Lest We Forget: Genocide Day Observed in the Netherlands
The Hague, 25 March 2017: “Lest We Forget” was the theme of the Genocide Day observed in the Netherlands by the Embassy together with the expatriate community. The Genocide Day was duly observed today at the Embassy premises with due solemnity and fervour. The programme was also attended by members of the community.
At the outset, one minute silence was observed recalling the martyrs of the Genocide committed by the Pakistan Army in 1971. The Messages of the Hon’ble President and the Hon’ble Prime Minister issued on this occasion were read out to the audience. The documentary entitled “Genocide in Bangladesh and the Killing Field” was displayed thereafter. The documentary took everybody to the actual killing fields of 71 where hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed Bengalies were brutally killed and dumped. Touchy stories captured in the documentary moved all of the viewers.
Ten years old Farin Zunaina set the discussion session in motion when she shared her understanding about importance of the Genocide day and assured her doing all she can to make Bangladesh proud. Eminent journalist Mr. Bikash Barua, one of the two designated key note speakers, stated that the atrocities of the Pakistan Army was nothing less than the genocides perpetrated on the Jews during the second world war or the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia. Mr. Barua drawing inference from world genocides, urged all to remain vigilant against anti liberation forces and do their part to do justice to those who endured this catastrophe.
Another key note speaker and activist Ms. Tanbira Talukder highlighted inexplicable experience of the victim families and urged all to do all they can so that it doesn’t recur ever again. Citing tragic stories of martyr Azad’s mother, Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam, war heroine Roma Chowdhury and others, Ms.Tanbira cautioned all that the “war is still on”. She urged all to do their bit to make independence truly meaningful for the people. Mr. Bikash Roy, an eye witness and victim of “operation search light’ and Pakistani atrocities, narrated his vivid memories of that fateful night and urged all not to forget the pain and trauma that the victims made to endure on the day. Mr. Mayeed Faruque, a freedom fighter and leader of Holland Awami League, narrated his own experience to showcase how fiercely even ordinary people fought the occupying Pakistani forces during our freedom fight. Mr. Mustafa Zaman recalled memories of the war of liberation and urged all to remain vigilant against elements of anti-liberation forces.
Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherlands Sheikh Moahmmed Belal started his speech by paying deep tribute to the greatest Bengali of all times, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the martyrs and the victims of the war of liberation. “We must engage deeply with the tribunals in The Hague like International Criminal Court, ICJ, PCA to prevent this kind of genocide happening again” Ambassador Belal added. Echoing the sentiment that “war is still on”, Ambassador Belal drew attention of the audience to a propaganda publication from Pakistan titled “Myths’ behind the creation of Bangladesh” by one Mr. Junaid Ahmed and showed how shamelessly they not only refrained from saying “sorry” or seeking “apology”, rather engaged themselves in propaganda warfare to eyewash the gravity of the genocide they unleashed. Ambasador Belal, therefore, urged all to bring it to the attention of the world community through archiving the memories of the victims and witnesses of the atrocities and raise their voice against such shameless propaganda elements.
At the end a special prayer was offered a special prayer was offered seeking divine blessings for the eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs of the genocide.