12:00 AM, December 19, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 19, 2012

Commemorating our foreign friends of independence

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Manzur Khan, Houston, Texas, USA


Photo: BSS

Many years ago when George Harrison passed away, I wrote an email to a friend in Dhaka lamenting how we neglected to honour many of our Liberation heroes including Harrison. He subsequently printed it in The Daily Star. Almost eleven years later, another trinket in our national treasure has left us. The men and women who gave our struggle for freedom legitimacy, who brought before the rest of the world the plight of the innocent people and exposed the brutality of the Pakistani military, must not be forgotten. Aside from the monetary help, the famous concert in New York also kindled rays of hope for struggling millions and questioned the consciousness of the US population whose government was supporting our enemies as part of global chess game for supremacy. The truth was revealed, public opinion coalesced and the Congress relented, thanks primarily to Senator Kennedy and the Democratic Party. Public opinion created pressure on the US government.
In 2009, some of us in Houston tried desperately to honour Joan Baez, another one of our expatriate liberation heroes, during our annual FOBANA conference in Houston, Texas. Our hopes were shattered when we discovered that her summer schedule including the three days for July 4 weekend were booked well in advance and could not be changed. Although we were unsuccessful in seeing her in person, she wished us well for the convention. It is time our government recognised our the expatriate heroes who provided us with honour, dignity, legitimacy and visibility during the dire days of 1971 and declared a day in December commemorating their invaluable contribution to our struggle for freedom. There could be no better time than a day in December to tell the world that we are thankful and grateful as a nation for their moral positions and the sacrifice they made to stand up for a just cause.

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