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     Volume 8 Issue 57 | February 13, 2009 |

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Not all Wcs are made of Porcelain

Most heartening news for this column has been the adaptation of a parliamentary resolution in the very first session of the eighth legislative body that summarily launches the trial of the war criminals of 1971, a pre-election pledge of Awami League and its allies. This burning issue has garnered the nation, catapulted by the praiseworthy resolve of the Sector Commanders Forum and sustained by authors, speakers, cultural activists and others over decades, and manifested in the mammoth and unprecedented people's mandate in favour of the ideals on which the War of Liberation was fought and won. Notably it has also earned important international support.

This column has been emphasising on the need for bringing the WCs to task for the past almost fourteen years, almost since the first letter was tapped on the keyboard.

In the first ever Chintito “Bangalee's short memory”, published on 30 May 1995, Chintito wrote:
“While the emblematic Bangalee will be envious of the Jews hunting down Nazi war criminals and profusely acknowledging their nationalism, the same Bangalee this far has tried to brush under the carpet any suggestions of bringing to book the culprits (at home and abroad) opposing our liberation. On the contrary, some of us have conveniently forgotten everything that happened before 1971, have taken to speaking Urdu and even supporting the Pakistan cricket team on Bangladesh soil, etc. etc. The same Bangalee will find it hard to imagine Israelis cheering a Palestinian Football Team or Mandela twisting his tongue to speak in French with Chirac.”

The vicious war criminals have melted into our society, and a tactics have to be developed to trace them. On 23 August 1996 this column carried the heading “How to hunt a Razakar”, which began with:

“If any well-meaning word in any language has been disgraced because of the heinous acts of a group of devils in the guise of man, it is the expression Razakar. In 1971, these Bengali-speaking Pakistanis picked up arms against their co-lingual, harassed families of Muktijoddhas, killed unarmed civilians, and raped the very essence of my Sonar Bangla. They were a cowardly lot, operating in the darkness of the night, attacking the helpless mother and sisters of freedom fighters, unleashing their poltroonery (antonym of chivalry and courage) on the academics and the intelligentsia, and trying to extricate the very foundation of a Bengali nation.

On 20 December 1996, Chintito wrote:
“Twenty-five years ago, when twelve of us, aged 14 to 19, met in the seclusion of a first floor veranda in the deserted Azimpur Community Centre to plan our escape from Dhaka, the objective was known - join the War of Liberation....

Twenty-five years later, everything seems to be spinning in a realm of confusion. There is mistrust everywhere. Each of us has our own version of history, distorted immeasurably over the years. One man's belief is another's object of ridicule. The one nation of Bangalees has been shred to pieces. The nokshi kantha has fallen off at the seams.

Chintito wrote from London in this column on 28 February 1997:
“As a matter of conversation, I offered Keshtu the book on our Liberation. He shocked me by refusing to even touch it, saying 'There was no Liberation War'. What about the millions of martyrs? The women who were raped in the thousands? l4th December? Did none of this happen? Do pictures lie? These were pictures taken by the foreign media? Keshtu was unimpressed and summed up his nationalism with the terse comment, 'That was all propaganda by western journalists'.

Keshtu is still alive. Alive too is the matter of putting the WCs on the dock, which prompted Chintito to write on 29 August 1997:
“In our War of Liberation we had come across many brutes among the Pakistani officers whose actions would have made Dyer (General Reginald) tremble in fear. Yes, many of them today lead a cosy life in havens far from the anguish of the dear ones of their victims for whom every new day is to live yet another in pain. Have we not heard of Bangalee children being flung into the air only to test the sharpness of Pakistani bayonets? Have we not been shamed by the rape of our mothers and sisters? Have we not seen the murder of innocent Bangalees, streets and alleyways littered with our soul and body? Yet, have we ever made a concerted effort to seek an apology from Pakistan?”

In all those crimes and many more, the Bangla- and Urdu-speaking doshors of the Pak forces were perpetrators and active accomplices. And that is why all sorts of WCs shall be put on trial.

The reason for our determination to put the cruel criminals on trial and inflict on those found guilty a just punishment was penned by Chintito on 07 November 1997:
“Our glory is our War of Liberation, let us rejoice forever. No nation has had to sacrifice so much for the love of their mother tongue, for cleansing a land of demons. We should drum that everywhere, forever. Very few nations have as admirable an uprising against tyranny, as determined a struggle enshrined in those nine months, as sweet a victory. Look up the next time you speak as a Bangalee. Look up straight into anybody's eye, everybody's eyes. We have everything to be proud of. We should never shy away from saying we are Bangalee, or hesitate to project Bangladesh. The three million martyrs will never forgive us if we did.”

In conclusion, let me tell this to our defenceless critics that we could have taken the law into our hands, we have not. The father of a martyr could have hurled grenades at those who are known war criminals, he has not. The widow of ekattur could have riddled the razakars with bullets, she has not. The son who has known his father only by seeing his black and white picture could have ripped the heartless heart of a member of Al-Badr or Al-Shaams; he has not.

Instead the nation has been a glaring example of civility for the past nearly forty years. It has opted to go to court. The world today has come to salute that civilised Bangalee nation.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2009