Celebrated on the 21st day of each February, International Mother Language Day, or Ekushey February in the Bangla language, marks the day students in Bangladesh lost their lives in an arduous effort to preserve their linguistic rights.
As part of Muslim Link's series profiling Muslim ethnocultural community organizations across Canada, Naiema Zaman discusses her involvement with the Canada Bangladesh Muslim Community (CBMC) in Ottawa, Ontario.
I grew up between the contrasting worlds of South Asian and Arab culture. Born to Algerian and Bengali parents, I could identify with a realm of backgrounds and the experiences that came with them. A valuable part of this experience was community and people.
My “Abbu” (father) came from a Bangla-speaking family while my Ammu (mother) hailed from a Urdu-speaking family. It’s a common phenomenon in Bangladesh because before the 1971 war, we used to be East Pakistan and families that spoke both languages lived in both East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now Pakistan). Growing up, my brother and I spoke both languages, at home we spoke Bangla and in my maternal grandparents' house we spoke Urdu/Hindi mixed.
The Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative (CRDI) is a registered non-profit organization established by young members of the Rohingya community across Canada. CRDI works with prominent Canadians from different communities and organizations to advocate for the cause of Rohingya in Canada and abroad.
A group of Bangladeshi Canadian women living in Ottawa came together in 2015 to raise funds for maternal and newborn health in Bangladesh. They have started holding annual Bangladeshi cultural celebrations in Ottawa in order to raise funds and awareness about the health issues facing poor mothers in Bangladesh. The group, called Cure for Women and Children works in collaboration with Human Concern International. Their most recent event was their second annual Sheether Mela on October 15, 2017 held at SNMC mosque in Ottawa.
Recently the Ottawa Citizen reprinted published an article titled “Nobel winner Professor Yunus defies ouster call”. The article mentioned that supporters of Prof. Muhammad Yunus in the West were deeply concerned by what they saw as politicized attempt by the government of Bangladesh to remove him from Grameen Bank which he founded.
The global financial crisis has exposed the failure of the laissez-faire, unregulated free market capitalism. Governments of a number of industrialised countries allocated an excess of $7 trillion in bailout and liquidity injections to revive their economies. Despite this “helicopter money”, capitalist market economies are not yet out of the woods. Sovereign debt is the latest episode.
“Imported” capitalism in the Muslim world has begun faltering. It now appears that the city of Dubai and the much-touted Grameen Bank experiment may not be as successful as they were initially made out to be.