The world owes Bangladesh a standing ovation for taking in an astonishing 1.3 million Rohingyas bearing humanity’s burden

If Rutger Bregman, author of the best-selling book “Humankind: A Hopeful History,” needs another example to support his argument that “Most people, deep down, are pretty decent,” Bangladesh is a perfect candidate.

Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. By John Owens (VOA), Public Domain.

This year, on its 50th birth anniversary, pundits are applauding Bangladesh for its spectacular performance on social, economic, agriculture, and food security fronts. But the world failed to take notice that it has also taken a giant leap of humanity by caring for 1.3 million Rohingya refugees since 2017.

In…


What does it Indicate for Myanmar?

After Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s recent arrest, there was an outpouring of support shown to her by various ethnic groups in Myanmar, despite her outrageously disappointing disregard for their rights. They have taken to the streets in large numbers, alongside the Bamars, reported Reuter, demanding a return to her civilian government. Why?

A group of uniformed schoolteachers protesting in Hpa-an in Kayin State on 9 February 2021. By Ninjastrikers — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99691099

Suu Kyi rose to international stardom during her years of struggle for democracy. Those who hoped for an end to the long streak of military rule and consequent marginalization of ethnic minorities in Myanmar applauded when her party, the National League for…


Its benefactor and namesake, Elihu Yale, made a fortune from slave trading and plundering of Indian resources

Inscription at the Tomb of Elihu Yale (5 April 1649–8 July 1721) at the churchyard of the parish church of St Giles’ Church, Wales.

Whoever wrote this epitaph must have been acutely aware that someday Elihu Yale will come under severe scrutiny.

Over the last few years, there has been fierce debate about whether Yale, a leading Ivy League School, should rename to detach itself from its namesake. The reason? Elihu Yale made money from the slave trade and plundering of Indian resources by unethical means.


The state of the Belt and Road Initiative and Beijing’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

The world needs wise leadership. Image by GraphicMama on PixaBay.

Pakistan’s prestigious daily The Dawn has recently published an opinion piece about the much-publicized China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The opening sentence of this piece correctly states how it has been “peddled to the people as a game-changer.” However, it quickly switches to a grimmer picture, saying: “the projects in its first phase have failed to usher in the level of prosperity that was promised to the people.”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is ailing, and Islamabad is genuinely alarmed. A report by the Center…


An utterly gorgeous Sufi spy in the British secret service during World War II did just that

Portrait of Noor Inayat Khan in uniform. Source: World War II Database.

“Liberté”

That was her last word as an SS officer shot at the back of her head at Dachau concentration camp, about 25 km northwest of Munich. It was September 14, 1944. She was Princess Noor Inayat Khan, an agent of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Noor was one of four women kneeling against a mound. One by one, the officer executed all four. …


QAnon and such other conspiracy mongers have entirely devoured rational America

Photo by Jose M. on Unsplash.

What does it tell about a nation that believes in such bizarre lies!

“Hillary Clinton ran a pizza-restaurant child-sex ring.”

“Michelle Obama is secretly a man.”

“Special counsel Robert Mueller isn’t really investigating the Trump campaign — he’s actually working with Trump to take down a cabal of deep-state plotters and pedophiles.”

“The attack on Sandy Hook School in December 2012 that killed 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, was ‘completely fake’ and a ‘giant hoax.’”

“The UN plan to flood America with 600 million migrants.”


A long-overdue tribute to Alex Meerburg who died on a mission to rebuild the war-torn country

With contribution from Daniel Lough

The stunning Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo by author.

It was the evening on February 3, 2005, when my phone rang. A clear female voice spoke in English. “I am Alex Meerburg’s mother. BBC TV is reporting a plane crash in Afghanistan.” I wasn’t aware of any such incident yet. “My son was on that flight,” she continued. It took me a few seconds to grasp the information, just told her that I would check and get back as soon as possible. She hung up.

I immediately called…


Beijing and the Tatmadaw both need Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but for conflicting reasons. And Suu Kyi needs both to remain in power.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi at the 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference on 24 May 2017. Bringing peace among ethnic groups has proven difficult because of powerful actors with opposing interests. Photo by A. N. Soe of VOA. Public Domain.

Myanmar’s all-powerful Tatmadaw — comprising the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police Force — took over the country through a coup d ‘état in 1962. It has since been its de facto ruler, directly until 2011, then in the guise of civilian governments till today. The Tatmadaw is above any civilian oversight and reports only to the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) headed by the President.

Beijing had a keen interest in its southern neighbor…


But will that bring about any real change?

Suu Kyi at the peak of her fame. US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Suu Kyi and her staff at her home in Yangon, November 2012. By Pete Souza — White House (P111912PS-0985), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23314543

It was a landslide victory in 2015 for Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, National League for Democracy (NLD). Suu Kyi secured it with support from the most potent groups in Myanmar: the Tatmadaw (combined Armed Forces and the Police), and the Bamars (the ruling ethnic group). The minorities — more than 135 according to official estimates — held their breaths in high hope for a better future. Rohingyas — the most persecuted people in the world — sighed in relief. Her numerous admirers in America and elsewhere were euphoric.

But…


For Beijing, it’s all about rectifying the historical wrongs

The famous Terracotta Army. A collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China (reign 247 BC — 221 BC). Approximate date 210–209 BCE. Photo taken by the author in 2016.

History defines a nation. Few nations demonstrate it better than China, a proud heir to its 5000-year-old traditions. Its subjugation at the hands of Britain, Japan, France, and Russia during the 19th and the 20th centuries forms the founding narrative of modern China. In its history, it is the “Century of Humiliation,” spanning from 1839 to 1949, when it lost large parts of its territory to these colonial powers.

The Century of Humiliation ended with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) taking control of the country in 1949. However, there remained several…

Sayeed Ahmed

Travels and writes as a hobby on history, culture, politics, and contemporary issues.

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