September 25, 2008

Keeping Jalladkhana buried or alive

So what should a nation do? Purge the memory of the genocide it experienced or keep the ghosts alive?

Time Magazine reports:
Bangladesh sits atop an alluvial plain, so those bent on genocide needed only to dump bodies in rivers or, as at the Jalladkhana, down the wells and conduits of local water-pumping stations, where corpses were literally flushed away into the sea. "These are crimes so horrible that even God wouldn't forgive you," says K.M. Safiullah, a retired general who led the independence war effort. "There cannot be unity without this being solved."

Mirpur's Jalladkhana Killing Field Memorial is a reminder of the gruesome murders that have still gone unpunished for all these decades. Photo: Zahedul I Khan via Star Weekend

Ali Ahsan Mojaheed, general secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a powerful political party that sided with Pakistan in 1971, thinks it's better to close the book on a tragic chapter in history rather than risk opening old wounds. After all, many who supported unity with Pakistan were also killed in reprisal attacks. "This is a dead issue," says Mojaheed. "It cannot be raised."
Ali Ahsan Muzahid's activities during the war makes him one of the hated apologist of the war criminals and forces against Bangladesh. So one can reralize why he wants to keep everything buried. But there are some crimes you can never purge from History.


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