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Dhaka Tribune

The day our best minds were taken away from us

The best way to honour our martyred intellectuals is to uphold the value of education

Update : 14 Dec 2019, 12:05 AM

December 14, 1971 was one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.

On this day, just two days before the nation celebrated victory over the brutal Pakistan regime, one last cowardly attack was made on the sons and daughters of our soil by the Pakistan army and its local collaborators.

A whole generation of our greatest thinkers was murdered, after being systemically taken away from their families and loved ones. Over 200 Bangladeshi intellectuals were killed on that day, and there can be little doubt that the ramifications are still being felt by the nation.

We have a solemn obligation to uphold the sacrifices made by our martyred intellectuals, and vow to never forget what happened on that fateful day.

Pakistan may have dealt us a crippling blow, but they did not manage to hurt our sense of nationhood, which is now stronger than ever. Today then, is a day, first and foremost, for us to honour and remember those who perished; it is also a day to reflect upon where we stand today as a nation, what struggles we have endured, and what struggles still lie ahead.

The best way to honour our martyred intellectuals is to uphold the value of education, or freedom of speech, and the need for the kind of vital, relevant discourse in our public spaces that drive a nation forward and strengthen its values.

We have to ask ourselves: If our brightest minds, the ones who gave their lives for this country, could still weigh in, what would they want from this country? No doubt, they would want to uphold the values of democracy, freedom, nation-building, and human rights. Let us honour their sacrifice by strengthening these sacred institutions. 

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