We have come too far to allow ourselves to be defeated. It is time now for action, and to take charge of our future so that we may continue to rise
It has been half a century since, on March 26, 1971, Bangladesh was declared independent against an oppressive Pakistani regime that sought to erase our identity, our language, and our existence.
In the year 2021, what we see around us is a Bangladesh that many could not have fathomed -- a Bangladesh that is experiencing massive economic and social progress, a Bangladesh that has truly established itself on the global stage, infrastructural development going ahead at full speed.
This is a momentous time in our history, one which undoubtedly provides us with an opportunity to not only look back at the tremendous sacrifices made by the people who fought against Pakistan to bring about our independence, but also to look forward at the immense potential of our nation and work towards ensuring that we emerge as a nation that continues to hold on to the values on which it was founded, and creates avenues of sustainable development.
If our history has shown us anything, it is our ability to overcome great adversity, from the violence and brutality of the Pakistani army, to widespread poverty to, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic, all of which we have tackled together as a nation with resilience.
The common thread which unites us all in our continuous success is our understanding that it is the people who must always be prioritized first, and the rest will follow. Every time we have focused on improving the lives of the people who call this nation home, we have reaped its rewards, from digitalizing services which have increase accessibility to infrastructural projects which have improved communications channels, each of these projects has seen the lives of our people improve which have inevitably contributed to our progress as a nation.
But we have not always lived up to the ideals on which our nation was founded. Time and again, we have seen our nation divided by the evils of extremism and communalistic violence, taking us further away from the secular values which celebrate our diversity. Bangladesh, after all, is a nation for people of all religions and creeds. We have a long road ahead of us in terms of getting back to our secular ideals. Almost five years ago, the attack at Holey Artisan Bakery shocked many of us into the realization that the elements of terror which seek to destroy are peace are present in the country, and pretending otherwise will not do us any good.
We have also seen certain laws, such as the Digital Security Act, which have proven detrimental to the ideas of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, giving undue powers to law enforcement authorities. These must be reconsidered.
And perhaps at the root of every problem lies the cancer of corruption, which has not only affected our economic progress, but remains the largest obstacle to any progress we make, essentially reducing if not eliminating the effectiveness and efficiency of any single project that seeks to improve the lives of the people and our standing as a nation.
As we remember the sacrifices made by those who won us our freedom, let us be inspired to move forward and improve ourselves. It is only through remembering the ideals for which they stood that we can apply them once more to our present, so that we may have a better future.
We have come too far to allow ourselves to be defeated. It is time now for action, and to take charge of our future so that we may continue to rise. May the next 50 years of Bangladesh be a story of success, peace, and prosperity.