Thursday, April 21, 2011


Remains of a Giant Turtle and a star fish in the beaches of Sonadia, Coxs' Bazar
It isn’t hard to find quotations to support the thesis that history has a habit of repeating itself.
Whilst Karl Marx’ famous observation that ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce’ may appear to many of us the most prophetic, it is the quotation that ‘ Each time history repeats itself the price goes up’ that may seem more appropriate in the case of the lovely Sonadia Island off Cox Bazar.
A giant turtle, lay lifeless in the beaches of Sonadia
In usually clear blue waters, filtered by the regularly appearing then disappearing sand banks that surround this lovely tropical sandy paradise, porpoises can be watched at play, and where turtles struggle ashore for egg laying, evening brings the return of thousands of sea birds. On the beaches can be found cowries and oyster shells, and an unusually interesting flotsam and jetsam.
All of which is doomed to vanish, under an agreement for China to develop a deep water port that will link with road and rail developments under negotiation between the neighbouring countries of India, Myanmar and Bangladesh, with China.
Red Crab
What of history repeating itself? Well, it was to the coast of Bangladesh that invaders came from Afghanistan in 12th Century CE, and from Persia, Iraq and Turkey in 16th Century, to take possession of the gateway to the great trade route, the Southwest Silk Road, that from at least 5th Century BCE had linked south and central Asia, and offered traders for much further afield, Arabia and Europe, a road for commerce between the great and growing Empires of South, East, and West.
Surfing and life saving club of Sonadia
And in the 16th and 17th Centuries of the Common Era, it also brought to these shores the Portuguese, the British, the French and the Dutch, of whom, in the end, it was, of course, the British who  ‘scooped the pool’ of the wealth generated by the trade.

It was the great Brahmaputra itself that was then the gateway between South and Central Asia, and although this time around it seems that Sonadia will be at the gateway, there is little doubt that, this time around, the price will, indeed, have gone up. Both environmentally, and commercially. Maybe socially as well.

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