Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bangladesh . . . in time and space

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The launch of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite into space is that particular moment in history when we must celebrate ourselves. In these past ten years or so, we as a people have been busy, under a political leadership wedded to the noble principles upon which this nation was founded through the tragedy of war nearly a half century ago, in consolidating our place in the global community.

 Our economy has been demonstrating good results. Our people do not any more suffer from a lack of food. Every social indicator shows us, with each passing day, figures which make us feel proud of our country.

 Our GDP growth has been impressive, though we look forward to its going up somewhat more. We are on the way to being a developed country. Indeed, we are fast reaching that point where the international community will need, of its own accord, to hear our voice.

Of course we remain aware of the impediments which stand in our way. We are conscious of the tortuous course which national politics has taken, of the dark elements which yet lurk in the bushes ready for an opportunity to strike at the values we have been trying to restore for ourselves.

Of course there are all the worries about law and order, about the threats to freedom of speech, about the rule of law and about a justice system which needs fixing if the people of Bangladesh are to be permitted the space they need to contribute to democracy and social progress.

These concerns are there and we do not minimize their critical significance. In the midst of it all and indeed in light of the advances we have made so far in some extremely important areas, we celebrate Bangladesh's entry into the Space Age through the successful launch of Bangabandhu-1.

The symbolism attached to the feat cannot be missed. It is this --- that a people who remain profoundly aware of their place in the world have now branched out to stamp their presence beyond time and space. What took place early on Saturday is a tribute to the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to the sagacity of the leadership demonstrated in Mujibnagar by his dedicated and loyal associates, to the brave warriors of the Mukti Bahini, to the millions who sacrificed their lives in the War of Liberation in order for the rest of us to be able to live in the glow of liberty. The launch of Bangabandhu-1 is again a tribute to the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the government she leads, to those individuals who have worked tirelessly to translate this dream into reality.

The launch of the satellite should be a spur to scientific research in the country, a broad hint that we now possess the ability to expand our range of vision where a Digital Bangladesh will come by more substance and therefore will dig deeper roots in the lives of our people.

The blast-off we have seen of Bangabandhu-1 is a harbinger of new hope on the wings of which our new dreams will take to the skies. Let us have more of such achievements in future. We have as a nation crossed a frontier. There are all the other frontiers we can now dream of leaping across as we travel through space.

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