I remember where I was on September 11, 2001.

Sitting on a park bench in a London suburb enjoying a quiet day off. An elderly couple nearby were exchanging greetings with a park gardener. I wasn’t eavesdropping, but did overhear one phrase being repeated: “We’re lucky here. Look at other countries on TV, they have buildings falling down.” Until I got home, I thought they were talking metaphorically.

I am not as certain of the exact location where I first heard about the Srebrenica massacre. The atrocity which saw units of the Serb supremacist militia of Republika Srpska (VRS) under…

Jan 9 , 2022 Trump’s repeated interference, incitement, and multiple lawsuits amounted to naught

Please make Senator Bernie Sanders happy.

If I had to write a “dear Santa” letter to President-elect Biden, I would suggest those six words as a mission statement for his incoming administration. It is simple to remember, and he has nothing to lose, as the US right wing will accuse him of “satanic socialism” anyway.

After the shocking but not surprising Trump-inspired mob invasion of the US Capitol buildings on Wednesday January 6, Biden will have even more national and global goodwill on his side come…

Has going to the movies become a rarefied treat?

It was the fortnight before Christmas.

Even away from seasonal displays, London by the river was brilliantly lit up at night. With so many offices and all West End theatres closed by the pandemic, the handful of visitors around could imagine it was all put on just for their benefit.

I got to marvel too as I had a couple of pre-booked cinema tickets to use. Amid dark winter days, only local roads and shopping centres seem to be managing to retain a semblance of their normal footfall. …

It may be the right thing for the world of 2021

A brief caveat — most of the pros and cons of nominating a band that split up five decades ago for a Nobel prize were already apparent 40 years ago.

For clarity, I mean the Peace prize chosen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for the Nobel Foundation. Bob Dylan’s 2016 award for literature perhaps expands possibilities, and some might even say the legendary quartet deserve a bespoke category.

The foundation’s own website name-checks them in an article crediting the huge profits their records generated for EMI in helping the…

DT op-ed 11 November 2020

It is usually sensible not to take the hyperbole of politicians at face value.

The statement made by Narayanganj 3 MP Liyakot Hossain Khoka this week about the debate on free speech and religion kicked off by French President Emmanuel Macron last month arguably falls into this category: “I want to tell this to the president of France — if you were in front of me today, I would have killed you and walked to the gallows with a smile on my face.”

As undiplomatic and unbecoming as this statement clearly is with its glorification…


First published as Chapter 25 in Section 4 The Election and Identity Politics in Brexit, Boris and the Media edited by John Mair, T Clark, N Fowler, R Snoddy and R. Tait (pre pandemic)

Bite-Sized Books January 2020

“Everything we see and enjoy comes from the heritage and contribution of the British Jewish community, which right now feels vulnerable.”

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow at election hustings

Docklands and East London Advertiser 6 December 2019

“The thing about Bangladesh was (pause) These were our people. In West London, we grew up in a really mixed-race place… The Bangladeshis tended to work very hard, so we respected them… we wanted to help. It was a terrible tragedy. Flood wasn’t it?”

Pete Townshend of The Who speaking to the…

From the eagle has landed to the ego has trended.

Talk all you like about the power of the United States waning over the past 50 years, but its global influence and reach remain omnipresent. It is elections for the White House that capture worldwide attention. China can make the goods but the lifestyle the world wants to buy is American-style consumption.

Even the very adjective illustrates American exceptionalism, as few who say it are thinking of people in Peru or Quebec. Or of US citizens with native ancestors predating Columbus.

They mean a land of immigrants that surprises onlookers with its insularity. Constitutional checks and balances checkmated by vested…

Lloyd’s of London, the global insurance market, recently pledged to fund opportunities for black and minority ethnic groups, after issuing a formal apology for its “shameful role in the 18th and 19th Century Atlantic slave trade.” Better late than never was a common and not unreasonable reaction. My first thought however, was to wonder if this would draw more attention to the East India Company.

The “inside-out” modernism of the Lloyds’ building in the heart of the city of London occupies the same site as the 200-foot long classical monolith that was the headquarters of the East India Company before…

Every Bangladeshi over the age of 50 has already lived longer than the average life expectancy at birth during the final years of East Pakistan.

This is both a cheering and sobering thought.

Of course, statistics like this keep changing for each individual as they get older and are affected by a range of lifestyle factors.

Being about as low in age myself as it is possible to be and still have strong memories of being alive during the late 1960s, it has been many years since I could have died good, pretty, or young.

I claim no special wisdom…

As a small child in 1972, I was deeply impressed during a stay in London by two posters, one for the British Museum’s blockbuster Tutankhamen exhibition and the other for the film of The Concert for Bangladesh.

The film poster fascinated because the bestselling album of George Harrison’s famous concerts the year before at Madison Square Gardens was already ubiquitous enough for me to be familiar with its sleeves, if not its sounds. Yet.

Fast forward to November 2019. The only question I want to ask Pete Townshend at an unrelated book talk, is Do you have any memories of…

Opinion Mongrel

NIAZ ALAM is London Bureau Chief of Dhaka Tribune. Hon. Secretary of the Foreign Press Association in 2018 and 2019, see niazalam.com, follow @ESGBangladesh

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