Who Cares About YouTube Anyway?

About a year and a half ago I uploaded three videos to YouTube. For more than three and a half decades these videos, and the truth they held within them, remained largely hidden from the Bangladeshi people. Few had read about these videos and fewer still had actually seen them. A generation of Bangladeshis has grown up not fully grasping the brutality that had been visited upon the emerging nation in 1971. For decades these videos lay hidden in dusty archives and in the purview of scholars and academics. The truth in the videos, and the larger truth about the genocide of 1971, was muddied by successive rewritings of Bangladesh’s history by those who ruled its people by force. Bangladeshi history and the genocide of 1971 became a playground for genocide deniers.

Some of us have been fighting back to reclaim our history. In this fight, the Internet and YouTube have been our weapons. As part of this fight, I uploaded the three videos.

I uploaded a NBC News report from January 7, 1972 that showed chilling video of Pakistani soldiers executing students, professors and workers at Dhaka University on March 26, 1971. This was video taken by a university professor that was kept hidden until the end of the war. It documented the killing spree that began the genocide that would eventually take up to 3 million Bengali lives.

I uploaded a CBS News report from February 2, 1972 that showed evidence of mass graves and widespread killings in Khulna district that took approximately 100,000 lives.

I uploaded a NBC News report from February 20, 1972 that showed interviews of pregnant Bengali women and girls who were victims of genocidal rape. Some of the girls were as young as 13.

NBC News anchor Gerrick Utley, reflecting on the rapes and massacres of the 1971 genocide, said in his February 1972 report:

“We Americans are aware of what is happening in Cambodia and South Vietnam because this country has a big stake there. But, Bangladesh is a different case. There is no major American involvement or commitment there – nothing that approaches the needs of that young and impoverished nation. And so, the memory of what happened there may already be growing dim in many of us. But, what did happen there will never be forgotten by the people of Bangladesh, especially the women.”

It is a national shame for Bangladesh that much of what happened in 1971 has been forgotten, distorted or buried under the weight of lies and genocide denial. A generation of Bangladeshis has grown up denied access to their history.

So, I uploaded these videos hoping someone, some young Bangladeshi, would see and learn what they did to us. Since I uploaded these videos, Bangladeshis by the thousands have watched – most for the very first time. The three YouTube videos have been watched by over 300,000 people. The videos have been downloaded and reposted by many others – on YouTube and on other video hosting websites on the Internet. The videos have been reposted on social media sites like Facebook, and they have been emailed countless times to Bangladeshis who were watching for the first time what they did to us.

That is the power of the Internet. And that is the power of YouTube. What was once hidden away in dusty archives is now available for all the world to see.

After seeing the videos, a commenter wrote on my blog:

Thank You. Thank You for shocking me again after all these years. Thank you for making me cry. Thank you for making me angry. Thank you for making me feel that feeling. Thank you for making it real, once again.

Thank you for reminding me again how it had felt the first time I had seen these footages, many, many years ago.

Thank You for giving me few precious moments to share with my twelve-year-old and explain why Baba has trouble using his Muslim identity to overlook some inconvenient truth from his past.

Thank you for restoring my faith on the Internet and reminding me that just the plain truth sometimes can be the most powerful equalizer and our greatest weapon against all things evil – whether appearing in the guise of an affable general or a well-published scholar.

It is our history. For us to carry. For us to preserve and pass on to our children.

Unfortunately, the Bangladesh government has now banned YouTube to try to block an inconvenient audio tape that was leaked to the public. In so doing, the government has also blocked access to those three videos I uploaded and many others like them that tell our story, that expose the truth of our past, and that shame the genocide deniers. These same genocide deniers thrive on ignorance and on hiding facts and evidence. Censorship and disinformation are the tools of their trade.

The Bangladesh government needs to rethink its policy of censorship. It needs to ask itself who benefits from such censorship, and who suffers.

To illustrate the point, I invite Bangladeshi government officials, members of the Bangladesh military, and Bangladeshi citizens to watch the three videos below – all hosted on YouTube:

NBC News (1/7/1972): Dhaka University Massacre
Video of Pakistani soldiers executing students, professors and workers at Dhaka University on March 26, 1971.

CBS News (2/2/1972): Khulna Massacres
Evidence of mass graves and widespread killing in Khulna. Approximately 100,000 people were killed in Khulna.

NBC News (2/20/1972): Rape Victims
Genocidal rapes of Bangladeshi women and girls during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The report interviews pregnant girls held at Pakistani army barracks and repeatedly raped. Some of the girls are as young as 13.

This entry was posted in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Liberation War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Who Cares About YouTube Anyway?

  1. J@ShadaKalo says:

    “?? ???? ???? / They more they learn,
    ?? ?? ????” / The less they obey
    - ???? ????? ????

    I guess that was they type of thinking that led to this. How could they think that restricting access in the name of nebulous claims of national security was going to pass muster? In the end, the government ended up looking like a despotic Luddite without a clue about technology.

  2. Robbie says:

    I have to admit, the only reason I troll YouTube is to watch the latest hockey fight clips and the stupidity of the Minutemen in my ‘hood.

    It’s sad that the Bangladesh government is trying to censor what its citizens can see. Who do they think they are? China?

  3. Purana Paltan says:

    Yes, exactly. China. BD security services got tech help from the Chinese, and learned from their effort in building the Great Firewall.

  4. Mash says:

    J, I am trying to figure out why the Bangla in your comment got chewed up by my comment system.

    Robbie, I also watch YouTube for videos like that little kid who was a little spaced out after coming back from the dentist!

    And yes, the Chinese are a fine example to follow when building a democracy :) They should aim closer to home. Why not Burma?

  5. dudeDAC says:

    i was having a conversation about patriotism and true nationalism with someone on our roof, where the building had a bamboo pole with a medium flag at half mast during the three days of national mourning. we looked around and noticed none of the buildings had one.

    even during march 26 and decembre 16th, they said, people hardly display the flag as much as one would expect. he was saying he has often asked politicians he has met if they do, many don’t.

    so many lives unnecessarily and brutally lost (many in rural areas) so many families affected, yet, not 40 yrs later, people celebrate the country, it’s culture, and it’s sovereignty maybe 2-3 times a year, with great fanfare and visibility. the rest of the year, the corruption and lack of civic and common sense and simple ethics escapes much of the population.

    i have come across beggars and constructions workers and simple shopkeeper who say with great pride that they fought and took up arms for their love of their country and her people. yet 40 yrs later here they are, no better, and some worse, off than they were, when they lived under other tyrants and other subjugators.

    thank you for putting these up, i have shared it on my facebook and blog, and encouraged others to pass them along. with march 26th coming up, people should be reminded of the price paid for the freedom they have, which many flaunt and disregard.

    • Mash says:

      dude, its really upside down isnt it? Maybe its easy to forget how many died because most of those who died and most of the 10 million that became refugees were the poor of Bangladesh. They were sold a Golden Bengal bought at the price of 3 million to be swindled out of even a brief glimpse for nearly 4 decades.

      Bangladesh is a continuing tragedy for what it has denied the majority of its people. Yet the very same majority carries on and perseveres in spite of the fact that successive governments have actively worked to oppress them and steal the fruits of their labor. For once, Bangladesh deserves a government that is more interested in governing than robbing from the national coffers. This one could and should be it, but I fear it will never be given the chance.

      So, when I see the sense of entitlement in military officers and in the political class, I want to vomit.

  6. dudeDAC says:

    PS: we used to check out old episodes of Ali G.. and other brit. comedies…

  7. Rakib says:

    It is undeniable that the pakistanis perpetrated a mass slaughter and caused unimaginable human suffering in Bangladesh during the brief war.

    But as a student of mathematics I am profoundly perplexed by the casualty figures that pervade our sic. “liberation war” history.

    By simple analogy, one can establish the dubiousness of claims such as 3 million Bengalis died in the war. For example, the vietnam war that raged for around a decade or so, which saw the full fury of the American war machine, aided by many in the region such as AU, Phillipines, NZ and many others and yet the final war casualty had been around 4 million or so.
    Similarly, the great Afghan war that saw the Russian bear in its full fury for a decade and only 1.5 million Afghanis lost their lives.
    Likewise, the Iraq war that saw the mightiest army on the planet in its full fury, along the NATO allies, that carried out sustained and unprecedented bombing campaigns for the last 6 years, and yet the the death toll is around a million or so, so far.

    With this backdrop, it is quite inconceivable both statistically and logistically that the Bangladeshi sic. “Liberation war” that lasted only 9 months, in which less than a 100 Bangladeshi Army personnel died, could have killed 3 million people. In addition to the very brief nature of the war, the Pakistani Army was grossly ill-equipped compared to the aggressors in the wars that I’ve just mentioned and only had a very small ground deployment during the war.

    So, I wonder how the author of this blog having a mathematics background, justifies this utter load of nonsense that is engraved in our history.

    • Mash says:

      Rakib, pretty much every time I write about the Bangladesh Genocide, its only a matter of time until a live one like you comes along. I note that you use quotations around the words Liberation War. You’d think sophisticated genocide deniers would be smarter than that. Oh well.

      I dont quite understand why you guys bring up the mathematical argument. Its a sure loser for you guys every time. Yet you persist.

      The problem for you is that the so-called “nonsense” as you call it is accepted by ACTUAL genocide scholars. It is no surprise that genocide deniers dont agree with ACTUAL scholars. I urge you to read Israel Charny’s Encyclopedia of Genocide or other works on genocide to see what number they quote for the Bangladesh Genocide. Estimates vary from above one million to 3 million dead. An army bent on genocide can do a lot of killing in a short period of time. Feel free to read about other genocides and see how quickly the killing happens (study Rwanda for a recent example). Trying to equate the war in Iraq or similar wars to a genocide shows your lack of understanding of what genocide is.

      Now, to this silly math argument. Let’s do some math, shall we.

      The Pakistan army and its paramilitaries in Bangladesh in 1971 were upwards of 90,000.

      The war and genocide lasted 267 days.

      The population of Bangladesh at the time was 75 million.

      Let’s assume 1 Pakistani soldier only killed 1 Bengali per day. Since the Pakistanis also raped about 200,000 to 400,000 women and girls during this time, we cant say that they were killing all 24 hours of the day. They were doing other nasty stuff also.

      So, 1 killed per soldier for 267 days would be: 1 X 90,000 X 267 = 24,030,000 (that is, 24 million killed). Clearly, the mathematical upper bound is much higher than the 3 million.

      But, you will say that not all Pakistani soldiers were killing every day. Fair enough. Lets say that only 15% of the soldiers did the killing at a clip of only 1 Bengali per day.

      So, at 15% of all soldiers, 1 killed per solder for 267 days would be: 1 X 90,000 X 267 X 15% = 3,604,500 (that is, over 3.5 million killed)

      So, it was not the math that stopped Pakistani soldiers from killing more Bengalis. Of the 75 million Bengalis, 30 million became internally displaced refugees and 10 million fled to India. The Pakistanis would have slaughtered more than the 3 million they did if the Mukti Bahini didnt begin to offer resistance and if India did not step in in December to bring the genocide to an end.

      So much for your mathematical argument.

  8. dudeDAC says:

    ah yes, the “maths”, it will surely be cold comfort to all those raped women and young girls, many as young as 12 or 13. maybe you ascribe to the view of one esteemed MP of previous parliament who thought 100K was closer to the mark?

    there is maybe one BIG difference between your citations and the case of the Liberation War,that being the pak army came not so much to subdue as to massacre as many people as they could, starting with military brass, intellectuals, civil servants, medical professionals, the list literally went on.

    yes,they were ill prepared and equipped, but one only really needs a complete lack of morals, ethics, and basic humanity to systematically rape and burn villages, and kill off old men and women and children, not superior training and logistics and weaponry!

    let’s say the 3 million number is off, let’s say even by 2 million, to those people’s families, VAST majority of whom were the dirt poor of a very poor region, how many others got killed is irrelevant. in the last 4 decades i have heard every few years or so that 10K or 20k people massacred in some african country by some internal civil war overnight or matter of days. for an intent group, killing off people systematically does not require a decade.

    though many well known families and many middle class communities were affected, the liberation fighters and the families of the most affected are most likely to be found amongst the poorest and working class people.

  9. Rakib says:

    Mash, it it only when reason and logic fails, a person resorts to name calling and you demonstrate that quite aptly by calling me a genocide denier. Oh well…they say…so it goes…

    Anyhow thanks for your unsubstantiated attempt at justifying the wild casualty figure in the liberation war. But it does not pass the litmus test and barely holds any water for the following reasons.

    1. Most of the 90k soldiers were deployed in major cities around the country and they could hardly move around due to our unique terrain, with marshes and water bpdies weaving through every patch of land, thus major population centres were completely unaffected by the war.

    2. Of the 75 million, many fled to the country side, many crossed the border over to India and thus only a fraction of the population was exposed to the brutality of the pak army.

    3. The aim of the Pak army was to cripple the nation, not to cause a genocide. And cripple the nation, they did, without a doubt, through the killing of the academics and prominent scholars at that time.

    4. And yes ofcourse we have genocide scholars in our country who are doing a great job, perpetuating a myth and creating a rift between the people.

    5. At the same time there are scholars who objectively refute these claims and they are always sidelined for political reasons.

    6. It would be a gross simplification to say that India brought the massacre to an end. The paks were being supported by the Americans, with weaponry being routed to them via Jordan and Iran and the Russians were propping up the Indians. It was an arrangement agreed upon by the various players that brought an end to the conflict.

    7. Have a look at wikepedia “Bangladesh Liberation war” which says the following:
    “Bangladeshi authorities claim that three million people were killed,[7] while the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties.[6] The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.[7] A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India.”

    8. So, there is clearly no concensus as to how many poor souls perished in that war. It is only the goverment puppets who claim that 3 million died.

    9. Also, the stiff guerilla resistance offered by the Bengalis would have caused much higher casualties for the pakis, but alas, the pakis suffered little, which leads to a conclusion that the resistance was very sporadic in nature.

    10. And what do you think the BD army was doing back then? As few as less than a 100 army personnel died in the war! Which also points to the very sporadic nature of the conflict.

    The fairy tale simply does not add up. I was born a decade after the liberation war and my father was a freedom fighter like many in my family.
    Truth needs no law to support it. It is only liars and crooks who often resort to sensationalism to enforce adherance to dogma…

    • Mash says:

      Rakib, you fit the genocide denier tag quite well. All your arguments are familiar. The fact that you call the death of so many Bengalis a “fairy tale” makes your position pretty clear.

      I’ll indulge you one last time.

      1. Dont just make up stuff. Pakistan army moved through pretty much the entire area of Bangladesh. There is plenty of on the ground reporting, both from the foreign press and the Pakistani press at the time (touting “victories” all over rural Bangladesh). Destroyed towns and villages all over Bangladesh are pretty well documented.

      2. As I noted before, of the 75 million, 10 million eventually fled to India. 30 million were displaced within Bangladesh, fleeing from one atrocity to the other. Plenty of burned villages attest to the destruction the Pakistan army wrought.

      3. Again, you are just making up stuff. Plenty of Hindus will attest to how they were being systematically eliminated. Feel free to read some of Sydney Schanberg’s reporting from June, 1971. Those articles are available on this blog.

      4. FYI, Israel Charny is not a Bangladeshi. Google him to see what the genocide community thinks of him. Western genocide scholars, all the reputable ones, disagree with you. Feel free to pick up any widely published text on genocide – all available on Amazon.com for your reading pleasure. The only “scholars” you have on your side are folks like Sarmila Bose who have been repeatedly discredited.

      5. Name the scholars that “objectively refute these claims”.

      6. You are unaware of the history or are deliberately pretending to be ignorant. Peruse the National Security Archive at GWU for some info on how the war ended. Also read the news articles from the time. Its not a big secret how the war came to an end.

      7. Ah, wikipedia. The Pakistan government of course claimed they didnt commit genocide. The facts just dont match with the Pakistan government report. The low 200,000 number cited by lazy updaters in Wikipedia is from a news report in early summer (2 months into the genocide) of 1971, estimating the death toll. Claiming that is the number at the end of the war in December is a bit silly. As I stated, genocide books in the West all put the number above 1 million and up to 3 million. There is ONE book on the Bangladesh Liberation War by Sisson and Rose that deals with the politics surrounding the war, not the genocide – this book puts the number at between 300,000 and 500,000 based on an anonymous source!

      8. As I’ve stated before, Western genocide scholars put the number between 1 million and 3 million. You may choose not to accept it, but there it is. Again, feel free to read Charny, Totten or others.

      9. I have no idea what your point here is.

      10. Are you seriously claiming less than 100 combatants on the BD side died? On the first night, in Dhaka alone, the Pakistan army took out the EPR at Pilkhana and the police lines. I suspect you mean “army officers” when quoting that figure, but why be exact when you dont have to be.

      • Mash says:

        Incidentally, Rakib, what happened to your mathematical argument?

        Just for yucks, here are a few quotes.

        This one is from Leo Kuper’s book “Genocide”:

        It would seem that the government intended to eradicate dissidence in the East by admonitory massacres and massive terror. The International Commission of Jurists describes the principal features of this ruthless repression as ‘the indiscriminate killing of civilians, including women and children and the poorest and weakest members of the community; the attempt to exterminate or drive out of the country a large part of the Hindu population; the arrest, torture and killing of Awami League activists, students, professional and business men and other potential leaders among the Bengalis; the raping of women; the destruction of villages and towns; and the looting of property. All this was done on a scale which is difficult to comprehend.’ It was carried out, I should add, with unspeakable brutality and atrocity, and with the additional horror of torture and extermination centres. As the resistance of the Bengalis mounted, the army responded with massive collective reprisals in the annihilation of Bengali villages.

        Kuper, incidentally, writes that the upper limit of deaths was perhaps 3 million. He also cites Kalyan Chaudhuri’s compilation in February 1972 of skeletons found and mass graves discovered. At the time, the number discovered was 1,247,000 and counting. In February 1972, the UN Relief Committee gave a total of 1.5 million houses destroyed in towns and villages around Bangladesh.

        The following is from the book “The History and Sociology of Genocide” by Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn:

        The devastation wrought by the Pakistani military was enormous, although estimates of casualties vary widely. Between one million and three million were killed; about two million were rendered homeless; and about ten million fled across the border to India, where they had to live in conditions of unimaginable hardship in spite of India’s best efforts.

        Chalk and Jonossohn even give a special shout out to you in their book:

        Bangladesh has its “deniers,” who claim that there was a civil war between the government in power and a rebellious and traitorous region. Others have argued that civil unrest, accompanied by rioting, looting, and killing, had broken out and that the troops merely tried to reestablish order. Some concede that the discipline of the troops may not always have been exemplary, but that no mass killing occurred. And there is even the extreme view that it was the Awami League that was engaged in genocide that was stopped by the Pakistani military.

        This from Israel Charny’s “Encyclopedia of Genocide”:

        Bangladesh’s emergence as a nation in 1971 came at the cost of three million dead, a quarter of a million women and girls raped, ten million people fled to India, and thirty million people forced to flee their homes.

        All able-bodied young Bengali men were considered freedom fighters. Early on, they were routinely rounded up, tortured, and killed. Very quickly, however, they fled the cities and towns for the guerrilla camps in the countryside and in India. The Army of West Pakistan turned its fury on the women and girls left behind. Girls and women were publicly raped in front of their family members. They were routinely abducted to special camps near army barracks to be gang-raped, brutalized, and killed, or to live with eternal shame of their violation. Many committed suicide.

        As the Bengali guerrilla campaign became more effective against the West Pakistan Army, the Army undertook daily retaliatory missions to destroy as many villages as possible. In December, when the Army of West Pakistan was finally forced to retreat back into its cantonments, they systematically set about killing all the influential intellectuals and professionals in each city and town where they were besieged.

        And one more from Gendercide’s case study of the Bangladesh Genocide:

        The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so.

        The number of dead in Bangladesh in 1971 was almost certainly well into seven figures. It was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (1 million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66).

  10. Rakib says:

    Mash,

    Again you resort to name calling having been bankrupt of logic and reason. The brutal massacre of many thousands of Bengalis is a fact, but propping up that number to fairy tale proportions for political gains is a serious crime.

    My statistical argument still holds. Sensationalism is no substitute for objective and substantiated data. You have not been able to refute my argument objectively, for obvious reasons and have repeatedly resorted to name calling. Such shallow jabs only demostrates your complete lack of integrity.

    There is no point in continuing this pointless discussion when your perceptions are so blindly fixated on a unsubstantiated myth. From the very quotes that you have sited, it is as obvious as daylight that there is no unanimous concencus on this issue, even amongst the sic. “good” genocide scholars.

    Once again, I would like to repeat, that truth needs no law to support it. It is only liars and crooks that resort to personal attacks and cling on to brute force to enforce ahderance to dogma. And such has always been the plight of the revisionist historians who objectively address history, repeatedly persecuted and sidelined for failing to buttress the polity.

    Enough said and thanks for your replies to my posts. Over and out!

    • Mash says:

      Rakib, I just cited the primary texts on genocide by prominent genocide scholars. Yet, you persist in sticking your head in the sand.

      That, my friend, is why I called you a genocide denier. All your “arguments” are classic tactics of genocide deniers. It is such well troden ground that scholars have written extensively about these tactics. You people beat the same drum over and over regardless of facts or evidence. It is you who is bankrupt of logic and reason, and it is you who lack integrity. I have no hesitation in calling you what you are – a genocide denier.

      From your first comment when you put Bangladesh Liberation War in quotes, you exposed yourself. Shame on you.

  11. Atif C. says:

    haha owned…nice job Mash

  12. Sarah says:

    Good argument Mash. I just hate some people’s guts when they quote unqoute the Liberation War. Maybe if you stuck to facts in your first comment our fellow Liberation war denier wouldn’t have resorted to his argument about name calling and might have changed his mind?

    • Mash says:

      Sarah, I’ve never engaged a genocide denier who was actually interested in facts. They often try the mathematical argument to start, then the conversation goes pretty much as above. If I started with facts he would have just ignored them.

      If I thought he was genuninely uninformed I would have made a serious effort to point him to sources that might help him learn the facts upfront. Genocide deniers are not interested in changing their own minds, they are interested in perpetuating the genocide. Many scholars consider genocide denial to be the final stage of a genocide, and that is also how I view them.

  13. Reza Shah says:

    Can someone post the google earth images of the official residences occupied and rented out to a MNC by Khaleda Zia and her family? What is the extravagant largesse Mrs Zia is profiting from in a a country where most people are poor.

    I am very much interested to know the expenses incurred by the government and the rent collected by Khaleda Zia from the Gulshan Avenue residence since she took possession of bothhe houses.

    Please post all the facts.

Comments are closed.