When the Occupy movement started none of the organizers thought this would spread all round the world so quickly. They were very successful to make awareness, millions showed their support to the effort for the occupiers. But in the end they lacked a common agenda, common message and unified action. We know what our agenda is, we know what our message is; what we now need is action that’ll give this support, this mandates by the country a concrete result. We have heard so many conspiracy theories about the verdict. Some said, it’s because government has compromised with Jamat, some said the judges are influenced by these criminals, some said this is to avoid any major disruption caused by Jamat Shibir. Regardless of what the cause is, what we have to remember is every action has a reaction and none could’ve imagined this spontaneous protest by the people and especially by the youth of this country. I honestly don’t care which political party or which organization the leaders of this movement belongs. Besides, according to Khaleda Zia, our former prime minister, “Only children and mentally handicap people are neutral.” Just because the faces that come in the media belong to some organization doesn’t mean this is organized by a certain political or social organization. This is a national movement, the entire nation is involved with this movement and everyone should take ownership and take responsible action. I am really proud to say, we haven’t seen any action by these youth that could imply they are not doing it. Even if we can’t do anything about the verdict of Kader Molla, which I don’t want to get into, because I’m not a student of law- the movement is important for some very specific reasons. These are my observation.
Number one is, we have a few other verdicts that are still pending. The judiciary system should not feel threatened by this movement. The movement is expressing what the country wants as their punishment. If their crime against humanity is proven in the court of law then capital punishment or death penalty is what the country expects the punishment should be. For historical acceptance, this is very important. Twenty years from now on, we don’t want their future ‘agents’ point towards us, this generation, for taking a “fascist” approach to put these people on trial. We know what they did, we are proving it on the rule of law and we want their punishment. We want capital punishment for them.
Why? Because, by ensuring that proven war criminals will get the maximum punishment in the rule of law of Bangladesh, will bring this matter to the global community. This by itself will be recognition for the independence movement of Bangladesh. Also other countries who are trying to seek justice in the rule of law for similar circumstances can take these trials as a model for their cases. By ensuring the maximum punishment possible in the rule of law, the global community can use these trials as a model to warn any one person or group of people responsible at present; for any ongoing regional, communal, international or ethnic atrocities, that proven crime against humanity will not go unpunished. For any civilized society the worst crimes committed is murder-be that one or a million, rape-be that one or thousands, ethnic cleansing, arson, extradition, loot. All these took place in the span of only 9 months in Bangladesh which started with the mass murders of March 25, 1971. Since then till December 16, 1971 systematically Pakistani Army and their collaborators ensured that Bangalee as a race are eliminated, crippled intellectually or become obedient colony of military rulers. As a result millions died, left their home and became refugee in India and almost every family lost a loved one. Now that the trials of the local collaborators have started and in two cases verdicts also came, we want to ensure that in those two cases and in all other upcoming cases proven guilty collaborators of 1971 as war criminals are ensured the maximum punishment in Bangladesh i.e. death penalty, so we can bring closure to all those families who has lost loved ones.
Seeking death penalty for them is not as revenge but to ensure present and future generations all round the world realize that if crime against humanity is committed, regardless how long it takes for the world to react, when they will, they will seek the maximum punishment for these criminals. Also we have to ensure their death penalties are executed. With this we can bring closure to a wounded chapter of our country and go forward. I’m sure those who want to know why millions are on the street for this but not for any other issue got their answer.
Also I believe the youth is fed up with the finger pointing and politicization of our history. This will be a start, from where no one can point to the open wounds of the past and hide from their current responsibilities as law makers. This has to end now, with these proven criminals execution. Also for the political parties, this is a unique opportunity to go through transition, understand what this generation expects from them and act accordingly.
For those who now represent Jamat from this generation, may be this will be an opportunity for them to do some soul searching. Love and respect of people and country is also part of any religion. When was the last time they found average people come and stood by them on any issue they fought for? It’s not us against you; it doesn’t have to be like this. I’m sure members of Shibir also enjoy a nice sunny day, cloudy sky or when people look and smile at them. I don’t want to believe this movement will only intimidate them to become more combative. I’m sure some of them if not all are looking around and feeling the euphoria of youth. This has nothing to do with Islam or against Islam.
Bangladeshis from all round the world have shown their solidarity, which proves where this issue is as a priority to us. I’m sure government is taking this as a mandate to go for death penalty. Prime minister agreed in the parliament today. This is a mandate to their effort, not to threaten them. Shahbag has truly become the symbol of hope for me. Hopefully we’ll have millions of inspired youth, who now will believe themselves a little more. Hopefully from Shahbag, we’ll have millions of leaders in different works of life; will take a little more responsibility, complain a little less and love the country a lot more. United we stand and justice will prevail. I believe it from the bottom of my heart. Joy Bangla