Our troops have earned reputation globally for their outstanding role in establishing peace in the conflict and war torn areas around the world. Deployed in UN peacekeeping mission in Congo in 2003, our troops have also been doing the same excellent task.
For their relentless efforts to mitigate conflict and build infrastructure there for development with professionalism and sincerity, Bangladesh army has earned confidence of the Congo government and general public as well.
But what a ruling Awami League lawmaker on Tuesday said about their work in Congo, an African country, is simply outrageous.
AL MP Elias Uddin Mollah said: "Our army has gone there [Congo] to civilise those black people. I am sure they will accomplish the job."
People there, in his views, are yet to become civilised. They take bath every 15 days. After using soaps before bath, they do not even use water in a bid to retain the aroma, continued Elias who was elected from a constituency of Mirpur in the capital.
These are definitely racist remarks.
Are our armed forces working in Congo to civilise people? By making the remarks Elias Mollah has undermined the laudable role of our army in Congo and other African countries.
What makes it more serious is that he made the remarks at a press conference at the Media Centre of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban after a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the defence ministry.
A member of the defence committee, Mollah was a member of a delegation that recently visited Congo to witness the activities of our army under the UN peacekeeping mission.
At Tuesday's meeting, the committee discussed about their visit and later briefed the media about it.
His colleagues, who were present at the briefing, did not agree with his remarks. Some of them felt embarrassed at his remarks.
Faruk Khan, an AL MP and a member of the same committee, told newsmen that Elias realised that he had made racist remarks.
If Elias has really realised that he had made a faux pas, shouldn’t he withdraw his remarks and apologise for this without delay?
Since it was not part of the parliament proceedings and hence cannot be expunged by the House, it is only Mollah himself who now can correct the mistake. He should know that it is a human quality to correct a mistake and there is nothing to be ashamed of for this.