From the Editor-in-Chief: The wheels of justice roll on

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, May 12th, 2016
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The execution of the war criminal Motiur Rahman Nizami is one more step towards closure over the wounds we as a people have felt since the end of the War of Liberation in 1971. There is certainly no pleasure, indeed no gloating, over the death of a man, least of all on the gallows. And therefore we do not presume to cheer the tragic end of Nizami. But what we do need to remind ourselves of today is that through the execution so far of five of the most notorious collaborators of the Pakistan occupation army in 1971, four and a half decades after liberation, we have inaugurated the process of a catharsis of the soul.


This cathartic feeling has a whole lot to do with the fact that the men who have so far walked the gallows never showed any remorse over their murderous role against their own people in 1971. What made matters worse for them is that even after the defeat of the Pakistani forces in Bangladesh, these collaborators did everything they could, often by escaping abroad, to undermine the new sovereign state of Bangladesh. In all these decades since the dawn of our freedom, these men and their patrons did not for a moment try to turn a new leaf for themselves, did not at all feel that in their defence of a state we eventually ran out of our land they were committing not only crimes against humanity but were sinning against the principles of Creation as well. It did not occur to them that by killing and helping to kill millions of their fellow Bengalis and raping and helping to rape tens of thousands of Bengali women in the defence of a state that could not morally, ethically and politically be defended, they were rendering themselves coarse.


That these war criminals have been getting their comeuppance owes much to the determination of a nation to uphold the principles of the War of Liberation. And yet we do not forget, cannot forget that these men with a history of organized murder behind them were thoroughly and comprehensively rehabilitated in our society by those who seized the state after the tragic happenings of August-November 1975. It will not do simply to condemn the likes of Nizami for the ‘respectability’ they were given over the past forty years. We need to take to task, through public censure, the people behind the rise of these war criminals over the years. The Zia and Ershad regimes as also the governments headed by Khaleda Zia felt little or no embarrassment in promoting these war criminals and placing them on perches that not only demeaned us but was a direct insult to the values we fought for and attained through our war against the enemy in 1971. It is now time to let the nation know, in all the sordid details, of the systematic way in which the Zia-Ershad-Khaleda combine imposed on us the burden of dark politics in the shape of the killers and rapists who caused us all our misery forty five years ago.


We are moving into the future. And we are doing that through tackling the demons of the past. We have ensured that justice will prevail. We have reassured ourselves that this People’s Republic has no place for those who opposed it in the past or have been humiliating it in these four decades since 1975.

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