Free counters!
FollowLike Share It

Saturday 18 February 2012

The Trial of H. Kissinger by C. Hitchens

BNP/Jamaat allies are thinking that Deputy Sec. Blake is going to serve a Kissinger-type service on behalf of the State Dept. supporting their demand in toppling the present AL backed Govt. in Bangladesh against (and behind) the good wishes of the people of the USA.  I post U. S. Consul General Archer Blood's famous telegram to the State Dept. on 6th April, 1971 to illustrate the point that what was possible to hide -- the genocide of Bangladesh in 1971 -- from the eyes of people of the world in 1971 may not be that easily achievable in these days of Wikileaks.

                                Farida Majid

Bangladesh:  The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchins



By 1971, the word "genocide" was all too easily understood. It surfaced in a cable of protest from the United States consulate in what was then East Pakistan - the Bengali "wing" of the Muslim state of Pakistan, known to its restive nationalist inhabitants by the name Bangladesh. The cable was written on 6 April 1971 and its senior signatory, the Consul General in Dacca was named Archer Blood. But it might have become known as the Blood Telegram in any case. Also sent directly to Washington, it differed from Morgenthau's document in one respect. It was not so much reporting on genocide as denouncing the complicity of the United States government in genocide. Its main section read thus:

"Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak[istan] dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them. Our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankrupt, ironically at a time when the USSR sent President Yahya Khan a message defending democracy, condemning the arrest of a leader of a democratically-elected majority party, incidentally pro-West, and calling for an end to repressive measures and bloodshed.... But we have chosen not to intervene, even morally, on the grounds that the Awami conflict, in which unfortunately the overworked term genocide is applicable, is purely an internal matter of a sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed disgust. We, as professional civil servants, express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected."

This was signed by twenty members of the United States diplomatic team in Bangladesh and, on its arrival at the State Department, by a further nine senior officers in the South Asia division. It was the most public and the most strongly worded demarche from State Department servants to the State Department that has ever been recorded.

The circumstances fully warranted the protest. In December 1970, the Pakistani military elite had permitted the first open elections for a decade. The vote was easily won by Sheik Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the Bengali-based Awami League, who gained a large overall majority in the proposed National Assembly. (In the East alone, it won 167 out of 169 seats.) This, among other things, meant a challenge to the political and military and economic hegemony of the Western "wing." The National Assembly had been scheduled to meet on 3 March 1971. On 1 March, General Yahya Khan, head of the supposedly outgoing military regime, postponed its convening. This resulted in mass protests and nonviolent civil disobedience in the East.

    [Please continue reading . . . ]
Bangladesh excerpted from the book The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchins.  Verso Press, 2001. 
  p44 Bangladesh By 1971, the word "genocide" was all …

No comments:

Post a Comment