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The day we saw the worst side of humanity

  • Published at 08:00 pm March 24th, 2020
Painting "1971"
Painting: Zainul Abedin

All these years later, Pakistan still continues to deny its crimes

Today, the whole world is on edge about a pandemic that has killed roughly 17,000 people worldwide, but on this day 49 years ago, Bangalis experienced a night of terror the nation never will -- and never should -- forget.

March 25, 1971 was a day of unspeakable horrors.

It was called Operation Searchlight, and the Pakistan army’s actions, along with the actions of their local collaborators, were so disgraceful, so dishonourable, that words fail when describing them.

On this day, a vast number of Bengalis -- students, teachers, people from all walks of life -- were murdered brutally and systematically. Innocent, defenseless people were mowed down by gunfire by a cold and calculating army; houses were set on fire, property and businesses were destroyed, women were raped, lives were shattered.

The independence from Pakistan we subsequently gained would not have been possible without the sacrifices of these brave martyrs.

What adds insult to injury, though, is that, all these years later, Pakistan still continues to deny its crimes. Its government stubbornly refuses to apologize for past atrocities, and even goes so far as to side with war criminals, showing that the country has little or no interest in reconciliation or building bridges.

Although we were dealt a terrible blow on that fateful day, Bangladesh prevailed, and won the war. The year 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, has been a trying time so far, but when we look to history, we can see how many terrible ordeals we have endured, and prevailed.

Because we are a nation of fighters.