Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Poem of the Month (June, 2010): TORONTO THE BEAUTIFUL, TORONTO THE UGLY

Toronto the Beautiful, Toronto the Ugly

By Jerome D'Costa

It was Toronto, a city of 2.48 million people
Who hail from more than 100 countries of the world.
It was a calm and peaceful city
Where life and business ran as usual.

Enter G8 and G20 summit gatherings
Of representatives from privileged nations.
These are the people who decide fates
Of more than three-fourth population of this earth.

Things get hectic, apprehensive and suspenseful.
Ideas of fear and disaster-prevention enter the milieu.
Unprecedented barriers are raised up
Isolating the dignitaries,
As if, they are imprisoned but "safe"
From any indignity or physical incursions.
Fully armed and geared police forces
Parade the streets and nooks and corners.

Then it happens what was apprehended.
Activist groups question the relevance
And efficacy of these summits.
Some rogue elements, in the guise of protesters,
Dance in violence -- burning police cruisers and breaking store windows.
Nerved police personnel crack to action
And resort to mass arrests for turning the city into a peaceful one.

The victim is the truth, the victim is the human rights,
The victim is the right of the police, the victim is the reputation of the city.
The city population is in dilemma. Which one to choose?
Toronto the Beautiful or Toronto the Ugly?

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The Photo Meditation of the Month (June, 2010): HEADLESSNESS


A headless taal (palmyra) tree at Dakkhin Rajnagar
Village in Gazipur District, Bangladesh

Photo (1981) © Jerome D'Costa

Trees become headless by lightning strikes, being battered by storms, being cut by humans, or being affected by boring bugs. This particular taal (palmyra) tree lost its head due to bug attacks. Although it lost its head, this tree is quite sturdy and strong. The owner will cut it and make a good use of this tree. Possible uses could be: one half of the tree from top to bottom could be made into a dugout, called kunda. The other half could be made into planks and use them in making a house or place a plank or two over a ditch to create a make-shift bridge. By being headless, it lost its beauty, it lost its life.

Metaphorically, we also become headless when we behave irrationally, illogically, irreverently. We become headless when we put down people, act with abnormal pride, hate people, create senseless anarchy, and behave too much emotionally and selfishly. In a sense, we don't use our head. We become blind to our humanness as well as humaneness.

As the best creation of God, we need to use our head, we need to use all the good qualities that God endowed us with so that we may create an atmosphere of love and peace in this world. For this very purpose, we need to be filled with the love of God and love of our neighbours. Then, and then only, can we become 'headful' or 'headed' persons.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (June 27 - July03, 2010)

A rose bush in Toronto

Photo (Toronto: June 12 , 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The G8 and G20 Summits Start in Toronto


Graphics (Toronto: June 26, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

The two-day G8 (Group of 8) Summit started yesterday at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario with eight leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, reports

The highlights of the summit are health issues of mothers, newborns and children; food security; partnership with African countries; and peace and security.

The G20 (Group of 20) leaders will have their summit in Toronto on June 26 and 27. In this summit, finance ministers and central bank governors from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and European Union are participating. This summit focuses on recovery from the global economic and financial crisis, and sustainable balanced growth.

The government of Canada took an unprecedented security measures for safe holding of the summits. More than 10,000 police personnel and 1,000 private security guards have been engaged for this purpose. The downtown core of Toronto looks like a police town.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced yesterday that Canada will contribute $2.85 billion over next five years for maternal, newborn and child health as part of Canada's foreign aid. He also announced that Canada also paid off it share of Haiti's debt to the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Immediately after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Canada had already called for cancellation of Haiti's debts to international financial institutions by other developed countries.

Opposition to These Summits

There are activist groups that oppose the G8 and G20 summits, wherever they are held, on the basis that what these leading countries promise do not deliver. They consider these countries to be exploitative and unjust in dealing with the poor, minority groups and vulnerable and suffering people.

From the beginning of this week, Toronto has been witnessing demonstrations and protest meetings of these activist groups. There also have been some confrontations of these groups with the police.

Some of these groups active during these summits here are:

What G20 Leaders Will Not See

The Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk prepared a video on some street dwellers of Toronto. He named it "What G20 Leaders Will Not See." Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Earthquake Jolts Central Canada and Parts of the USA


Toronto undergoes a rattling from an earthquake on June 23
Graphics (Toronto: June 23, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

An earthquake of 5.0 magnitude shook buildings, houses and grounds at 1:41 p.m. yesterday in parts of Ontario and Quebec in Canada and northern parts of the USA including New York, Massachusetts and Ohio. The epicentre of the quake was in Quebec near Ottawa.

Many people felt the jolts and evacuated office buildings in downtown Ottawa, Toronto and other places. Cellphone connections were disrupted for a time. So far no casualty has been reported.

The Globe and Mail reports, there were two recorded earthquakes in the same region. One was of 6.2 magnitude in 1732 and another one of 6.1 in 1935.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life As It Is

Donation boxes from two Toronto mosques at a Bangladeshi-owned
grocery store on Danforth Avenue

Photo (Toronto: June 1, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa
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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Father's Day: The Father in the Artistic Eyes of His Children -- 2

Additional sketches and drawings of the father by his children are presented below:

A portrait of Jerome D'Costa (Dhaka: April 12, 1995)

A portrait (Dhaka: April 25, 1995)

A portrait (Toronto, Canada: August 16, 1997)

With the youngest child (Toronto: Aug. 16, 1997)

A doodled portrait (Toronto: August 13, 1998)

Another doodled portrait (Toronto: 1999)

A portrait (Toronto: 2004)

A caricature (Toronto: January 15, 2005)

Another caricature (Toronto: 2007)

A Portrait (Toronto: 2009)

(The End)

[To go to the first page of this write-up, please click  here]

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Father's Day: The Father in the Artistic Eyes of His Children -- 1

Today, the third Sunday of June, is the Father's Day. It is observed in many countries. On this day, children think of their fathers in a special way and demonstrate their love and respect to them.

On this occasion, I present below some of the drawings and sketches of me. These show how my children saw me and wanted to preserve those particular moments in artistic ways. Many of their works got misplaced and lost, yet a few samples are given below from the few that survived.

Let me know how you like them!

Jerome D'Costa wearing Indonesian batik shirt and
Bangladeshi lungi (sarong) (Dhaka: Nov. 16, 1987)

A portrait (Dhaka: March 2, 1988)

A portrait (Dhaka: November 3, 1990)

A portrait (Dhaka: December 9, 1990)

On return from work at the weekly Pratibeshi office,
reading a book sitting on a bed

(Dhaka: June 17, 1991)

Having a lunch at home with his colleague
Father Jyoti A. Gomes, Director of the Christian
Communications Centre
(at the left)

(Dhaka: August 17, 1991)

A portrait (Dhaka: Dec. 17, 1992)

A portrait (Dhaka: July 24, 1993)

Playing with the youngest child
(Dhaka: July 29, 1993)

Again with the youngest child
(Dhaka: Sept. 15, 1994)

Reading a story to the youngest child
(Dhaka: August 23, 1994)

A portrait (Dhaka: March 4, 1995)

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The Quotation of the Week (June 20 - 26, 2010)

A father with his son watching the Easter Parade in Toronto, Canada

Photo (Toronto: April 4, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Caterpillar


A doodle on caterpillar
Doodle (Dhaka: March 5, 1993) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (June 13 - 19, 2010)

Pipes and valves

Photo (Lawachara, Moulavibazar Dist., Bangladesh: July, 2008) by Ujjal Peter D'Costa

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Friday, June 11, 2010

The FIFA World Cup Starts With Fanfare


Logo courtesy:

The month-long FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup football competition started today, June 11, with an impressive opening ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, reports the BBC. South Africa is the first African country to host these games.

The inaugural ceremony consisted of songs by South African and international musicians, dances from different countries and welcome video appearance by former South African president Nelson Mandela. Due to his grand-daughter's sudden death in a road accident the previous day, Mr. Nelson Mandela could not be personally present at the ceremony.

Thirty-two countries will compete in 64 games. These countries are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Ivory Coast, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Korea Democratic People's Republic (North), Korea Republic (South), Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, and the USA.

Among the dignitaries present were South African President Jacob Zuma, South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Secretary General Ban-ki-moon, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Monaco's Prince Albert and US Vice President Joe Biden.

It is estimated that about three billion people will watch the World Cup in South Afica.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life As It Is


Do the selling of bananas and dozing off go together? No.
A napping banana vendor in Dhaka.

Photo (Dhaka: July, 2008) by Ujjal Peter D'Costa

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Quotation of the Week (June 6 - 12, 2010)

A partial view of a Persian carpet design

Photo (Toronto: January 16, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa
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Friday, June 4, 2010

My Ten Predictions for the Next 50 Years


Layout (Toronto: June 4, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

I am not a seer, nor a psychic, but an ordinary mortal who like to reflect on events in the world. Through my reflections and common sense, I developed some gut feelings within me.

Out of these gut feelings, I predict the following for the next 50 years (2010 - 2060):
  1. Due to global warming and environmental change, more archaeological discoveries will reveal new evidences and truths demanding the rewriting of history in different parts of the world.
  2. Mankind-aliens encounter and cooperation will take the universe to a new dimension.
  3. The Roman Catholic Church, after suffering setbacks, will undergo unforeseen reforms leading to a better future for the Church.
  4. The developed countries will turn into a large geriatric ward due to improved healthcare and birthrate falling alarmingly low. If proper actions are not taken, governments will find it hard to meet the demands of the ever-increasing number of elderly people.
  5. Natural disasters will take more extreme forms wiping out some parts of the world.
  6. New life forms will be developed in the service of mankind. Counter efforts to harm mankind will also be made but will not succeed in widespread damage.
  7. Made-to-order body organs will be commercially produced for transplant purposes.
  8. Revolutionary communication media, presently unthinkable, will be invented and developed for instant and wider communication in the coming age.
  9. Due to situations arising from population explosions, Asia will be revisited by nuclear war.
  10. The purgation and purification of the U.S.A. will continue for more years and ultimately this country will come out stronger.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flirting With the Past: National Electioneering in Bangladesh (June, 1978)


A national election graffiti on a wall in Dhaka asking for votes. In English,
it says, "Vote for Osmani" (General Muhammad Ataul Gani Osmani,
who was the Supreme Commander of Bangladesh Forces during the
Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971) and, in Bangla (Bengali),
it says, "Beware, the enemies of democracy. --Jagjubodol"
(Jatiyo Gonotrantrik Jubo Dol, which means
National Democratic Youth Party)
Photo (Dhaka: June, 1978) © Jerome D'Costa

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