Through The Static

April 18, 2008

Bangladeshis seek war crimes trial

Filed under: World News — disciplepete @ 5:58 am

Al Jazeera:

There are growing calls in Bangladesh for a war crimes tribunal to look into atrocities that occurred during the country’s 1971 war of independence.
Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, accuses Islamabad of unleashing a brutal crackdown during its independence struggle that left up to three million people dead in a span of nine months.
Last week, Bangladeshi war veterans and intellectuals published a list of alleged war criminals and demanded their prosecution.
The War Crimes Fact Finding Committee (WCFF) also proposed the setting up of a truth and reconciliation commission…
However, no one has yet been convicted for the atrocities and a combination of international manipulation and domestic politics are blamed for the judicial inaction. (article)
I really like the truth and reconciliation commission concept…the world needs more of those. 3 million dead in nine months, if that’s accurate, that’s just crazy. Pakistan claims only 25,000 were killed. I would guess the real toll is much higher.


  1. the real toll’s always higher (ie, Koreans under Japanese rule, ie Iraqi death toll reported by Rupert Murdoch-owned outlets) and… dammit, I hate to be a negative ned or debbie downer, but when was the last time a gov actually publicly apologized for committing human atrocities? Usually framed as moments of “exception” or “aberrations of national character”, the implied apology (if apology at all) negates any level of sincerity.

    To be equally negative on the flip-side, sometimes I wonder what an official apology by the government will serve. If an opening for material reparations, then forget about it, there’s no way in hell of apologizing. Is it healing? Why do the victimized need the transgressors to feel sorry in order to heal? Does that sound callous?

    Liiiiiike… yes, it would be nice to have the State of Whiteness apologize for every lynching, every denied visa, every dead Mexican body that turns up just north of the border — and yet, wouldn’t it be more empowering to find some sense of healing within our own communities of experience and history? The aggressors will never understand the gravity of the trauma they’ve inflicted, so why do we need them to recognize its simulacrum in order for it to feel Real to Those Who Suffered? To demand and invest so much energy in wanting a superficial recognition of the dead may not serve what it is that we’re looking for.

    Demands for reparations disturb and trouble me. I understand this need for healing, and yet, even if they get exactly it is that they’re asking for, it will not heal or make up for what has been inflicted in the past. A seat at the lunch counter or officially sanctioned desegregation does not bury or rectify or erase a history of injustice. ::ponders::

    Comment by Aliiiiiiice — April 20, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  2. I agree, I don’t think an apology from a govt is some magic cure, I think it helps in a small way, but what really changes?

    Do you know about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission they had in South Africa at the end of apartheid? Here’s a link

    I really like the potential of these commissions…it’s not just about saying sorry, it’s about perpetrators admitting what they did in public, and justice for the victims and oppressors.

    Admitting what the oppressors have done will bring truth (usually suppressed by oppressors) out into the open, many will receive relatively lenient punishment in exchange for admitting what they did (some will get amnesty, some won’t), victims will get some reparation, and the society can come to peace with it’s past and move forward.

    Ok so it might be idealistic, but it seems like the only viable way to end the constant violence…when the oppressed take power in any society, instead of seeking vengeance against the former oppressors, they could forgive them as long as they admit what they did, express regret, and make reparation.

    Comment by disciplepete — April 20, 2008 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

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