BICN 20 Jan - 2 Feb 2000
Volume 3 Number 10
IN THIS ISSUE
+Feature Article - The Truth About
Terrorism by Ali Abunimah
+Webby! - Freedom of Expression in
American Intl School/Dhaka
Teaching Vacancies for 2000-01
Have Fun, Get Webby, Join the
Erratum: 2000 _IS_ A Leap
Burns Night in Dhaka: Celebrate
the Birth of Scotland's National Poet
The Latest on the ICCDR,B
+Letters To The Editor From All
+Late January - Early February
+A Little Later On
+New Ongoing And Regular
+Personal Classified Ads
published first & third Wednesdays September to May from Dhaka Bangladesh by
Sara Bennett. To SUBSCRIBE, email email@example.com.
Submission deadline for next issue of BICN: 31 Jan 2000. Email items to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Ali Abunimah 22 Dec 99 email@example.com
with author's permission
[Ed: This essay gives an US Muslim perspective on Western perceptions - and
portrayals - of terrorism, and the impact of this on Muslims, in the US and
Are recent warnings by the US government about the threat of terrorism a
reasonable precaution to a real and present danger, or are the media and
government once again promoting anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hysteria under the
guise of vigilance against terrorism? Whatever the case, the arrest of an
Algerian man last week, allegedly for trying to enter the United States from
Canada with bomb-making materials, has set off yet another free-for-all of media
speculation about vicious Muslim plots to blow up the United States on the eve
of the millennium.
To many people this hysteria appears to be nothing more than a reasonable
response to a frightening possibility. But if we examine the US government's own
data about terrorism, it is a completely unjustified overreaction which puts at
risk civil liberties and freedoms of all Americans, but especially those of Arab
and Muslim Americans who are, despite all the lessons of Oklahoma City, TWA 800
and other incidents, still the first to fall under suspicion and to be
victimized by repressive measures such as the use of secret evidence and
So, is all the focus on the threat of "Islamic" terrorism justified
and based in fact?
To put the issue in perspective, I examined the State Department's own annual
report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1998."
Below I have summarized some facts from the report about events that the
State Department defines as international terrorist incidents (in other words
excluding domestic terrorism by purely US-based groups, such as anti-abortion
groups). The report uses the following definitions:
"The term 'terrorism' means premeditated, politically motivated violence
perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine
agents, usually intended to influence an audience. The term "international
terrorism" means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than
one country. The term "terrorist group" means any group practicing, or
that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism."
1) TERRORISM WORLDWIDE IS DECREASING SIGNIFICANTLY AND CONSISTENTLY
There has been a significant and consistent downward trend in international
terrorist incidents in the period 1979-1998.
In 1998, number of international terrorist incidents, at 273, was the lowest
ever in the period, and the annual number has shown a consistent downward trend
since it reached a peak of 666 in 1987.
2) THE VAST MAJORITY OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST INCIDENTS ARE NOT RELATED TO
THE MIDDLE EAST, MUSLIM "EXTREMISTS" OR ARABS
Since 1995, Latin America has consistently had the highest annual number of
international terrorist incidents of any region, followed by Western Europe. In
1998 there were 110 attacks in Latin America, 48 in Western Europe and 31 in the
Middle East. There were 21 in Africa and zero in North America.
The incidents in Latin America are primarily connected to conflicts in
Colombia and Peru, while the vast majority of incidents in Europe are, according
to the State Department, attributable to Basque separatists in Spain, the
conflict in Northern Ireland, the Kurdish movement in Turkey and various
anarchist groups in Greece. Middle East or "Islamic" terrorism was not
a significant factor in either region.
In terms of casualties (deaths+injuries), the highest number has consistently
been in Asia since 1993. In 1998 there were over 5,000 in Africa, 635 in Asia,
405 in Western Europe, 68 in the Middle East and zero in North America.
3) EIGHTY PERCENT OF ATTACKS AGAINST UNITED STATES TARGETS ARE IN LATIN
Consistently, the vast majority of events defined by the State Department as
"anti-US attacks" occur in Latin America. In 1998, there were a total
of 111 anti-US attacks. Eighty-seven were in Latin America, 13 in Western
Europe, 5 in the Middle East and 3 each in Africa and Eurasia.
By far the most common target of terrorists are businesses. Attacks on
diplomats, military or government installations are relatively rare.
The total number of US fatalities from these attacks in 1998 was 12, all
related to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
4) VERY FEW AMERICANS ARE KILLED BY TERRORISTS
Here are the numbers for the total U.S. Citizen Casualties Caused by
International Attacks, 1993-98. Note that the figures show no upward trend.
(The 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania caused a large
number of non-US casualties in addition to the US victims).
These numbers suggest that terrorism is a relatively insignificant cause of
death and injury to Americans compared with other forms of violence. For
example, according to the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, 14 children
are killed EVERY DAY in the United States by handguns. In the State of Illinois
alone, 320 are killed each year (National Center for Health Statistics, 1997).
5) MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE IS RELATED TO LOCAL POLITICAL CONFLICTS, NOT
"HATRED OF THE WEST"
Although the level of international terrorist events in the Middle East has
been lower than in other parts of the world, such violence as occurs is
principally related to local political conflicts, not to generalized
"hatred of the West" as often portrayed in the media. The numbers and
descriptions of patterns of violence in the Middle East suggest that as in other
regions like Northern Ireland, violence diminishes when broad-based political
processes or solutions are set in motion. The State Department report,
acknowledges that the downward trend in terrorism "reflects the improved
political climate that has diminished terrorist activity in recent years in
various parts of the world."
There is a complete disparity between the facts about international terrorism
as presented by the government on the one hand, and the media, official and
popular response to the issue on the other. There is no objective connection
between the frequency of terrorist attacks originating from and occurring in the
Middle East, and the amount of attention that such attacks receive. President
Clinton and other government officials have repeatedly defined terrorism as one
of the greatest threats facing the world.
There is little or no media attention to the facts about terrorism, as
reported by the government, and a generalized willingness to continue to blame
and speculate about the Middle East as a principal purveyor of violence. This
situation continues to hurt and marginalize Arab and Muslim citizens of the US,
and to distort public perceptions about the Middle East, a region in which US
taxpayers are being asked to invest a lot of money, often in the name of
Each and every life lost due to terrorism is one too many and of course there
must be vigilance against terrorism, and support for genuine efforts to prevent
it. But clearly other policy agendas, totally unrelated to public security, are
being served by the obsessive focus on Middle East terrorism, when the facts
suggest a more balanced approach would be appropriate.
** Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh **
Check out the International Freedom Of Expression Exchange (IFEX) Clearing
House, Toronto Canada. They send out alerts when editors/reporters experience
assaults/attacks, death threats, arrests etc. (which there seems to be an awful
lot of in BGD these days). They also announced an upcoming Media Watch report
entitled State Of Press Fredom In Bangladesh In 1999. IFEX is at web site http://www.ifex.org/
, alerts e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Media
Watch seems to be a Bangladesh organization, email email@example.com
** American Intl School/Dhaka Teaching Vacancies for 2000-01 **
Qualified teachers interested in any of the following positions at the
American International School/Dhaka for next school year are invited to contact
the Registrar, Anne Blackburn, to complete or activate their application file.
Local candidates for these positions will receive priority consideration until
February 3, 2000. Commencing February 9, recruitment efforts will focus on
recruitment fairs in London and the United States. More information is available
on the school's website.
Elementary School Principal Elementary School Counselor Various elementary
level classroom positions, preschool - grade 4 Elementary School PE Elementary
School Music Middle School Counselor Middle School Language Arts Middle School
Science/Math Middle School ESL Middle School Spanish/French Middle/High School
Music (Band/Chorus) High School Counselor High School English High School Social
Studies High School Spanish/French High School Math (AP) K-12 Librarian
American International School/Dhaka 11 United Nations Road Baridhara Dhaka
Bangladesh tel: 880-2-882-2452 fax: 880-2-882-3175 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
** Contemporary Bengali Instruction **
Nondita Chowdhury offers Bengali instruction to individuals and groups:
+Course 1, Survival Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions focusing on speaking and
understanding +Course 2, Basic Bangla - 20 2-hour sessions with the introduction
of reading and writing +Individual instruction - tailored to students needs
Ms Chowdhury was principal of Heed Language Centre (1991-97), and has over 20
years experience in Bengali instruction. Lessons given at her school in Gulshan
or learner's home or office. Courses cost Tk6000 per person for groups of two to
seven, or Tk7500 for one person, includes all materials. For more information,
email email@example.com , include your name
& telephone number.
** Have Fun, Get Webby, Join the bicn.com Team **
Harold & I are finally ready for another volunteer or two to join the
bicn.com team. It's a way to make a contribution to the community, while gaining
/ improving your Internet skills. It's fun (we think), and the time commitment
required is reasonable (on the order of four hours per week is fine).
You can build your own volunteer job description from one or more of the
following areas where bicn.com could use your help:
*Associate editor (generate content for the newsletter/website) *Event editor
*Proofreader / fact checker *On-line presence developer (generate links to
bicn.com at other web sites, generate visitors to bicn.com through online
promotions) *Off-line presence developer (flyers, banners, media releases,
participation in community events, partnering/exchanging with off-line
organizations) *Advertising manager (this can be a paid commission position if
you are keen) *Web site developer
Residence in Dhaka is not required, since most things get done through email
and the Web anyway. Both expats and Bangladeshis are welcome (of course). For a
mutually rewarding experience, a committment to work together through May 2000
(the end of this publication year) is required. At the conclusion of your stint
(unless you like it so much you stay on forever ...), your name (alias?) will be
permanently enshrined at the website as a bicn.com team member emeritus along
under a suitably impressive title ( html://bicn.com/aboutbicn/missionteam.htm ).
If you are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org
with a brief description of yourself and your interest.
** Erratum: 2000 _IS_ a Leap Year (Oops) **
I erred in the last issue when I said 2000 was NOT a leap year. (Thank you to
the numerous subscribers who pointed this out. There *must* be a closet proof
reader among you!)
Well, 2000 *IS* in fact a leap year. Century years divisible by 400 *are*
leap years; the rest are not. My apologies for the error and any inconvenience
** Burns Night in Dhaka: Celebrate the Birth of Scotland's National Poet **
The Dhaka Caledonian Society is holding their annual celebration of the birth
of Scotland's National Poet, Robert Burns, on Thursday 27th January. It will be
held at the British High Commission Club and starts with drinks at 7:30pm, and
dinner at 8pm. There will be a raffle, live Scottish music, Expatria will sing
for us, and of course, there will be the usual scrumptious Scottish fare.
Tickets are GBP15 or Tk1500. Limited to 150. Email email@example.com
** The Latest on the ICCDR,B Ball, 7:30pm 18 Feb, Sonargaon Hotel **
Has the trip down to Mohakhali been putting you off buying tickets to this
event? Procrastinate no longer - personalized ticket delivery to your home or
office is now available at no additional charge, courtesy bicn.com. The
community event calendar listing for this event has the details, see below.
Please don’t wait until the last minute to order … this is Dhaka, after all
where phones fail, hartals happen, and things generally just don’t happen
Some great door and raffle prizes plus auction items have been organized –
I heard “air tickets” among other things. And there’s still time to become
a corporate or individual sponsor to support ICCDR’B work – email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more info.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM ALL OVER
From Switzerland on 7 Jan 00: “Eid greetings and Eid Mubarak. Eid-ul-Fitr
is being celebrated here today. We wish this Eid-ul-Fitr will bring happiness
for all people of Bangladesh. Let the happiness be continued time ahead. Let the
dream of the people who struggling like you for a egalitarian and democratic
society be succeeded. Best wishes and Eid Mubarak.” -- K.S. Hossain, Chairman,
SAHRRAD, email: saphr@datacomm .
From India: “I am an American working in India for last 15 years on
improving standards in zoos and getting zoo and wildlife authorities to work
together. Now I have decided to try and get the zoos of the entire south Asia
region to associate since that is what other regions around the world do. If I
succeed in catalysing a south Asian Regional Zoo Association, the western zoos
will be better able to help some of them improve. There are other advantages as
well, intra-regionally. One of the ways to build interest in the region as a
unit is to inform the zoo community about what's going on in other countries.
Therefore, I need information and news about the Dhaka Zoo. I don't have a
contact there anymore. Does anyone on this list know anyone who is interested in
the zoo, or has volunteered there, or knows anyone who works there ... and who
could help me. We publish a monthly magazine and I am trying to get monthly news
of all the zoos of the south Asian region for it. -- Sally Walker, Zoo Outreach
Organisation, India. Email email@example.com
LATE JANUARY / EARLY FEBRUARY EVENTS
All events are in Dhaka unless otherwise noted. Entry to some events is
restricted (eg to members) – contact the organizers for this information.
18-22 Jan – Asia Regional Fair Trade Exhibition Dhaka 2000, at Bangladesh
Shishu Academy. 32 craft stalls representing eight Asian countries, organized by
ECOTA (Efforts for Craft Organizations Trading Advancement, email firstname.lastname@example.org
, web http://www.peoplelink.org ).
21 Jan – Soiree Chant at Alliance Francaise de Dhaka 6pm. Launching
ceremony of the book “Parisian Portraits” by Roana Haider, followed by a
performance by Nazmul Hossain Rubel, a scholar of the Indian Council for
cultural relations for Bangladesh. Email email@example.com
20-22 Jan – SAARC Golf Championship, Kurmitola Golf Club.
21-31 Jan – Exhibition of Abdus Sattar, Divine Art Gallery, Sonargaon
Hotel, 9am-9pm daily.
Sat 22 Jan – UN Women’s Association (UNWA) Monthly Activity. Visit a
local newspaper. For details and sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon 24 Jan – British Women’s Association (BWA) committee meeting, 7pm
Nordic Club. Any BWA member can attend to discuss something with the Committee.
Email email@example.com .
Wed 26 Jan - Engineers' Continuing Professional Development Meeting, 7pm
British High Commission Club. An informal meeting to discuss how Chartered and
Incorporated Engineers of all institutions can achieve the CPD days they are now
obligated to undergo each year whilst in Bangladesh. Light refreshments will be
served. For more info, contact I K (Tim) Khan, ICE Representative Bangladesh tel
601031, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or Colin Benham, DFIDB Engineering Field Manager, tel 8822598, email email@example.com
Wed 26 Jan – UNWA Coffee Morning, 3pm [sic!]. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thu 27 Jan – Disco Party, Canadian Club, 10pm – 2am. Tickets Tk250 at the
bar or gate, while supply lasts.
27-29 Jan – Shahnai Concert & Manipuri Dance, Osmani Memorial Hall
6:30pm. Shahnai (classical Indian reed wind instrument) by Ustad Bismillah Khan,
and Manipuri dance by Tamanna Rahman. Presented by AIDS Prevention Programme
Implementation Committee (AIPPIC). Email email@example.com
for ticket info.
27-29 Jan - US Trade Show 2000, sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce
and the U.S. Embassy. At the Dhaka Sheraton. Interested U.S. firms or their
representatives please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for further information.
Fri 28 Jan – Alliance Francaise de Dhaka River Cruise. Meets at AFD 9am
sharp. Tk500 non-members, Tk400 AFD members & students, Tk300 child under
12. Email email@example.com
Sat 29 Jan - BWA January lunch, 12:30pm, Thai House. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone. Cost the usual Tk300.
[sic!] Sat 30 Jan – Bengali Classical Dance by Aninsul Islam (Hiroo),
organized by Asian Study Group, 6:30pm. Performance by noted exponent of the
traditional Bharatanatyam dance form, followed by a lecture on the style. Event
is in a private home, maximum attendance 40, email email@example.com
for more info (including correct date, given that 30 Jan is not a Saturday…)
Mon 31 Jan: Submission deadline for next issue of BICN. Email your
announcements, ads, letters, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon Jan 31 – UNWA Monthly Lunch, 12:30pm at El Toro in Gulshan. Sign up and
payment at General Meeting. Email email@example.com
29-31 Jan – Biswa Itema (also called Tablig Jamat), Tongi. The biggest
assembly of Muslims after the haj in Mecca. Nearly 1.5 million Muslims from
around the world join this annual pilgrimage. [Ed.: It would be great to get
information on this event in general and this year’s in particular – URLs,
photos, text are all be welcome.]
Wed 2 Feb - BWA annual general meeting 3pm, venue TBA. Volunteers to stand
for the committee are wanted - if interested email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact a
current committee member. Note AGM quorum is two-thirds of the full members.
Associate members cannot vote but are encouraged to attend.
A LITTLE LATER ON
Thu 3 Feb - BWA New Year dinner. Invitation only, invitees will be full and
associate members plus associate member waiting list, and their
spouses/partners. Ladies attending should bring a small gift <Tk 200 value.
Fri 11 Feb – Valentine Dance, Canadian Club.
Fri 18 Feb - ICDDR,B Hospital Endowment Fund Ball ("Diarrhoea
Ball"), 7:30pm Sonargoan Hotel ballroom. For more info email email@example.com
. Tickets are Tk1500 from ICDDR,B External Relations Office in Mohakhali. Or for
personalized ticket delivery to your home or office at no additional charge,
email firstname.lastname@example.org including the
event name; number of tickets wanted; your name, address, and telephone number;
and best times to contact you.
Sun - Tues 14-16 May, Oslo: European Network of Bangladesh Studies Sixth
Workshop, "Bangladesh - Changing Identities and Economic
Transformation," hosted by the Department of Sociology at the University of
Oslo, with NORAD funding. For more information, see the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/Centres/CDS/enbs.htm
NEW ONGOING AND REGULAR EVENTS
Scottish Country Dancing, Monday evenings, Australian Club 7:30pm.
UNWA English Conversation Classes, every Thursday 3-4pm. For details, email email@example.com
PERSONAL CLASSIFIED ADS
WANTED TO BUY: to furnish an office room, in good condition & reasonable
price: (1) used chairs / loveseat / coffee table / side tables / lamps. Prefer
an existing (matched) set, I'm flexible about which pieces are included; will
consider individual pieces however. Cane, wood, or wrought iron. (2) Used desk,
table(s), bookcase(s)- imported or above-average local quality. Wood, steel or
wrought iron. All items, I can take possession anytime from now to mid-March.
Email a brief description, offering price, and location of items to firstname.lastname@example.org
+Visitors to BICN website since inception (Apr 98): 20,326 (739 in the last
two weeks). BICN ezine subscribers: 567 (+25 in the last two weeks)
+Personal classified ads and community organization and event announcements
appear FREE. Advertising rates apply to other items. Discounts available for
small businesses, advertising packages, etc. Contact email@example.com .
+BICN Fans - support BICN by using these links for your online shopping:
Barnes&Noble (books, magazines, music, software)
TravelNow (discount worldwide car/plan/hotel/train bookings)
EthnicGrocer (ethnic groceries, cookbooks, etc.)
Click to recommend BICN to your
+Mr Kashem's Roving Rickshaw Bookstore ordering information - Email your
inquiry or order to firstname.lastname@example.org . Special orders
most welcome. Mr Kashem provides FREE personal book and magazine
delivery service to your home or office in Dhaka. For overseas orders:
1. We ship at cost from Bangladesh via FEDEX courier or airmail. Tell us what
books you want plus the ship-to country, and we'll send you a quote for these
2. BICN handling charge is USD3 for each order plus USD1 for each item.
3. Once your order is finalized, prepayment will required by USD or CAD check
on a US or Canadian bank, or an international money order / bank draft, made out
to Sara Bennett, and snail mailed to Sara Bennett, c/o nhc, 4823-99th St.,
Edmonton AB Canada T6E 4Y1.]