How to Finish The Unfinished Revolution

February 18, 2013 1:21 am 381 comments __
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Abdul-Gaffar   BY-Abdul Gaffar choudhury

Last week two incidents stirred the public mind in Bangladesh:  one was Begum Khaleda Zia’s article published in The Washington Times in which she invited America to interfere in Bangladesh ‘to save democracy’; the second was the International Tribunal for crimes against humanity’s second verdict against Quader Molla for his crimes committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment; people’s expectation was that he would get death sentence like Bachchu Razakar and people think Molla’s crimes were far more heinous than that of Bachchu’s. So public sentiment is not in favour of the verdict and people think it is a mild sentence compared to the grievous crimes he had committed.

Among the two incidents one stirred the public mind against the BNP leader and the other has created anger and frustration against the Awami League government. There is strong protest against the open invitation of Khaleda Zia to a foreign power to intervene in the internal affairs of Bangladesh and the rejoinder against the invitation even from the staunch supporters of BNP are pouring forth in electronic and print media.

On the other hand, when the Tribunal pronounced their first verdict announcing death sentence of Bachchu Razakar there was countrywide jubilation. But with the second verdict which did not give death penalty to Quader Molla, that jubilation has diminished and there are wild accusations against the Awami government and the
Tribunal.

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The rumour, like wild fire, has spread throughout the whole country that the Awami League has compromised with Jamaat and the judges of the Tribunal were afraid to announce proper judgment for fear of Jamaat’s threat of civil war.
That rumour was encouraged by Jamaat and BNP circle to convince the general people that Jamaat’s continuing destructive activities has been a success and the government administration has failed to combat the Jamaati cadres. They even propagated that police compromised with the Jamaat cadres in many places where they were seen accepting roses from these cadres.

Some eye-witnesses said that it was pre-planned: Jamaat cadres were asked to offer flowers to police to create an impression in the public mind that they have overpowered the police and made the police their allies. In this regard the Awami League is now in a defensive position. This is strong propaganda and a section of Awami League supporters also believed in the propaganda and their leaders are doing nothing to convince them otherwise.

By writing and publishing an article in The Washington Times Begum Zia is now in a very tricky situation. She could not gather support from her own circle also. Even a Dhaka English daily which is known as sympathetic to BNP has published a strong rejoinder to Khaleda Zia’s article on 4 February 2013. The article is written by Mr. Mozammel H. Khan who is the convenor of the Canadian committee for human rights and democracy in Bangladesh.

He wrote, “It would be appropriate to call Begum Zia’s recent article in The Washington Times, an open letter to the USA government. The letter contains some truths, some half-truths, but most of it is outright ludicrousness. These are words of desperation, ironically from a two-term PM, inviting a foreign power to do on her behalf what ‘her’ 150 million people supposedly cannot achieve!”
Some political observers in Bangladesh and abroad came to a conclusion after reading the article that when the delayed trial of the war criminals started in Bangladesh at that very moment Khaleda Zia’s article in The Washington Times calling a superpower to intervene in the internal affairs of Bangladesh is very significant.
It reminds us of the events of 71 when the invading Pakistani army and their collaborators Jamaat were facing defeat, they were hoping that America will send their 7th Fleet to Bangladesh to save them. One particular observer pointed in his analysis that the article published in The Washington Times in which she begs for American intervention is a clear proof of her desperation.

Perhaps she has lost hope that she could go to power through the next election and her ally Jamaat would not able to save their leaders from the trial and the punishments for countrywide destructive and subversive activities, because they have no public support; hence this appeal to America to save them from another defeat like ‘71. Though the BNP was not in existence at the time of the liberation war, they became Jamaat’s ally later on.

Almost four days have passed since the verdict on Quader Molla’s crime was pronounced and Jamaat’s destructive activities in different cities including Dhaka were continuing. Last Wednesday also they called hartal though people did not respond. If the Awami League could organize themselves and their discredited Students’ League and Jubo League, and could rally the Moha Jote in Dhaka and other cities the Jamaati miscreants would not have dared to continue their agitation.
Now is the time the Awami League should consider how to organize people’s resistance against the supporters of war criminals of 71. Only through administrative power i.e. using police and RAB, it will not completely root out these politically motivated miscreants. It will be fruitless if the government goes for banning Jamaat. They will either go underground and like the communist party of the past will continue their activities or they will come to open politics with another name.

The Awami League should know that this is a prolonged war of political will against an evil force which has no public support but they have powerful allies both national and international. So, the Awami League will have to rally round the democratic and patriotic forces in Bangladesh behind them to fight the remnants of the anti-liberation forces of 71 and finish the unfinished revolution.
Now the world situation, especially the situation in America, is not very favourable to the war criminals of 71. There is no possibility that the Obama administration will consider Begum Zia’s appeal seriously. Middle-Eastern, especially Saudi, support for Jamaat is not as strong as it was previously.

A resolute stand of the Hasina government to root out the enemies of independence and to punish war criminals will not be a difficult task if they unite the people of the country behind them because people of Bangladesh—though now divided—are united on one issue, that crimes against humanity in 1971 should not and must not go unpunished.

After I concluded this article, news came from Dhaka that for the last three to four days people are assembling at Shahbagh area demanding death penalty for all the war criminals of 71 including Quader Molla who has just been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Tribunal. The mass upsurge is so huge that Jamaat’s subversive activities are somewhat thwarted. This movement has spread throughout the country and it looks like the national unity among the people has reawakened.
I have already pointed out that only administrative actions by police and RAB or by banning a party like Jamaat will not succeed. The government should involve the people in confronting the enemy of independence and unite them to resist them.

Fortunately, the people of Bangladesh without any proper leadership from the political parties are now united and resisting the defeated forces of the 71 and are on the way to finishing an unfinished revolution.

I think this spontaneous grand rally of the people on Friday in Dhaka will mark a turning point in the history of Bangladesh to secure a democratic and secular future for the country.

London, 8 February 2013

( Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, is an expatriate Bangladeshi writer and newspaper columnist. He wrote the lyric Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano which is the widely celebrated song commemorating the Language Movement.)

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