Opinion

Compel Pakistan to apologise for the 1971genocide


Bangladeshpost
Published : 15 Dec 2021 10:06 PM | Updated : 25 Dec 2021 03:45 PM

 Farabi Bin Zahir

A disgraceful chapter in the history of civilisation is called "genocide". Just as humans have gained knowledge and intellect alongside the path of civilisation growth, they have also not shied away from committing terrible crimes for personal gain, greed, or jealousy. Among them, genocide is one of the worst ones. In retrospect, the history of human civilisation clearly exhibits how people got involved in this ruthless game of genocide in different stages of history! Some human faces hyenas have not hesitated before choosing to walk on the brutal path of genocide instead of civilisation. 

However, it is a matter of relief that individuals have gradually come to their senses. They understand that, just as war never brings peace, no civilised State can condone genocide. We have already witnessed two significant developments in global politics in this regard.

The first is that the German government officially acknowledged that genocide had taken place in Namibia during their colonial rule. The German government has apologised to the Namibian people and the descendants of those who perished in the genocide.

From 1894 to 1915, this incident took place when Namibia was under German colonial rule. At that time, the name of that country was German South-West Africa. Many twentieth-century historians have referred to the genocide that occurred at the period as the "forgotten genocide."

Namibia had been pressuring Germany to confess to genocide and pay appropriate reparations for the atrocities perpetrated. After five years of negotiations between the two governments, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas formally acknowledged in a statement that genocide had taken place in Namibia. On behalf of the German government, he apologised to the Namibian people and the heirs of the genocide victims. In the statement, "Germany acknowledges its historical and moral responsibilities and expresses regret to the Namibian people and genocide victims". Apart from that, Germany has also agreed to pay €1.1bn (£940m) in compensation. This money will be spent on education, health and other infrastructural development of Namibia. Following the signing of the compensation agreement, the German president will visit Namibia and formally apologise to the people of Namibia.

Another noteworthy incident is that France has also acknowledged and apologised for the horrific genocide of 1994 in their former colony of Rwanda. Rwanda's civil war in 1994 killed at least 0.8 to 1 million people, most of them Tutsi. No French government has spoken out against France's role in the Rwandan genocide for the past 26 years. Almost 27 years since the genocide, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, admitted the liability of the genocide, expressed his sorrow and apologised to the people of Rwanda. While attending a ceremony held in the built-in cemetery memory of the genocide in Kigali, which is the burial site of 250,000 Tutsi victims of genocide, Macron said, 

Undoubtedly, these two events will be forever remembered in the history of human civilisation. Even so many years after the incident, Germany and France have realised that killing innocent people can never be a sign of civilisation. This sense of realisation really deserves praise.

This forgiveness will, undoubtedly, be a milestone in the history of human civilisation. This apology again confirms that the killing of unarmed and innocent people can never be acceptable in a healthy and civilised society. On the other hand, a matter of great regret is that the Pakistan Government has not only failed to apologise for the brutal killing they had organised in 1971, but they also continue to act antagonistically still. If we take a closer look, we will see that the genocide organised by Pakistan in 1971 was much more brutal and barbaric in terms of political background and atrocities. An analysis of the political background shows that the brutal attack of Pakistan in 1971 was in no way an action taken to suppress separatists but an attack to deprive the people of their democracy, to stop the mandate proposed by the people in 1970. The attack by the Pakistanis was, after all, an action to dig the grave of democracy.

If we consider atrocities, the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Commission) reported in 1981 that among all the genocides committed in the history of humankind, the maximum number of people were slain in the shortest length of time in 1971 in Bangladesh. On average, 8,000 to 12,000 people were killed every day in Bangladesh. This is the highest average in the history of genocide. However, it should be noted that the number of casualties on the first night of 'Operation Searchlight' was at least 35,000. The Chuknagar massacre claimed over 10,000 lives.

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According to the New York Times report published on March 26, 1971, the death toll on March 26 was 10,000. According to the 1971 Sydney Morning Herald, the death toll from March 25 to March 29 (in 5 days) was about 100,000. It shows that the number of deaths per day is about 20 thousand. Even the Communist Party of Russia's Pravda' spokesperson published the story of 3 million martyrs in Bangladesh in December 1971. The English version of this Pravda mentions, 'Over 30 lakh persons were killed throughout Bangladesh by the Pakistani occupation forces during the last nine months'. The Pravda newspaper's January 5, 1972 Bengali edition carried the headline 'Occupying forces kill more than 3 million people in Bangladesh.'

The point is quite clear that the 1971 massacre by Pakistan was one of the most heinous and barbaric genocides in the history of the world, regardless of the political background and the trial of the atrocities. Nevertheless, the barbaric state of Pakistan has not been realised. In addition, the state of Pakistan continues to lie about the genocide through its various paid agents at home and abroad. They are silent and indifferent to the question of this genocide.

Therefore, it is time to compel Pakistan, which is immersed in bigotry and militancy, to apologise. The world must consider that as long as Pakistan refuses to apologise for the 1971 genocide, it will be remembered as a disgraceful country throughout human history. That is why Pakistanis' barbarism should be addressed in various international forums and media outlets on public, private, and interpersonal basis.


The writer is a columnist and activist