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Dear America - 2

Dear America - 2

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

During HRCBM event, I met a number of people including Kanchan Banerjee, Ishani Chowdhury, Sitangshu Guha, Stephen H. Klitzman, Dwijen Bhattacharjya, Stephen R. Snow, Rosaline Costa, T. Kumar, Maurice Kurland, Steven Roy Goodman and many others. Amongst them, Kanchan had been one of the most decent and excellent human being who knows the art of making relations with people by his simplicity and honesty. In short span of time, he turned into my very good friend, with whom I loved to have several telephonic conversations during my stay in United States.

One thing I have observed from some of the guest speakers in HRCBM event. At least, I have been able to identify one, who has so far developed a kind of self pattern of delivering long lectures on many of the issues related to religious minorities and never had any energy in pursuing the matter with the right people in the administration in Dhaka in order to find any solution. Why? Because, for them, it is important to let those issues remain pending for decades, which would give them the chance to at least find a platform where they would be treated with importance. These are the worst segment of people in our society, who generally loves to be treated as ‘intellectuals’.

Anyway, despite day-long speeches and display of some posters, HRCBM exhibition got maximum coverage in Bangladeshi press.

We had to leave the program sometime in the evening, as Dr. Richard and I were already scheduled to appear in two radio interviews. Since I arrived in United States, brother Richard’s phone was mostly ringing with calls from my friends and supporters, as well as various newspapers and radio shows. There had been several calls from some of the aides of the Congressmen or Senators and of course, American Jewish Committee. He was virtually sweating in accommodating schedules as my duration of stay was much shorter than those meeting or interview prospects. Anyway, I assured my brother that in October I shall come back for at least two weeks, so that we can have the opportunity of seeing more people.

I preferred to be back to our hotel on walk as I was willing to witness the excellent scenic beauties of Washington and especially Capitol Hill area, which is well protected by special security forces of Security Hill. It is rather a kind of privileged area with Capitol Hill, White House and many of the extremely important offices of United States. Dr. Richard knows, if we were in Dhaka, it was impossible for me to walk on streets. First of all, of course for security reason, and secondly because of huge traffic. In my life, I had been to several countries, but, I really cannot compare the roads of Capitol Hill area with any of those.

By the time we were back to hotel, it was already very near to our appointment with a radio show who were willing to interview brother Richard and me together. I took a quick shower and got rid of formal dress, which I generally hate to hold for longer time. There was really some minutes only before the hour-long interview. But, both of us were hungry. Especially I did not take anything after lunch. Although there was plenty of food in HRCMB event, I did not taste anything. We ordered for pizza and sat in brother Richard’s room number 506 for the interview. Right at 8 pm., the anchor of the radio show called. In past few years, we have faced numerous interviews, singly and jointly. But, I always love to be in any show together with brother Richard. Of course, in all previous cases, our appears were from the others sides of the Atlantic. This time, right in the same room. It was exciting to both of us.

We picked up two different phone sets and started talking to the host. The program went live. Most interestingly, during the interview, pizza deliveryman knocked our door. Richard continued to speak and I took the delivery. Our listeners heard all of these stuff.

Right after this interview, we had a break for approximately an hour before we were scheduled for another one. Rather, the second interview was with me only. Oh, I forgot! Richard does not eat meat. Therefore, he had no interest in pizza. Rather he ordered for vegetable salad. Please excuse me! I hate vegetable!

I was having a kind of thirst for something stronger than mineral water or fruit juice. Richard knew what I want. We both went out for finding a store nearby. In fact, most of the stores on the main avenue of Capitol Hill were closed. Are they trying to learn the same thing from Dhaka! In Dhaka too, because of energy crisis, most of the shops are closed down by 8 pm. Of course, it is a new system introduced by the present interim plus government. We found a store and picked up a full bunch of 24 bottles of mineral water. I was looking for my favorite drink. For Richard, water is always okay. Finally, we discovered beer in a nearby bar. The bar owner did not allow us to carry drinks outside. So, no option, but to sit inside in rather stinky bar and consume chilled beer as quick as possible. While coming back to our hotel, Richard took the whole box of mineral water on his shoulder. I felt bad. I almost forcefully took the burden on my shoulder. The hotel was some one kilometer from the store. I was feeling real tired with the long journey and finally the box of mineral water on my shoulder, but tried to suppress it to my dearest brother.

When we were finished with all the interviews, it was almost mid night. Really, it was time for us to encounter our beds and try to sleep. I went back to my room. Made a phone call to my wife, and closed eyes to refresh my energy for the next day. When I opened my eyes, it was 5:45 am. We were to attend the breakfast at American Jewish Committee’s Washington office. I took shower, got dressed and rang brother Richard’s room. He was just waking up. He took 30 minutes for getting ready. To be continued

Posted on 15 Aug 2007 by Root


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