Bangladesh stands at forty-four today and it is a time for celebration. It is a day that brings us much joy but also fills us with pain. Joy because the free air that we breathe today, pain because of the many people we lost in the nine months of war. It is also a time to recount the horrific manner in which we had to earn our hard-earned freedom. The cost of human life will probably never be known, but that genocide had been committed against an unarmed people is now an established fact, despite attempts by various quarters to disavow the enormity of the crimes committed during the Liberation War. The local collaborators of the Pakistani killing machine are being tried today in Bangladesh – the nation whose birth they tried so hard to stop.
On this day, we look back and recall with pride the valour of our young men and women who went to the warfront to defend the motherland, many of whom died for the ideals that motivated us to seek independence. We recollect the visionary leadership of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and we remember the steadfastness with which the entire Bangalee nation stood behind him in their belief that the cause of freedom was a just one. As we celebrate our victory, we must remain alive to the machinations of those who want to undo it. It is a day to pledge to stand collectively to safeguard the nation's guiding principles. That is the only way to honour the blood of our martyrs.