Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (December 25-31, 2011)

A Bangladeshi Catholic couple's beautiful dog at their trailer 
in Kawartha Lakes area, northern Ontario, Canada

Photo (Ontario: August 7, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Today Is the Christmas Day!

Christmas in Bangali (Bengalee) style: 
St. Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus wearing Bangali dresses
Painting (Toronto: 1998) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (December 18-24, 2011)

On way to the Sauble Beach from Toronto, 
wind turbines generate electricity in a rural area 
of the Ontario Province, Canada

Photo (Ontario: August 18, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vociferous Atheist Christopher Hitchens Dies of Cancer

Christopher Hitchens
Photo courtesy: CNN

Christopher Hitchens, a U.K.-born zealous preacher of atheism, journalist, author, and polemicist, died of cancer on December 15 in a hospital in Texas, U.S.A. He was aged 62.

He was quite vocal in both writing and lecturing about issues and matters that he strongly believed in. He was proficient in the use of English language.

Baptized as an Anglican, Christopher Hitchens later changed religions several times before he became a socialist and then an atheist. Along with Professor Richard Dawkins and some other atheists, he took upon himself the duty of preaching atheism through writing, speeches and debates. 

He emphasized upon the use of logic and reasoning in place of blind faith in religion. He called upon all not to believe in God because, according to him, what religions teach about God are fictions or made-up stories. Religious leaders used religions to control minds and hearts of people.

He gained world-wide publicity when he called Mother Teresa of Calcutta a “Hell’s Angel” through a book. He was equally scathing in his remarks on some politicians.

Some of his books on the subject of religion and atheism are: The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever; Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens; The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice; god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything; and Is Christianity Good for the World?

In the past, our blog Bangladesh Canada and Beyond gave coverage on Christopher Hitchens in the following write-ups: 

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Today Is Bangladesh's 40th 'Bijoy Dibosh' (Victory Day)

The Jatiyo Smriti Shoudha (National Martyrs' 
Memorial) at Savar, Bangladesh, is the symbol 
of Bangladesh's Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day)

Graphics (Toronto: Dec. 16, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

Bangladesh observes its 40th Bijoy Dibosh (Victory Day) today. Forty years ago, on this day, General Niazi, who was head of the Pakistani occupation forces in East Pakistan (later renamed Bangladesh), surrendered to the joint forces of India and Bangladesh muktijuddhas (freedom fighters). 

It is sad but true that the ideals that spurred the independence movement did not get realized fully even in the last 40 years of independence. The question of freedom, democracy (holding regular elections is only a part of democracy; real democracy also means enjoyment of rights and practice of responsibilities), political stability, the rich and poor divide, violation of the rights of the minority ethnic groups, corruption, naked nepotism, law and order situation, implementation of true justice, and economic stagnation still need to be addressed firmly. 

Bangladesh is in the middle age now. It has attained enough maturity to think for itself and work for the greatest interest and good of its people – majority people who are Muslims as well as minority peoples, who are Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, aboriginals and small ethnic groups. 

To understand the history, significance and meaning of the Bijoy Dibosh, you may read the following: 

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Doodle on AIDS VIRUS

In the early 1990s, the AIDS virus became
quite widespread in the world
Doodle (Dhaka: April 28, 1994) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (December 11-17, 2011)

An overbridge on Birchmount Road, Toronto

Photo (Toronto: February 2, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Salvation Army's Christmas Carols in a Shopping Centre in Toronto

 The Children's Choir of the Salvation Army Scarborough 
Citadel Corps singing Christmas carols and songs at 
the Scarborough Town Centre Mall as part of the 
fundraising for their community and family 
services programme in Toronto
Photo (Toronto: December 10, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bangla (Bengali) Calligraphy: EYES

Bangla (Bengali) calligraphy on eyes
Calligraphy (Dhaka: Sept. 29, 1990) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Quotation of the Week (December 4, 2011)

Lights in Toronto

Photo (Toronto: January 8, 2011) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christian Minorities Live in Persecution in Pakistan

Retired Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, Pakistan
Photo courtesy: The Catholic Register (Nov. 20, 2011)

Retired Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, Pakistan, on a recent visit to Toronto, said after the naked murder of Christian minister Shahbaz Bhatti on March 2, 2011, Pakistani Christians are living in fear and their voice is silenced, reports The Catholic Register of Toronto.

Archbishop also mentioned educated Pakistani Christians are abandoning their country to take shelter abroad. Those remaining in the country “are keeping their heads down and their mouths shut,” he said.

“In such a situation, minorities don’t have much place. There’s no tolerance for other religions,” he said. “Either you convert or you leave.”

A number of churches have to post guards and build concrete barriers to prevent attack on them. 

For the full interview of Archbishop Saldanha with The Catholic Register, you may read the following: “Christians live in fear in ‘Talibanized’ Pakistan.”

Regarding Human Rights of Its Minorities, Pakistan is a Failed State

The country is officially called “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” It has a population of over 132.35 million, of whom 95% are Muslims and 5% are Christians, Hindus and other minorities. 

It’s tragic but true that Pakistan today is a prime example of infamous “Blasphemy Laws” which have been causing widespread persecution among the minority groups in the name of Islam. The minorities are hostages in the hands of some religious extremists who use the blasphemy laws to settle scores with their rivals or competitors, to take revenge on someone, or to outright grab lands of minorities. 

Many politicians, judges and law enforcement personnel, to keep their positions intact, allow themselves to be used as toys in the hands of the radical Islamists. 

The greatness of a nation is proven by how it treats its own minorities. Pakistan has miserably failed in this respect. An Islamic republic is supposed to follow the real Islam and protect the rights of minorities, but, in reality, Pakistan is failing in this regard.

The western democratic countries, in general, are keeping mum on this matter to receive the support of Pakistan in their fight against terrorism. Their deafening silence is going against the minorities’ rights in Pakistan. 

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