Sad Histories in Bangladesh and Afghanistan

A new book, The Blood Telegram, by Gary J. Bass of Princeton explores the birth of a nation (Bangladesh) and how geopolitics and grand strategy leave certain countries along the way as collateral damage.  Its a sad history and helps us understand how small countries suffer while he powerful do what they will.

This may sound remote or irrelevant to Americans, but the unrest has much to do with the United States. Some of Bangladesh’s current problems stem from its traumatic birth in 1971 — when President Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger, his national security adviser, vigorously supported the killers and tormentors of a generation of Bangladeshis.

via Nixon and Kissinger’s Forgotten Shame – NYTimes.com.

And from another region, Afghanistan reveals names of the dead from another war in another time:

Thirty-four years later, the names and details of nearly 5,000 of those victims — arrested, tortured and killed by the Afghan Communist government in 1978 and 1979 — have resurfaced, cataloged in records released in September.

The so-called death lists were originally compiled by the Afghan government. They languished, unreleased, for decades, until unearthed by Dutch investigators and published on the Web site of the Netherlands national prosecutor’s office.

via Old Atrocities, Now Official, Galvanize Afghanistan – NYTimes.com.

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3 thoughts on “Sad Histories in Bangladesh and Afghanistan

  1. sarahlakee says:

    History has proved that Religion can bring out the worst in people. Numerous blood filled wars have been fought over religion and between Religious groups. When Pakistan formed as a unified Muslim nation, it did dissolve the strife associated with that area. The middle east shows to be an area plagued by turmoil revolving around both religion and area (border) disputes. I am always shocked to hear of nations killing their own people. Not only is it counter intuitive to me, it seems inhuman. However there is an example of this in American history. In the times of slavery and even when African Americans did not have civil rights, it was considered acceptable (by a majority of Americans) to put African Americans in abject circumstances, to subject them to cruel tortures, and even to kill African Americans. In recent times, our country has dedicated itself to the protection of rights to all and so i find it hard to believe that our President intentionally and maliciously sided with war criminals. This article is highly connotative and appeals to the readers emotions to cast Nixon in a bad light. I would like to believe that this is not the way the United States operates.

    • samdittmer says:

      It is disturbing. Active U.S. support of Pakistan despite knowledge of the Bangladesh genocide would be a grave betrayal of the principles that the United States government claims to uphold.

      I wanted to know what really happened, so I spent a while tonight reading through the Wikipedia articles and declassified conversations between Nixon and Kissinger:

      http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB79/,
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_Bangladesh_genocide

      I can’t see any other interpretation of the evidence than that the President did indeed intentionally side with people he knew were war criminals. I believe that we have a moral responsibility to investigate with special seriousness reports of evil deeds committed by our friends and our representatives.

  2. alexechu1 says:

    I was struck by the accounts of individuals affected by the events in these stories. We hear so much about violence and death in the news that at times we become desensitized. News media will try to compensate for this sometimes by sensationalizing their stories, but this does not change the fact that there are thousands and millions of people living or who have lived in conditions that would be shocking to those of us comfortably in the upper middle class in a developed country. It is not surprising that the revival of these events and crimes from the past would bring with it charged feelings and horrifying stories, and in almost every case there is no way of undoing the damage that has been done.

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