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A law for history

  • Published at 12:02 am August 28th, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:23 pm August 28th, 2016
A law for history

Wars are always fought, regardless of what they are waged over. There are victors and there are losers. And those who fight in wars want to, at times, to record history in their favour.

Bangladesh has been a victim of a distorted history ever since the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

In a recent media poll, almost 70% voted in favour of a proposed law to protect the genuine history of Bangladesh with punishment for belittling Bangabandhu or the 1971 Independence War.

The BNP-Jamaat political alliance resorted to widespread distortion of history and adding flase stories in favour of its leader General Ziaur Rahman, including his supposed proclamation of our nation’s independence.

In a recent visit to Spain, my hosts told me that Spain has been rid of political turmoil and that some kind of calm now prevails, mainly becuase of pressure from the Europeon Union. The other issue has been a debate on history between the past dictator and present.

The Law of Historic Memory condemns Franco’s actions during the civil war between 1936 and 1939 and his 40-year dictatorship.

Francisco Franco came to power in 1939 following the Spanish Civil War and ruled as a dictator until his death in 1975.

In a recent media poll, almost 70% voted in favour of a proposed law to protect the genuine history of Bangladesh with punishment for belittling Bangabandhu or the 1971 Independence War

The Spanish transition to democracy refers to the restoration of democracy in Spain after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975. The transition began shortly after Franco’s death. For the first time in 70 years, after the end of the civil war, Spain has finally made an effort to recognise its authoritarian past, in a bill that condemns Francisco Franco’s dictatorship and honours his victims.

I will just venture into two major distortions in Bangladesh’s history: Ziaur Rahman stopped referring to Bangabandhu as the Father of the Nation either because he was the direct beneficiery of the 1975 coup, or he was, as many people allege, involved in that coup.

They wanted to wipe out Bangabandhu in all possible manner, even resorting to lies. My father, an army officer in active service, met Bangabadhu in 1969 to pledge his allegiance to the great leader fighting for an independent Bangladesh.

Ziaur Rahman was nowhere in sight, serving as a captain in the Pakistan Army.

If my martyred father could have recahed Kalurghat radio station as planned, Ziaur Rahman would not have read that as my father was seven years senior to him in the military rank. Ruling Awami League MP, retired major Rafiqul Islam, Bir Uttam, can vouch for me.

Major Rafique was my father’s closest associate ahead of the war, and knows many things about him.

There are many other attemps to distort history, including the number of people killed in the genocide carried out by the Pakistani army.

Those who try to distort this history are Pakistani puppets, or they have not seen Bangladesh painted red during 1971 with the blood of Bengalis.

I have seen, and I will never forget. Let this law take effect quickly with harsh punishments for those resorting to distortion.

Nadeem Qadir, a senior journalist, is a UNCA Dag Hammarskjold Scholar in journalism. He is the Press Minister of Bangladesh High Commission in London.