As Bangladesh’s Victory Day approaches, I have been getting a stream of reminders and emails about war criminals. Yes we are such a cheery lot aren’t we. No end of year celebrations for us but instead we focus on fundamentalists, their beards and what not. I mean it. Suddenly in late 2007, there seem to be a myriad organisations both inside and outside Bangladesh which have made this issue their central focus. And whenever I see an email from Ansar Ahmed Ullah, I know immediately there will be some call to hang this razakar or that, or some other blood curdling plea. He is actually a very nice chap if you meet him, and so these emails sit rather uncomfortably with the image I have of him.

He organised a meeting a couple of days ago at the Brady Centre, Londonistan. Various people from various outfits were invited including Jeremy Seabrook (journalist and writer of a book on Bangladesh which exposed the growth of fundamentalism), Gita Sahgal ( Head of the Gender Unit, Amnesty International and previously a leading campaigner against fundies) and Martin Bright, Political Editor of the New Statesman and the man who exposed the British governments dilly-dallying with fundies. But do all these high-profile anti-fundie campaigners approve of the leaflets that Ansar sends out? Here is a portion of his latest leaflet …Its like something out of a macabre december panto show.

Razakars

And what kind of politics calls for the hanging of people and the banning of those who opposed the liberation war from political life? To me this kind of politics smacks of….ehm the same sort of thing the fundies engage in …authoritarianism. It is also brutal and undemocratic. This is not the way to seek justice for the victims of 1971. This is not the way to combat fundamentalism.

But the most perplexing thing for me is why now? Why are there so many organisations making the same noise now? Is it to portray Bangladesh in a particular light for particular purposes and to serve particular ends?