Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Day!

Perhaps you have been so busy making pies that it escaped your notice that this week is Bangladesh Armed Services Day as well as Thanksgiving. In the city where he works, David was honored with an invitation to a dinner in honor of the Bangladeshi armed services, who are a major part of the UN peacekeeping contingent in that part of Sudan.

It seems they'd invited everyone of any importance in the area--a gracious gesture by any measure. The food was very good--not so intensely spicy as the last time he ate at the Bangladeshi officers' mess--but the most memorable part of the evening was a video about Bangladesh and its military. It was in the style of a 1950s vintage informational movie--a cheerful, deep voice intoning things like, "The Bangladeshi Army. Bringing progress to Bangladesh" David learned all kinds of fascinating facts about Bangladesh -- it has the longest beach in the world (147 km.); it has a "rapidly growing" tourist industry; it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and yet it's agricultural industry produces enough to feed them all; it has a thriving industry exporting "urea," as well as leather goods (including Bata shoes).

But the highlight of the video was the section about all the weapons Bangladeshi army employs: lots footage of various ordnance in action, many explosions. Perhaps the most memorable moment came in the discussion of Bangladeshi military training. The deep voice cheerfully ticked off a list of combat skills every Bangladeshi army officer is trained in, accompanied by video clips of each of these skills in action. If you weren't paying close attention, you might miss the brief mention of "knife-throwing," . . . the quick clip of a uniformed officer flinging a knife, . . . or the particularly graphic one-second shot of the victim convulsing as he took the knife in the neck.

Happy Bangladesh Armed Services Day and Happy Thanksgiving!

No comments: