Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Tue 16 Nov 2004

How many were killed?

Category : world

I discussed my surprise at reading that 10 million refugees made their way to India during Bangladesh's nine month war of liberation in 1971. So many fled? But then I was asked, "How many were killed?"

Susan Brownmiller's 1975 article suggests a loss of some 3 million people. Between 200-400 thousand women were abused and tortured. In just seconds, the content on the internet severely shocked me.

We had also discussed if remembrance or the pursuit of justice was a luxury afforded only by richer nations; that the rigours of the daily struggle for survival in a poor country would see history shelved in favour of food. An Australian Broadcasting Corportation transcript of 20 Dec 2000 suggests otherwise. The wounds run too deep and it is a lifetime of agony.

I recall reading understatements referring to this tragedy before. Perhaps the writers did not want to belabour what they might have felt was a well known point or distract too greatly from their thesis. But I remember Asad Latif, a senior writer in the local paper The Straits Times, hinting at the significance of this tragedy many, many years ago. I searched for information then, but never did comprehend the extent of the tragedy as I do now.

It is not an isolated incident in human history, but Iris Chang called the rape of Bangladesh "the single worse massacre in world history." Incredibly, her interviewer apologised, saying he didn't know of it.

I too was humbled, once again, by my ignorance.

Posted at 6:39PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .