Adieu, true friend of Bangladesh
Renowned British journalist and former Ekushey TV Managing Director Simon Dring died on July 16 while undergoing an abdominal surgery at a hospital in Romania.
Simon Dring's partner Fiona McPherson confirmed the noted journalist's demise in a statement.
"It is with crushing sorrow that I confirm the sudden and unexpected passing of my beloved partner of 26 years, and the father of our blessed twins, Simon Dring," she said in the statement.
"Simon died in recovery after an emergency but routine operation in a hospital in Romania on Friday 16th July 2021 at 2.30am; where we have been living since early 2020," the statement added.
Simon Dring reported for the BBC from many conflict zones in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
He covered the horrors of Bangladesh's war for independence from Pakistan in 1971.
The 27-year-old Simon Dring found himself hiding in the lobby, the kitchen and the rooftop at Dhaka's Intercontinental Hotel during Operation Searchlight on March 25, 1971.
The 32 hours of risking his life had him noting down reports of crackdown, travel Dhaka in a baker's van once the curfew was lifted on March 27 to collect some evidences of genocide that, till this day, remain as one of the most gruesome and merciless acts committed by a military.
Dring described the aftermath of Operation Searchlight to The Daily Star: "I found the bodies of students who had been shot to death in their dormitories and outside on the campus grounds; the rickshaw pullers, bullet-ridden and bloodied, lying by the roadside; whole families burnt alive in their homes when their street had been sealed off and the houses torched; bazaars in the old city burnt to the ground."
Dring managed to escape the military and board a flight to Bangkok, from where he sent his report "Tanks Crush Revolt in Pakistan", which appeared in the front page of The Daily Telegraph on March 30, 1971.
In 1997, Dring joined partners in Bangladesh to develop, license, and build Ekushey Television, the first private, commercial terrestrial/satellite TV channel in Bangladesh.
President Abdul Hamid condoled the demise of Simon Dring.
"Simon Dring made immense contribution in informing the world about the genocide in Bangladesh and the struggle of the people through his coverage of our Liberation War. With his demise, Bangladesh lost a time-tested friend," President Hamid said in a condolence message.
He prayed for eternal peace of the noted journalist's departed soul and extended his condolences to the bereaved family.
In a condolence message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recalled the courageous role of Dring during the Liberation War.
"He revealed the information and report of the devastating genocide carried out by the Pakistani forces on March 25, 1971 in front of the world," she said.
The PM said he played a role to create public opinion in the global arena in favour of the Liberation War.
She said that he also contributed in developing mass media in independent Bangladesh and in operating the first ever private TV channel of the country, Ekushey Television. She prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and extended condolences to the bereaved family.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque expressed his shock over the death of the British journalist, who was conferred with the Friends of Liberation War Honour by Bangladesh government in 2012 for standing by Bangladesh during its War of Independence.
In his condolence message, the minister said Simon Dring covered the brutality of the Pakistani occupation force in 1971, risking his life, and revealed it before the world. Thanks to him, the world came to know about the mass killing of unarmed Bangalees in Bangladesh, he said.
"He will be always remembered as a true friend of Bangladesh," he added.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in a condolence message said, "Simon Dring was a man of commitment, an upright man of high moral, ethical standard and values, who reported the massacre in Dhaka in 1971 with objectivity and courage."
"He trained a group of young journalists of Bangladesh at ETV that dynamically changed the TV journalism in Bangladesh," Momen also said.
"We salute him again and again," the minister added.
Information Minister Hasan Mahmud also expressed his condolences, terming Simon Dring "a true friend of Bangladesh" who "witnessed the sacrifices of the people of this country and shook the conscience of the international community with his reportage by putting own life at stake."