Dhaka, Bangladesh
We will never forget them

Editorial

We will never forget them

Bangladesh observed the Martyred Intellectuals Day on Saturday paying rich tributes to the intellectuals killed systematically by the Pakistan occupation army and their local collaborators at the fag end of the country’s Liberation war in 1971.On the fourteenth of December we feel the agony of the tragedy when the icy hands of the death squads targeted our noble sons on the assassin’s hit-list and murdered with secret and diabolical pogrom. Every year the nation mourns the irretrievable loss of the intellectuals on December 14th as they gave their today for our tomorrow. Eminent intellectuals of the country—doctors, engineers, lawyers, litterateurs, academics, journalists, also top bureaucrats and business elites were killed in cold blood. They were dragged out of their homes blindfolded and taken to unknown places and then brutally tortured and slaughtered.Their bodies were later found in a brick kiln at Rayerbazar, in Dhaka, lying face down, blindfolded, hands tied behind their back with red pieces of cloth. Many of the bodies were found dumped at Mirpur and some other killing fields. The motive behind the mass murders under a carefully thought-out plan was to cripple the new nation intellectually and make the country a wasteland. The two martyred intellectual memorials, one at Mirpur and other at Rayerbazar stand mute witness to the bloody day in distant December in 1971 when our illustrious sons died for a noble cause. They shed their blood so that our children would be born in an independent nation-a supreme sacrifice for a supreme purpose. About Rayerbazar memorials its designer and architect Fariduddin Ahmed once said this memorial announces the demise of imperialism and colonialism. This makes the memorial both a memorial and a shrine, drawing its inspirations from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This tragic day reminds us that the people of Bangladesh have the heavy burden of a legacy of a holocaust. We must emulate our visionary intellectuals who sacrificed their lives for the precious ideals, objectives and values, for democracy which guarantees citizens the liberty and rights of movement and speech, justice and equal opportunity. The proper respect to the supreme sacrifice of the martyred intellectuals will be to unite to build a knowledge-based, rich and happy ‘Sonar Bangla’ and fight off the craven and evil forces that stand in the way of a prosperous Bangladesh. This land of ours has already been hallowed by the blood of our martyred intellectuals and we raise our arm to salute them. To truly honour the memory of our beloved intellectuals, we must keep alive their sacrifice through deeds and not words alone.

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