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Gratitude is a fundamental part of humanity and an essential part of faith. To show gratitude is to celebrate our human essence. Gratitude is not servitude.It does not mean that a grateful person must give up his/her dignity and honor to prove the point but it does mean to reciprocate by kindness,fairness and remembrance.
Although it’s not possible to list all the names of our friends within this limited scope,a few names have been mentioned to give readers an idea of the nature of help and support we received from them.
Not only the Government of India stood by the millions of suffering people of Bangladesh,its people also helped generousely.Bangladesh Aid Committee was formed to help the millions of refugees who took shelter in India. The Governor of Maharastra Province,Nawab Ali Yavar Jung became the chief patron of the Aid Committee for Bangladesh.Famous film actress Waheeda Rehman who was the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee and it’s members worked tirelessly to raise funds for the suffering people of Bangladesh.In Kolkata,reknowned writer Maitrey Devi and many others,arranged shelters for the refugees and even provided shelters for them in their homes.
While the Government of the United States of America sided with the Pakistan military regime, which squashed the democratic mandate and carried out the genocide against the people of Bangladesh with the arms and ammunations provided by the U.S Government,the people of U.S.A stood by the people of Bangladesh. Through mass demonstrations,protests,lobbying and fundraising they helped the suffering people and the struggle for liberation of Bangladesh.
The U.S Consul General Archer Blood’s name is immortalized in the hearts of all truth-seeking people. Mr.Blood risked his career and spoke truth to power.He sent a cable, signed by twenty diplomats from the U.S Consulate in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 6, 1971. As the cable arrived at the State Department in Washington, it was further signed by nine senior officers. The cable which is also known as the Blood Telegram strongly protested and denounced the U.S government’s role in the genocide of the innocent people of Bangladesh.It read:
“our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities.Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them.our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankruptcy,ironically at a time when the USSR sent President Yahya Khan a messege defending democracy,condemning the arrest of a leader of a democratically-elected majority party,incidentally pro-West,and calling for an end to repressive measures and bloodshed….But we have chosen not to intervene,even morally,on the grounds that the Awami conflict,is purely an internal matter of a sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed digust.We,as professional civil servants,express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting intersts here can be defined and our policies redirected.”
The main section of the Blood Telegram and the episode of the genocide is included in The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens.ISBN 1-85984-631-9
Bangladesh Information Center
“The Bangladesh Information Center (BIC) was an ephemeral organization. It was created in spring 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War….It served its purpose extremely well during that short period–it helped in the birth of a nation.” Wajeda Rab, in her article, has captured the important role played by BIC, a Washington, DC-based organization in support of the liberation of Bangladesh.
The Concert for Bangladesh
On hearing the plight of the people of Bangladesh,the celebrated musician Ravi Shankar,asked his friend and fellow spirit George Harrison to help.Harrision readily responded to his friend’s urgent appeal. Thus through the initiatives of two world famous musicians,the first mega benefit concert,(The Concert for Bangladesh) in the history of U.S.A was conceived.Singers and musicians gathered at Madison Square Garden,in New York on August 1,1971.Featured artists like Ravi Shankar,George Harrision,Eric Claption,Bob Dylan,Billy Preston,Leon Russell,Ringo Starr,Ustad Alla Rakha,Ustad Ali Akbar Khan,Kamala Chakravarty,Jim Keltner,Klaus Voormann gathered to help raise funds for the suffering people.The proceeds from the Concert boosted the relief efforts by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund(UNICEF) and went to help the war afflicted children and families of Bangladesh.