From the Editor-in-Chief: The darkness we have not forgotten

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, November 9th, 2017
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There are all the terrible tales of November. Forty six years ago, in November, Bangladesh went through ordeals of the most horrific kind. Coming within less than three months of the assassination of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and most of his family members, the tragic events of November 1975 pushed the country further down the road to destruction and lawlessness. In other words, Bangladesh became a victim to the inordinate ambitions of villainous elements, in the shape of the killer majors and colonels and the political renegades who had seized control of Bangabhaban.


And yet it must be said that as November dawned, a chink of light appeared through our shuttered windows. When reports began to come in of a fresh coup, this one aimed at restoring constitutional government and the chain of command in the army, we were cheered to no end. On November 3, Brigadier Khaled Musharraf compelled the assassins to leave Bangabhaban and appeared to be on his way toward a restoration of political decency in the country. Promoted to the rank of major general, Musharraf took over as the new chief of army staff and within days had forced Khondokar Moshtaque Ahmed, the commerce minister who had usurped power following the killing of Bangabandhu, from power.


That was cheering news, certainly, for it conveyed the important message to the country that there was finally hope of a return of light to the land. Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem, Chief Justice of the country’s Supreme Court, took over as the new President. In his very first address to the nation, he promised a return to democracy through fresh general elections. His condemnation of the coup of August was a happy and broad hint that the wheels of justice would begin rolling again, that we would be able to mete out justice to the killers of the Father of the Nation.


But then, to our shock and dismay, the clock was turned back. Those very killers of Bangabandhu murdered the four national leaders in prison. A few days later, it was the turn of General Khaled Musharraf, Col Najmul Huda and Major A.T.M. Haider to be murdered by troops loyal to General Zia and Col Abu Taher.


It was the end of a nascent dream. The killings of November 1975 pushed us into medievalism, a long nightmare the ramifications of which we as a nation are yet going through. It was darkness we have not forgotten, which is why this week’s cover story is a reminder of the vigilance we must exercise as a nation to thwart those who would conspire against our democracy and our secular ethos.



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