The International Forum for Secular Bangladesh, Switzerland chapter on Friday (local time) held a poster disposition at the Broken Chair square in front of the UN building in Geneva against Pakistan for the 1971 Bangladesh genocide.
Bangladeshis living in Switzerland gathered in front of the United Nations office in Geneva to seek justice against the 1971 genocide by Pakistan and for its recognition by the international community.
On this day, Pakistan generals surrendered to the Indian army and Bangladesh Liberation Force.
On December 16, 1971, Pakistan Army surrendered to a joint India-Bangladesh force, formally making Bangladesh a new nation under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.
The war began on March 26, 1971, and continued for 9 months – killing as many as three million people – before victory was declared in December.
The slaughter, deliberate displacement, and systematic rape that Pakistani forces unleashed against ethnic Bengalis in East Pakistan over the course of eight months in 1971 killed an average of 375,000 persons per month. In the end, 3 million perished.
Like so many genocides, the precursor to Pakistan’s slaughter was racism.
Notably, Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah died after just a year, leaving the shape of the country unsettled, reported 1945.
Ethnic Punjabis dominated the new state and sought to monopolize its institutions. Over subsequent years, West Pakistan systematically discriminated against East Pakistan, which lay more than a thousand miles away, on the other side of India’s breadth. Such systematic racism catalyzed the Bangladeshi independence movement.
As the Pakistani army launched Operation Searchlight, unleashing death squads across East Pakistan to crush that province’s challenge to West Pakistan’s supremacy, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founder of the Awami League, declared Bangladesh’s independence.
Pakistani President Yahya Khan did not mince words. “Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands,” he declared, and that is exactly what he did.
The Broken Chair sculpture symbolizes both fragility and strength, imbalance and stability, violence, and dignity.
Broken Chair is the work of renowned sculptor Daniel Berset in 1997 at the request of Humanity & Inclusion (the new name of Handicap International).
Made of Douglas fir wood, it stands 39 feet tall at the Place des Nations, in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. Broken Chair stands in delicate balance on three legs–the fourth having been violently blown off as if by an explosive charge.
The Broken Chair has a way of showing that even wounded victims of war are still standing tall with dignity. (ANI)