Rumours abound that this issue has been banned in Bangladesh (SA).
This week the chairman of Bangladesh?s International Crimes Tribunal resigned. We explain the background to his action, our role in the story, and what it all means for his country?s search for justice
BANGLADESH suffered a violent birth. In the last days of 1971 the country then called East Pakistan was engulfed by torture, rape, mass-killing and other acts of genocide. The main perpetrators were Pakistani troops bent on preventing secession from ?West Pakistan?. But the army had the support of many of East Pakistan?s fundamentalist groups, including Jamaat-e-Islami, which remains Bangladesh?s largest Islamic party. Estimates of the death toll vary from around 300,000 to the current government?s reckoning of 3m?one in 20 of the population at that time. Continue reading “Economist: Trying war crimes in Bangladesh”
The photographs were shockingly graphic, detailing the torture and execution of men suspected of collaborating with pro-Pakistani militias during Bangladesh?s 1971 war for independence. Featured on front pages and magazine covers around the world, they provoked outrage and won awards, including World Press Photo and a Pulitzer ? both shared by Horst Faas and Michel Laurent.
Only three Western photographers were on the scene of the executions: Mr. Faas, Mr. Laurent and Christian Simonpietri. The Magnum photographer Marc Riboud left the scene minutes before and later said he did so because his presence was only encouraging the brutality.
But there was another photojournalist there, whom the others didn?t know: Rashid Talukder, who worked for a Bangladeshi newspaper. Though he also made dramatic images, he did not publish them. He couldn?t. Mr. Talukder knew that ? unlike the foreign photographers ? he would not leave Bangladesh and dash to the next overseas hot spot. He would be staying. And the men behind the executions were among the most powerful in the country. Continue reading “Images of Independence, Finally Free”
Foreword by Shahidul Alam
?Kill three million of them,? said President Yahya Khan at the February conference (of the generals), ?and the rest will eat out of our hands.?
The executioners stood on the pier, shooting down at the compact bunches of prisoners wading in the water. There were screams in the hot night air, and then silence. (Payne, Massacre [Macmillan, 1973], p. 50, p 55.)
There were to be no witnesses to the massacre. The foreign journalists had all been sent back. The media had been taken over.. Those of us in East Pakistan, Bangalis, Paharis, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, were all labeled Kafirs. The genocide was to be presented as a holy war. They expected no resistance to ?Operation Searchlight? They couldn?t have been more wrong. The brutality was unparalleled, but so was the resistance. Continue reading “The price of freedom. Foreword”
Drik wins book of the year award for 2011 at the Asian Publishing Convention 2012 in Kuala Lumpur in the category Best Insights into Asian Societies (non-fiction)
The award is given to a book that leads to better understanding and insights into Asian economics, politics, social and environmental issues. The award was received by?Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir on the 30th November, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Mutiara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The acceptance speech:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Drik today would like to thank the Asia Publishing Committee for this recognition and UNHCR Bangladesh for their support in this endeavor. Thanks are also due to the core team and many others who contributed to the production of this book.
However, this award belongs to the brave and courageous people portrayed in this book and the twenty photographers from Bangladesh, France, India, UK and USA who themselves took risks to document the events.
The Bangladeshi War of Liberation, like all other wars, has a contested history. The number killed, the number raped, the number displaced, are all figures that change depending upon who tells the story. But the visual record is a testament to the resilience, the powerful spirit and dignity of the people who were caught in this war.
It is our wish that the younger generation will be inspired by the powerful spirit and courage of the people of Bangladesh. Coming after 40 years, we remember them today, with both a tear and a smile. Thank you. More information about the book
Hakimullah Mehsud is the emir of Pakistan’s biggest terrorist group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. He is also wanted by the US for murdering seven Americans on December 30, 2009 at a CIA base in Khost, and the failed bombing of Times Square in New York City on May 1, 2010. Washington and Islamabad have announced a bounty of $5m and Rs50m on his head. But the chief of the country’s biggest religious party – Jamaat-e-Islami – says he does not exist. Continue reading “Brotherhood of bombs”