BEN Message on the occasion of the Independence Day, 2009

Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN), a global network of non-resident Bangladeshis, greets all on the occasion of 26th March 2009, the 38th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence Day.

This year the day comes amidst a new fervor to uphold the spirit and values of the Liberation War as well as ominous challenges to them.

Many analysts have observed that a renewed reverance for the Liberation War played an important role in the election of December 28, 2008. One of the manifestations of this reverance is the demand for the trial of the War Criminals and for the containment in Bangladesh politics of the fundamentalist forces who were opposed to independence. It is noteworthy that these rekindled feelings are particularly strong among Bangladesh’s new generation, even though born after the War of Liberation and having learnt about it only from others.

Unfrotunately, the rekindling of Liberation War values seems to have led to even more audacious, conspiratorial, and diabolical attempts by the anti-independence forces to destabilize the country and its fledgling democracy. The recent BDR carnage seems to point to the extent to which these forces are ready to go.

The Independence Day of 2009 therefore carries some additional significance. The recent events have made it clear how important it is to complete the tasks that ensued from the victory from the Liberation War. These tasks are not only political, including the trial of the War Criminals. Also important are socio-economic tasks.

One reason why the anti-Liberation forces are able to derive strength is the fact that the pattern of economic development pursued in Bangladesh has led to the bifurcation of the society so that the children of the vast majority are deprived of modern education and are left at the mercy of the obscurantist institutions, which, financed often by reactionary forces abroad, serve as a hotbed for recruitment of soldiers of fundamentalism. It is therefore difficult to uphold the War of Liberation values unless the socio-economic direction of the country is realigned with those values.

On this anniversary, BEN pays homage to all those brave sons and daughters who gave their lives and to all those who suffered in order to convert into reality the Independence that was declared on this day in 1971. BEN urges all pro-independence forces tow come forward to make the gains of the Liberation War irreversible by implementing the above mentioned twin political and socio-economic tasks.

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