Tuesday, February 16, 2010

history re-written

DHAKA: Bangladesh will rename all government institutions named after "illegal autocratic ruler" Ziaur Rahman, a former president, a day after it rechristened the Dhaka international airport named after him, sparking strong protest from the opposition BNP.

A cabinet meeting last night renamed the airport Hazrat Shahjalal, after a great Muslim saint when it also decided to change the names of other establishments after Rahman, the general-turned-politician who had founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) currently being led by his wife Khaleda Zia.

"According to the cabinet decision no structures or institutions will bear name of illegal autocratic ruler Ziaur Rahman following the High Court verdict regarding cancellation of the Fifth Amendment," prime minister Sheikh Hasina's press
secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters during a post meet briefing last night.

He added that the cabinet also decided to change the name of Shaheed Ziaur Rahman University, Barisal to Barisal University.

Referring to an earlier civil aviation ministry proposed Azad said the renaming of ZIA was justified also as all other major airports were named after great Islamic Sufi saints who shaped the peoples mind with their liberal outlook.

But in an instant reaction BNP said the government would have "pay severely" for the decision saying a countrywide movement would be launched as a protest.


If I understand correctly:
The Fifth Amendment had legalized the Rahman government. Now the Supremee Court has declared it retroactively illegal. I think.

The opposition party, the BNP, (headed by Rahman's widow), had just this week, returned to Parliament after boycotting it for months. What a welcome.


So I talk to Matan about how history is written, about signs of legitimacy, and sometimes about Monty Python.


The History Teacher
Billy Collins

Trying to protect his students' innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.

And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
named after the long driveways of the time.

The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
"How far is it from here to Madrid?"
"What do you call the matador's hat?"

The War of the Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom
on Japan.

The children would leave his classroom
for the playground to torment the weak
and the smart,
mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses,

while he gathered up his notes and walked them home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers
in the Boer War told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off.

(thanks to Kelly for sending me this book).

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