Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Victory Day

Today is Bangladesh’s national holiday celebrating their independence from Pakistan, in 1971. Not to be confused with Independence Day (26 March). Oh yes. It’s an interesting naming convention. So Independence Day is when the independence war started, and Victory Day is when it was won.

Right. So. Anyway. Ttoday is Big Deal here. In Dhaka there were lots of people selling Bangladesh flags in the run up. Like so:

And today, across the country, there are various Victory-type happenings. I attended the one in Rangmati stadium, with Memory. It all started uncharacteristically early, with me meeting Memory at 7am.  And then waiting an hour until she managed to get herself out of her house.

So this is what 7am looks like in winter

The ‘do’ was typical Bangldeshi fare, some bigwigs (I assume) with some time on a microphone. Then marching. A lot of marching, for some reason. I think all schools in the area had been asked to participate, so lots of little kiddies marching across the field, arms and legs swinging excitedly and with very little co-ordination. But very cute. One of Memories sons was marching for his school, and also involved in some kind of drama/dance theatre thing. Somehow (why am I still surprised by her?) I ended up as official photographer for Memory, being ordered where and when to take pictures of little Aiken (son). I couldn’t quite understand the dance theatre, which started like this:

Had a bit of this in the middle:

And ended like this:

I assume this was, somehow, a re-enactment of the war and/or victory.

It was colourful, entertaining (in a I-don’t-really-know-what’s-going-kind of way), and over quite soon. I like things that are over quite soon here. Often things tend to drag on, with my initial interest fading fast as the crowd notices me, and I become the event.

I’m in full-photo mode these days. So allow me to share some more sights of the day.

And I think that’s officially the most photos I’ve put into a blog post before. Have had a good run with the internet speed today. However, I am getting increasingly frustrated with WordPress over the state of my photos. See how dull and washed out they look? Everything looks so nice and colourful when I preview a post, but then some black magic happens and everything is washed out when it’s published. Boo. Honestly, I do take better photos than what can be seen on this blog. But if you click the photos, they load onto a new page with the original colours. So why not original non-washed-out colours ALL the time? Sigh. Must try not get too frustrated by this. But come in, it’s annoying.



  Uzair wrote @

Happy independence Day or Victory day.
I am from Pakistan and I want to say extremely Sorry to my bengali brothers For our Attitude in past that led to the sepration of us.It is all propaganda that Pakistani Army commited genocide in East Pakistan.I AM DEFINITELY NOT SAYING THAT WE DIDN’T DID INJUSTICE TO YOU BUT U HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT IT WAS NOT IN A WAY THAT U PPL KNOW.

  estellevisagie wrote @

Thanks for the comment. All I know is that the death toll figures range from 200,000 (Pakistani estimates) to 3,000,000 (Bangladeshi estimates). That’s pretty big discrepancy. So who can really say for sure what the actual figure was. But I’m just a foreigner here in Bangladesh, working in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, with the indigenous people who have had their own share of atrocities committed against them from the powers that be, including after independence.

  Rezwan wrote @

A little info for Uzair – that he is definitely brainwashed by the Pakistani propaganda (the ones they the in school as history lesson). There are enough evidence that Pakistani atrocities happened. Take a look at all the international news paper articles, video evidences, eye witnesses etc – much is available online

The whole world cannot lie.

The figures are debated of course as nobody counted how many people were killed. But a general estimation is that every family in Bangladesh got effected by the war (either a member killed or displaced). Its not about fighting for figures but getting justice.

If we go by the lowest estimation it still ranks high among the gruesome genocides in the history of the world.

And putting your head inside sand won’t escape the crimes committed by the Pak military -they have a bloody history till now.

  estellevisagie wrote @

Hi Rezwan. Yes, certainly a contentious issue. And one where both sides have written their own different history of events. The upcoming war crime trails should be of interest to all.

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