Monday, December 19, 2011

Bangladesh is 40

This past Friday was the fortieth anniversary of Bangladesh's independence: Dec. 16, 1971 was the day on which the war of liberation ended. Unfortunately the celebrations were marred by some violence.

Regular readers of this blog may be aware of my interest in the country, which stems from having lived there as a child in the early '60s (when it was still East Pakistan). As a 14-year-old in the U.S., I was aware of and followed the events that led to Bangladesh's independence. The infamous Nixon-Kissinger "tilt" toward Pakistan, at time when its ruler Yahya Khan was engaged in a brutal, indeed quasi-genocidal effort to put down the independence movement, partly reflected the way in which so much in the Nixon White House was seen through the lens of Cold War politics, even in the era of detente. (See, e.g., Robert Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, pp. 341-42 [these two pages are available on Google Books]).

I have not been following developments in Bangladesh very closely (maybe switching my home page back to the BBC would help), but on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of its independence I extend an obscure blogger's best wishes and the hope that there will be many more anniversaries.

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