What are we first? This question is often asked when trying to prioritize the identity of a person. You might hear someone say, I am an American first (though some Mexicans will take offense to that and that the correct term should be United States of American), then a Muslim, and then a father, and so on. Based on the religion you subscribe to, a philosophy, a profession, a nationality, you could prioritize them to reflect how you judge a circumstance, or how you act.

We saw these questions come up recently in the news. When newsmen got beaten down by the police, they took a more intense stance on their reports against them than before. There was a lack of that intensity when the receiver of that brutality were ordinary citizens. Before, we heard of reporters being persuaded to not publish a story by some mild push from higher ups in the government, and two TV channels had magically disappeared off air due to some pushing from some 'mysterious' quarters just before the opposition's meeting was about to be aired. This current intensity also didn't last long, went largely amiss just before the "Meet the Press" fiasco with Sahara Khatun.

REHAB (Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh) is a bunch in a frenzy buying up land from those who own it, with deals that are hard to pass up. Their identity is clearly established. Though I am not fond of them in any way, I have to say I agreed once with something they've said. When Sahara Group came over and suddenly emerged here as the company of choice for the government in building small towns outside the city, REHAB had to come out and say "Hey! What about us?". I have often mused in the frantic fashion that I do, that "we need to get these developers to do projects outside Dhaka before they cover up the view of the sky with these tall buildings". Its a shame that they are being sidelined quickly by the rich and powerful of India. The govt. could've also initiated this with REHAB (the point the latter is making), but I guess they like what this Sahara had to offer (well, they like what both Saharas have to offer, despite or becuase of). My 'consumer' identity however, has no respect for most of these developers, since their profit margins still don't seem to allow safety provisions and weekends for their workers, and their products leave a lot to be desired frankly. There are also reports of unlawful or unjust land acquisitions.

As part of a democracy (ho ho ho), we also have to be 'voters'. Now this is important, cause for 5 years, or more, you have to live with that decision. We have a booming democracy, two parties who have democratically selected their party founder's family members for years, and will for years to come, at the helms of their parties. They use their freedom of expressions to lick their feet and bottoms and their freedom of speech to flower them with odes. 

Just today, news came that the parliament discussions had concluded that Abdullah Abu Syed, who is an educator and famous for his "Bishwo Sahityo Kendro" (which has been encouraging kids to read for years), has been undemocratic, unpatriotic, unconstitutional and should apologize. This due to his appearance at the TIB show the day before, and calling names to politicians ("unethical" or "corrupt"). I didn't vote for BAL (Queen Mother, I still love you! Please don't get me whipped), and now I must suffer them standing up in parliament and claiming that politicians voted in by people, should not be called names, its like calling names to those voters, to the countrymen! Damn! Ship me out already!

I don't know where this is going, so I'll try to conclude here. Whether you are a REHAB businessman, or a person who is a fan of either of the parties' founders, or a reporter, whatever your identity is, think both of humanity and justice when you put your voter caps on. A few ministers has had done very well, in their fields - food, agriculture, you can identify them clearly and vote for them. For the rest of us, we should give the 4th/5th and 6th man/symbol a chance (considering the 3rd man might be H M Ershad - we already ousted him out once! Don't tell me you forgot?!!!).

Open Letter to Prime Minister: