There are certain days in a nation's history that are celebrated with mixed emotions. In fact, in the annals of Bangladesh, there are more such days than those that we celebrate with unbound happiness. 16th of December is a day which returns every year with as much joy as pain. The pain would perhaps be slightly less this year because, with the execution of Quader Mollah, at least one of the Pakistani collaborators has been brought to justice after 42 years.
Our joy of freedom is mixed with grief. We recall sadness the thousands of freedom fighters who lost their lives in the field of battle between 25th March and 16 December 1971, and the millions that were killed by a rapacious and pillaging army that did not spare even women and children.
This is a day to pay homage to the martyrs, to the many unknown and unrecognized men and women who laid down their lives to see the end of oppression and neglect, to allow the people of the country to be the masters of their destiny, to be the captain of their own ship. Thus we ask, if freedom is nothing but a chance to be better, are we better now than we were 42 years ago. Certainly, there are many achievements that we can be proud of, and there are many aspects that we could have done better in.
While we remember the martyrs, we also remember the person who inspired us to resist the Pakistani occupation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and also those that provided leadership to the nation during the nine-month long War of Liberation.
We also recall with gratitude the unstinted support of the people of India to our cause, and the sacrifice of the Indian military which fought shoulder to shoulder with the Mukti Bahini to free our land.
We celebrate this day amidst an environment of uncertainty as to what the political denouement would be. There has been unnecessary bloodshed resulting from political violence and the people are hoping that they impasse would be addressed for the sake of the country. Notwithstanding political differences, it is imperative that on this Victory Day we resolve to work together for the country cutting across party lines so that the blood of the martyrs will not have been in vain.
Like in the past we bring our readers a mixed bag of articles -- from personal reflections to personal experiences to analysis of topical issues. We trust our readers will enjoy the special supplement.