I’m not going to go into this too much right now. Maybe at some other point.
At least 3 million Bengalis were killed (mass killings) during the independence from Pakistan, via acts of genocide.
The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so.
At Hariharpara, a once thriving village on the banks of the Buriganga River near Dhaka, they found the three elements necessary for killing people in large numbers: a prison in which to hold the victims, a place for executing the prisoners, and a method for disposing of the bodies.
As was also the case in Armenia and Nanjing, Bengali women were targeted for gender-selective atrocities and abuses, notably gang sexual assault and rape/murder, from the earliest days of the Pakistani genocide. Indeed, despite (and in part because of) the overwhelming targeting of males for mass murder, it is for the systematic brutalization of women that the “Rape of Bangladesh” is best known to western observers.
In her ground-breaking book, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller likened the 1971 events in Bangladesh to the Japanese rapes in Nanjing and German rapes in Russia during World War II.
“… 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Muslims, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. … Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land …” (p. 81).
Read more (and photos) @ Gendercide Watch: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971
My mother was old enough to remember seeing the heads of Bengali men, cut off and paraded around on sticks. Her side of the family was constantly hiding, for those in positions in what Bengalis consider power (those educated) were considered a threat. My grandfather, a well-known Professor, was included in this.
My fathers’ family had moved back from England that year, on a whim because my grandfather missed Bangladesh. 1971, the year of the bloodshed. My father saw his uncles’ throat get cut by someone they had known, a traitor.
We are so completely privileged growing up here in North America.
Inner-city gang-fights may be, but we are not directly involved in country-wide warfare, where you constantly fear for your life.
You fear of exposure of your ethnicity, your religion, your gender. Nowhere to hide.
Of course there are exceptions. But not everyone is the exception.
But does that excuse Bangladesh’ brutal military government today? Does that mean we will not donate to Pakistan’s flood relief? No and no.
Times change. Every country has a history. Some of them have fairly brutal histories. Just because you acknowledge that there are atrocities going on in the world today does not mean you are forgetting, or negating the past. Nor is it, or should be, an excuse for the removal of human rights today. Otherwise, the human race- with our globalized capacity for war- really is doomed.
I remember hearing once that bengalis have a deep-seated animosity towards pakistanis but i never understood why. it’s obvious i don’t know my bengali history at all, and i will definitely look into all this more later, as should all of you.
It is disheartening in a way but we do not mean to imply any ungratefulness here - yet here are the present statistics.
The commitment per person after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake was $70 and for this year’s Haiti earthquake $495, whereas this time that works out at just over 3 dollars per flood affected person! And this all said when as per UN this is the worst calamity to hit Humankind anywhere; more than even if Earthquake of 2005, Indian Tsunami and Haiti combined.
Just so that you know the numbers. But even then thank you everyone who has made a donation or helped spread the word.