This Op-Ed is being republished on the occasion of National Mourning Day
Just as December 16, 1971 will stand forevermore as the crowning glory and greatest moment in the history of Bangladesh, so must August 15, 1975 stand as the lowest and most shameful point in our history.
Let us make no mistake about it. The brutal killing of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman together with almost all of his family on August 15, 1975 shames all Bangladeshis and can be viewed as nothing other than a day of infamy that will live on as a permanent stain on the honour of our nation.
Without Bangabandhu, there would be no independent Bangladesh today.
It was he who embodied the spirit of our nationalism and united the nation into a proud and liberated people.
To brutally murder this great man in his own home, not even four years after the he had led us to victory and the dignity of being a free and independent people -- beggars belief.
Even worse was the butchery of almost his entire family in the process, including his 10-year old son. The brutality and bloodiness of the assassins was chilling, and continues to shock the conscience even today, 40 years on.
We may not agree on much as a nation, but surely we can all agree that these were killings that should never have happened and that can never be justified or excused.
This should not be a partisan political thing. To mourn on August 15 is not the sole preserve of the Awami League or the family of Bangabandhu.
The killings of August 15, 1975 were a national tragedy and it is right and befitting that the day be commemorated as a national day of mourning.
The memory of that black day in Bangladeshi history should bring a tear to the eye of any proud Bangladeshi and every sentient human being.
In a bitterly divided country, we must have some touch-stones of unity and consensus, to say nothing of decency and respect. The Liberation War is one of them, but August 15 must be another.
The trials of the Bangabandhu killers were therefore very necessary, and it is to be regretted that it was only the Awami League governments of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which saw fit to launch them and to bring them to fruition.
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There is much left to be done, with some of the convicted killers still beyond the reach of the law, and no stone should remain unturned in our efforts to bring them back to Bangladesh to face justice.
This is about justice, not revenge, and it is the cry of the entire nation, not that of one political party or one family.
A nation that does not respect its heroes can never respect itself or expect others to respect it in turn.
Let us never forget that Bangabandhu was the greatest and most enduring of all of our heroes and ensure that he never is dislodged from the place of respect he deserves so long as our nation survives.
Zafar Sobhan is Editor, Dhaka Tribune.