The Consequences of the Bangladesh Genocide
In the beginning of 1971, West Pakistan attempted to eliminate the Bengali culture in Eastern Pakistan. With the formation of the Bengali nationalists creating their own country, the liberation war occurred in Bangladesh which caused the genocide. In reality the liberation war was a smoke screen to hide the genocide that was being committed on the Bengali people, from the Pakistan government. Over three million people were killed and over fifteen million people were displaced and seeking refuge in the nearby country of India for protection. The United Nations failed to act reasonable during the Bangladesh genocide in 1971 which resulted in long lasting negative impacts on the country such as the separation between the Islamic and Hindu people.
A negative impact that occurred during the Bangladesh genocide was the fact that United Nations did not intervene, let alone condemn the killing. When the Pakistani army attacked the Bengali nationalists, it was considered a civil war within the country. Countries such as India and USSR, who were allies at the time, could not step in and try to keep peace within the country. Due to national sovereignty, this gives the right for nations to make their own decision and govern their own citizens without outside interference. This is an important principle of international law. (Jahan 298) On March 25, 1971, General Yahya Khan ordered the strike against the population of Dhaka where many educated Bengalis lived. Over seventeen professors and two hundred educated students at the University of Dhaka were killed in cold blood. Many citizens were killed and houses and communities were burnt to the ground as well. On March 26 1971, media coverage broke out such as the Boston Globe releasing statements such as “bloody clashes between staff and students” (Moses,261) and, Sydney Schanberg at the New York Times which wrote “The Pakistani Army is using artillery and heavy machine guns against unarmed East Pakistani civilians to crush the movement for autonomy in this province of 75 million people.”(Moses,261) This became a problem for the Pakistan government, which resulted in them expelling all foreign journalists and allowing Pakistan to publicise their own information which allowed them to hide the massacres occurring within their borders. When Anthony Mascarenhas decided to be the one reporter to not show the Pakistan propaganda, he released information such as his own accounts of the brutality of “kill and burn missions”, the devastation of the Pakistan army on villages and towns, and even traveled to London and told them he is an eyewitness to a huge “systematic killing spree” and heard many army officers describe their killings as a “final solution.” (Dummett.BBC) This was the first time that the Western World was able to see what was occurring in Bangladesh without the Pakistan propaganda.
Given only some information from within, American Consul General in Dacca at the time sent a telegram to Washington with the title “Selective Genocide.” (Moses,261) India also released a statement accusing Pakistan of “massacre of defenceless people and that amount to genocide.”(Moses,263) In Britain, awareness of the events occurred in Bangladesh were increasing. British students in London conducted a hunger strike for the British government to recognize the Bangladesh genocide and to raise the matter in the United Nations. While there was a large quantity of media coverage on the genocide occurring in Bangladesh, the UN did not consider the crack down on the Pakistani army. Only in May did United Nations send a team of officials to Bangladesh for a week on the purpose of humanitarian mission, and not a human rights issue. This means that there was no peace keeping in the element and that they had no authority to stop the Pakistani army from their actions because of nation sovereignty, and were not licensed to lecture Pakistan about their domestic...
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