dipu Moni became a part of several events where she received criticisms either by her humiliating silence, or by her apparent incompetence to put thrashing replies against insulting remark against Bangladesh; and throughout all these Awami League’s attention to her activities never became public.

But at a certain point Awami League top brass became really tensed about her statements and took no time to differ what she said about the rowdy diplomat. After no time from Dr Dipu Moni became coldly vocal about Chakravarty’s rowdiness, Awami League’s spokesperson and the Minister of Local Government and Cooperatives Syed Ashraful Islam said that he at no point thinks that Chakravarty has breached a diplomat’s code of conduct.
To some extent it was a common idea that Bangladesh Awami League’s ‘more friendly than necessary’ stance to India is just a general point of criticising them, which is often practiced and not necessarily the claim has to be too definite or abundantly substantial. But behaviours and speeches of responsible government persons, political or non-political, put admissible evidences backing the supra-enthusiasm of the present government on issues those concern Indian purposes more than those of Bangladesh.

The Tipaimukh dam issue has seen more passes than sometimes satirically presented Dutch ‘total football’ could ever have produced or suggested. We don’t know who were midfielders, attackers or defenders, but the passes have been subsequently carried out by the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Water Resources, and Environment & Forest, without much of the senses of their particular roles. Whenever the responsible individuals received stern quizzes about the issue, they either kept passing it to other offices, or made remarks those are solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation.

The Minister of Commerce Col. Faruk Khan, who in accordance with his official functions wasn’t supposed to be concerned about the issue, claimed all of a sudden that the Bangladeshi experts who are being critical to Tipaimukh issue don’t know anything.

Following his statement, Chakravarty made two subsequent comments; one is that the protest against Tipaimukh issue was politically ill-motivated, and the other is no laws on earth could bar India from building Tipaimukh dam. Quoting Chakravarty, Minister of Communications Abul Hossain said the protest against Tipaimukh dam is insubstantial. Minister of Water Resources Ramesh Sen, who did something more serious than a quotation, commented that if there is any negative impact of Tipaimukh dam, Bangladesh should concede the damages at least for sake of the alliance with her greater neighbour.

As it has been told earlier, this series of comments is solely enough to humiliate the sovereignty of a nation. The present government as well as the ruling party, and most importantly Syed Ashraful Islam who was in a hurry to reestablish the submissiveness of his government to the Indian authority by differing Dr. Dipu Moni’s cold protest within hours, should get the note that friendship cannot be imposed.

You just cannot pick up a group of people and ask them to recite “Bangladesh and India are friends”, who already are holding newspapers with headlines of Bangladeshi frontier population body-counts to the BSF bullets. Or, you cannot just ask people to accept long-lasting damages just for sake of alliance with a nation which appoints ‘so-called’ diplomats to meddle in our internal politics and humiliate our sovereignty.

People won’t accept speeches from a minister like Ramesh Sen hinting at sacrificing Bangladeshi resources for sake of India’s friendship, or of lawmakers like Abdur Razzaq stating Bangladesh can make up her desertification by importing Tipaimukh produced power; hence Bangladesh can accept both her desertification and Indian bills just to have power produced in Tipaimukh. These comments hint at their loyalties to something else than the sovereignty of Bangladesh.

Writing With a Broken Heart : This Time The ‘Politics’

The Article Originally Pulished on http://comilla.wordpress.com/
I am republishing it here without any editing.
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একজন বাংলাদেশী, যে তার দেশকে ভালোবাসে, যে তার দেশের সেনানীদের বিশ্বের সর্বশ্রেষ্ঠজ্ঞান করে, যে দেশকে আক্রান্ত হতে দেখলে নিজেদের ভেতর মতাদর্শের বিভাজনকে গৌণ মনে করে, দেশের সবাইকে ঐক্যবদ্ধ হতে দেখবার জন্য ছটফট করে, তার মন ভেঙ্গে দেয়ার জন্যে পিলখানার ঘটনাটি যথেষ্ট ছিল। স্বাধীন বাংলাদেশে দেশের সেনাবাহিনীর উপর এত বড় আঘাত আর হয়নি। ঘটনাটি যেদিন ঘটে সেদিন কেউই বুঝে উঠতে পারেননি যে আসলে কি হয়েছে কিংবা এই অবস্থায় কি মনোভাব প্রদর্শন করা প্রয়োজন। যখন পিলখানার ভেতরে ও আশেপাশে পাওয়া যেতে থাকল দেশের গর্বের সন্তানদের ক্ষতবিক্ষত দেহ, তখন আর কারওরই বুঝতে বাকি থাকেনি যে এ কোন বিদ্রোহ, অসন্তোষ ও ক্ষোভের ফল হতে পারেনা। এ দেশের নিরাপত্তা বুহ্যের উপর এক আচমকা ও নৃশংস আঘাত, যা বাংলাদেশের শত্রুরা ঘটিয়েছে। বাংলাদেশের ক্ষতি হলে যাদের লাভ হয়, বাংলাদেশ এগিয়ে গেলে যাদের ক্ষতি হয়, তারাই এই কান্ড ঘটিয়েছে। এই ঘটনার ধারক বাহক যারা, তারা এই দেশের কেউ হতে পারে না, খোঁজ নিলে জানা যাবে কাগজে কলমে তারা হয়তো এদেশেরই মানুষ, কিংবা নয়, কিন্ত তারা বাংলাদেশের ঘৃণ্যতম শত্রু। এখন পর্যন্ত দৃশ্যমান ঘটনাগুলো পিলখানার ভেতর ঘটলেও ধারণা করা কঠিন নয় যে পরিকল্পনা ছিল দেশের আরও ক্ষতি করার। দেশের সেনাবাহিনীতে চূড়ান্ত ক্ষোভের সঞ্চার করে সেখান থেকে প্রতিক্রিয়া আসতে পারে এমনটা আশা করা স্বাভাবিক, এমনটা ঘটতেই পারত। সেক্ষেত্রে দেশকে ইতমধ্যেই যে পরিমাণ দূর্বল করা হয়েছে, দেশ তার থেকে আরও অনেক বেশি দূর্বল হয়ে পড়ত। পরম করুণাময়ের কাছে অশেষ কৃতজ্ঞতা জ্ঞাপন করছি যে তা অবশেষে ঘটেনি। আবেগ ও ক্ষোভের বশে তাৎক্ষণাৎ প্রতিক্রিয়া প্রদর্শনের চেয়ে ধৈর্য্য ও দক্ষতার সাথে পরিস্থিতি সামাল দেয়াকেই আমাদের সশস্ত্র বাহিনী সঠিক মনে করেছে। এতে সেনাবাহিনীর প্রতি দেশের মানুষের শ্রদ্ধা বেড়েছে, সেনাবাহিনীর অধিনায়কদের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা ও আস্থা বেড়েছে। আমরা আশা করি নিয়মতান্ত্রিক ভাবে ধাপে ধাপে এগিয়ে আমাদের সেনাবাহিনী দেশের উপর এই নৃশংস আক্রমনের নেপথ্য খুঁজে বের করবেন, এই ঘটনার দায়ীদের বিচারের সামনে উপস্থিত করবেন ও দেশের শত্রুদের নিধন করবেন।

আমাদের দেশে রাজনীতির সাথে জড়িত ব্যাক্তিবর্গ দেশের স্বার্থকে পাশ কাটিয়ে যখন একান্তই নিজ রাজনৈতিক উদ্দেশ্যকে সামনে রেখে নানা পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করেন, তখন তাকে আমরা বলি রাজনীতির নোংরা খেলা, কিংবা ডার্টি গেম। পিলখানায় সার সার পড়ে থাকা অফিসারদের মৃতদেহ গুলো দেখে মনে ভেঙ্গে গিয়েছিল। কিন্তু তারপরও সংশ্লিষ্ট সবার বিশেষ করে সশস্ত্র বাহিনীর অশ্রুসজল অথচ ধীরস্থির অবস্থান দেখে একটু একটু করে মনোবল ফিরে পাচ্ছিলাম। এই বোধটা জাগ্রত হতে শুরু করেছিল যে ঠিক সময় আমরা ঠিকই একতা ও মনোবল ফিরে পাই। কিন্তু এই প্রক্রিয়ায় বাধ সাধছে দেশের রাজনীতি। আজ সংসদ অধিবেশনে জনপ্রতিনিধিদের বক্তব্যদানের ধরণ দেখে নিরাশ না হয়ে উপায় ছিলনা। আমি পুরো অধিবেশনটির সম্প্রচার দেখিনি। কিন্তু একদেড় ঘন্টা যাই দেখেছি, তাতে পারষ্পরিক দোষারোপ ছাড়া কিছুই ছিলনা। বিশেষ করে এই ক্রন্দনরত হৃদয়ে সবচেয়ে শক্তিশালী আঘাতটা বোধ হয় করলেন আমাদের স্বয়ং প্রধানমন্ত্রী। শুনেছি ওয়াশিংটন পোস্ট, টেলিগ্রাফ, গার্ডিয়ান নাকি গত কয়েকদিনের ঘটনায় মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রীর ভূমিকার ভূয়সী প্রশংসা করেছে। পরম করুণাময়ের কাছে প্রার্থনা করি ঐ পত্রিকার সংবাদদাতারা যেন সংসদে প্রধানমন্ত্রীর আজকের ভাষণটির ব্যাপারে জানতে না পারেন। কারণ আজকের ভাষণ খুবই নগ্ন সাক্ষ্য বহন করে যে আমাদের রাজনীতি তার গতানুগতিক আচরণ থেকে বেরুতে পারে নাই, পারে তো নাইই বরং এই সংকটের সময়ও তার কুৎসিত দিক বেরিয়ে এল। মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রীর বক্তব্য থেকে আমরা জানতে পারলাম বিরোধী দলীয় নেত্রী বেগম খালেদা জিয়া নাকি পরোক্ষ ভাবে ঐ অফিসারদের হত্যাকান্ডে জড়িত ছিলেন। সাংগঠনিক ভাবে বিরোধী দল অর্থাৎ বিএনপি নাকি এই নির্মম হত্যাকান্ডে মদদ জুগিয়েচছে। শুধু তাই নয়, হত্যাকারীদের পালিয়ে যেতে সাহায্য করেছে এই বিএনপিই। গোয়েন্দা মারফত প্রধানমন্ত্রী নিশ্চিত হয়েছেন যে ঘটনার আগের দুরাত বেগম জিয়া তাঁর বাসায় ছিলেননা, এবং আমাদের মাননীন প্রধানমন্ত্রী সন্দেহ প্রকাশ করেছেন যে সেই দুরাত বেগম জিয়া অফিসারদের হত্যা করার ষড়যন্ত্রে ব্যায় করে থাকতে পারেন। প্রধানমন্ত্রী সংসদের কোন প্রমাণ প্রদর্শন না করলেও বলেছেন বিরোধী দলের এগুলো অস্বীকার করার কোন উপায় নাই। এই প্রত্যেকটি কথা প্রধানমন্ত্রী আজ সংসদ অধিবেশন চলাকালীন সময়ে দ্ব্যার্থ কন্ঠে বলে গেলেন।

মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা যিনি বাংলাদেশের ইতিহাসে নির্বাচনে সবচেয়ে বড় বিজয় নিয়ে ক্ষমতায় আরোহণ করেছেন, এই পরিস্থিতে সংসদের দাঁড়িয়ে তাঁর এই বক্তব্যদানের কি উদ্দেশ্য থাকতে পারে? উদ্দেশ্য আপাতদৃষ্টিতে একটাই হতে পারে যে এধরণের সরাসরি অভিযোগের একটি কড়া জবাব দেয়ার জন্য বিএনপি ছটফট করতে থাকবে। বিএনপির এর জবাবে হয়তো এরকমই সারশূণ্য একটি বক্তব্য দিবে, কে জানে বিএনপির বক্তব্য এর চেয়েও সারশূণ্য হতে পারে। তার জবাবে রাজনৈতিক প্রতিপক্ষ আওয়ামী লীগ আরেকটি কড়া জবাব দিবে। এই নিয়ে পরষ্পরকে দোষারোপের প্রক্রিয়া চলতে থাকবে। আর এর মাঝে বিভ্রান্ত হবে দেশের সব মানুষ। শুনেছি স্বরাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রীকে প্রধান করে নাকি তদন্ত কমিটি গঠন করা হয়েছে। স্বরাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী যত বড় রাজনীতিকই হোননা কেন, তিনি দেশের ক্যাবিনেটের মেম্বার। সেই ক্যাবিনেটের নেতা হলেন স্বয়ং প্রধানমন্ত্রী। তদন্তর কোন কুলকিনারা কেউ জেনে উঠবার আগেই প্রধানমন্ত্রীর কাছ থেকে যদি এসব কথা শুনতে হয়, তবে সেই প্রধানমন্ত্রীর অধস্তন স্বরাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রীর নেতৃত্বে সম্পাদিত তদন্তের ফলাফল কি হবে, তা কি আমরা আগে থেকে ধারণা করতে পারিনা?

দেশের উপর এত বড় একটা আঘাত এল। তাতেও যদি আমরা শিক্ষিত না হই, তাতেও যদি আমরা গতানুগতিকের একটুও বাইরে কিছু করতে বা ভাবতে না পারি, তবে কি সামনে এগুনো সম্ভব? ২০০৭ সালের শুরু থেকে যখন ঢালাও ভাবে দেশের রাজনীতিকদের উপর আক্রমণ আসছিল, তখন রাজনীতির পক্ষে কথা বলে বলে আমরা মুখের ফেনা তুলেছি। তখন রাজনীতিকে কেউ গালমন্দ করলে সেই গালমন্দ নিজের গায়ে নিয়েছি এবং তার উপযুক্ত জবাব দিতে চেয়েছি। দুবছর পর আজ দেশের উপর এত বড় আঘাত হানা হল। এই সংকটের মুহুর্তে যদি দেখি ঐক্যের পথে, এগুনোর পথে বাধা হয়ে দাড়াচ্ছে সেই রাজনীতি, তবে এর উপর মানুষের শ্রদ্ধা থাকা কি সম্ভব? এর উপর মানুষ কেন আস্থা রাখবে? যখন কেউ বলেছে রাজনীতিবিদরাই দেশের এই হাল করেছেন, তখন তার জবাব দিয়েছি এই বলে যে দেশের প্রতিটি মানুষই রাজনীতিবিদ, রাজনীতিকে গালি দিলে নিজেকেও গালি দেয়া হয়। তো আমরা এ কোন রাজনীতির পক্ষে কথা বলেছিলাম? এতকিছুর পরও মানসিকতার বদল হয় না কেন? দায়িত্মবান পদের থেকে দায়িত্মহীন বক্তব্য দানের অবসান কবে হবে?

ETV Exclusive: BDR Mutiny in Dhaka Inside Story.

This is the video after Army was entered the Pillkhana to find the Missing Army Officials and showed on Ekushey TV that day as an exclusive.

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Hello Readers Happy Valentines Day To All of You.

I have a previous post about this.
Please click here to read it.

When The Media Turns Into Evil.

Sunita Paul
6 September, 2008. India.

http://xanthis.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/latifur-anam-matiur.jpg

Media can play important role in up building a nation, while the same media, being influenced by evil forces or vested interest, could turn into devastating element for any nation. Take the example of Bangladesh’s leading media group named Transcom Media, which owns a vernacular daily newspaper named Prothom Alo, an English language daily named The Daily Star, two periodicals named Shaptahik 2000 and Anandadhara. Recently the group has acquired ownership of an FM radio station named ‘Aina Broadcasting Corporation’ (ABC). The group is rather known as ‘Daily Star Group’ in Bangladesh, because of tremendous influence of its English language daily as well as its top most position amongst all competitor dailies.

Before going into notoriety of Daily Star group, let me first put focus at the back ground of the emergence of this business-media group. During early nineties, present owners of ‘Star Group’ turned financially bankrupt when its main figure Latifur Rahman’s paternal property W Rahman Jute Mills at country’s Chandpur district had to declare lay-off thus leaving thousands of workers and labors unemployed. Numerous cases were filed with the Chandpur district labor and criminal courts against Latifur Rahman and other members of the factory, as they defaulted payment of worker’s wages. On the other hand, W Rahman Jute Mills was listed as one of the top defaulting enterprises with Bangladesh Bank (Central Bank) for long standing loans.

But, luck started moving in positive direction, when Latifur Rahman’s wife’s cousin Anup Chetia (leader of ULFA separatist group) came forward with hidden help of finance in businesses in Bangladesh through Rahman. It is learnt that a few million dollars were placed with Latifur Rahman in re-organizing his collapsed business and ULFA kept a secret stake of shares in all businesses initiated by Latifur Rahman after receipt of this secret fund.

http://xanthis.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/transcom_logo.jpgLatifur Rahman understanding his failure in running industrial enterprise profitably launched a company named Transcom, which began businesses as the sole distributor of Nestle brand milk products in Bangladesh. Initial response although was very poor from the local market, due to solid financial back up from ULFA, Latifur Rahman managed to ultimately penetrate in the business and in few years, Transcom emerged as one of the mightiest enterprises in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, when Dhaka’s well respected journalist S M Ali took the initiative of launching an English language newspaper, Latifur was suggested by ULFA to buy shares, as such investment would buy media influence for the separatist group, which fights against Indian government in separating seven North-Eastern states within India.

S M Ali was successful in placing Daily Star at the forefront of Dhaka’s English press, because of his extra-ordinary qualities and courage. Just in few years, this newly launched newspaper sub sided most of the competitor dailies such as Bangladesh Observer, Bangladesh Times (now defunct), New Nation, Morning Sun (now defunct) and Financial Express. But sudden demise of S M Ali opened the opportunity for Latifur Rahman to swallow the newspaper. He brought Mahfuz Anam as the editor of the newspaper, who subsequently ousted ancestors of S M Ali and grabbed his shares. This was the beginning of notorious journey of Daily Star group.

Later, when Anup Chetia was arrested by Bangladeshi law enforcing agencies, Latifur Rahman stopped paying any share to ULFA. This was the first beginning of feud between notorious ULFA separatists and Latifur Rahman. It is widely rumored in Dhaka that, ULFA had hidden hands behind murder of Latifur’s daughter Shazneed Rahman, who was brutally raped and murdered right inside her residence at Dhaka’s posh Gulshan area.

But, the handsome investment from ULFA, gave Transcom an excellent opportunity to grow. Latifur decided to launch a vernacular daily newspaper with the initial capital of 10 million Taka in 1997. Prothom Alo recruited large number of top newsmen from Dhaka’s press community. It also had dynamic Matiur Rahman as its editor, which helped the newspaper to rapidly turn into one of the leading dailies in the country. Later two vernacular periodicals were also launched by this group, one with celebrated journalist Shahadat Chowdhury as its editor.

In some years, Transcom group acquired ownership of Pepsi, Phillips and several large industrial enterprises. Luck always clicked in favor of this business group, as far as its investments in media was concerned. None of the newspapers, belonging to Transcom group had ever faced any financial adversity.

http://xanthis.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/prothom-alo1.jpgDue to such influential ownership of media projects, Latifur Rahman got the excellent opportunity of continuing various illegal businesses including import of goods from abroad under false declaration. Several consignments imported by Transcom were stopped by customs officials in Bangladesh and evidence of revenue evasion of millions of Taka was unearthed. But, everything was managed, by using the influence of Prothom Alo and Daily Star. Even after the political changes in Bangladesh on January 11, 2007, Daily Star group managed to send its Executive Editor Syed Fahim Munayem as the Press Secretary to the Chief Executive of the interim government. Even at later stage, when Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) issued notice on Latifur Rahman asking declaration of his wealth and assets, the entire issue was some how put into suppression with the help of Daily Star-Prothom Alo group.

Everyone knows the news about cracks in Jamuna Multi-purpose Bridge in Bangladesh. But, possibly no one knows the fact that the main reason behind such cracks was due to use of a particular brand of cement, which in the name of Portland Grey Cement is in fact fly ash mixed lowest grade cement. And, this inferior quality of cement went into various high cost projects in Bangladesh just because; chairman of the company producing and marketing this brand is none but Transcom’s Latifur Rahman. No one in the government dares to utter even a single word about Holcim, which supplied such cement to various projects, as they are afraid of wrath of Daily Star and Prothom Alo. Despite the fact that, both the newspapers are largest in circulation in Bangladesh, main purpose of these publications is serving the interests of Corporate Crime.

Prime intention of Daily Star group is to stand against various business groups, whenever there is any business rivalry with that specific company or individual. This group went into heinous propaganda against Beximco Group, Bashundhara Group and many others in past. There is even clean track record of dubious behavior of this group is sabotaging various projects in Bangladesh, with the ulterior motive of either supporting businesses of Latifur Rahman, Transcom or members of this syndicate.

Many projects were already sabotaged by this group, thus causing tremendous loss to Bangladesh’s economy. The latest episode of such rivalry of Daily Star group was with Bangladesh’s lone hard rock mining project at country’s Dinazpur district. Maddhyapara Hard Rock Mining Project (MHMP) became a pray of Daily Star for past several years. It is learnt that, some vested interest groups, including importers of stones and stone-chips from India, Myanmar and Malaysia are patronizing such media terror by Star, thus attempting to sabotage country’s most prospective project, which not only is already saving millions of dollars, but, also is set to turn into a huge prospect of earning millions of dollars from export of world-class Granite Tiles.

First rivalry with the MHMP began when Bangladesh government appointed Polish consulting firm Kopex SA, defying the fact that this firm had no experience of hard rock mining. It is learnt that, appointment of this Polish firm was a result of heavy persuasion from some high level corrupt bureaucrats in the Energy Ministry and Petrobangla. From the very appointment, the Polish consultant had been frantically trying to sabotage the project for reason unknown.

In June 2006, Kopex SA submitted a paper with the Energy and Mineral Resources Division saying, “Maddhyapara Hard Rock Mining project has become ‘virtually sick’ and the employer (the government) has suffered huge financial loss.”

It said Petrobangla and the project authorities, Madhyapara Granite Mining Company Limited, should ask Nam-Nam for final commissioning and test production immediately to ascertain the actual status of mine development.

“The Petrobangla and MGMCL should take over the mine after ascertaining its actual state and on documentation to establish the legal ownership of the mine,” it said.

Kopex said, “The Nam-Nam has complemented major installation of the mine in over 12 years but they have not yet done the final commissioning and test run although the original development period of the mine was 6.5 years since the signing of the agreement between Petrobangla and the company in 1994.”

Sources in Petrobangla, however, ditched the Kopex report, saying that the consultant should also be held responsible for the delay as it failed to come up with proper plan.

“Kopex also wants to be involved more with the mine for which it came up with such a report,” Petrobangla source added.

http://xanthis.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/ulfa.jpgMeanwhile, on October 15, 2005, The Daily Star published a front page news item titled ‘North Korean company looks for legal coverage to finish task’. In this report, Daily Star said, “When completed, the Maddyapara hard rock mine will commercially sell 1.65 million tonnes of granite a year. The country annually imports 3.4 million tonnes of granite. Local production will save between $38 million to $58 million US dollars. The project has a life span of 45 years. However, the price of Maddhyapara granite will not be cheaper than the rocks that are commonly imported from India because of the increased project cost.”

It was clearly understood that the report was published with the very intention of killing the project to protect the interest of importers-exporters syndicate, which enjoys business of millions of dollars every year by continuing to import stone from India and other countries. In this report, Daily Star claimed that the cost of production of MHMP hark rock was higher than imported one, which is nothing but a clean deviation from truth. It is learnt from dependable sources that, production cost for each tons of hard rock from Maddhyapara project stands at US$ 10 while the minimum import cost is US$ 22.

On May 18, 2006, Daily Star once again published a front page report titled “Petrobangla to take it over from DPRK firm”, where it repeated the same lie on the price of the locally extorted hard rock. It said, “Maddhyapara granite will however not be cheaper than the rocks that are commonly imported from India because of the increased project cost.”

Nam-Nam Corporation successfully completed and handed over the project in May last year and meanwhile; commercial production in the project is already going on. Due to timely steps taken by the present government in Dhaka, locally produced stones are purchased and used in various domestic projects on priority basis, while the cost of local stones are more than half the cost of imported ones. Being totally frustrated at the completion of the project, vested interest groups once again managed to published another front page report in The daily Star on May 16, 2008 titled “Miner now wants return of non-existent loans”.

In this report, Daily Star wrote, “Nam-nam is now operating the mine with 65 South Koreans under a one-year service contract due to expire on May 27. As it did not fully transfer the South Korean technology to the MGMCL, it will get yet another year’s service contract, the sources said.”

http://xanthis.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/the-daily-star-internet-edition1.jpgThis part of the news shows two things. One, the reporter knows nothing of the project but was writing thing being dictated by vested interest groups. In the same news, while the reporter said Nam-Nam is a North Korean company, how he could discover 65 South Koreans in the project (does he lack the minimum knowledge that North and South Korea do not have any diplomatic relations as yet?). The reporter also said that, Nam-Nam is not fully transferring South Korean technology to MGMCL. Ridiculous, who edits and passes such rubbish news in Daily Star? Being Dhaka’s leading dailies, it should be ashamed of such poor journalistic quality. The entire report as well as all previous reports is part of propaganda and conspiracy to kill the entire project, which stands as the most prospective one for Bangladesh. Anyone can easily understand that, vested interest groups, including enemies of North Korea are patronizing such dangerous campaign not only to sabotage the project, but, also to give a good lesson to the North Korean company for being dedicated and helpful to Bangladesh is saving millions of dollars from import of hard rock.

Bangladesh government not only needs to patronize this extremely profitable and viable project, but even needs to go into fresh negotiations with Nam-Nam or the North Korean government in signing fresh agreements for exploration of more mining projects in the country. According to mining experts several more hard rock mines are already existing in the Northern region of Bangladesh, which will be able to help the country in stopping import of stones from abroad, thus saving billions of dollars each year. At the same time, government needs to identify vested interest groups within Energy Ministry and Petrobangla in order to not only protect the national interest but also to punish the culprits for their notorious roles.

Further harassment of the North Korean company will earn bad reputation for Bangladesh from the potential foreign investors. Nam-Nam deserves to be appreciated for completion of the MHMP despite series of harassment and non-cooperation from the Energy Ministry and Petrobangla.

* * * * *

Sunita Paul is a Indian writer, columnist, political analyst and regular contributor of American Chronicle, The Global Politician and The Asian Tribune.

It is offcourse more than money!

I am shocked!
I am surprised!
I am worried!

That’s all I can say after hearing the news that 14 Bangladeshi Players are going to play Indian Cricket League (ICL) which is a private cricket league and banned by BCCI and ICC also said that it is ‘NOT’ a legal cricket league.

Bangladesh is a land of dreamers. It does not matter whether we have two square meals or a place to sleep, we dream big and when most of these dreams do not come true we get frustrated. The entire Bangladesh nation is sports crazy. Off late cricket became a game of billions. Cricketers put Bangladesh in the world map. It is not that we became world champions .We lost most of the matches in all forms of games, most by comfortable margins. Yet our brilliant occasional victories made us rejoice wild. Bangladeshi cricketers became heroes. Millions worship them. They are ambassadors of the 150 Million Bangladeshis. Everywhere they play Bangladeshi community remains present to cheer them up. Our cricketers also carry Bangladesh on their shoulder. They did enough to make Bangladesh proud. Whatever they earned they earned with their hard labour .They deserved it. No one gave them any money for charity.

14 Bangladeshi players recently join the REBEL Cricket League which is BANNED in the country where it is based. They players who joined knew that they will be banned because of joining the league. Because other country boards also do the same. They players are-

Habibul Bashar (capt), Aftab Ahmed, Shahriar Nafees, Alok Kapali, Dhiman Ghosh (wk), Farhad Reza, Manjural Islam, Golam Mabud (wk), Mahbubul Karim, Mohammad Rafique, Mohammad Sharif, Mosharraf Hossain, Tapash Baisya . Another one is yet to be confirmed. Nazimuddin give his resign letter to BCB but didn’t signed with ICL yet. Let’s see what he do.

I will not blame Mohammad Rafique because he already retired from international cricket career few months back. So he has right to earn money now at the terminal part of his career from my point of view. So he has right to join ICL but others are not.

In spite of knowing this, they join the league. Among the 12 players there are some players who has potential to be famous player and star by playing for Bangladesh. But they has gone to the wrong way and they are just FINISHED. Bangladesh Cricket Board banned the 13 players from each type of cricket for 10 years that means there is few chances for them to play for Bangladesh and to be proud by playing for his country.

Now the question arise why they do so? What was there problem? Why they become REBEL and joined ICL?

Is it for money? I think yes. It is for money. The players signed for ICL just for money. They forget what the country gave them. Whay they are Habibul, Aftab, Nafis now. Why the whole World know them know. They just thought about the money.

In their resignation letter to BCB said that they are resigning is for ‘PERSONAL PROBLEM.’ And then they joined ICL. They didn’t say it to any officials of the cricket board or directly to cricket board. They just give the letter and went for India.

I think BCB tries their best to keep the player and bring the to right path after knowing the issue. They tried to discuss about the matter with the players. They send SMS to the players to attend the meeting. They called them but their mobile phones were switched off. But after all, the players refuse to talk with the board and went to India to sign contract with ICL to play for Dhaka Warriors, a new team which will play in ICL this season. Thay said to media that they didn’t get any letter or phone call from BCB to attend the meeting. They just get a SMS. How BCB will get them if their phones are switched off. And I think sending letters with in a day to all 14 players is tuff for any organisation as well as BCB. So I can say that players were determined that they will not meet the cricket board and wil run for money.

Government and board expended a lot of money behind them. They get a lot of money for them. They get treatment in abroad when they are injured. They get well facilities. They get money. After after all they forget all of these and ran for ICl, you know what for. Players complained that unsupporative structure and behavior lead them to play for ICL! “Some of the players are joining the ICL because they are fed up at the way they have been treated by the board,” batsman Shahriar Nafees has been quoted as saying. Is there any logic in this comment? They could talk with the board and inform them what is there problem. Cricket Board arrange meeting for this after knowing they are resigning, But they refuses to talk. Why?

“Please don’t call us rebels,” said Habibul Bashar. “The ICL contracts do not prevent us from playing for Bangladesh. We are as keen as anyone to play for our country.”

I don’t know why they forgot the country, pride, people? They take this kind of decission just before New Zealand series which is very important for Bangladesh now. They just create a problem for the country’s National Cricket Team.

Bangladesh now facing the disasterous face of the illegal league ICL. BCCI already said that it is the internal matter between the cricket board of Bangladesh and the players. But I think BCCI should talk to ICL authority. They should not force to split cricket into two parts which will not be good for cricket.

I think Bangladesh Cricket Board took the right steps for the players. They banned the  players joined ICL for ten years. I hope that will stop more players to join ICL. But Board work is not finished. Board have to think why it happened, who are responsible and have to take more steps. They have to think about the contracts of the players. They have to bring more facilities for the players and offcourse the all players who are not in contract with Bangladesh Cricket Board.

Report said that the unrecognized Indian Cricket League took a swipe at the sport’s governing body on Wednesday after signing 11 Bangladesh internationals for their second season.

Meanwhile Bangladesh coach Siddon said, “All I’ll say is that we haven’t lost one player who was in the team for the last Test,”  who will shortly begin preparing a squad for a home series against New Zealand. “The guys who were going are gone – and the guys who are staying can get on with the job,” he added.

We’ve Gone Numb.

I was browsing the blogs which I usually visits and found this post in Xanthis’s blog. You must read the post I think. I posted the article here. Thanks to Xanthis for his article. And I think your mind will say the same.


Spread of avian flu by drinking water.

I got an article as  comments in my previous post Bangladesh reports first human case of H5N1 bird flu by Dipl.-Ing. Wilfried Soddemann – Epidemiologist – Free Science Journalist. I found it is interesting so publishing it as a post in my blog.

I want to thank Mr. Wilfried Soddemann for his excellent comments. Here is the article-

Proved awareness to ecology and transmission is necessary to understand the spread of avian flu. For this it is insufficient exclusive to test samples from wild birds, poultry and humans for avian flu viruses. Samples from the known abiotic vehicles also have to be analysed. There are plain links between the cold, rainy seasons as well as floods and the spread of avian flu. That is just why abiotic vehicles have to be analysed. The direct biotic transmission from birds, poultry or humans to humans can not depend on the cold, rainy seasons or floods. Water is a very efficient abiotic vehicle for the spread of viruses – in particular of fecal as well as by mouth, nose and eyes excreted viruses.

Infected birds and poultry can everywhere contaminate the drinking water. All humans have very intensive contact to drinking water. Spread of avian flu by drinking water can explain small clusters in households too. Proving viruses in water is difficult because of dilution. If you find no viruses you can not be sure that there are not any. On the other hand in water viruses remain viable for a long time. Water has to be tested for influenza viruses by cell culture and in particular by the more sensitive molecular biology method PCR.

There is a widespread link between avian flu and water, e.g. in Egypt to the Nile delta or Indonesia to residential districts of less prosperous humans with backyard flocks and without central water supply as in Vietnam: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no12/06-0829.htm. See also the WHO web side: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/emerging/h5n1background.pdf .

Transmission of avian flu by direct contact to infected poultry is an unproved assumption from the WHO. There is no evidence that influenza primarily is transmitted by saliva droplets: “Transmission of influenza A in human beings” http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473309907700294/abstract?iseop=true .

Avian flu infections may increase in consequence to increase of virus circulation. In hot climates/the tropics flood-related influenza is typical after extreme weather and floods. Virulence of influenza viruses depends on temperature and time. Special in cases of local water supplies with “young” and fresh H5N1 contaminated water from low local wells, cisterns, tanks, rain barrels, ponds, rivers or rice paddies this pathway can explain small clusters in households. At 24°C e.g. in the tropics the virulence of influenza viruses in water amount to 2 days. In temperate climates for “older” water from central water supplies cold water is decisive to virulence of viruses. At 7°C the virulence of influenza viruses in water amount to 14 days.

Human to human and contact transmission of influenza occur – but are overvalued immense. In the course of influenza epidemics in Germany, recognized clusters are rare, accounting for just 9 percent of cases e.g. in the 2005 season. In temperate climates the lethal H5N1 virus will be transferred to humans via cold drinking water, as with the birds in February and March 2006, strong seasonal at the time when drinking water has its temperature minimum.

The performance to eliminate viruses from the drinking water processing plants regularly does not meet the requirements of the WHO and the USA/USEPA. Conventional disinfection procedures are poor, because microorganisms in the water are not in suspension, but embedded in particles. Even ground water used for drinking water is not free from viruses.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26096&Cr=&Cr1
Ducks and rice [paddies = flooded by water] major factors in bird flu outbreaks, says UN agency
Ducks and rice fields may be a critical factor in spreading H5N1
26 March 2008 – Ducks, rice [fields, paddies = flooded by water! Farmers on work drink the water from rice paddies!] and people – and not chickens – have emerged as the most significant factors in the spread of avian influenza in Thailand and Viet Nam, according to a study carried out by a group of experts from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and associated research centres.

“Mapping H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza risk in Southeast Asia: ducks, rice and people” also finds that these factors are probably behind persistent outbreaks in other countries such as Cambodia and Laos.
The study, which examined a series of waves of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza in Thailand and Viet Nam between early 2004 and late 2005, was initiated and coordinated by FAO senior veterinary officer Jan Slingenbergh and just published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
Through the use of satellite mapping, researchers looked at a number of different factors, including the numbers of ducks, geese and chickens, human population size, rice cultivation and geography, and found a strong link between duck grazing patterns and rice cropping intensity.

In Thailand, for example, the proportion of young ducks in flocks was found to peak in September-October; these rapidly growing young ducks can therefore benefit from the peak of the rice harvest in November-December [at the beginning of the cold: Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos are situated – different from Indonesia – in the northern hemisphere].

“These peaks in congregation of ducks indicate periods in which there is an increase in the chances for virus release and exposure, and rice paddies often become a temporary habitat for wild bird species,” the agency said in a news release.

“We now know much better where and when to expect H5N1 flare-ups, and this helps to target prevention and control,” said Mr. Slingenbergh. “In addition, with virus persistence becoming increasingly confined to areas with intensive rice-duck agriculture in eastern and south-eastern Asia, evolution of the H5N1 virus may become easier to predict.”

He said the findings can help better target control efforts and replace indiscriminate mass vaccination.
FAO estimates that approximately 90 per cent of the world’s more than 1 billion domestic ducks are in Asia, with about 75 per cent of that in China and Viet Nam. Thailand has about 11 million ducks.

Bangladesh reports first human case of H5N1 bird flu.

Authorities here have stepped up surveillance against avian influenza after the case of a 16-month-old boy, who took ill in January, was diagnosed as one of infection with the deadly H5N1 virus.

Bangladesh become the 15th country to report a case of human infection after the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO), citing results from laboratories at the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, confirmed the infection on Thursday.

Since 2003, when bird flu first surfaced, 15 countries have reported a total of 382 human cases, with 241 of them turning fatal. WHO has now confirmed human cases in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Burma, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Prof. Mahmudur Rahman, a director at Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told IPS that although the boy was totally cured well before the confirmation, surveillance has been stepped up across the country.

Since the H5N1 virus was first detected in Bangladesh, at a state-run poultry farm on the outskirts of the capital, authorities have culled more than two million birds, causing losses estimated at 700 million US dollars.

With 47 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts affected, the poultry industry, introduced two decades ago to help this impoverished country, is now facing its biggest ever challenge. Affected are more than 1.5 million people employed in one of the world’s largest poultry industries that produces producing 220 million chickens and 37 million ducks annually.

According to the South Asia Enterprise Development Facility, a multi-donor facility managed by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, the poultry sector supports five million people directly or indirectly through 150,000 poultry farms, constituting 1.6 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In recent years, the poultry industry has been growing at an annual rate of about 20 percent, recording a turnover of 25 -1.5 billion dollars in 2006. Analysts say the figures for 2007 may fall below that mark thanks to drastic culling.

Battered by the culling, monsoon floods and a devastating cyclone in November, the country’s once booming poultry industry is now seriously threatened. Businessmen say the outbreak has already caused the closure of more than a third of the country’s poultry farms.

As the virus spread, the state-owned Bangladesh TV and a dozen or so private cable TV channels often broadcast programmes on avian influenza making people aware of the deadly virus, but observers said impact is minimal.

‘’Street vendors are still selling live chickens in Dhaka, although the city corporation authority has imposed a ban on selling live chickens in the open,’’ said Dhaka school teacher Sharif Ahmed.

Without disclosing the identity of the affected boy, Rahman said he lived in a crowded slum in Dhaka. His parents had bought a live chicken from a nearby market which they kept in their house for some days before slaughtering it for a meal.

The boy was among the more than 3,000 people suspected of being infected with bird flu in Bangladesh, but his was the only case that tested positive, a health department official said.

After the Bangladesh government was informed of the test results by the WHO, the national advisory committee on avian influenza met on Thursday to step up measures.

Rahman said IEDCR was already conducting surveillance measures in the districts affected by bird flu and that people who were in direct contact with poultry birds and products were being kept under observation by epidemiologists. As part of the new measures, Bangladesh will set up isolation units in all public hospitals, he said.

“Right now everything is under control. We have trained doctors and readied hospitals to tackle any new detection,” Rahman said. ‘’We also have trained volunteers in the villages.’’

Bangladesh, which has a population of nearly 150 million, is the world’s most densely populated country with nearly 1,000 people per sq km. With poultry farms set up everywhere in the country the risk of the virus spreading fast is high.

Earlier this year, India’s West Bengal state which shares a long border with Bangladesh suffered the neighbouring country’s worst outbreak of the virus among poultry. But no human cases of bird flu have been reported in India, which has also carried out massive poultry culling.

Bird flu was thought only to infect birds until the first human cases were detected in Hong Kong in 1997. Though rare, humans catch the disease through close contact with infected birds.

Experts consider vigilance and speedy action such as isolation of human cases important because of a fear that the H5N1 strain could mutate to become capable of human-to-human transmission and set off a deadly pandemic. Densely populated countries like Bangladesh, where people live in close proximity to backyard poultry or keep birds in their homes, are seen as particularly risky.

Real Madrid won The Spanish La Liga Title for 31st time in their history!!!

The aircraft Real Madrid CF has landed at a Liga title airport and everything is in order. So you may heave a sigh of relief. Because Real Madrid have at long last won La Liga 2007-2008. Because Real Madrid have deservedly won La Liga 2007-2008. Because after flirting so dangerously with the trophy mistress, los Meregues have ultimately locked the wedding ring.

Because the teasing and toying and playing catch with the pole position is now a thing of the past. Because Real Madrid have encapsulated their first successive Spanish league conquests in 18 years.

Yet Schuster’s triumphant side hasn’t only relied on spirit this season. They have coupled efficiency with discipline, married steel to silk and although goals have been leaked in like Mr. Ocean’s team stealing into safes, the midfield and the stikeforce have compensated for those lapses.

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas might have had more shots spit at him than any other custodian in La Liga this season but Guti has more assists for goals than any other player in the league with 14 in 24 starts. The latter clause becomes more enticing when you consider that the 11 matches that Guti hasn’t started, Real have actually won!

Which finely tees us to the contribution by other players in the championship conquest. This season Saint Iker has of course been the safest pair of hands in Spain again worth 18 points (at least) and Guti the temperamental genius somehow inspired by Schuster to temporarily delete the “temperamental” tag but it has been the likes of Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Wesley Sneijder, Mahamadou Diarra, Fernando Gago, Raul, Robinho, Arjen Robben, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gonzalo Higuain who have shaped the edge. Virtually the entire team really.

Pepe has gradually developed into the €30 million Real Madrid splashed out at FC Porto last summer, Sergio Ramos has been the best right back in Spain and even past-his-sell-by-date Fabio Cannavaro has positively contributed (at times). Wesley Sneijder took over from Guti when the latter was insipid and off key, Mahamadou Diarra has been a rock in Real’s midfield when he has received the support, Fernando Gago is enjoying himself and has been passing the ball around exquisitely, Robinho has mischievously sprouted glimpses of his world class Pele side and Arjen Robben has been a Voldemort for opposition defenders in the last couple of matches when he has got rid of his Injury Demon.

Raul has 17 league goals to his credit this season and with three assists and countless running and constructive passes. Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 12 goals have arrived in spite of his injury plague and three goals in his last three matches all after coming off the bench has earned Gonzalo Higuain the super sub status.

So you see it has been a team effort, Real Madrid’s conquer of Spain. When one of the soldiers have puked and fallen on the ground, another has held the line. With 73 goals in 35 matches, Real Madrid cannot boast to have played romantic fantasy football that President Ramon Calderon promised at the art of the season after getting rid of the “boring” Capello but it has been Real’s efficiency and consistency that has ultimately carried them home but not dry as champagne bottles are being uncorked even as you read this.

There was a whisper of conspiracy in Spain ahead of Real’s trip to Pamplona that they would actually not win at Osasuna on Sunday night preferring to win against FC Barcelona at the Santiago Benabeu on Wednesday to conquer Spain. But if it’s one thing to win the championship with a win over the Catalan rivals, then it’s quite another—and more relishing—to have them form a Guard of Honour and salute the champions.

Which Barcelona shall do in El Clasico on Wednesday night.