What is this campaign about?
This campaign is about reminding the people of the world and their leaders about the forgotten genocide of 1971, so that lessons can be learned through acknowledgement, pledges can be renewed to prevent future genocides, victims are remembered and honoured, justice and other reckoning initiatives are strengthened.
The genocide perpetrated against the people of Bangladesh in 1971 by the Pakistani war machinery and their collaborators was possibly the worst of the last century after the Holocaust. Yet, for various geo-political power plays led by the major super-powers, for consequent acquiescences of the international organisations including the United Nations, for failures of the major international civil society organisations to highlight this tragedy – to the rest of the world the genocide of 1971 became a forgotten one over time.
This campaign aims to change that.
What was the context and extent of Bangladesh Genocide in 1971?
In 1971, the Pakistani military and their collaborators, namely, the Jamaat-e-Islami, Razakars, Al-Badrs, Al-Shams etc, perpetrated an array of International Crimes against the people of Bangladesh. Their crimes include – Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and a range of other international crimes, as a direct result of which, according to various estimates – 3 million Bengalees were killed, over 200000-400000 Bengali women were subjected to rape and other sexual violence, over 10-million people were displaced from their homes fleeing from genocide and were forced to take shelter as refugees in neighbouring India while countless others lost their lives on the way, several hundred prominent intellectuals including some of the most influential Bengalee secular intellectuals of the country were abducted and murdered.
These crimes targeted specifically the people of Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) to suppress their legitimate demands of equality, self-determination, and fair share in governance, resources and decision-making.
The Pakistani army’s genocidal repression commenced on the night of 25th March (their so-called “Operation Searchlight”) and was closely followed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Declaration of Independence on behalf of the people of Bangladesh, leading to a nine-month long war that ended on 16 December 1971 with the Pakistani army signing the Instrument of Surrender. The nine-month resistance struggle by the Bengalee people was aimed to liberate the country from the invading Pakistani army which is why the War of Independence is also known as the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
How to track and follow this campaign (#recognise1971genocide)?
We are using the hashtag #recognise1971genocide in the media and social networks, and also in all our communications as the core message of the campaign. This hashtag is also a way for all concerned and interested to keep track of and follow campaign related updates and announcements in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
What is ICSF’s role in the campaign?
International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF), an independent global network of experts and activists working in the interest of justice for the victims of international crimes, has long campaigned for the recognition of the Bangladesh Genocide. In March 2017, ICSF launched the video-message campaign alongside the hashtag “#recognise1971genocide”. It is our hope that soon more activists’ groups and civil society organisations will be encouraged by this campaign, join the cause, and take actions alongside towards achieving global recognition of Bangladesh Genocide.
How can you participate in this campaign? What are the video-messages for?
At this stage of the campaign we are collecting short video-messages from anyone who supports the call for recognition of Bangladesh Genocide in 1971. This is similar to collecting signatures in a conventional signature campaign, but only here we are using a different medium to communicate the message worldwide. The video-messages we are receiving are collated and progressively and individually disseminated through all our social-network and other channels, to demonstrate public opinion in support of the demand for genocide recognition.
So, if you agree with our call that the world should know and acknowledge the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971, we would certainly like to receive a video-message from you. This is your opportunity to register publicly before the world your stance on the subject as an individual.
Is there any particular format or requirement for the video-message?
No, but it may be helpful if you try to keep your video-message under 60 seconds, ideally 30-45 seconds. For uniformity, we are preferring ‘solo’ video-messages. Videos from participants of all ages and nationalities are welcome. As it is an ongoing campaign, there is no deadline to send video-messages. However, we would appreciate if you send us your message as soon as possible to get the campaign going. Your participation is more likely to inspire others to do the same.
How to send your video-message?
While sending your video clip, in the “message” section, please do not forget to state your:
(a) full name;
(b) email address;
(c) designation or a very brief description about yourself, eg, profession, calling etc;
(e) current city (optional)
At the processing stage, the above information provided by you will be added in the lower-third of your video-message as your introduction.
Is there any other way to participate/help apart from sending video-messages?
Apart from sending us your video-message, you can also help the campaign in a number of other ways. For instance, you can share information about the campaign and spread the call to all your personal/professional/social networks. You can also sign-up as a volunteer to manage and promote the campaign. At present due to the nature of the campaign, our workload has significantly increased. As a network run by its volunteers on a pro bono basis, we at ICSF always welcome offer of help from other volunteers who share our values and objectives, even if that relates to a single cause or issue. To help us manage and promote this #recognise1971genocide campaign, we would most certainly need help from more campaigners, researchers, analysts, advocates, lobbyists, strategists, web platform editors, graphic designers, and communication experts, and your offer of help will be very much welcome. If you wish to SIGN UP AS A VOLUNTEER, please email us at info[at]icsforum.org stating your experience, interest, skill set, and availability.
How to view the video messages from other participants?
On Twitter – visit our twitter account: http://twitter.com/icsforum or click the hashtag #recognise1971genocide
On Facebook: visit our official FB-page at http://facebook.com/icsforum
Has ICSF issued any other communiques on the subject?
Yes, ICSF has recently issued a Special Briefing – “Roadmap for ’71 Genocide Recognition: 7-Prong Strategy for Bangladesh Government”, which you may find useful to understand our stance on the subject. Work on a number of other briefings, dossiers, and position papers is also in progress.